Welcome to Geology 110 – Environmental Geology. This is the web syllabus for the Fall 2018 Environmental Geology course at The College of Wooster. Web resources via links, announcements and assignments will be added to these pages each week. See class notes for general class logistics.
Introduction: We live in a world that is increasingly vulnerable to environmental change. The world is warming, the oceans are acidifying and global sea level is rising. We know that far more drastic climate variations have occurred in the past, like the Ice Ages – should we worry about these contemporary changes and why? What is being done and what can we do about them? Questions like these will be explored from the long-term perspective of the geologic record.
Issues of environmental change on local to global scales can be placed into an earth systems science perspective by first examining the evolution and structure of our planet’s atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and lithosphere, and how these systems naturally interact. Emphasis is placed on understanding biogeochemical cycles. From this perspective we can better evaluate the effects of anthropogenic perturbations on systems, such as the introduction of pollutants in groundwater, or land degradation associated with development and agriculture. Our readings center on climate, water, carbon and energy and the choices we need to make for a sustainable future.
Specific Learning Goals are to deepen your understanding in and to think critically about:
– the origin of the Earth and life and how natural systems such as plate tectonics, biogeochemical cycles and ocean-atmosphere systems operate and interact.
– the science underlying current environmental challenges such as climate change and the global water quality and water supply, and the scale of these challenges.
– the significance of anthropogenic (human-caused) changes in natural systems.
– strategies that can mitigate the impact of environmental change.