Introduction to Geology

A map of North America with colors that represent the ages of the underlying rocks.

The North America Tapestry of Time and Terrain. This map is a portrait of the land surface of North America and the ages of its underlying rock formations. This digital tapestry outlines the geologic story of continental collision and break-up, mountain-building, river erosion and deposition, ice-cap glaciation, volcanism, and other events and processes that have shaped the region over the last 2.6 billion years. (Image and text courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.)


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As Taught In

Fall 2013



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Course Description

Geology is the core discipline of the earth sciences and encompasses many different phenomena, including plate tectonics and mountain building, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the long-term evolution of Earth’s atmosphere, surface and life. Because of the ever-increasing demand for resources, the growing exposure to natural hazards, and the changing climate, geology is of considerable societal relevance. This course introduces students to the basics of geology. Through a combination of lectures, labs, and field observations, we will address topics ranging from mineral and rock identification to the origin of the continents, from geologic mapping to plate tectonics, and from erosion by rivers and glaciers to the history of life.

Taylor Perron, and Oliver Jagoutz. 12.001 Introduction to Geology, Fall 2013. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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