May 24, 2024  
College Catalog 2023-2024 
College Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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GEOL 1150 - Historical Geology: The Study of the Geologic History of Planet Earth

Credit Hours: 4.00

Prerequisites: None

An integrated lecture‑laboratory‑field course that studies the geologic history of Planet Earth from its creation to the present time. The first part of the course focuses on the methods geologists use to investigate and unravel Earth’s history; the second part of the course applies these methods to present the geologic history of the North American continent. One required field trip.

Billable Contact Hours: 6

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Outcome 1: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of relative dating techniques.


  1. Recognize Geologic principles important to interpreting stratigraphic systems.
  2. Recognize elements of the Geologic Time Scale and its historic development.

Outcome 2: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of radiometric dating techniques.


  1. Describe different forms of radioactive decay of elements.
  2. Describe radiometric dating of rocks and illustrate the limitations of this technique.

Outcome 3: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate the ability to decipher the depositional and tectonic history of a geographic area.


  1. Classify common sedimentary structures and describe their formations.
  2. Correlate rock units related to tectonic settings, depositional history, and paleogeography.

Outcome 4: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to identify global geologic processes and their impact on shaping the Earth.


  1. Explain the theory and development of Plate Tectonics.
  2. Illustrate Crustal development by Continental Accretion and Sea-floor Spreading.

Outcome 5: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to determine the sedimentary environment in which a rock is formed based on its composition, texture, presence of sedimentary structures, and fossil content.


  1. Interpret Depositional Environments based on characteristics of Sedimentary Rocks.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the Fossil Record by preservation type and biologic relationship to age and depositional environments.

Outcome 6: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to describe the basic geological history of Earth with an emphasis on North America.


  1. Explain global Geologic events by time periods.
  2. Explain the Geologic development of North America.

  • Communication: The graduate can communicate effectively for the intended purpose and audience.
  • Critical Thinking: The graduate can make informed decisions after analyzing information or evidence related to the issue.
  • Global Literacy: The graduate can analyze human behavior or experiences through cultural, social, political, or economic perspectives.
  • Information Literacy: The graduate can responsibly use information gathered from a variety of formats in order to complete a task.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: The graduate can apply quantitative methods or evidence to solve problems or make judgments.
  • Scientific Literacy: The graduate can produce or interpret scientific information presented in a variety of formats.
CDO marked YES apply to this course:
Communication: YES
Critical Thinking: YES
Information Literacy: YES
Quantitative Reasoning: YES
Scientific Literacy: YES


  1. Lecture Core:
    1. Minerals & Rocks
      1. Sedimentary Processes - Geologic Principles
        1. Environments of Deposition
        2. Primary Sedimentary Structures
    2. Geologic Time - Development of the Time Scale
      1. Correlation & Relative Time
      2. Absolute Age Dating Techniques
    3. The Fossil Record: Organic Evolution in the Geologic Record
      1. Uniformitarianism: in reality
      2. Elements of Evolution
      3. Fossilization: what is preserved & how
    4. Earth’s Physical Processes
      1. Planetary development to the development of Atmosphere
      2. Plate Tectonics
      3. Geologic Structures
      4. Mountain Building & Continental Accretion
  2. The Story in Time
    1. Precambrian
      1. To the Archeozoic Eon
      2. Proterozoic Eon
    2. Paleozoic Eon - the age of Seas / Life explodes
      1. By Period
    3. Middle Life - the Mesozoic - the transition of life forms
      1. By Period
    4. Recent Life - the Cenozoic - mammals & flowers
      1. The Paleogene
      2. The Neogene & Glaciers to the Holocene

Primary Faculty
Schafer, Carl
Secondary Faculty
Sadorski, Joseph
Associate Dean
Young, Randall
Pritchett, Marie

Primary Syllabus - Macomb Community College, 14500 E 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48088

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