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Studies in Geology:

Geological topics, such as environmental hazards, plate tectonics, and mineral resources and society, offered in different years. No prior knowledge of geology is assumed. May not be taken for credit after 130. (Only one Geology 100 course unit may be applied toward divisional credit in the natural sciences.) (May meet the laboratory/field requirement for natural sciences.)

Prerequisite: No credit if taken after 130 or 140.

1 unit

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In Extinction's Embrace: Geological Perspectives on Climate Change analyzes the consequences of contemporary climate change by examining historical geological records. Students will explore the validation of referring to the present as the period of a Sixth Extinction.
Photo of polar bears on a snowy landscape
Global Change is a signature of our times, but oftentimes the rates and extent of the Earth’s 21st century transformations are too intimidating to grasp. This Studies in Geology course turns to the geological record to put things in perspective. Close reading of such nonfiction works such as The Sixth Extinction, by E. Kolbert, The Rocks Don’t Lie, by D. Montgomery, and This Changes Everything, by N. Klein, provide a platform for excursions into the Geological Time Scale, exploration of varied paleoenvironments, and understanding of Earth’s response to rapid-change events, as recorded in the rocks. As devastating and immutable as catastrophic events may be, there is abundant evidence that opportunity follows the destruction. As extreme as the contemporary changes are -- in biodiversity, land disruption, freshwater supply, disparity in human living conditions, climate — there is some reassurance that comparable or yet more dire conditions have affected Earth in the past.
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