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Introduction to Geology

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When most people look at this mountain, they just see a big, beautiful mountain. When a geologist looks at this mountain, they see the beauty but also see:

  • The formation of the Rocky Mountains due to plate tectonic forces
  • A landscape defined by sedimentary layers and glacial processes
  • 520 million years of geological history, from the origin of animals to modern anthropogenic global warming

Come learn to see our Earth like a geologist! 


Spring Quarter

Most important, gain this new lens through which to view the Earth in the outdoors. Spring term is not meant to be spent indoors! Although we cannot fully escape lectures in this course, much of GEOLSCI 1 is taught through various local field trips and outdoor activities, including an extra credit field trip to the California coast. The course does not have a final exam, but rather a geological report based on an outdoors mapping project on Stanford campus that integrates the information taught during the course. The course also covers other critical topics such as natural disasters and the origin of energy and material resources used by modern society.

Taught by Associate Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences Jane Willenbring and Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences Erik Sperling. [GEOLSCI 1 / EARTHSYS 11]