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G105 (Earth: Our Habitable Planet)
Spring 2007

Section 10565, 12:20pm-01:10pm; Section 10566, 01:25pm-02:15pm; Mon. Wed.

Room 126 Geological Sciences

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Professor: Dr. Jürgen Schieber, Room 523, Geological Sciences, Ph: 855-5322,

Use this e-mail address, not the oncourse option (copy link into e-mail program).

Office Hour: Monday 09:00-10:00, or by appointment

Textbook: Online lecture notes posted on class web site.
                   There is no compulsory text book that you need to buy.

Optional Texts:  The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth, by J. Lovelock (highly
                             recommended, but not required)

                        The Blue Planet by Skinner, Porter, and Botkin (a standard text, but not required)

               lecture notes are linked to the chapters listed below

Link to online lecture notes:

(copy link into browser window)

      Date                  Topics                                                                Reading Assignment

Week 1

Our Cosmic Origins

WC-1; L-1; P-1&2

Week 2

The Solar System; no class on 1/15

WC-2; L-2; BP-Ch.2&3;

Week 3

The Earth: Differentiation & Plate Tectonics

WC-3; BP-Ch.2, 4, 5, 9, 12;

Week 4

Global Energy Transfer, Atmosphere, Climate

WC-4; L-5,6; P-6
BP-Ch. 1, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14

Week 5

Minerals, Rocks & Rock Forming Processes

WC-5; BP-Ch.6, 7, 8;
P-7, 8, 9

Week 6

First Midterm Exam on Feb. 21


Week 7

Geologic Time, Geologic Processes Past and Present - Uniformitarianism

WC-6; BP-Ch.8, p. 160+;

Week 8

Self Regulating Systems - Atmospheric Gases - Greenhouse Effect

WC-7; L-4; BP-Ch.1, 20;
P-12, 13

Week 9

The Importance of Carbon for Climate Regulation; Daisyworld

WC-8; WC-9; L-3; L-5;
BP-Ch.15-p. 358, 20;
P-14, 15

Week 10

Spring Break, March 12-16


Week 11

The Origin of Life and its Consequences

WC-10; L-3; BP-Ch. 17
P-16, 17

Week 12

Second Midterm Exam on March 28


Week 13

Climate Regulation and Atmosphere Evolution through Geologic Time

WC-11; L-5; BP-Ch. 17;
P-18, 19, 20

Week 14

Climate Regulation and Atmosphere Evolution through Geologic Time

WC-11; L-5; BP-Ch. 17;
P-18, 19, 20

Week 15

Climate Regulation and Atmosphere Evolution through Geologic Time

WC-11; L-5; BP-Ch. 17;
P-18, 19, 20

Week 16

The Future of Life on Earth


Optional, if time allows

Recycling the Earth's Crust---The Interplay between Internal and External Forces & their visible Expression


Optional, if time allows

Evolution of Continents and Oceans


Week 17

Final Exams May 2nd and May 4th


WC = Posted Course Notes; L = readings from Lovelock; BP = readings from Blue Planet;
P = Powerpoint Lecture


FINAL EXAMS:        Section 10565; 2:45-4:45 p.m., Wed., May 2nd

Section 10566; 2:45-4:45 p.m., Fri., May 4th

This syllabus is tentative only. Topics may be shortened, deleted, or expanded, depending on progress in the lecture.


Course Goals: To understand history and evolution of earth, and physical and chemical processes that control
internal end external earth dynamics, regulation of earth climate through an interplay of physcial, chemical, and
biological processes.

Course Policies

Grading: Lecture 67%, Lab 33%

First Exam (Multiple choice) 14%

Second Exam (Multiple choice) 14%

Attendance 7%

Final Exam (Multiple choice) 20%

Quizzes (3) 12%

Attendance: will be recorded each class session.


Exams: All exam times are noted in the syllabus, but may be rescheduled with notice posted on Oncourse 1 week
prior to exam (make sure to check Oncourse announcements at least twice a week).  Make sure to call in (or e-mail)
prior to exam if you are for one reason or other unable to attend. Makeup exams will be essay style instead of multiple
choice, and will only be administered if notification was received prior to exam time. A valid reason has to be provided
and documentation may be required (doctors certification etc.).

Quizzes: Short quizzes on specific topics/readings will be given at irregular intervals. Relevant readings and related
exercises will be announced in class and on Oncourse. Quizzes will be announced in class and on Oncourse one week
in advance. I plan for three quizzes at the moment. Should I decide not to give quizzes, the percentages for the lecture
exams will be increased by 4% each (Midterms 18%, Final 24%).

Attendance: It is in your best interest to attend all class sessions if you want to do well. Attendance is taken every
class session and contributes 7% to the lecture grade. Should I decide to discontinue attendance taking, the 7% for
attendance will be redistributed to lecture exams (Midterms +2%; Final +3%).

Disabilities: A person with any kind of disability should contact the instructor at the beginning of the semester so
that reasonable accommodation can be made.

Academic Dishonesty: Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, collusion, submission
for credit any work or materials that are done by another person, taking an exam for another person, or any act designed
to give unfair advantage to a particular person. Disciplinary action, in accordance with university regulations, may range
from a grade of zero on the dishonest assignment to suspension or expulsion from the university.

Grade Replacement:  Students enrolling in a course with the intention of replacing a previous grade earned in the same
course must declare their intention to do so at the registrars office by Census Date of the semester in which they are