Course Number and Title: GEO 205 Geology and the Environment
This course examines interrelationships between humans and the physical environment. Topics covered include geologic factors in land use planning, hydrology, geologic hazards, waste disposal and pollution, contaminant transport, conservation of earth’s natural resources, climate, energy and geologic resource development, population dynamics, risk, and related current issues in environmental geosciences.
- Identify the major issues associated with geology as they relate to engineering and environmental science. (CCC 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; PGC EET 1, 3, 5)
- Explain how the earth’s internal and external systems are interrelated and both have major impacts on the human population. (CCC 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; PGC EET 1, 3, 4, 5, 6)
- Interpret the basic internal structure of minerals in terms of atomic particles and chemical bonding. (CCC 1, 5, 6; PGC EET 1, 3)
- Explain volcanism in the context of plate tectonics. (CCC 1, 2, 5, 6; PGC EET 1, 3)
- Interpret sedimentary rocks in the context of the geologic cycle. (CCC 1, 2, 5, 6; PGC EET 1, 3)
- Explain how the formation of metamorphic rocks differs from the formation of sedimentary and igneous rocks. (CCC 1, 2, 5, 6; PGC EET 1, 3)
- Separate earth materials into their components, and recognize the phase relationships in rocks and soils. (CCC 1, 2, 5, 6; PGC EET 1, 3)
- Explain and demonstrate how structural measurements are made and how they are used to map and interpret the distribution of rocks and structures. (CCC 1, 2, 5, 6; PGC EET 1, 3)
- Define and discuss weathering and its effects on the properties of rock masses and the resulting engineering implications. (CCC 1, 2, 5, 6; PGC EET 1, 3)
- Explain the mechanical response of soils to load, and explain how properties of soils relate to type and condition of soil, strength, and the compressibility of the soil. (CCC 1, 2, 5, 6; PGC EET 1, 3)
- Discuss ways to avoid and/or control groundwater problems. (CCC 1, 2, 4, 5, 6; PGC EET 1, 3)
- Discuss the relationship between humans and environmental contamination. (CCC 1, 2, 4, 5, 6; PGC EET 1, 3)
- Describe the criteria used to recognize unstable or potentially unstable slopes. (CCC 1, 2, 5, 6; PGC EET 1, 3)
- Discuss river basin hydrology and morphology. (CCC 1, 2, 5, 6; PGC EET 1, 3)
- Describe the uses and problems of major types of coastal engineering structures. (CCC 1, 2, 5, 6; PGC EET 1, 3)
See Core Curriculum Competencies and Program Graduate Competencies at the end of the syllabus. CCPOs are linked to every competency they develop.
Upon completion of this course, the student will:
- Identify the major issues associated with geology as they relate to engineering and environmental science.
- Discuss exponential growth and the implications of this growth for the human population.
- Describe the Hubert Peak in world oil production and its effect on society.
- Describe the advantages and disadvantages of alternatives for petroleum as energy resources.
- Identify the steps needed to reach a condition of sustainable water resources.
- Explain why there is concern about climate change.
- Discuss some of the uncertainties of possible outcomes in climate change scenarios.
- Explain the relationships between geology and engineering.
- Identify the branches of engineering that use geology in their practice.
- Recognize the relationship between the magnitude and frequency of geologic events.
- Explain how the earth’s internal and external systems are interrelated and how both have major impacts on the human population.
- Distinguish the relationship between the earth and the other planets in the solar system.
- Discuss the most important evolutionary events in the history of the earth and solar system.
- State the importance of the earth’s heat flow, gravitational field, and magnetic field.
- Relate the earth’s heat flow to surface processes and large-scale landforms.
- Explain the relationship between crustal density and elevation.
- Discuss how the earth’s magnetic field was used to develop the theory of sea-floor spreading.
- Give an overview of the theory of plate tectonics, and describe each type of plate boundary.
- Describe how unequal heating of the earth by the sun results in circulation of the atmosphere.
- Describe how the oceanic circulation is divided into its various components and how oceanic circulation is related to climate and climate change.
- Apply the concept of geologic time and the methods used for its measurement.
- Interpret the basic internal structure of minerals in terms of atomic particles and chemical bonding.
- Examine mineral crystals and point out that crystals are not abundant in the rocks in which common minerals are observed in the field.
- Perform basic tests to determine physical properties of minerals and to identify minerals based upon these properties.
- Classify minerals into their major chemical groups, and develop an understanding for the occurrence of these minerals.
- Discuss the concept of ores, and differentiate between abundant minerals and geochemically scarce minerals.
- Give examples of hazards associated with the use of specific minerals.
- Explain volcanism in the context of plate tectonics.
- Identify the types of volcanic eruptive products and landforms.
- Make general interpretations of the geologic history of an area based upon the type and distribution of volcanic rocks present.
- Describe the major types of hazardous processes associated with volcanoes.
- Give examples of specific volcanoes where each type has occurred in history.
- Identify the types of plutons, and outline the chemical and mineralogical changes that take place during the slow crystallization of a magma.
- Identify texture, color, and mineral composition of igneous rocks, and classify igneous rocks based upon these properties.
- Describe the basic engineering aspects of igneous rocks and igneous rock terrains.
- Discuss the environmental implications of volcanic eruptions and the associated hazardous processes.
- Discuss the effects of recent eruptions around the world.
- Interpret sedimentary rocks in the context of the geologic cycle.
- Discuss the general processes that are involved in the conversion of sediments similar to those observed in modern environments to sedimentary rocks.
- Identify and classify sedimentary rocks and review depositional environments and their role in shaping the distribution and properties of sedimentary rocks.
- Discuss the importance of sedimentary rocks as sources for energy resources, and describe the geologic settings in which these resources occur.
- Describe the formation of petroleum.
- Discuss the factors that influence engineering properties in sedimentary-rock terrains.
- Differentiate the properties developed during deposition from those attained during lithification.
- Describe environmental problems associated with sedimentary rocks.
- Discuss how the properties of sedimentary rocks can influence their performance as waste repositories.
- Explain how the formation of metamorphic rocks differs from the formation of sedimentary and igneous rocks.
- Outline the effects of heat and pressure, and discuss the formation of new mineral assemblages under the prevailing conditions of metamorphism.
- Discuss the changes in mineral assemblages and rock types that are found with distance from the center of metamorphic activity.
- Identify and classify important types of metamorphic rocks by their textures, foliation, cleavage, and mineral composition.
- Explain the effects of foliation on engineering structures.
- Give specific examples of how the properties of metamorphic rocks were important in the design, construction, or performance of a large dam, tunnel, or other structure.
- Separate earth materials into their components and recognize the phase relationships in rocks and soils.
- Discuss earth materials as mechanical systems.
- Give examples of simple mechanical models that illustrate ideal mechanical behavior.
- Discuss the relationships between stress, strain, and strength, and explain how these quantities are tested and evaluated.
- Solve problems involving stress orientation and principal planes using Mohr’s circle.
- Explain the effects of confining pressure, heat, and rate of deformation upon the mechanical behavior of rock.
- Distinguish between intact rock and rock masses.
- Classify intact rock, and explain some of the geologic factors that determine a rock’s engineering classification.
- Discuss implications of engineering in large rock masses.
- Explain how discontinuities and other factors lead to the heterogeneity of engineering properties in a rock mass.
- Explain and demonstrate how structural measurements are made and how they are used to map and interpret the distribution of rocks and structures.
- Identify the parts and the types of folds.
- Recognize and interpret folds and fractures on geologic maps.
- Distinguish between joints and faults.
- Classify the types of faults and type of movement that is associated with each.
- Explain the occurrence of earthquakes using the elastic rebound theory.
- Discuss how earthquakes are detected, and differentiate between magnitude and intensity.
- Describe the types of seismic waves and their mode of travel through the earth.
- Explain how earthquake epicenters are located.
- List and briefly describe the categories of earthquake hazards.
- Describe the geologic factors that influence ground motion.
- Discuss what types of information are necessary to institute effective land-use planning in seismically active areas.
- Describe some specific types of planning and zoning techniques that are useful in hazard reduction.
- Explain how and why building construction influences damage during an earthquake.
- Give examples of structures other than buildings that cause great problems if failure or excessive damage takes place during an earthquake.
- Identify the physical, chemical, and biological phenomena that are under investigation as earthquake predictors.
- Define and discuss weathering, its effects on the properties of rock masses, and the resulting engineering implications.
- List and discuss the types of mechanical weathering.
- Explain the underlying causes for chemical weathering reactions, describe the types of reactions, and give specific examples of each type.
- Explain why minerals differ in their rates and susceptibility to chemical weathering processes.
- Place representative minerals in a series reflecting their stability in weathering environments.
- Identify the type of surface features produced by water erosion.
- Discuss the factors that influence the severity of erosion and the engineering measures used to minimize erosion during construction and development.
- Explain the processes of wind erosion and contrast these to erosion and transport of sediment by water.
- List and describe agricultural practices used for control of wind erosion.
- 10. Explain the mechanical response of soils to load, and explain how properties of soils relate to type and condition of soil, strength, and the compressibility of the soil.
- Discuss and give an example of the effect of each of the five soil-forming factors on soil development.
- Explain the broad classification of soils into pedalfers and pedocals, and the more complicated pedogenic classification used by soil scientists.
- Summarize the biochemical processes involved in soil genesis.
- List and describe the properties of the major soil horizons.
- Describe the index properties that are used for classification of soils
- Analyze a soil sample to show an understanding of weight-volume and mass-volume relationships.
- Calculate unit weight and density of soil
- Identify shapes and sizes of particles to help determine soil types.
- Discuss the properties of clay minerals that explain their behavior and importance in soils.
- Explain the relationship of clay and water and the chemical composition of clays.
- Explain how indexing properties of soils relate to type and condition of soil, strength, and the compressibility of the soil.
- Calculate the relative density of a soil.
- Classify soils using the United Soil Classification System and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) System.
- Determine the plasticity index and the liquid limit of a soil sample.
- Explain the mechanical response of soils to load.
- Discuss the difference between settlement and consolidation.
- Describe the various methods of obtaining soil samples from the field.
- Describe the effects of water on soils.
- Describe the common drainage and dewatering techniques used.
- Describe how drainage is applied in construction, including the use of foundation drains, blanket drains, interceptor drains, filters, synthetic fabrics, land drainage, and soil percolation.
- Define frost heave in soils.
- Explain the causes and effects of swelling, hydrocompaction, and liquefaction.
- Classify the types of subsidence, and discuss the causes of each.
- Discuss ways to avoid and/or control groundwater problems.
- Illustrate groundwater flow using Darcy’s law, and apply this principle to field situations.
- Illustrate the meaning and relationships of the concepts of unsaturated zone, capillary zone, water table, and saturated zone.
- Discuss how a flow net depicts a groundwater-flow system.
- Discuss how groundwater fits into the hydrologic cycle.
- Identify aquifer types, and explain the hydraulic effects of pumping confined and unconfined aquifers.
- Discuss the application of the effective stress equation to the production of water from a confined aquifer.
- Calculate drawdowns given various aquifer and pumping parameters.
- Summarize the geologic setting of various types of aquifers, including karst systems.
- Discuss natural substances in groundwater.
- Use graphical displays to illustrate groundwater quality.
- Discuss how groundwater quality can change from its recharge area to its discharge area.
- Give examples of construction problems associated with groundwater flow.
- Discuss the relationship between humans and environmental contamination.
- Classify human activities that can lead to subsurface contamination.
- Identify contaminant sites in the local area.
- Describe the major impacts of important environmental regulations, discussing the part of the environment addressed by each one.
- Describe the regulatory structure in Delaware.
- Distinguish between aqueous and nonaqueous contaminants.
- Describe how contaminants move in the subsurface, and differentiate between the vadose and saturated zones.
- Describe important chemicals or chemical groups, and associate these with their physical and chemical properties and their fate in the subsurface.
- Identify risk assessment as applied to geology and the environment.
- Summarize the major remedial strategies for various types of contaminants.
- Explain and give examples of how the chemical properties of individual contaminants can influence the remedial method chosen.
- Describe the criteria that can be used to recognize unstable or potentially unstable slopes.
- Be able to classify a slope using the Transportation Research Board slope movement classification system.
- Explain the criteria used to construct the Transportation Research Board slope movement classification system, and give specific examples of movements from various categories.
- Discuss the concept of the safety factor.
- Explain the geological and geotechnical factors that control the safety factor in soil and rock slopes.
- Describe the influence of groundwater in slope movements in terms of the principle of effective stress.
- Describe the criteria that can be used to recognize unstable or potentially unstable slopes.
- Give an example of a quantitative method for calculating the safety factor, and explain its limitations.
- Suggest possible qualitative approaches for slope stability analysis in other geologic situations.
- Discuss some remedial measures for slope stabilization.
- Discuss river basin hydrology and morphology.
- Discuss the parameters used to quantitatively measure drainage basin properties and how these parameters are mathematically related.
- Draw and discuss common drainage patterns, and explain the geologic situations in which they occur.
- Explain the terms of a basic hydrologic budget.
- Discuss the processes involved in geomorphic evolution of drainage basins.
- Discuss the use of the Reynolds and Froude numbers in the classification of flow types.
- Describe the application of the basic uniform flow equations.
- Illustrate the process of sediment entrainment.
- Describe the processes of sediment transport in streams.
- Compare and contrast the conditions controlling braided and meandering streams, the channel processes, and the deposits and landforms associated with each type of system.
- Discuss the geologic and geomorphic properties of alluvial fans and deltas.
- Explain the concept of stream equilibrium.
- Discuss the natural and human causes of disequilibrium and some representative effects of each.
- Explain how channel modification projects could minimize the undesirable system adjustments in the stream network.
- Explain the methods used to measure and compare floods.
- Summarize how recurrence interval is calculated and what its relationship is to flood magnitude.
- Discuss the pros and cons of the structural and nonstructural approaches to flood control.
- Describe the uses and problems of major types of coastal engineering structures.
- Explain circulation of the oceans and the sediments that are deposited in ocean basins distant from continental margins.
- Describe the topographic divisions of the continental margins.
- Discuss the generation, characteristics of movement, and depositional processes of turbidity currents.
- Explain how waves are generated in the open ocean and how they change as they move from their source area to the shoreline.
- Relate the changes taking place as waves enter shallow water to the processes of breaking and refraction.
- Explain how wave refraction modifies the configuration of the shoreline.
- Explain the causes for tides and their variation.
- Classify coasts according to their morphology, and summarize the major erosional and depositional features.
- Draw a cross section of a beach, and discuss the individual sectors of the profile.
- Discuss the seasonal changes in beach morphology.
- Classify the types of coastal hazards, and compare the occurrence of these processes to other hazardous geologic events.
- Explain why understanding coastal processes should be integrated with coastal development.
Students must demonstrate proficiency on all CCPOs at a minimal 75 percent level to successfully complete the course. The grade will be determined using the Delaware Tech grading system:
Students should refer to the Student Handbook for information on the Academic Standing Policy, the Academic Integrity Policy, Student Rights and Responsibilities, and other policies relevant to their academic progress.
Calculated using the following weighted average
Summative: Exams (2)
Summative: Final project (paper and presentation)
Formative: Assignments (Quizzes, Readings, Journals, Participation, etc.) (weighted equally)
- Apply clear and effective communication skills.
- Use critical thinking to solve problems.
- Collaborate to achieve a common goal.
- Demonstrate professional and ethical conduct.
- Use information literacy for effective vocational and/or academic research.
- Apply quantitative reasoning and/or scientific inquiry to solve practical problems.
- Apply the knowledge, techniques, skills, and applicable tools of the discipline to engineering activities, including but not limited to site development, hydraulics and hydrology, grading, water and wastewater treatment, pollution prevention and treatment, and sustainable design.
- Conduct standardized field and laboratory testing.
- Demonstrate a commitment to quality, timeliness, professional development, and continuous improvement.
- Use graphic techniques and productivity software to produce technical documents.
- Explain the major aspects of the normal ecology of the planet and risks associated with polluting the environment.
- Apply current federal, state and local environmental and safety regulations and industry best management practices.
The College is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. Students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with the campus Disabilities Support Counselor to request an accommodation needed due to a disability. A listing of campus Disabilities Support Counselors and contact information can be found at the disabilities services web page or visit the campus Advising Center.