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Instructor: Dr Oladapo Akinlotan

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An introduction to the internal structure of the earth and to the dynamic processes which have shaped the earth's surface. An integrated study of global tectonics and continental movement, rock genesis, mountain building, glaciation and geological time. Laboratories give an overview of the earth scientist's toolbox including rock and mineral identification, geochronology, geomorphology and structural geology. Field trip to local exposures may be offered.

Available in Winter 2020, Winter 2021

The Dynamic Earth is an introductory course in physical geology and the natural environment.  If you’ve found yourself wondering about the rock type that you live on, or about the minerals that you use in daily life, this course will answer those questions, as well as kindle your curiosity to learn more about their origin.  The course covers a wide array of topics, from the origin of our earth, to the formation of common minerals, the main rock types, as well as the processes that form features seen on the earth’s surface and subsurface, such as soils, rivers, glaciers, the water cycle and groundwater.  Climate change, its causes, and current trends will be discussed, as well as renewable and non-renewable energy sources.  Lab classes on mineral and rock identification, as well as two field trips will provide experiential learning for this course.

Textbook: Essentials of Geology by Stephen Marshak, 5th edition. Publisher W.W. Norton and Co. ISBN : 9780393263398


Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify and classify a set of common minerals and rock-types.
  • Get a basic understanding of geologic time.
  • Explain the internal as well as external dynamic processes of the Earth.

Obtain an overview of the climate cycle.


Experiential learning opportunities

Cuckmere Haven, East Sussex: This field study will examine surficial processes of the Cuckmere River such as meanders, ox-bow lake, floodplain; the development of saline marshes near the river estuary, a soil profile, coastal processes that form a shingle beach, and the Cretaceous-age sedimentary rock Chalk, that forms the famous Seven Sisters Cliffs of this area.

Natural History Museum, London: The geology wing of the museum (Red Zone) contains displays on various aspects of physical geology.



Rocks and Minerals Labs (x 5)

Field study report/assignment ( x 2)

Mid-term test

Final exam

Attendance & Participation 

Bader International Study Centre
Herstmonceux Castle
Hailsham, East Sussex
United Kingdom, BN27 1RN
Phone: +44 1323 834444
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Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment
Gordon Hall, 74 Union Street
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
Canada, K7L 3N6
Phone: (613) 533-2218
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