Planet Earth

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Description

When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

Planet Earth, an overview of geology, discusses how earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain building, floods, ice ages, evolution, climate, and plate tectonics have interacted over deep time to produce a our dynamic island in space, and its unique landscapes.

About the Course

Earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain building, ice ages, landslides, floods, life evolution, plate motions—all of these phenomena have interacted over the vast expanses of deep time to sculpt the dynamic planet that we live on today. Planet Earth presents an overview of our home, from a geological perspective. We learn how the elements comprising the Earth formed in the guts of stars and supernovae, how Earth and its Solar System…

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When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

Planet Earth, an overview of geology, discusses how earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain building, floods, ice ages, evolution, climate, and plate tectonics have interacted over deep time to produce a our dynamic island in space, and its unique landscapes.

About the Course

Earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain building, ice ages, landslides, floods, life evolution, plate motions—all of these phenomena have interacted over the vast expanses of deep time to sculpt the dynamic planet that we live on today. Planet Earth presents an overview of our home, from a geological perspective. We learn how the elements comprising the Earth formed in the guts of stars and supernovae, how Earth and its Solar System neighbors formed from a vast cloud of gas and dust over 4.5 billion years ago. And how the atmosphere, oceans, and rocks of our planet form and change. We will emphasize how plate tectonics—the grand unifying theory of geology—explains how the map of our planet's surface has changed radically over geologic time, and why as present-day geologic activity—including a variety of devastating natural disasters—occur where they do. We will also discuss the fascinating interactions and exchanges that take place among land, sea, air, and life, and how these interactions they result in the great variety of landscapes—from deserts to glaciers—that make our planet unique, and influence climate change in the past and, potentially the future. Finally, we will delve into the processes that produce the energy and mineral resources that modern society depends on, to help understand the context of the environment and sustainability challenges that we will face in the future.

About the Instructor(s)

Dr. Stephen Marshak is a professor in the Department of Geology, and is the Director of the School of Earth, Society & Environment at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Marshak has participated in geological field research projects across the globe, focused on understanding the origin and evolution of mountain belts. A veteran classroom and field instructor, Dr. Marshak has won College-level and University-level awards for excellence in undergraduate education, and has won the Neil Miner award of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers for his contributions to the stimulation of interest in the Earth Sciences. Dr. Marshak is the author of two best-selling college textbooks in introductory geology (Earth - Portrait of a Planet; and Essentials of Geology) and is the co-author of Laboratory Manual for Introductory Geology; Geotours Workbook; Earth Structure; and Basic Methods of Structural Geology. For this course, he will be assisted by Dr. Eileen Herrstrom, who has been teaching introductory geology in the classroom and on-line at the University of Illinois for many years.

Course Syllabus

PART I: Our Island in Space • And just what is geology? • Cosmology and the birth of Earth • The architecture of our planet • The way the Earth works: Plate tectonics PART II: Earth Materials • Patterns in Nature: Minerals • Up from the Inferno: Magma and igneous rocks • A surface veneer: Sediments and soils • Pages of Earth's past: Sedimentary rocks • A process of change: Metamorphism PART III: Our Dynamic Planet • The wrath of Vulcan: Volcanic eruptions • A violent pulse: Earthquakes • Crags, cracks, and crumples: Forming mountains PART IV: History Before History • Memories of past life: Fossils and evolution • Deep time: How old is old? • A biography of the Earth PART V: Earth Surface, and its Resources • Riches in rock: Energy and mineral resources • Unsafe ground: Landslides and Avalanches • Running water: Streams and floods • Restless realm: Oceans and coasts • A hidden reserve: Groundwater • Dry regions: Deserts and arid realms • Amazing ice: Glaciers and ice ages • Global change in the Earth System

Recommended Background

None

Suggested Readings

Marshak, S., 2013, Essentials of Geology (Fourth Edition), W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 550 p.; available either in print or electronic form (Mac, PC, or iPad formats).

Course Format

The class consists of 4 lecture videos per week, each 30 minutes long, integrated with quizzes, readings, and optional homework, discussion and reflection assignments. Students will also be able to take virtual field trips to spectacular geologic sites using Google Earth™.

FAQ

  • Will I get a certificate after completing this class?

    Participants who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate of completion from the School of Earth, Society and Environment.

  • What resources will I need for this class?

    Students will need access to a high-speed internet connection, and an up-to-date browser. You will also need to download Google Earth, and have a version of the textbook available.

  • What is the coolest thing I'll learn if I take this class?

    A dinosaur could have walked from New York to Paris, without ever getting its feet wet.

Provided by:

University: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Instructor(s): Stephen Marshak

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