Introduction to Physical GEOLOGY

Introduction to Physical GEOLOGY

RAMSTEIN, Bldg. , Rm.
27 OCT - 17 DEC 2008, MoWe (Sa), 17:00 - 19:45h

Updated 09-Oct-08, 13:20h

LECTURER: Dr. Jiri Brezina
phone/-fax (civilian): 06223-7014/-3421
e-mail: jb(add)
Heidelberger Str. 68, Waldhilsbach
69151 Neckargemünd
business homepage:
GPS: N 49° 22’ 40.3687” = 49.377880205°; E 8° 46’ 08.5719” = 8.769047770°

TEXTBOOK: Physical Geology by Anatole Dolgoff; Houghton Mifflin, 1998.

Geology originated from the primeval economic demands of mankind. Material and energy resources control the past, present, and future of our civilization. Geology can direct man's survival and his activity to modify the environment for future generations. Man's quest for knowledge of planet Earth and its origin may be partially satisfied through the study of geology.

Course objectives. This course provides introductory principles of physical geology on a basic level. This is an excellent course for a non-science student. It specifically covers the Earth's crust material (minerals & rocks), and the processes which have changed the Earth's crust. Lectures will include the showing of minerals and rocks. Reports & discussions of news from related natural, technical and other sciences will also be covered.

The textbook is quite new; it includes the latest results on plate tectonics and planets, particularly on Venus. Every student will obtain a detailed Textbook Guide produced by the instructor (at least 23 typeset pages). The Guide contains a thorough subject description, related supplemental information (Internet links etc.), and a complete listing of examination topics. It is provided as MS WinWORD2003 merge file. To get the document to your PC for opening and printing, please download 2 documents: (1) the main document (2) the data document, and read the (3) instructions how to open & print your Textbook Guide.

Field trips. Two Saturday field trips are scheduled for this course. The meeting sites for both will be McDonalds:

For the Field Trip 1: Am Köhlwäldchen (exit Ramstein West Gate, direction Landstuhl train station "Bahnhof"; near the Shell Station), 66 877 Ramstein - Miesenbach; From the meeting site, we will drive to Pirmasens to study Pfalz (Palatinate Forest), one of the most suitable areas for geological field trips. For example, the red color of the sandstones, similar to those of New York, Arizona, southern Africa etc., reveal the presence of elementary oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere during the sandstone deposition (about 230 mill. y. ago); other features indicate climatic changes during their formation. Hopefully we will have a nice weather.

For the Field Trip 2 Hebel Strasse 4, 69115 Heidelberg (accessible at the southern end of the street "Czerny Ring", in front of the Pizza Hut). From the meeting site, we will drive to the Geological Museum of the University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 234, Berliner Strasse). In Heidelberg, we may visit also the 'Park of Solar System' (planets & Sun) and the Museum of Meteorites (Max-Planck-Institute of Plasmaphysics, Institute of Planetology at Gentner Laboratory) depending on student interest. Field trips provide practice to every student. Your families and friends (geological enthusiasts) are welcome on the field trips.

Attendance policy: Because active class participation depends upon good preparation, students are expected to attend the class prepared, and have written questions which may result from home study. Attendance in class is encouraged; much material is covered during each meeting, and you are responsible for this material whether present or not. Attendance is mandatory for all tests and quizzes.

Grade policy: Two tests, two quizzes and a comprehensive final exam will cover essential ideas as previously discussed and reviewed. They will include multiple choice questions. These are important as an exercise and they allow students to check their own progress. The final exam may be administered individually at a prearranged time and corrected immediately in the presence of the student. This way, every student will get a chance to improve answers in a discussion, and receive the final grade on the last meeting.

Grades are assigned as follows:

> 82.5 % = A
68.5 - 82.5 % = B
54.5 - 82.5 % = C
40.5 - 54.5 % = D
< 40.5 % = F

Final grade is based upon:

Quizzes 1 & 2 = 32%
Tests 1, 2, & final = 68%

Mathematics & Science Department
Geology, Physical Science, Astronomy

Professor Jiri Brezina received his PhD. from Charles University of Prague. His major is in geology with extensions in the fields of hydrodynamics and mathematical statistics. He completed three years of post-doctoral work in mechanical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe. Since then he has served as researcher and consultant to universities and corporations for design of computerized sedimentation analysis systems. In the field of astronomy, specifically planetology, he worked for the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg.

In January 1973, he joined the University of Maryland's European Division as adjunct faculty, in 2002 attained the rank of Professor. In January 2008, he passed the 35 year jubilee: he has taught physical science in about 350 courses with this University. Jiri says now: "I have had the pleasure of meeting more than 7000 students, and I love them all. They deserve my thanks, for they taught me a lot.”

Married and living in Waldhilsbach near Heidelberg, Dr. Brezina finds great personal satisfaction in having the opportunity to present the latest ideas and discoveries in the entire field of natural sciences, technology and ecology.

COUNSELING: As a rule, Dr. Brezina is available in the classroom 30 minutes before each class meeting. Students are welcome to visit him in his Waldhilsbach laboratory, GranoMetry. Phone calls are possible: Mo through Th 9:30 - 13:00h, Fr 9:30 - 15:00h, SaSu: 9:30-18:00h during this term.
Meeting # Date Chapter # READING ASSIGNMENT
1 Mo, 27 Oct 1, 5 Earth Systems & Geologic Changes
Objectives: geology; geological time (27-31); rock definition, origin and classification; changes within the Earth (E. interior, plate tectonics) & at the Earth's surface (direct movement of solids by gravity on hill slopes and elsewhere indirectly through gravitational movement of fluids).
1 Earth Materials
Minerals & matter (141-62): particles of matter, bonding, distribution of elements; mineral is defined by chemical composition & crystal structure (141).
2 We, 29 Oct 5 Polymorphism (149), isomorphism ("solid solution" 160-2). From 4310 minerals approved by IMA, we will learn about 25 most important ones only: rock forming minerals, such as a few silicates, carbonates, and popular minerals, such as diamond & emerald. The most complete text on all known minerals is by Jan H. Bernard & Jaroslav Hyršl, Minerals & their Localities, Granit, Praha, Czech Republic, 808 pages, ISBN 80-7296-039-3
Totally, of the 4310 IMA minerals, there are: 1221 silicates, such as:
  • 23 garnets (much more are synthetic)
  • 23 pyroxenes,
  • 115 amphiboles (a very complex group incl. hornblendes, asbestos etc.)
  • 45 micas (complex too)

232 carbonates
329 sulfates etc..

3 Mo, 3 Nov 5 QUIZ 1 (time limit 30 min). QUIZ 1 Results.
Rock-forming minerals (155-62): main silicates & their classification, carbonates.
4 We, 5 Nov 6 Origin & occurrence of igneous rocks (167-89): crystallization sequence, Bowen's reaction series, 175, 178, Fig. 6.18 (can also be applied to chemical weathering, Fig. 13.18, p. 352-3).
5 We, 10 Nov



TEST 1 (time limit 45 min). Cumulative results.
Origin & classification of major igneous rocks. Volcanism: volcanoes, basalt plateaus, igneous activity & earthquakes (optional).
6 8 Weathering & soils (221, 347-61): types of weathering & soils, soil horizons.
Sediments & sedimentary rocks (219-35)
: their formation by erosion, transportation & deposition of weathered rocks, types & features.
7 Sa, 15 Nov   FIELD TRIP 1 (the date and sites are tentative): Pfalz, Palatinate Forest, Rabenfels (at Lemberg, near Pirmasens), optional Teufelstisch (Devil’s Table). Geological development of the planet Earth; comparison of the Earth's environment during the formation of the red sands 230 million years ago with the environment of Mars marked also by red sands. The red color is due to the highly oxidized iron (mineral hematite). Such an oxidation is possible by a free (elementary) oxygen only. The highly reactive elementary oxygen can not stay over a long time, it reacts with many substances rapidly: it oxidizes them and becomes consumed this way. Oxygen has a very short residence time. It is available on the Earth because it is constantly produced by photosynthesis, its only known process of origin at a low temperature (0°C +/-50°C). It is no more available on Mars. Photosynthesis operated on Mars perhaps a billion years ago and earlier, before some global processes removed the majority of the Mars' atmosphere so that it could not carry water clouds and cause liquid water precipitation and its work (erosion and deposition). Meeting at McDonald's, Am Köhlwäldchen (exit Ramstein West Gate, direction Landstuhl; near the Shell Station), 66 877 Ramstein - Miesenbach See the location of the meeting site on the map at: From there, we'll drive to Pirmasens surroundings - and study geological development of the planet Earth about 200 my ago.
8 Mo, 17 Nov 9 Metamorphic rocks (247-64): metamorphism & major metamorphic rocks. TEST 2 Review for
9 We, 19 Nov 10 TEST 2 (time limit 30 min.)

2 Geologic Time & Changes Within the Earth.
Geologic Time (271-93): relative & absolute, measuring & limitation of each method.
10  Mo, 24 Nov   Absolute time 1 Tree rings, 2 Varves, 3 Radioactive Decay (e.g.. carbon-14, p. 286-7, Fig. 10.14).
11 We, 26 Nov
11, 12

3, 4

2, 12

QUIZ 2 (Geologic Time; time limit 30 min).
Heat, deformation & crust (298-318, 324-41): mountain types, geosynclines.

Earthquakes & the Earth's interior (90-117, 121-37): seismology, earthquake waves, causes, effects, prediction & control; Earth's interior (Sci. Am., June `91, p. 72-81).

Plate tectonics, ocean floor, cratons & orogens (54-84, 324-41): continental drift, sea-floor spreading, subduction, mountain building.

12 Mo, 1 Dec 15





Water streams (393-418): world distribution, hydrologic cycle, stream flow, erosion & depositional effects; cycle of erosion, peneplain.

Underground water (423-49): basic distribution; extremely slow flow due to low porosity & permeability causes water to remain underground for thousands of years (slow natural recharge); wells, springs & geysers; caves, sinkholes, karst topography; subsidence.

Glaciers (453-82): formation & flow, erosional & depositional effects; glaciation theories.

Wind & deserts (487-511): origin & distribution of deserts; erosion & deposition by wind. Coasts & coastal processes (515-39): sea-water, currents (turbidity currents deposit graded turbidities [226-7, 233], & erode submarine canyons [536, Fig. 19.19]); erosional & depositional shorelines; sea-level changes.

13 We, 3 Dec 20




4 Mineral & Energy Resources (optional)
Mineral resources (544-52): metallic & non-metallic deposits. Energy resources (552-62): origin & composition of fossil fuels (solid = coal, fluid = oil & natural gas), water (streams & tidal dams), wind; nuclear (fusion & fission), and geothermal energies. Greatest energy source is the Sun's radiation (stored in fossil fuels, available in stream & wind energies) formed by nuclear fusion; Sun's (together with Moon's) gravitational (tidal) energy is included in geothermal energy (some of the geothermal energy has formed from slight radioactivity [spontaneous fission] of rocks).

5 Solar System (optional)
Planets & other Earth-like bodies such as minor planets (asteroids), planetary moons, comets & meteorites (567-90): formation of the solar system from a gas & dust cloud (nebula); disk-shaped, all planets and most of other bodies orbit counter-clockwise when seen from the north; Earth-like & Jovian planets, Pluto.

14 Sa, 6 Dec FIELD TRIP 2, meeting McDonalds, Hebel Str. 4, Heidelberg, 9:30h (see Field Trips): Heidelberg: Geological Museum, University Heidelberg. Upon wish, we may visit also the 'Park of Solar System' (planets & Sun) and the Museum of Meteorites (Max-Planck-Institute of Plasmaphysics, Institute of Planetology at Gentner Laboratory).
15 Mo, 15 Dec REVIEW FOR FINAL EXAM (as printed under the Final Exam Topics Box Textbook Guide, page 23; see also 4FLUIDS.DOC; (the grade policy).
16 We, 17 Dec FINAL EXAM.