27 OCT - 17 DEC 2008, MoWe(Sa), 20:00 - 22:00h


Physical Geology Laboratory

Credit: 1 credit hr
Text: Exercises in Physical Geology by Hamblin & Howard, Prentice Hall, 12th edition 2005, 304 pages
Instructor: Dr. Jiri Brezina
His Email:
His Phone: 06223-7014

Professor Jiri Brezina received his Ph.D. 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.


The purpose of the lab is to complement the material presented in the lecture part of the class, and the lecture is a pre-requisite or co-requisite for the lab. The lab provides the student with an opportunity to apply the principles discussed in the lecture part of the class.

It is particularly important to be present for lab, as missed labs are especially difficult to make up. The first several labs involve mineral and rock specimens, which may not be accessible outside of the scheduled lab meetings. Special arrangements can be made for making up other topics.

The nature of the lab is such that students are encouraged to work in pairs or in groups if they choose, except for tests. Tests are strictly individual projects. Academic dishonesty on any quiz will earn a grade of F(a) for the lab.


The final grade in the lab is a letter grade based on the percentage of possible points earned during the term. Letter grades are assigned as follows:

Letter grades % of total possible points 
A 90-100 %
B 80-89 %
C 70-79 %
D 60-69 %
F(a) 59% or fewer
F(n) failure for non-attendance
W withdrawal
I incomplete*)

*) A grade of I will be assigned for the lab only under exceptional circumstances and with prior approval of the instructor. Any student who feels that there is a high probability of not completing this course for any reason should seriously consider withdrawing. A grade of I must be removed within 3 months, otherwise it becomes a permanent grade, and no credit is earned for the course.

The final grade is an average of the quiz grades, one in-lab project and homework assignments, weighted as follows:

Quizzes 75 %
Homework 25 %

Quizzes that deal with mineral & rock identification are essentially open book tests where a student may use any resources except fellow students. Quizzes that deal with other topics will consist of a few short answer questions along the lines of those answered during the lab, but these are closed-book tests, and no notes or other resources may be used for these. 

Week# Chapters Topics

2 meetings free due to 2 Saturday Field Trips (see the GEOL-100 schedule)

1 1, 2 Minerals, crystal growth, mineral identification, 
3, 4
Igneous, Sedimentary Rocks (1)
Quiz 1 (material from meeting 1)
3 4, 5 Sedimentary (2), Metamorphic Rocks
6, 16
Geologic Time,
Structural Geology
Quiz 2 (material from meetings 2 + 3)
5 16, 7
9, 11
Structural Geology, Introduction to Maps
Stream Erosion and Deposition, Groundwater
Quiz 3 (material from meetings 4 + 5)
6 12, 13, 15 Climate: Glaciers and Deserts
Planetary Geology
Quiz 4 (material from meetings 6 + 7)