The earth is a vast cemetary where the rocks are the tombstones
on which the buried dead have written their own epitaphs

- Louis Agassiz

Race after race resigned their fleeting breath
The rocks alone their curious annals save.

- T. A. Conrad

Syllabus: Gey 114 (Historical Geology - History of Life), Spring, 2013:
Lecture: MWF, 11:00-11:50 Folsom 302

Text: Historical Geology: Reed Wicander and James Monroe (6th ed.)

5th edition can be used, as it is very similar and less expensive.
Instructor: Kevin McCartney (office: 302 Folsum, hours: most MWF 1:00-2:00 and many other times)
office phone 768-9482; home phone 492-4766
web page:

No make-up exams unless a valid excuse is given before the missed test.
Tests and Quizes grades
Quiz 1 and 2 (geologic time scale) 25 pnts A = 90% (504 pnts)
Test 1 125 B = 80% (448 pnts)
Test 2 125 pnts C = 70% (392 pnts)
Test 3 125 pnts D = 60% (336 pnts)
Final (cumulative) 160 pnts F = below 60% (360 pnts)
Total Lecture 560 pnts 560 pnts total

A steady improvement in test scores may be used in revising grade upwards. Otherwise, grades will not be curved. Attendance can be taken into account in the case of borderline grades.

Course Objectives

Below is a tentative schedule of Historical Geology lectures
(Spring, 2013)

Click lecture for day´s quote
Assignments need to be read before class.
# date lecture title reading:
5th Ed.
6th Ed.
1-1 1/23 Introduction, What is Historical Geology? ch. 1:2-13 1:2-5, 13-15
1-2 1/25 Our changing view of time 4:61-67 4:66-72
1-3 1/28 Relative - Geologic time scale 4:78-85 4:67, 5;98-100
1-4 1/30 Relative - Geologic time scale 4:78-85 4:67, 5;98-100
1/30 Last day to Drop a class
1-5 2/1 Absolute time and radioactivity 4:57-69 4:72-75
1-6 2/4 Radioactive and other dating methods 4:68-74 4:75-80
1-7 2/6 Radioactive and other dating methods 4:68-74 4:75-80
1-8 2/8 Inventorying the organic world - biological taxonomy B:??-?? B:422-426
1-9 2/11 The Animal Phyla B:??-?? B:422-426
1-10 2/13 The Animal Phyla B:??-?? B:422-426
1-11 2/15 Evolution 7:123-134 7:132-150
2/16 Planet Head Day! click for video
February 18 - 22 V A C A T I O N
1-12 2/25 Rates of Evolution, Changes in Diversity 7:123-134 7:132-150
1-13 2/27 Rates of Evolution, Changes in Diversity 7:123-134 7:132-150
3/1 TEST 1
2-1 3/4 Very Early History of Earth 8:157-163
2-2 3/6 Early History of Earth, PreCambrian 8:157-163
2-3 3/8 Precambrian Life and Atmosphere 8:157-163
2-4 3/11 Ecology and trophic levels
2-5 3/13 Fossils
2-6 3/15 FLagarstatten
2-7 3/18 Early Paleozoic, Cambrian explosion 12:232-242 9:189-191, 12:241-252
2-8 3/20 Early Paleozoic, Ordovician - Devonian 12:241-245
2-9 3/22 Later Paleozoic invertebrates, reefs 12:241-245
3/26 Trip to Geological Society of Maine meeting, University of Maine
2-10 3/25 Paleozoic plants and vertebrates, extinction 12:241-245
2-11 3/27 Paleozoic plants and vertebrates, extinction 12:241-245
3/29 TEST 2
4/1 Last day to withdrawl without penalty
April 1 - 5 - Spring
Is it Spring yet?
3-1 4/8 Mesozoic animals in ocean 15:296-299 15:304-307
4/10 Trip to Geological Society of Maine meeting, Farmington
3-3 4/12 Mesozoic land, and plants 15:300-310 15:308-322
3-4 4/15 Dinosaurs 15:300-310 15:310-315
3-5 4/17 Dinosaurs 15:300-310 15:310-315
3-6 4/19 K/T extinctions 15:316-317 15:323-324
3-7 4/22 Processes of Climatic Change 17:348-368 17:360-373
3-8 4/24 Processes of Climatic Change 17:348-368 17:360-373
3-9 4/26 Ice Ages 17:348-368 17:360-373
3-10 4/29 Cenozoic Life 16:322-344 18:377-398
3-11 5/1 Cenozoic Life 16:322-344 18:377-398
5/3 TEST 3
4-1 5/6 Man 19:398-409 19:401-413
4-2 5/8 Man 19:398-409 19:401-413
4-3 5/10 Man and Nature E:? E:415-420
Final Exam: Wednesday, May 15, 10:15-12:15

University of Maine at Presque Isle
Statement of Commitment

As a member of the university, I pledge to
Pursue academic excellence,
Support open inquiry and civil expression,
Listen respectfully to the viewpoints of others,
Participate responsibly in the life of the community,
Conserve and enhance the beauty of the campus, and
Help members of the university realize their potential.

Return to Kevin McCartney's Homepage



  • Be on time to class.
  • Do not leave during the class period unless there is an emergency.
  • Refrain from unnecessary conversation with your neighbors during class.
  • Place all waste in the appropriate waste containers.
  • Do not mark or cut desk, table, or bench tops.

The University of Maine at Presque Isle provides reasonable accommodations upon request to qualified individuals with documented disabilities. Students with documented disabilities have a right to ask for accommodations and are encouraged to talk directly with the responsible faculty member, supervisor or other staff person to explore possible accommodations. For assistance with accommodations or academic support services, contact Mary Kate Barbosa, Director of Student Support Services, South Hall, at 768-9613 or by email at . A copy of the accommodations request form can be found at .


  • Attendance of all scheduled class meetings is a requirement of the course and the student is both responsible and accountable for the information presented and the activities carried out during the class period in accordance with the schedule published in the syllabus for the course.

  • Tests not taken when scheduled and assignments not done and handed in as scheduled will receive a score of zero points unless the student has obtained the instructor's permission to make the test or assignment up or to hand the assignment in late. In such cases the instructor will establish a new schedule for completion which must be met. Permission to make up a test or assignment or to hand an assignment in late will only be considered for documented cases of illness, accident, or written notification of an authorized absence or leave from the university.


The academic community of the University of Maine at Presque Isle recognizes that adherence to high principles of academic integrity is vital to the academic function of the University. Academic integrity is based upon honesty. All students of the University are expected to be honest in their academic endeavors. All academic work should be performed in a manner which will provide an honest reflection of the knowledge and abilities of each student. Any breach of academic honesty should be regarded as a serious offense by all members of the academic community. All students should refer to the policy of the University pertaining to academic honesty published in the current issue of the University of Maine at Presque Isle Student Handbook. Violations of academic honesty include:

  • Receiving or giving aid on examinations.
  • The use of any form of notes or reference material not specifically authorized for use on an exam by the instructor.
  • Any form of plagiarism or dry labbing (making up data) on assignments or exercises.

    If the instructor has reasonable cause to believe that the policies of academic honesty have been violated he will discuss the matter with the individual or individuals involved and, depending on the nature and gravity of the violation, assign the individual or individuals involved a grade of F (zero points) for the violated work or require that the individual or individuals withdraw from the course with a grade of F.

    The University guarantees specific rights to students and there is an Academic Appeals procedure for a student with a grievance concerning alleged violations of the explicitly stated and/or published policies regarding a particular course. Refer to Academic Appeal under the Academic Policies section of the current University Catalog as well as The Student's Bill of Rights and Student Grievances under Section 2 of the current Student Handbook.

    UMPI Writing Center

    Located on the first floor of South Hall, the writing center offers one-on-one consultations for writers at all levels of course work, at all stages of the writing process. Call 768-9615 or stop by to set up an appointment.