Happy the man whose lot it is to know
The secrets of the earth. He hastens not
To work his fellows' hurt by unjust deeds
But with rapt admiration contemplate
Immortal Nature's ageless harmony,
and how and when her order came to be
Such spirits have no place for thoughts of shame.

- Euripides (484-406 B.C.)

Syllabus: Gey 112 (Fundamentals of Geology), Fall, 2017:
Lecture: 2:00 - 3:15 Tuesday-Thursday, 302 Folsom Hall (The "Rock Lab")
Lab: 3:15 - 4:15 Tuesday-Thursday, in Folsom 302 ("Rock Lab").


Essentials of Geology, by Lutgens, Tarbuck and Tasa (10th edition)
We use older editions to save on textbook costs. Loaned copies of the 10th edition are provided by instructor at no cost. 11th edition is also available used, and reading assignments for 10th and 11th editions are given below.

Lab Text: Lab Manual for Fundamentals of Geology, by K. McCartney
Instructor: Kevin McCartney (office: 217 South Hall; Lab: 302 Folsom Hall)
Office hours: available most mornings after 9:30, in Fols 302, M-Th 1:05 to 1:50)

office phone 768-9482; home phone 492-4766
Skype: mccartnk webpage:

No make-up exams unless a valid excuse is given before the missed test.
Lecture portion of course Lab portion of course grades
Test 1 120 pnts Mineral Quiz 25 pnts A = 90%s (648+ pnts)
Test 2 120 pnts Lab Midterm 50 pnts B = 80%s (576+ pnts)
Test 3 120 pnts Map Quiz 25 pnts C = 70%s (504+ pnts)
Final (cumulative) 150 pnts Map Final 50 pnts F = below 70% 503- pnts)
Total Lecture 510 pnts Total Lab 150 pnts
Proficiency paper 60 pnts Total points 720
A-grade point totals equal Proficiency 4
B & C-grade point totals equal Proficiency 3

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.

If you have a disability and need an accomodation or assistance in this course, please make an appointment to talk with me. If you prefer, you may contact Mary Kate Barbosa, Director of Student Support Services, South Hall, at 768-9613 or by email at

Sample questions:

These are examples of questions asked in previous versions of this course (beginning with point value), with other examples provided after each lecture. Note that questions can be phrased in a variety of ways, and that a detailed answer is often required in order to obtain full credit. A complete answer would need to include most or all of the underlined terms and concepts.

5) How has science determined that the universe is EXPANDING?

8) News Flash! VOLCANO ERUPTS IN IOWA. Little information is yet available, but you as a geology student should be able to describe the volcano, including its shape, size, characteristics and specific rock associated with it.

5) Discuss the composition, structure and occurrence of diamond:


1st question - DOPPLER EFFECT: Analysis of the spectrum of light observed from distant objects shows whether those objects are moving towards or away from us. Examination of the light from other galaxies shows that there is a shift towards the red end of the spectrum, showing that they are moving away from us.

2nd question - Since Iowa is in the middle of a continent, the volcano will be pyroclastic, with a silica-rich magma. The composition of the magma will result in a small volcano with steep sides and light-colored rocks (primarily rhyolite). The volcano will be highly explosive, and tourists should be kept away.

4th question - Diamond is pure carbon (formula C) with the atoms arranged with a tetrahedral pattern so that all bonds are of equal strength (thus giving diamond its exceptional hardness). The mineral is found in kimberlites, which are volcanic structures that bring material from great depths (mantle).

Course Objectives

Proficiency Requirements

Professional Writing

Proficiency assignment

how to access track edits.

Below is a tentative schedule of Physical Geology lectures and labs (L)
(Fall, 2017)

Click lecture for day´s quote, key words and concepts to understand and a sample question.
Assignments should be read before class.
# lab # date day lecture/lab title reading:
10th ed. 11th ed.
Part I - Global context and Geologic environments of rock formation
1-1 8/29 Tu Introduction, What is Geology? 1:1-11 1:1-10
1-2 8/31 Th A short history of universe & solar system 1:19-23 1:20-25
L1 8/29-31 TT Rock-forming mineral identification L1-10 L1-10
1-3 9/5 Tu Early History & Development of the Earth 1:20-25 1:20-25
9/6 W Last day to drop the class
L2 9/5-7 TT Son of Minerals (important ores, review) L1-11 L1-11
1-4 9/7 Th Minerals 2:36-45 2:38-49
1-5 9/12 Tu Igneous Rocks and Volcanism 3:60-70
L3 9/12 Tu Igneous Rocks L13-14 L13-14
1-6 9/14 Th Intrusive Rocks, ores, hotsprings 4:96-102
L3 9/14 Th Minerals Quiz;
proficiency assignment
L13-14 L13-14
1-7 9/19 Tu Sedimentary Rocks; the deposition of strata 6:138-151 6:150-163
L4 9/19-21 TT Sedimentary rocks,
proficiency assignment
L15-16 L15-16
1-8 9/21 Th Metamorphic Rocks; building materials 7:164-177 7:178-191
Part II - Surface environments on the Earth
1-9 9/26 Tu Test I (on material to and including 9/21)
L5 9/26-28 TT Metamorphic Rocks; review of r and m;
proficiency topics discussed, decided by Friday
L17 L17
2-1 9/28 Th Downslope Movement 8:182-196 8:198-212
2-2 10/3 Tu Weathering and production of soils 5:114-133 5:124-141
L6 10/3 Tu Minerals and Rocks, review L15-22 L15-22
2-3 10/5 Th Stream Dynamics and floods 9:198-219 9:216-235
L6 10/5 Th Lab Midterm, Minerals & Rocks L15-22 L15-22
10/10 Tu No class, Fall Break
2-4 10/12 Th Streams from mountain to beach 9:198-219 9:216-235
L7 10/10 Th Introduction to maps
Proficiency assignment first draft submitted
L15-22 L15-22
2-5 10/17 Tu Groundwater 10:224-241 10:240-252
L8 10/17-19 TT Introduction to maps (continued) L15-22 L15-22
2-6 10/19 Th What is (and what is not) science? 1:9-11 1:8-9
2-7 10/24 Tu Glaciers (Erosion) 11:246-267 11:262-280
L9 10/24-26 TT Maps, finish Position to Scale L15-22 L15-22
2-8 10/26 Th Glaciers (Deposition), Wind 11:246-267 11:262-280
10/30 M Last day to withdrawl without penalty
2-9 10/31 Tu Test II (on material to and including 10/26)
L10 10/31-2 TT Continue with Map Scale
Discussion of Hypothesis assignment
L23-36 L23-36
Part III - Larger geology concepts and contexts
3-1 11/2 Th Mountains and Faults 12:276-284
3-2 11/7 Tu Earthquakes
Proficiency assignment submitted by Friday
14:all 14:all
L11 10/7 Tu Review on map basics, plus elevations
Discussion of Hypothesis assignment
L23-36 L23-36
3-3 11/9 Th History of Geology & the
interpretation of strata
L11 10/9 Th Map Quiz L23-36 L23-36
3-4 11/14 Tu Plate tectonics; forces upon the earth 15:344-359 15:362-384
L12 11/14-16 TT Continue elevation and topgraphy
Proficiency Hypothesis submitted
L23-36 L23-36
3-5 11/16 Th Structural Geology (What does a geologist do?) 17:396-403 17:416-424
3-6 11/21 Tu Geology of Oil and Gas 6:156-158 6:169-171
L12 11/21 Tu topography
L23-36 L23-36
11/22 Th T H A N K S G I V I N G !
3-7 11/28 Tu Evolution
L13 11/28-30 TT topography
L23-36 L23-36
3-8 11/30 Th TEST III (On material through 11/28)
4-1 12/5 Tu Evolution of Man, or
Climate Change
Part IV - Human Involvement in the geologic realm
L13 12/5 Tu Map Final Review L23-36 L23-36
4-2 12/7 Th The Future
L13 12/7 Th Map Final Exam L23-36 L23-36
Final Exam: Thursday, December 14, 2017 12:45-2:45.

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



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