- The physical, chemical and biological “spheres” of planet Earth have interacted over time to induce change, or to respond to change. Geology is unique among the sciences in that there is a preserved and interpretable record of “deep time” that can be studied directly from geological materials (rocks, minerals, water, air and so on).
- Earth is a dynamic system that is ever changing, including at this very moment. Look out the window, the weather changes day-to-day, seasons come and go, the day/night cycle, etc. are all in interplay.
- Major steps in the biogeochemical history of life and its continual evolution occurred in no small part because of changes in the planet itself. “Evolution” is simply change over time of a system (whether biological, chemical or societal, or whatever). The concept of biological evolution is central to understanding the history of the Earth, its rock record and how it reached its present form.
In this three-credit lecture course, we explore how the physical aspects of the Earth (its oceans, crust, environments, atmosphere, and the climate) have changed over time due to the origin and evolution of life. We will use observations from the rock and fossil record, along with insights and comparisons to modern Earth processes, to analyze the pattern and explore the causes of those changes over billions of years. Because thinking about deep time and historical sciences are outside of our everyday experiences, we will learn about the history of deep time.