From the high plains west of the Mississippi River, across the Rockies, Canyonlands, and Great Basin, to the Sierra Nevada, the striking natural landscapes of western North America result from the interactions of varied geologic processes through geologic time. This course will first survey the fundamental geologic dynamics that shape the earth’s surface and review major stages in the evolution of the earth’s crust and oceans. We will then turn to the particular expression of those processes in the American west, with special attention given to our national parks. Readings from the reports of the first geologists to survey the western lands will be included, as will the art and literature of explorers and early travelers who interpreted the western landscape for easterners of the day. Four class hours per week.
No previous knowledge of geology is assumed. Not open to those who have taken GEOL 111. Spring semester. Professor Harms.