GEOL 1011: Introduction to Geoscience

In this non-lab course, students examine the nature of the Earth and its development through time. Topics include the Earth's origins and composition, volcanoes, earthquakes, and the development of the landscape over time by such processes as weathering, mass wasting, rivers, glaciers, wind, and waves.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Identify common rocks and minerals and show an understanding of how they form.
  • Describe the structure and composition of the Earth and the methods used to acquire information about the Earth's crust and interior.
  • Describe the nature of the sea floor and how it changes over time
  • Discuss the theory of plate tectonics and how it can be used to explain the formation and distribution of earthquakes, volcanoes, and mountain belts.
  • Describe how continents grow and change over time.
  • Understand the nature of the geomorphic processes that modify the Earth's landscape.
  • Identify a variety of landforms from diagrams and photographs and discuss their formation.
  • Discuss the interaction of humans and the landscape on which they live and their responses to natural destructive forces such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides.

Course topics

Unit 1: Introduction, Minerals, Igenous Rocks, and Volcanism

Unit 2: Weathering and Soil, Sedimentary and Metamorphic Rocks, and Geological Time

Unit 3: Earth’s Interior, Plate Tectonic, and Earthquakes

Unit 4: Water, Glaciation, and Mass Wasting

Unit 5: Shorelines, Climate Change, and the Geological History of Western Canada

Required text and materials

Students registering for this course will need to source the following on their own:

  1. Earle, S. (2019). Physical geology (2nd ed.). Vancouver, BC: BCcampus. Retrieved from


Please be aware that due to COVID-19 safety guidelines all in-person exams have been suspended. As such, all final exams are currently being delivered through ProctorU, which has an approximate fee of $35 involved. There will be more information in your course shell, on how to apply, if your course has a final exam.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1 12%
Assignment 2 12%
Assignment 3 12%
Assignment 4 12%
Assignment 5 12%
Final Exam (mandatory) 40%
TOTAL 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of your course.

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