Introduction to Physical Geology Lab - 1st year

Study of rocks and minerals, interpretation of topographic and geologic maps, and exercises in the basic procedures of geologic investigations.


By the end of the course, students will be able to:

1. Design and execute a simple scientific experiment to test a hypothesis, and gather relevant scientific data, with the objective of analyzing this data and drawing the necessary conclusions from it;

2. Make topographic drawings and carry out experiment as listed in the practical textbook;

3. Identify and explain the chemical composition of the various minerals that exist on earth and how they are formed into different rock types;

4. Demonstrate and explain the concept of weathering and rock formation in its various forms – including sedimentary rocks and metamorphic rocks;

5. Measure grain sizes;

6. Explain the Earth’s core, volcanism, pyroclastic flow, magmas and igneous rock formation through experimental models;

7. Through models, use a functional approach to the understanding of ecology and the adaptations man has produced on Earth – including our effects on global warming and weather patterns.


Course topics will include the following:

1. Geological perspectives of a global system

2. Uses and identification of mineral properties

3. Rocks and the rock cycles

4. Igneous rocks and volcanic hazards

5. Processes forming sedimentary rocks

6. Processes forming metamorphic rocks

7. Dating of rocks, especially fossils

8. Topographic maps and aerial photographs

9. Geological structures

10. Stream processes, especially groundwater

11. Glacial processes

12. Earthquake activities

13. Substance geology

Method of Instruction:

1. Lab Experiments

Types of Assignments:

1. Lab Text Reading

2. Lab Activities

Sample Text:

1. Busch, Richard M. and Dennis Tasa. Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology. 6th ed. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc., 2003.