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The 4.55 billion year story of Earth is a story of constant renewal and interaction among tectonics, rocks, water, plants, animals, soil and air. The Dynamic Earth System teaches you how to read this story present in both the rock record and Earth's modern natural environment.
2021 Covid-19 Update: Please refer to the course page on AKO | Learn for all information about your course, including lectures, labs, tutorials, field trips and assessments.The 4.55 billion year story of Earth has a single unifying theme: change. Entire continents have come and gone and more than 99.9% of Earth’s life forms are now extinct. You can even find marine fossils on the top of Mount Everest, and whole oceans have disappeared as continents have collided in prolonged periods of mountain building. The story of Earth is a story of constant renewal and interaction among tectonics, rocks, water, plants, animals, soil and air. The Dynamic Earth System teaches you how to read this story present in both the rock record and Earth’s modern natural environment.
Goal of the CourseTo introduce students to concepts of earth System Science as they relate to the Earth through geological historyLearning OutcomesStudents completing The Dynamic Earth System will be able to:1) Explain fundamental geological concepts and terms.2) Observe, describe and identify major fossil groups and chemical systems and their interactions3) Interpret Earth processes and events using scientific observations, knowledge and reasoning.4) Discover and explain how Earth works as a system of interacting components across geological timescales.5) Understand geological processes and resources relevant to society.6) Identify and solve common geological problems by synthesizing multiple independent observations7) Identify, evaluate and reflect on potential career paths and professional opportunities in earth science.Summary of the Course ContentThe topics coved by this course are:Chemical Reactions that Drive the Earth SystemOrigin of Universe, Solar System, Earth, Moon, Oceans and LifeEvolution of Early LifeCauses and Casualties of Mass ExtinctionsHow plants changed the atmosphere and the evolution of dinosaurs, birds and mammalsEvolution of New Zealand’s biotaTectonic, topographic, climatic and biologic evolution of EarthHuman Evolution and the Great Human MigrationSoils, Nutrients and Feeding the PlanetWater Cycle and Sustainable Water Resource UtilisationApplications of Earth System Science to Modern Science Challenges
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
Employable, innovative and enterprising
Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.
Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.
TimetableLectures: 3 one-hour lectures per week: schedule to be advised by Centralised TimetablingLaboratories and tutorials:1 lab (2.5 hours duration) or 1 lab (1 hour duration) per week. Schedule to be advised by Centralised Timetabling Occurrence of labs is shown on the lecture timetable over the page.Laboratories are held in the Stage 1 Geology classroom in the Ernest Rutherford building, room 219 level 2.FieldtripThe fieldtrip to the Waipara River in North Canterbury for GEOL115 provides students the opportunity to be introduced to a wide variety of geological topics. This fieldtrip has 2 streams (of which students need only do one), departing on the dates of the 26th or 27h Sept 2020.This fieldtrip is a compulsory part of GEOL115 so students are required to attend. Material from this fieldtrip may be assessed.Week #29 13thJuly How Systems Work TWH 30 20th July Live! From Mars, A Story of Creation TWH The Usual Suspects: Materialsand Minerals of Earth and Mars31 27th July Early Life CMR Geological short stories32 3rd Aug Ancient Oceans and the Record of MassExtinctions CMR Life in the ocean33 10th Aug Life on Land CMR Life in the future ocean34 17th Aug New Zealand’s Biota CMR Course Project (30%) Skills session35 Semester break 36 Semester break 37 7thSept Earth’s Climate History and the GlobalCarbon Cycle TWH What’s Your CarbonFootprint?38 14thSept Tectonics, Topography andBiological Evolution TWH Geologic and Topographic Maps39 21st Sept Hominid Evolution and Peopling thePacific TWH Introduction to Leapfrog40 28th Sept A Planet Fed on Dirt TWH Acids, bases and ions, Oh My!41 5th Oct Water, Water Everywhere TWH Acids, bases and ions, Oh My! Part 242 12th Oct How to get a job? Applied Earth SystemScience TWH Final Exam Review Session
Laboratory Quizzes and Problem Sets - 10%Short answer test (during final lecture time in week 34) - 20%Course Project - 30%Final Exam (date TBA) - 40%
PrerequisitesNoneRelationship of GEOL115 to other coursesGEOL115: The Dynamic Earth System is designed as a general interest paper that may add breadth to any degree and is suitable for students with no previous experience in either geology or other science subjects. GEOL115 is an acceptable prerequisite for entry into 200-level Geology courses when combined with GEOL111. Entry into GEOL 200-level courses requires 30-points of pre-requisite coursework at 100-level, including 15 points from GEOL111 and a further 15 points from either GEOL113 or GEOL115.Students interested in our natural environment and how it works will find GEOL115 is ideal preparation for continued study of earth and environmental science courses offered by a number of departments, including Geological Sciences. GEOL115 is excellent preparation for GEOL240, GEOL241, GEOL246, and several 300- level courses covering natural systems and how they change.
Domestic fee $945.00
International fee $4,473.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
This course will not be offered if fewer than 16 people apply to enrol.
For further information see
School of Earth and Environment