Lecture 1 (January 7): Basic Concepts
Brief outline of this lecture:
1. Scales of observation
2. Scientific Understanding
3. Age of the earth
4. The Geologic Time Scale
Main points of this lecture:
Natural systems can be viewed profitably at a variety of scales of observation.
Facts (demonstrable observations, or truths known by actual experience or observation) are the building blocks of science - no less and no more.
Scientific theories provide a framework with which to understand natural phenomena and from which to make predictions, but they do not provide certainty or permanence.
We think the Earth is 4.6 billion years old.
We have at least four good reasons to think the earth is 4.6 billion years old.
4.6 billion years is a very long time.
The geologic time scale provides a useful if idiosyncratic way to compartmentalize time in Geology.
Figures used in this lecture:
Scales of Observation
Facts, theories, and hypotheses
An introduction to maps, cross-sections, and 3D diagrams.
Geologic exposures in the field - sources of geological information
Evidence regarding the age of the Earth
The standard geological time scale to be known for this course
The standard and two non-standard geological time scales
Reading assignment: Reading: pages 505 through 511.
Email to Railsback (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Railsback's main 1121 web page
Railsback's main web page
UGA Geology Department web page