Exploring a Habitable Planet

syllabus

Monday -  Introduction
Objective: Establish framework of course, including system approach, basic geologic methods, and outline of local geology. 
Activities:
(COA campus) Cooler experiment “Understanding Natural Systems through Simple Dynamical Systems Modeling” (Moore and Derry 1995)
(Cadillac Mountain) Regional overview
(Monument Cove Beach) Introduction to geologic field methods
(Day Mountain) “The present is key to the past”
The night sky and Earth’s setting in space

Tuesday - Earth’s layered structure, the seafloor, and continental crust
Objective: Establish first-order structure and composition of the whole earth,
oceanic crust, and continental crust.
Activities:
(Deer Isle) A rare window into the Earth’s mantle
(Condon Point) Half-billion-year-old seafloor
(Harborside) Hydrothermal links between lithosphere and hydrosphere
(Lord’s Cove) Fossil subduction zone; black shales and the planetary fuel cell

Wednesday - Plate tectonics and magmatism in the Wilson cycle
Objectives: Develop Wilson cycle concept. Explore MDI caldera.
Activities:
(Stewart Head) Magma mingling/mixing: Response to contrasting physical
properties of silica-poor and silica-rich magmas
(Seawall) The volcanic edifice & impact of volcanism on the atmosphere
(Schooner Head area) Contact and age relationships

Thursday - Climate change and the Laurentide ice sheet
Objective: Explore and analyze the surficial geologic record of glaciation and deglaciation.
Activities:
(Cadillac Mountain) The odd melting behavior of ice & Maine’s glacially-sculpted landscape
(Jordan Pond area) Ice margin features
(Hunter’s Brook) The glaciomarine record

Friday - The profound influence of life over the eons and humans today
Objective: Demonstrate the integral role of life in the earth system, including
humanity’s current role as a significant planetary force.
Activities:
(Sand Beach) Holocene sea level rise
(COA campus) Earth history time line
The past-future connection
The Anthropocene and planetary stewardship

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