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Earth Science


CLASSES: See class schedule & catalog 




EARTH SCIENCE is an interdisciplinary science of the Earth that deals with aspects of geology, physical geography, oceanography, and astronomy.

During the current semester, the program offers Earth Science  1 (lecture) and Earth Science 2 (lab). Earth Science  1 and Earth Science  2 taken together fulfill a laboratory science course.


Brief descriptions of the two courses are given below.

Earth Science (EARTH 1)

Earth Science 1 is a 3 unit course that deals with a broad range of topics such as the origins and occurrences of earth materials (minerals & rocks), plate tectonics, landscapes resulting from running and groundwater, earthquakes, oceans, Earth’s atmosphere, the planets and related environmental issues.


Textbook: Lutgens, F.K. & Tarbuck, E.J. (2011). Foundations of Earth Science, 6th ed.; PEARSON/Prentice Hall publishers; ISBN 978-0-321-66302-3

Transfer:  CSU, UC

Prerequisite: None

Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the Big-bang theory to explain the origin of our solar system and the Milky Way Galaxy; cite evidence for the age of our solar system & our planet Earth; Name the planets of our solar system and describe their geological and astronomical significance; describe the principles of relative and absolute dating as applied to the study of Earth’s history.
  2. Explain processes of rock formation; identify the common minerals & rock types, and interpret the origin of rocks and their structures through observable facts.
  3. Explain the global and local distribution of earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain belts, mineral & energy resources and examine how plate tectonics is related to their distribution.
  4. Name the oceans of our planet and discuss their origin; describe the physical & chemical properties of ocean water; discuss surface & groundwater; Identify and distinguish the elements and controls of weather and climate and the influence that each has on seasonality, atmospheric disturbances, world climate, and pollution.



Earth Science  2 (EARTH 2)

Earth Science 2 is a 2-unit, introductory-level, laboratory course designed to give students hands-on experience with Earth materials, skills to gather scientific data, and critical thinking to solve problems. Among other things, students will be introduced to the study of geologic materials by learning the skills necessary to identify common minerals and rocks, determine structures and ages of rocks, describe and interpret processes related to running water and groundwater, locate earthquakes and determine their magnitudes, and analyze information contained in maps and aerial photographs. Other lab exercises include analyses of ocean floor topography and sediments, underwater volcanism and tectonic processes; interpretation of atmospheric data related to heating, moisture, pressure, and wind; determination of ocean water's heat capacity, salinity, temperature and density; and examining the terrestrial planets and patterns in the Solar system.


Textbook/Lab Manual: Tarbuck, E.J., Lutgens, F.K., Tasa, D.G., and Pinzke, K.G. (2012). Applications and Investigations in Earth Science, 7th ed., PEARSON/Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-321-68955-9.

Transfer:  CSU, UC

Prerequisite/Co-requisite: Earth Science 1 (Earth 1) or concurrent enrollment in Earth Science 1 (Earth 1).

Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Explain the inter-relationships between the four spheres of our planet Earth, i.e. lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.
  2. Identify common rocks and minerals; discuss the processes that form the different types of minerals and rocks; relate volcano & earthquake distribution patterns to plate tectonics; compute earthquake parameters such as distance to epicenter and Richter magnitude; Interpret the geology, geologic ages, and structures of rocks & regions ; discuss the geologic work of running & groundwater.
  3. Describe the various topographic elements and dynamics of the ocean floor; discuss how waves, currents and tides form; discuss the relationship between ocean water temperature, salinity, and density.
  4. Discuss meteorological phenomena such as atmospheric heating, moisture, pressure, and wind and relate these phenomena to global climates.
  5. Examine, compare and contrast the geologic landforms of the terrestrial planets; explain the geologic processes responsible for producing the observed landforms.