Vince/ Course/ PhysGeol/ 1405SyllabusFall19.html

Tentative Lecture Syllabus:
Professor Vince Cronin's Section of
Geology 1405 The Dynamic Earth

Professor Cronin reserves the right to revise this syllabus as necessary throughout the semester. Notice of revision will generally be given during one or more lecture meetings, or via email broadcast to registered students in the course. This syllabus is not a contract.

You will be required to read and sign an Acknowledgment Document and submit it to Dr. Cronin. Among other things, this document indicates your understanding that MasteringGeology and the laboratory are both required parts of this course, and that there are no makeups for work with missed deadlines or missed labs.

The lecture section of this course meets MWF from 9:05 until 9:55 AM in Baylor Science Building (BSB) room E125.
Lab/Office: BSB E441 . . . . . Telephone: (254) 710-2174
Office hours: MWF from 10:00-11:00 AM, or by appointment

All email communication to Professor Cronin concerning this course must originate from your Baylor email account.

Purpose of this course: This course is an attempt to explore and summarize the best scientific understanding of Earth's ~4.6 billion year age, evolution, composition, and major dynamic systems, as that understanding exists in the geoscience community based on published peer-reviewed scientific literature. We want you to become literate with respect to the Earth sciences (

You need to commit to doing good work and learning the course material. Your goal should be mastery of the material that you are asked to learn in this course. This will take 1-2 hours of work for every 1 hour of scheduled lecture. In particular, you will need to study material from the textbook or lab book prior to attending the class/lab in which that material is discussed. If you are not willing to devote that amount of time to this course, you will not learn the material and, hence, there is little point in your taking this course.

This section of The Dynamic Earth involves the use of online resources managed by Pearson Higher Education, the publisher of our course textbook. An e-text version of the following textbook should be included with your MasteringGeology account, if you acquired it through the Baylor Bookstore:

12th edition of Tarbuck, Lutgens & Tasa, 2017, Earth -- An introduction to Physical Geology:
Pearson, ISBN-10: 0-134-07425-4, ISBN-13: 978-0-134-07425-2, 788 p.

You need not purchase a paper copy of the textbook if you have access to the e-text. You will need to have access to some form of the textbook, however.

MasteringGeology Is A Required Part Of This Course

A number of online exercises (homework, study modules, quizzes) are scheduled for you to complete in MasteringGeology accessed through the Canvas learning management system (LMS). All of them are graded in some way, and all have some sort of due date that is posted on the calendar you can access via MasteringGeology. Except for valid University excuses with written documentation (e.g., illness, bereavement, athletic, performance), there will be no re-setting of the online assignment deadlines to accommodate people who missed them this semester. If you miss the due date, you will not be able to make-up the exercises for credit.

To register for MasteringGeology, read and follow the directions provided on the PDF document

Help for students to register with MasteringGeology through the Canvas LMS at Baylor can also be found at

To get to the Canvas LMS, start at the Baylor homepage, select the STUDENTS link on the left of the screen, choose Online Tools on the left side of the subsequent screen, and then choose Canvas. This will link you to a login page for Canvas. After logging in with your Baylor ID and password, choose the correct course section: 201930GEO 1405 01 - The Dynamic Earth

To get to Mastering Geology after you have logged in to Canvas, select the Geo 1405 course you are enrolled in, then select MyLab and Mastering along the left column. This should connect you to MasteringGeology at Pearson.

Approximate Class Schedule

In addition to the university holidays this semester (Labor Day Sept 2, Fall Break Oct 25, Thanksgiving Nov 27-29), Dr. Cronin will be out-of-town thr following times

Dr. Cronin's absence does not affect the laboratory schedule, which is available through the laboratory home page

Click on the topics in the table below to access additional useful information.

DatesNo. DaysTopicsRequired Prior Studying in TextbookQuiz Date
Aug 26-282Introductionchapter 1Aug 30
Aug 30-Sept 62 1/2Plate tectonicschapter 2Sept 9
Sept 9-164 1/2Matter and mineralschapter 3(on pyramid quiz)
Sept 181Pyramid Quiz 1chapters 1-3--
Sept 20-303Igneous rocks & volcanoeschapters 4 & 5Oct 2
Oct 2-143Sedimentary rockschapter 7Oct 16
Oct 14-183Metamorphic rockschapter 8(on pyramid quiz)
Oct 211Pyramid Quiz 2chapters 4-8--
Oct 28-Nov 44Geologic timechapters 9 (all) & 22 sections 22.1-2 & 22.6-9Nov-6
Nov 6-11-4Earthquakeschapter 11 (all)Nov. 13
Nov 13-183Running waterchapter 16Nov 20
Nov 20-222Groundwaterchapter 17(on pyramid quiz)
Nov 251Pyramid Quiz 3chapters 9-11 & 22--
Dec 2-63Climate Changechapter 21--
Dec 171Final Exam----

About Quizzes

The first quiz on August 30 is for demonstration purposes only. It will not count toward your grade.
All other quizzes are scheduled to occur at the beginning of class on the class day following the end of a given topic. Except for valid University excuses with written documentation (e.g., illness, bereavement, athletic, performance), there will be no make-up or re-take quizzes this semester. All make-up quizzes will be administered within one week (or within 3 class meetings) of the original quiz unless other arrangements are made with Dr. Cronin within 3 days of the original exam. No quizzes will be administered early.

Material on lecture quizzes will be drawn from material covered in class and in the assigned textbook chapter. Students are responsible for having read all of the assigned chapters in the lecture and lab books. You should assume that every exam is cumulative in nature, so anything from earlier in the course might be part of a subsequent quiz.

Pyramid Quizzes

We will have four pyramid (or 2-stage) quizzes during the semester, each of which will involve material from the three previous topics. Each of these will take an entire class period.

A pyramid (or 2-stage) quiz involve students answering some exam questions independently and turning their answers in before answering either the same questions, new questions, or both in cooperative groups ( As implemented in our course, the individual quiz will determine 75% of the total quiz grade, and the cooperative quiz will determine the rest.

Final Exam Schedule For This Course

The final exam for this course is Tuesday, December 17, from 9-11 AM in the same classroom where the lecture is held.

Quizzes and exams for this course will not be administered through OALA. Separate accommodations will be made available to students who require additional time, etc.

About Accessing Your Grades

Grades for in-class exams and in-class activities for this course are mainly accessed online via Canvas. Lab grades are handled by graduate teaching assistants.

About Lab

Approximate Lab Schedule

Focus On These
Pre-lab VideoItems You Must Bring to Lab*
Aug 27-29No LabsRead ahead
Sept 3-5Intro BasicsLab 1, p. 1-36Act. 1.2(A), 1.3, 1.4 (A&B),
1.6 (D, E & F)
Sept 10-12Plate Tectonics Lab 2, p. 37-54Act. 2.1, 2.3, 2.6, 2.7Video
Sept 17-19MineralsLab 3, p. 69-96Act. 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5Videocleavage goniometer cut from GeoTools sheet 1
(back of lab book), optional magnifying lens
Sept 24-26Igneous RockLab 5, p. 123-138Act. 5.2, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 5.7Videooptional magnifying lens
Oct 1-3Sedimentary RockLab 6, p. 149-168Act. 6.2, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.7, 6.8Videooptional magnifying lens
Oct 8-10Metamorphic RockLab 7, p. 185-196Act. 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5Videooptional magnifying lens
Oct 15-17Mineral and Rock QuizLab 3 & 5-7
Oct 22-24Geologic TimeLab 8, p. 207-220Act. 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 8.5, 8.6Videoblack or blue pen
Nov 5-7Topo MapsLab 9, p. 231-252Act. 9.2, 9.3, 9.4, 9.5, 9.6Videoprotractor, colored pencils, black or blue pen
Nov 12-14EarthquakesLab 16, p. 409-416Act. 16.1, 16.2, 16.3, 16.4, 16.5Videodrafting compass**
Nov 19-21StreamsLab 11, p. 293-306Act. 11.2, 11.3, 11.4, 11.5, 11.7Videocolored pencils, piece of string or
thread about 30 cm (12 inches) long
Nov 26-28No Labs due to ThanksgivingEat too much and take
an afternoon nap

* These items are in addition to your lab book, a pencil, a ruler with a metric scale (cm, mm), and an inexpensive scientific calculator (e.g., Texas Instruments TI-30Xa Scientific Calculator, or Casio FX-260SOLAR11 Scientific Calculator — both available at big-box stores for ~$10 or less) or a sufficiently charged smartphone with a calculator app.

** A drafting compass is a device for drawing circles. There will be a few in the lab if you don't have one.

Other Important Information

Credit Distribution for Grading

Tentatively, the grading in the lecture section of this course will be related to preparation (prior reading of text, online assignments or homework, pre-lecture quizzes), participation (attending lectures prepared to participate and ask/answer questions), chapter/unit assessment (assigned homework and end-of-chapter quizzes), and the final exam, with the following approximate weighting:

Dynamic study modules, homework, et cetera administered online via MasteringGeology30%
Homework and activities during lectures5%
Assessment exercise after a given chapter is completed, and pyramid quizzes65%
Total percentage grade from the lecture section100%

The weightings presented above might change before the end of the semester. Remember, this syllabus is not a contract.

Final Course Grade

For students who have attended at least 75% of the lecture meeetings and at least 75% of the lab meetings, the final course percentage grade will be determined using an equation like the following:
Final course percentage grade = {(A x 0.75) + (B x 0.25) + C + (D x [1.0 - {(A x 0.75) + (B x 0.25) + C}])}, where

Professor Cronin determines the values of the translation and compression factors, and the same factors are used for all students in the course. Standard rounding procedures used throughout science will be employed in the conversion of decimal percentages to integer percentages. Based on the final course percentage grade, letter grades are assigned as follows:

Final Course PercentageLetter Grade
93% to 100% inclusiveA
90% to 92% inclusiveA-
87% to 89% inclusiveB+
83% to 86% inclusiveB
80% to 82% inclusiveB-
77% to 79% inclusiveC+
73% to 76% inclusiveC
70% to 72% inclusiveC-
67% to 69% inclusiveD+
60% to 66% inclusiveD
below 60%F

Academic Success

I have high academic expectations for you in my course.
If you find yourself struggling academically, you should consider seeking assistance through the Paul L. Foster Success Center in Sid Richardson (
While I am here to facilitate your learning, responsibility for your learning is yours alone. You will need to commit yourself to taking the time necessary to study and to take care of your mental and physical health by getting enough sleep, exercise, and good food every day. There are many distractions at a university, but it is your responsibility to fulfill your most important responsibility — to learn.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity refers to the "integral" quality of the search for knowledge that a student undertakes. The work a student produces, therefore, ought to be wholly his or hers; it should result completely from the student's own efforts. A student will be guilty of violating academic integrity if he/she...
(a) knowingly represents work of others as his/her own,
(b) uses or obtains unauthorized assistance in the execution of any academic work, including possessing or using a stolen copy of one of Professor Cronin's exams, or
(c) gives fraudulent assistance to another student.
After McGlynn, A.P., 2001

Plagiarism or any form of cheating involves a breach of student-teacher trust. This means that any work submitted under your name is expected to be your own, neither composed by anyone else as a whole or in part, nor handed over to another person for complete or partial revision. Be sure to document all ideas that are not your own. Instances of plagiarism or any other act of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Honor Council and may result in failure of the course. Not understanding plagiarism is not an excuse. As a Baylor student, I expect you to be intimately familiar with the Honor Code —

In the spirit of being a good steward of university resources, you must be careful not to abuse samples, maps, models, reserve materials, or other resources provided for your use in this course.

Students agree that by taking this course, all required papers, exams, class projects or other assignments submitted for credit may be submitted to or similar third parties to review and evaluate for originality and intellectual integrity. A description of the services, terms and conditions of use and privacy policy of is available on its web site: Students understand all work submitted to will be added to its database of papers. Students further understand that if the results of such a review support an allegation of academic dishonesty, the course work in question as well as any supporting materials may be submitted to the Honor Council for investigation and further action.

Military Student Advisory

Veterans and active duty military personnel are welcomed and encouraged to communicate, in advance if possible, any special circumstances that might impact their participation in this course, such as an upcoming deployment, drill requirements, or disability accommodations. Contact the VETS Program Office with any questions at (254) 710-7264.

Students Needing Academic Accommodations

Any student needing academic accommodations as documented through the Office of Access and Learning Accommodation (OALA) should inform me immediately at the beginning of the semester. Required documentation and information regarding accommodations is available at the Paul L. Foster Success Center, 1st floor on the East Wing of Sid Richardson, (254) 710-3605. Accommodations available in this course are not unlimited, and do not include taking quizzes or exams at an OALA-administered site outside of the Geosciences Department.

Issues Related to Title IX

Baylor University asserts that it does not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender in any of its education or employment programs and activities, and it does not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex or gender. If you or someone you know would like help related to an experience involving sexual or gender-based harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, intimate partner violence, or retaliation for reporting one of these type of prohibited conduct, please contact the Title IX Office at (254) 710-8454 or report online at

The interim Title IX Coordinator for Baylor University is Maureen Holland. The Title IX office understands the sensitive nature of these situations and can provide information about available on- and off-campus resources, such as counseling and psychological services, medical treatment, academic support, university housing, and other forms of assistance that may be available. Staff members at the office can also explain your rights and procedural options if you contact the Title IX Office. You will not be required to share your experience.

If you or someone you know feels unsafe or may be in imminent danger, please call the Baylor Police Department (254-710-2222) or Waco Police Department (9-1-1) immediately. For more information on the Title IX Office, the Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Interpersonal Violence policy, reporting, and resources available, please visit

For an overview of Title IX, read the description available from at


If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a rape or other serious assault that might have left physical evidence, go (or encourage the other to go) to a hospital emergency room where the evidence can be collected/documented by a trained professional who can establish a legally proper chain of custody for the evidence. Go as soon after the assault has occurred as possible, and do not change clothes or wash any part of your body until after the evidence is collected. It is my understanding that this confidential process does not commit anyone to reporting or filing charges in the incident, but it does preserve the evidence and hence preserves your/their ability to pursue legal courses of action in the future. If the evidence is not collected, the possibility that the assailant will be brought to justice is greatly reduced if not completely eliminated.

Assault victims should seek the assistance of a professional counselor who has been trained to help assault victims, and who is sufficiently credentialed so that a victim/client's communication with them is legally recognized as confidential. This professional service must be rendered by a trained and credentialed professional, and is not a service that your friends, family, pastor, minister, lawyer, academic advisor, department head, favorite teacher, dorm RA, or other informal (untrained, uncredentialed) counselors are able to provide. Professional counseling will be necessary to begin the psychological healing process.

Baylor University has reportedly asserted its belief through papers filed with the court that "Universities do not owe a legal duty to protect students from harm from fellow students" (Waco Tribune-Herald, 8 January 2017, "BU moves to dismiss 4th Title IX suit" by Phillip Ericksen).

To develop your background knowledge of the issue of sexual violence on college campuses, I recommend that you begin by reading Jon Krakauer's 2015 book Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (Doubleday, 384 pp., ISBN 0385538731)

For answers to frequently asked questions about geology and science, go to

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