Vince/ Course/ PhysGeol/Geo1405-Spring2021.html

Tuolumne Meadows as seen from Pothole Dome in Yosemite National Park, California. Photo by Vince Cronin.

Homepage: Cronin's The Dynamic Earth

This page functions as the course syllabus, and is not a contract. It is revised frequently throughout the semester.

Reload this page in your browser every time you visit this page to be certain that you are reading the most current course information


Baylor University syllabus statements are incorporated by reference in this document, and are available for you to download and read HERE

How To Contact Dr. Cronin


mobile, for text or voice: listed on the "lecture"-course homepage on Canvas.
Only contact me on my mobile device between 8 AM and 8 PM Central Time, and only if it is an important question/issue related to this course.

How To Contact Your Graduate Teaching Assistant

Zhao (Amanda) Wang, Tuesday at 12:30 — 2:25 PM and 2:40 — 4:35 PM, (Sections Geo 1405-A and -B), email:

Zequn Wu, Wednesday at 12:20 — 2:15 PM and 2:30 — 4:25 PM, (Sections Geo 1405-C and -D), email:

Sanjukta Dhar, Wednesday at 4:40 — 6:35 PM and Thursday at 12:30 — 2:25 PM, (Sections Geo 1405-E and -F), email:

About This Course

This course will be held entirely online. Because online Baylor courses often include students on different continents and many different time zones, it is most convenient to structure this as a largely asynchronous course, meaning that each of us will be working on various elements of the course at different times. The only regularly scheduled events will be

The days and times when various quizzes, homework, and lab work are due will be indicated through this syllabus.

Both the "lecture" and the laboratory parts of this course are designed as "flipped" learning experiences. It is the teacher's responsibility to organize work that a student is assigned to do. Student learning occurs primarily through working through the assignments. The teachers are there to provide guidance and assistance upon request, and Dr. Cronin is available daily for consultation, either via email, his mobile phone (for text or conversation), or optional office hours (every weekday afternoon at 4 PM CT unless otherwise notified) via video conference using Microsoft Teams.

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.

Weekly Workflow

The Laboratory Is A Required Part Of This Course

"Mastering Geology" Is A Required Part Of This Course

A number of online exercises (homework, study modules, quizzes) are scheduled for you to complete in Mastering Geology 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 Mastering Geology.

To register for Mastering Geology, read and follow the directions provided on the PDF document and follow the links embedded in that document.

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 Mastering Geology at Pearson.

If you need any further clarification of this list of required resources, you can email, text, or call Professor Cronin.

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.

Course Schedule

Course Topics and Links to Assignments

The schedule is subject to revision. Reload this page in your browser to be certain that you are viewing the most current information.

The referenced textbook is Earth by Tarbuck and others (see full reference below).

Start Dates
(Total Date Range)
Links to Info &
Chapter in
Tarbuck et al.
Chapter in
Lab Manual
Jan 19 Introduction Chapter 01 Lab Chapter 01
Jan 28-30 Plate Tectonics Chapter 02 Lab Chapter 02
Feb 4-6 Minerals Chapter 03 Lab Chapter 03
Feb 11-13 Week stolen by a polar vortex -- --
Feb 18-20
(Feb 18-27)
Igneous Rocks Chapters 04 & 05 Lab Chapter 05
Feb 25-28
(Feb 25-Mar 6)
Sedimentary Rocks Chapter 07 Lab Chapter 06
Mar 4-6
(Mar 4-13)
Metamorphc Rocks Chapter 08 Lab Chapter 07
Mar 11-13
(Mar 11-20)
Geologic Time Chapter 09 Lab Chapter 08
Mar 18-20
(Mar 18-27)
Topographic Maps; Faults and Deformation
of the Crust
Chapter 10 Lab Chapter 09
Mar 25-27
(Mar 25-Apr 3)
Earthquakes Chapter 11 Lab Chapter 11
Apr 01-03
(Apr 1-10)
Streams Chapter 16 Lab Chapter 12
April 08-10
(Apr 8-17)
Groundwater Chapter 17 Lab Chapter 13
Apr 15-17
(Apr 15-24)
Climate Chapter 21 Lab Chapter 17

Required Textbooks And Online Resources

You must acquire the following resources and be ready to work with them
before the first day of the Spring semester (January 19).
AGI/NAGT Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology, 12th edition (YOU NEED THE PAPER VERSION) Print Lab Manual ISBN: 9780135836972
And yes, this edition is significantly different (and better, in my humble opinion) than the previous edition that was used in the 2019-2020 academic year at Baylor.

Modified Mastering Geology with eText for Tarbuck et al., Earth 13th edition*
This version of Mastering Geology is used within the Canvas LMS.
*Earth: An Introduction to Physical Geology, 13th Edition, 2020, by E.J. Tarbuck, F.K. Lutgens, and S. Linneman, with illustrations by D.G. Tasa: New York, Pearson Higher Education, 754 p.


You can acquire these resources either from the Baylor Bookstore or by ordering them directly from Pearson Higher Education, using the instructions provided by Pearson (and modified by Dr. Cronin) available at .

You Do Not need to acquire a paper version of the Tarbuck book, unless you really really want to, because the Mastering Geology online resource specified above comes with the eText of the Tarbuck textbook.

If you need any further clarification of this list of required resources, you can email, text, or call Professor Cronin. His phone number was given in an announcement published through Canvas

About Quizzes

In addition to the questions you will need to answer within Mastering Geology each week, you will take two quizzes: an end-of-lab quiz based on the lab activities that were assigned that week, and an end-of-topic quiz that incorporates information from all of the assignments (texts, videos, lab activities) for that topic

About Accessing Your Grades

Grades in the main part of this course are accessed through the Canvas account associated with the "lecture" section. Grades for the lab part of the course are accessed through the Canvas account for each specific lab section, and are posted by the corresponding graduate teaching assistant.

Credit Distribution for Grading

Tentatively, the raw percentage grade in this course will be based on the following approximate weighting:

Mastering Geology online Dynamic Study Modules and Homework 20%
Lab work (lab activities, end-of-lab quizzes) 25%
Topic quizzes (one given after each topic) & final-exam 50%
Occasional homework outside of Mastering Geology, and submission of all original paper copies of completed lab assignments (due by May 3) 10%
Raw percentage grade 100%

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 complete and submit at least 75% of the assigned lab activities, the final course percentage grade will be determined using an equation like the following:
Final course percentage grade = {A + B + (C x [1.0 - (A + B)])}, 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 Percentage Letter Grade
93% to 100% inclusive A
90% to 92% inclusive A-
87% to 89% inclusive B+
83% to 86% inclusive B
80% to 82% inclusive B-
77% to 79% inclusive C+
73% to 76% inclusive C
70% to 72% inclusive C-
67% to 69% inclusive D+
60% to 66% inclusive D
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 during the summertime, but it is your responsibility to fulfill your most important responsibility — to learn.

If you have any questions or comments about this site or its contents, drop an email to the humble webmaster.
All of the original content of this website is © 2021 by Vincent S. Cronin