Physical Geology

I.     Course Prefix/Number: EAS 101

       Course Name: Physical Geology

       Credits: 4 (3 lecture; 3 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces earth materials and the physical and chemical processes that sculpt earth’s surface. Content includes rocks, minerals, earthquakes, volcanoes, glaciers, groundwater, coastal processes, geologic time, structural geology, and topographic maps.

IV.   Learning Objectives

After successfully completing this course, a student should be able to:

  1. Identify mineral and rock samples based on diagnostic properties and tests.
  2. Explain the theory of plate tectonics and identify associated features on land and the sea floor.
  3. Describe and locate geologic hazards associated with plate boundaries.
  4. Interpret and construct topographic maps.
  5. Label features and recognize stages of development of arid, glacial, coastal, and fluvial settings.
  6. Explain the basis for relative and radiometric age dating.
  7. Draw subsurface geological structures using strike and dip data.
  8. Work effectively with people of diverse backgrounds, both individually and in groups.
  9. Communicate effectively in writing or speech.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics


  • Minerals
  • Igneous Rocks
  • Sedimentary Rocks
  • Metamorphic Rocks
  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanoes
  • Plate Tectonics
  • Topographic Maps
  • Streams and Flooding
  • Glaciers
  • Deserts
  • Coastal Processes
  • Geologic Time
  • Structural Geology


  • Atomic Structure and Bonding
  • Mass Wasting
  • Groundwater

*Instructor provided labs will accompany most topics.  At a minimum 10 labs must be completed.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Instructional methods may include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Assigned readings
  • Lecture
  • Discussion
  • Field trips
  • Lab exercises
  • Case studies
  • Field demonstrations
  • Video clips
  • Web activities and links
  • Debates
  • Application assignments

*Course may be offered in a face-to-face or hybrid format.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Required course practices are to be established by the instructor.  Completion of lab exercises is required. Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.


IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Earth: Portrait of a Planet, Stephen Marshak, 4th Edition, W.W. Norton.
Physical Geology, Pearson Carlson, Hammersly, and Plummer, 14th Edition, McGraw Hill.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Evaluation of student learning is established by the instructor and may include, but is not limited to:

  • Quizzes
  • Exams
  • Research Papers
  • Class Participation
  • Laboratory Reports
  • Oral Presentations
  • Application Assignments
  • Field Journals

XI.   Other Course Information

Attendance and other policies are established by individual instructors.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at