20402344 - Introduction to Geology

To submit an overview of our knowledge of planet earth and the solar system. The course provides the lexical and cultural insights, which will be the fundamental background for the specific courses of the following years.

Canali

MATTEI MASSIMO

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Programme

The course is organized in three teaching units dedicated to the basic principles of geology and astronomy (The Earth in Space).

The first teaching unit takes place in the first semester, during which topics concerning the general principles of geology and the rock cycle are discussed. The topics covered in this teaching units are detailed in the following. The scientific method: hypothesis, theory, law. The principle of uniformitarianism. Chemical composition of the Earth and its differentiation. The concept of time in geology. The Earth as an integrated system: atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere. The physiography of the Planet: continents and oceans. The unifying model: plate tectonics. Minerals, rocks and their classification. Igneous rocks: classification criteria. Origin of magmas and their geodynamic context. Volcanoes: shapes and products of volcanic activity. The processes of alteration and the genesis of soils. Sedimentary rocks: their origin and classification. Metamorphic rocks: their origin and classification.
During the first semester, practical activities are dedicated to the macroscopic recognition of minerals and rocks.

The second teaching unit takes place in the second semester, where topics related to the dynamics of planet Earth and sedimentary environments are discussed. The topics covered in this teaching unit are detailed in the following. Earthquakes: genesis and distribution. Tsunamis. Notes on the deformation of rocks: faults and folds. Notes on the origin and structure of the mountain ranges. Recording time in the rocks. Principles of superposition, cross-cutting and intrusion. Stratigraphic gaps and angular unconformities. The fossil record. Radiometric dating. The geological time scale. Surface running waters, deserts, glaciers, coastal environments.
During the second semester, practical activities are devoted to the interpretation of geological maps and the construction of geological sections.

The third teaching unit (The Earth in Space) takes place in the second semester as well. The following topics are covered. Astronomical and geographical elements (the Earth and the celestial sphere; time measurement; the measurement of the Earth). The planet Earth in the Solar System (orbital characteristics of the Earth and the planets; the cyclical orbital variations; the planetary orbit and the climatic control factors). The origin of the Earth and the interactions with the cosmic environment (meteorites and formation of the solar system; accretion of the Earth and of the terrestrial planets; the Earth and the meteorites; the Earth-Moon system).
This teaching unit includes a visit at the Meridiana Clementina of the Basilica of S. Maria degli Angeli (Rome) to observe the diurnal and annual motion of the Sun, the effects of seasonality, the astronomical variations connected to the equinoctial precession cycle, the related consequences to the millennial variations of the obliquity of the rotation axis.

Field activity
The field activity of this course takes place in the area of the Prenestini Mountains and the Alban Hills. This activity last 4 days. Field activity integrates with the theoretical and laboratory part developed during the academic year.
The main objective of the field activity is to link the skills acquired during course attendance within the natural environment, represented by the field analysis that represents the geologist's main goal. The specific objectives are: observation of the relationship between morphology and lithology (erodibility, subsurface structure, relief shapes, chemical and mechanical erosion processes), learning data acquisition techniques (strike, dip, azimuth of the dip) and annotating them in the field notebook, reading topographic maps, definition and recognition of geological limits, basic geological cartography, construction of simple geological sections starting from the field data, recognition of the main lithotypes of sedimentary and volcanic rocks and their origin.

During the field experience, several activities are carried out. Virtual astronomical observation at the Rocca di Cave Planetarium: recognition of the main references of the celestial vault, observation of phenomena related to diurnal rotation, recognition of the stars and constellations of the current season, identification of the ecliptic, of the observable planets and their motions, observation of the celestial bodies at the telescope of the observatory station of Rocca di Cave, observations of deep-sky objects and macroscopic details of planetary surfaces, notes on the use of CCD devices for the acquisition of planetary images and data processing.



Core Documentation

- John P. Grotzinger Thomas H Jordan. Capire la Terra. Zanichelli, Bologna. Pagine: 752 ISBN: 9788808821232
- Tarbuck E.J., Lutgens F.K. & Tozzi M. – Scienze Della Terra. – Principato, Milano. Pagine: 572 ISBN: 9788841656501
- E. Lupia Palmieri & M. Parotto - La Terra nello spazio. Zanichelli, Bologna. Pagine 456 - ISBN 9788808063892. (Chapters 3,4)
- J. K. Beatty, C. C. Petersen & A. Chaikin. The New Solar System. Carolyn Collins Petersen. Sky Publishing Corporation-Cambridge University Press. ISBN:0-933346-86-7.
(Chapters 7,8,11,15,20)

Type of delivery of the course

The course, which lasts one year, takes place through lectures on the theoretical topics of the course and laboratory exercises dedicated to the macroscopic recognition of minerals and rocks (first semester) and to the interpretation of geological maps and the construction of geological sections (second semester). The course also includes a 4-day field activity dedicated to learning the basic techniques of field analysis, in the area of the Prenestini Mountains and the Alban Hills. Practical activities of the teaching unit ‘The Earth in the Space’ include a visit to the Meridiana Clementina at S. Maria degli Angeli in Rome and, during the field work, virtual astronomical observation at the Rocca di Cave Planetarium and observation of the celestial bodies using the telescope of the observatory station of Rocca di Cave.

Type of evaluation

Learning test takes place through a 4 hours lasting written assignment, aimed at verifying the level of effective understanding of the concepts and the students' ability to apply them in real contexts. The written test includes: 1) 30 questions (multiple answer, true or false, open answers) on the geology topics covered in the course (including those addressed during the field activity); 2) 5 open questions on the topics of "The Earth in Space" covered in the course; 3) the construction of a geological section starting from a simple geological map. The final evaluation will also take into account the report produced during field activity. For the theoretical part, at the end of the first semester there is a partial examination that includes 20 questions (multiple answer, true or false, open answers) related to the topics covered in the first part of the course. For those who have passed this test, the final written test related to the theory will concern exclusively the topics covered in the second semester and will consist of 20 questions (multiple answer, true or false, open answers).

CHIRRI MAURIZIO

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BOLLATI ANDREA

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CIFELLI FRANCESCA

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Programme

ASTRONOMICAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE EARTH (THE EARTH AND THE CELESTIAL SPHERE, MEASUREMENT OF TIME, THE SIZE OF THE EARTH). THE EARTH IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM (ORBITAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE EARTH AND PLANETS; CYCLIC VARIATIONS OF LONG AND SHORT ORBITAL PERIODS; THE PLANETARY ORBITS FACTORS AND CLIMATE CONTROL). THE FORMATION OF THE PLANET AND THE INTERACTION WITH THE COSMIC ENVIRONMENT (METEORITES AND FORMATION OF SOLAR SYSTEM; ACCRETION OF THE EARTH AND PLANETS. THE EARTH AND METEORITES; THE EARTH-MOON SYSTEM). THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD; LYELL’s PRINCIPLES OF UNIFORMITARIANISM. THE CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF THE EARTH AND ITS DIFFERENTIATION. THE EARTH SYSTEMS AND THEIR INTERACTION: ATMOSPHERE, HYDROSPHERE, BIOSPHERE AND GEOSPHERE. PHYSIOGRAPHY OF THE EARTH: OCEANS AND CONTINENTS. THE UNIFYING THEORY: PLATE TECTONICS. ROCK FORMING MINERALS. ROCK CLASSIFICATION. IGNEOUS ROCKS: CLASSIFICATION CRITERIA. ORIGIN OF MAGMA AND ITS GEODYNAMIC MEANING. VOLCANOES: TYPES AND VOLCANIC PRODUCTS. ALTERATION PROCESSES AND THE GENESIS OF SOILS. SEDIMENTARY ROCKS: THEIR ORIGIN AND CLASSIFICATION. METAMORPHIC ROCKS: THEIR ORIGIN AND CLASSIFICATION. INTRODUCTION TO EARTHQUAKES: THEIR SIGNIFICANCE AND DISTRIBUTION, TSUNAMI. ROCK DEFORMATION: FAULT AND FOLDS. ORIGIN AND STRUCTURE OF MOUNTAIN CHAINS. THE CONCEPT OF TIME IN GEOLOGY: PRINCIPLES OF STRATIGRAPHY, THE FOSSIL RECORD, RADIOMETRIC DATING, GEOLOGICAL TIME SCALE.
PRACTICE
LABORATORY EXPERIENCES ON THE MACROSCOPIC IDENTIFICATION OF THE MAIN LITHOLOGIES AND ON THE PRINCIPLES OF CARTOGRAPHY, FOUR-DAYS FIELD TRIP IN THE PRENESTINI MTS. AND COLLI ALBANI AREAS FOCUSED ON MAPPING GEOLOGICAL STRUCTURES.
VISIT TO THE CLEMENTINA (S. MARIA DEGLI ANGELI) MERIDIAN.


Core Documentation

PRESS F. & SIEVER R. - CAPIRE LA TERRA. ZANICHELLI, BOLOGNA.
TARBUCK E.J., LUTGENS F.K. & TOZZI M. - SCIENZE DELLA TERRA. - PRINCIPATO, MILANO.
LUPIA PALMIERI E. & PAROTTO M. - IL GLOBO TERRESTRE E LA SUA EVOLUZIONE. - ZANICHELLI, BOLOGNA.
PRESS F. & SIEVER R. - UNDERSTANDING EARTH, 4A ED. (INTEGRATO CON UN CD) - FREEMAN & CO., NEW YORK.
LUTGENS F.K. & TARBUCK E.J. - ESSENTIALS OF GEOLOGY. - PEARSON INTERNATIONAL EDITION.


Type of delivery of the course

The course, which lasts one year, takes place through lectures and laboratory exercises dedicated to the recognition of rocks and the learning of techniques for the construction of geological sections. The course includes a four days field activity, dedicated to learning geological mapping.

Type of evaluation

The exam consists of a written test with the theoretical part of the program, the "Earth in Space" module and the construction of a geological section. The final evaluation will also take into account the works produced during the field activity. For the theoretical part, a mid-course exemption is provided.

FREZZOTTI MASSIMO

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