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Course Description

Topics that have played an important role in advancing our understanding of the Earth and how it has evolved, have initially been highly controversial and the subject of spirited debates.  Ten such topics, chosen for both historical and modern interest, will each be the subject of a lecture in this course. 1. Neptunism versus plutonism (early disputes on the origins of the most common rocks); 2. Uniformitarianism versus catastrophism (dissent on the nature of geologic history); 3. Geologic time and the age of the Earth (how far back does the history of the planet extend and how do we know); 4. Drifting continents (is Earth a stable or a very dynamic planet); 5. Mass extinctions (major transformations that changed the nature of life on Earth); 6. Tektites (pieces of glass of local or of extraterrestrial origin); 7. Diamonds (intriguing aspects of this rare but highly prized mineral); 8. Craters (circular structures of volcanic or of impact origin); 9. Changing climates (a look back in time); 10. Earth resources (future needs, limitations versus human ingenuity). Lecture (plus Questions) 
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