Course Description

Geology of the National Parks, SIO 16R

An introduction to fundamental concepts of geology and environmental science through the lens of the national park system. Topics covered include the geologic time scale; plate tectonics; igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary processes; geomorphology; climate change; and environmental degradation

Key Information

Credit: 4 quarter units / 2.67 semester units credit
UC San Diego, SIO

Course Credit:

Upon successful completion, all online courses offered through cross-enrollment provide UC unit credit. Some courses are approved for GE, major preparation and/or, major credit or can be used as a substitute for a course at your campus.

If "unit credit" is listed by your campus, consult your department, academic adviser or Student Affairs division to inquire about the petition process for more than unit credit for the course.

UC Berkeley:
Unit Credit

UC Davis:
General Education: SE
Course Equivalence: GEL 025V

UC Irvine:
General Education: II - Science and Technology

UC Los Angeles:
General Education: Physical Science (non-lab)

UC Merced:
units toward degree (see your advisor)

UC Riverside:
General Education: Elective units

UC San Diego:
General Education: Warren - May be counted depending on major/PofC; TMC 1 course toward lower division disciplinary breadth if noncontiguous to major; Sixth -Analytic Methodologies; ERC- 1 Natural Science; Revelle - one course toward Natural Science; Seventh - 1 course towards Alternatives - Natural Sciences and Engineering, Sixth - 1 Analytic Methodologies;
Course Equivalence: UCSC EART 3, UCD GEL 025V

UC San Francisco:
Unit Credit

UC Santa Barbara:
General Education: Area C-Mathematics, Science, and Technology

UC Santa Cruz:
General Education: SI

More About The Course

There is a required textbook: Exploring Geology by Stephen Reynolds, Julia Johnson, Paul Morin, and Chuck Carter. You’ll be expected to read select sections of the book and the quizzes and exams will have questions from the reading. I would suggest getting the ebook or buying a used hardcopy. Copies of the 3rd, 4th or 5th edition would all be fine.

Relevant Website

Course Creators

Susan Schwartz

Susan Schwartz is a Professor in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department at UC Santa Cruz. She teaches 2 different classes designed for non-science majors, Geology of National Parks and Earthquakes. In addition, she teaches a class for undergraduate Earth Science majors called “Geologic Hazards” and a variety of graduate classes in her specialty of seismology and geophysics. Her research addresses problems in earthquake and glacier mechanics. Much of her research is accomplished through the design and implementation of field experiments. This work has taken her to many interesting places including Costa Rica, New Zealand, Alaska and Antarctica. 

Susan Schwartz is a Professor in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department at UC Santa Cruz. She teaches 2 different classes designed for non-science majors, Geology of National Parks and Earthquakes. In addition, she teaches a class for undergraduate Earth Science majors called “Geologic Hazards” and a variety of graduate classes in her specialty of seismology and geophysics. Her research ...

Susan Schwartz is a Professor in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department at UC Santa Cruz. She teaches 2 different classes designed for non-science majors, Geology of National Parks and Earthquakes. In addition, she teaches a class for undergraduate Earth Science majors called “Geologic Hazards” and a variety of graduate classes in her specialty of seismology and geophysics. Her research addresses problems in earthquake and glacier mechanics. Much of her research is accomplished through the design and implementation of field experiments. This work has taken her to many interesting places including Costa Rica, New Zealand, Alaska and Antarctica. 


David Osleger
David Osleger is a tenured lecturer in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences at UC Davis. His research interests include the record of sea-level change, energy resources, the geology of lakes (such as Tahoe), and ancient climate history.  He teaches courses on the geology of national parks, California geology, earthquakes, environmental geology, the solar system, and ‘big history.’ David Osleger is a tenured lecturer in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences at UC Davis. His research interests include the record of sea-level change, energy resources, the geology of lakes (such as Tahoe), and ancient climate history.  He teaches courses on the geology of national parks, California geology, earthquakes, environmental geology, the solar system, and ‘big history.’
Jeffrey Gee

Jeff Gee is a professor of geophysics in the Geosciences Research Division of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. His research focuses on the use of magnetic data, both remotely sensed magnetic anomaly data and the magnetization of rock samples, to understand a variety of geological problems ranging from the formation of new crust at mid-ocean ridges to documenting past variations in the geomagnetic field.  He has taught a course on the geology of national parks for more than a decade.

Jeff Gee is a professor of geophysics in the Geosciences Research Division of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. His research focuses on the use of magnetic data, both remotely sensed magnetic anomaly data and the magnetization of rock samples, to understand a variety of geological problems ranging from the formation of new crust at mid-ocean ridges to documenting past ...

Jeff Gee is a professor of geophysics in the Geosciences Research Division of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. His research focuses on the use of magnetic data, both remotely sensed magnetic anomaly data and the magnetization of rock samples, to understand a variety of geological problems ranging from the formation of new crust at mid-ocean ridges to documenting past variations in the geomagnetic field.  He has taught a course on the geology of national parks for more than a decade.


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