GEOS 312
Mass Extinctions: Patterns and Processes
Last Offered Fall 2022
Division III Writing Skills
This course is not offered in the current catalog

Class Details

Over the last 541 million years of Earth history, five major mass extinctions have occurred, each dramatically changing the makeup and course of life on our planet. During some of these events, over 75% of all marine animal species went extinct; during others, groups like the dinosaurs vanished from the planet after tens of millions of years of ecological dominance. This tutorial course will explore the idea of extinction from the evolution of the concept in human thought to current research on the mechanisms and patterns of extinctions through time. We will examine what makes an extinction “mass”, delve into the causes and consequences of the major mass extinction events of the Phanerozoic, and discuss the potential human-induced “6th extinction” event occurring in the present day. This course is in the Sediments and Life group for the Geosciences major.
The Class: Format: tutorial; Weekly 1-hour tutorial meetings with pairs of students; one required all-day field trip.
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1341
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: four 4-5-page papers, one revision, tutorial presentations, the student's effectiveness as a critic, and 1 problem set
Prerequisites: GEOS 107 or GEOS 212; or permission of instructor + any 200 level GEOS course
Enrollment Preferences: Geosciences majors
Distributions: Division III Writing Skills
WS Notes: This is a tutorial that involves students writing 4 original response papers and one substantial revision to their writing.
Attributes: GEOS Group B Electives - Sediments + Life

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