Geology 333 (ESE 333) - Earth Materials and the Environment - Spring 2016

Welcome to the Geology 333 home page. Geology 333 introduces the origin, occurrence, and identification of minerals, soils, and rocks as well as the nature and origin of ore deposits. Throughout the course we discuss the environmental importance of these earth materials.
Choose from the topics below:

  • Lecture Note Summaries
  • Lab Schedule, Notes, and Exercises - Optical Microscopy and Minerals and Rocks in Thin Section - This Web page is GREAT for review associated with Labs involving the petrographic microscope (#5 - 10)
  • Course Information
  • Lecture Homework - #1 is completed; #2 is completed; #3 is completed; #4 is completed; #5 is completed; Homework #6 and #7 are canceled (see announcement below).
  • Wiki Project Instructions - Oral Presentations are completed; Reflection is completed
  • Web Links
  • Final Exam Information

  • Announcements

    Final Exam Scores and Final Grades

    Final exam scores and final grades are now available in Illinois Compass Grade Center. Your total percentage score is in a column Final % Score (with Lecture Attendance Penalty and Bonus Lecture Attendance Points) and your final letter grade is in a column Final Letter Grade.

    Final Exam Results
    Class Average  = 82.1%, Range = 93.75 - 69.45% 

    Wiki Project - Final Wrap-Up

    I am very pleased with the quality of most of the Wiki projects including final drafts, oral presentations, and reflections. Most were excellent to outstanding! Your individual scores for the Wiki projects (including final drafts, oral presentations, and reflections) are visible in Illinois Compass Grade Center. The class average score for the final draft of their wiki project is 53 out of 55 points (96%) with a range of 37 to 60. Detailed comments about your final draft of the Wiki are available in private Discussion Forum associated with each Wiki project. Please see me if you have questions about my comments. The class average score for the oral presentations is 24.6 out of 25 points (98%) with a range of 22.5 to 25. The class average score for the individual reflections is 11 out of 10 points with a range of 10 to 12. The class average score for the entire Wiki project is 96% with a range of 79% to 104%. FANTASTIC JOB!

    The mineral or rock resources identified by students as an impending mineral crisis include: gold (listed by 100% of students), lead (listed by 75% of students), diamonds (listed by 67% of students), copper (listed by 58% of students), rare earth elements (listed by 42% of students), titanium and phosphate rock (listed by 33% of students), asbestos (listed by 25% of students), iron ore (listed by 17% of students), and lithium (listed by 8% of students).

    The most popular Wiki in terms of content was a tie between lead and rare earth elements, which each received 25% of the votes and the most popular Wiki in terms of presentation (or some students interpreted it as the most popular oral presentation) was a tie between crushed rock and gold, which each received 25% of the votes.

    Homework #6 (Limestone Quarry Siting) and Homework #7 (Engineering Strength of Earth Materials) - Canceled

    Homework # 6 (Limestone Quarry Siting) is canceled because the Web site used in that assignment no longer exists. Homework #7 (Engineering Strength of Earth Materials) and the lecture on Engineering Strength of Earth Materials are canceled because we are running one class behind schedule in Lecture. We will have Lecture class on April 27. The GEOL 333 Lecture homework grade (worth 10% of your total grade) is now based on five assignments rather than seven assignments

    Photos and Virtual Field Trip Web Sites to Starved Rock Park area, IL

    Here are links to photos and a video from the GEOL 333 field trip to the Starved Rock Park area, courtesy of Haley (group photo) and Henrique  (elusive toad, Matthiessen Canyon 1, Matthiessen Canyon 2, Matthiessen Canyon 3, Matthiessen Canyon-from above, live action in fast motion-Matthiessen Canyon). Thanks, Haley and Henrique! Also, here are a couple of links to Web sites with excellent collections of photos from Geology field trips to the Starved Rock Park area: GEOL 380 (Environmental Geology) in spring, 2009, Illinois Valley Community College, and Ellin Bettis. Also, you can find a guidebook (written by Prof. Altaner) to a geology field trip associated with a scientific conference by clicking here.

    Wiki Project - Feedback on First Draft

    Most students made a good effort in the first draft of their Wiki Projects. The class average was 6.9 out of 10 points and the range in scores was 4 - 9. Individual scores are in the Illinois Compass 2g Grade Center and my detailed comments are in the private Discussion Board associated with your Wiki Project. I also wrote detailed comments on printed copies of the Wiki and returned them to individual students in class on Monday, March 28.

    Some of the common types of feedback on the first draft of the Wiki projects include: most Wikis need more information about the geologic formation of their ore deposit (good resources for this information are the textbooks by Craig et al., 2011, Earth Resources and the Environment and Kesler, 1994, Mineral Resources and the Environment; both are on reserve for GEOL 333 in Grainger Library), all Wikis could benefit by additional figures (some Wiki figures also need numbers, captions, and reference numbers), some Wikis need an effective title (which should be informative, interesting, and brief), most Wikis had references that needed the correct format (All references to Web sites should include a title, URL, sponsor, time and date accessed, and 1-sentence description of Web site), many Wikis need more information about relevant principles (e.g., list atomic number for elements and relevant physical and chemical properties), many Wikis need more information about the mining, processing or environmental impact of mining and processing their mineral, several Wikis need graphs of world and US production or price of their mineral over time, most Wikis need a table with the top 2 - 4 producing countries and states of their mineral (list production values and year of production data), many Wikis need values for world reserves AND resources of their mineral, many Wikis need to discuss recycling of and possible substitutes for their mineral, and all Wikis need to polish their formatting and writing mechanics.

    The final draft of the Wiki project is due by 10 am on Friday, April 22.

    Below is a schedule of rock and mineral resource assignments:

     Mineral/Rock Resource



     Colin Winter


     Matthew Felch


    Tara Lopez

     Crushed Stone (aggregate)

    Andrew Garcia


     Jameson Yong


     Jacob Henss

     Iron Ore

     Henrique Menezes


     Raymond Rummel


     Thomas Buckley

     Phosphate Rock

     Adam Corrie

     Rare Earth Elements

     Alexandra Peredna


     Samuel Shaw

    Midterm Exam - Class Results

    A = 103 - 90% (17% of class)
    B = 89 - 80% (8% of class)
    C = 79 - 70% (42% of class)
    D = 69 - 60% (0% of class)
    F = <60% (25% of class)

    Range = 103 - 55.25%

    Average score = 77.3%

    The question sheet and answer key for Midterm Exam are on reserve in Grainger Engineering Library (1301 W. Springfield Ave., Urbana).

    Recommendations for Editing Compass Wiki

    To reduce editing problems in your Wiki, donít insert MS Word-created tables or MS Excel-created graphs into the Compass Wiki. Instead, either create the table within the Compass Wiki or copy a table or graph that was saved as a .txt file using Notepad (PC) or TextEdit (Mac) or Save As Text file command within MS Word or Excel.

    While editing their Compass Wiki, some students have had problems that involve being unable to submit any changes to their Wiki and the Wiki erasing all of the information contained in it. If this happens to you, itís possible that you have reached a maximum character limit for Wikis on Compass. In this case follow these instructions:

    1) Restore the most recent older version of your Wiki.
    2) Create a second page for your Wiki and put ~half of your content on the second page.

    Lab Notes, Lab Exercise, and Textbook by Klein and Philpotts - Bring to Lab

    Please print Lab Notes (Summary or Powerpoint versions) and Lab Exercise before each Lab. Please bring the Klein and Philpotts textbook (Earth Materials: Introduction to Mineralogy and Petrology) to all Labs through March 29.

    Lecture Notes and Textbook by Klein and Philpotts - Bring to Lecture

    Please print Lecture Notes before each Lecture class. Please bring the Klein and Philpotts textbook (Earth Materials: Introduction to Mineralogy and Petrology) to Lecture class from Feb. 3 to April 25.

    Lab Book by MacKenzie and Adams - Unavailable to Purchase

    Unfortunately the recommended Lab book (Color Atlas of Rocks & Minerals in Thin Sections by MacKenzie and Adams) is out of print and unavailable to purchase at IUB. There is one copy of this book on reserve in Grainger Engineering Library (1301 W. Springfield, Urbana), which is open from 10 am Sunday to midnight Friday and 10 am to midnight Saturday. Also, two copies of that book will be available during all Labs involving the petrographic microscope (Feb. 16 through March 29).

    Study of Minerals (Tasa Minerals) Software - Available at any ICS Computer

    Some assigned readings and one homework assignment involve Study of Minerals software, which can be viewed at any PC computer (or Mac computer running Windows 7) in one of the ICS (Instructional Computing Services) Computer Labs including: 

    English Bldg. (Room 8, 608 S. Wright St., Urbana)
    Nevada Building (1203 1/2 W. Nevada St., Urbana)
    Oregon Building (901 W. Oregon St., Urbana)
    Illini Hall (721 S. Wright St., Champaign)
    Undergraduate Library (in upper northeast corner near Room 289)
    Wohlers Hall (Rooms 70A/B, 1206 S. Sixth St., Champaign)

    Information about ICS Computer Labs, including hours, class schedule, location map, and computers is at:
    NOTE: These facilities are used for academic classes. All or part of the facility may be reserved and unavailable for your use at times during the day, so make sure to check the schedule before going to the room.

    To do an assigned reading, you need to start the Study of Minerals program in any PC computer (or Mac computer running Windows 7) in one of the ICS Computer Labs by first clicking on the Windows icon (lower left side) and then clicking on the following links: All Programs, Class Software, GEOL 333, Tasa Minerals. It will take a minute or two for the computer to download the program. After a Mac computer boots up, it will first go to a gray screen with the Apple icon and then the Windows icon. Using the arrow keys toggle between them until the Windows icon is highlighted and then press Return. Ask an ICS student helper if you are unable to locate and start the Study of Minerals program.

    When you reach the Main Menu, you should click on the ? Help icon in the upper left side of the screen to review controls used to navigate through the program. Click on the left-pointing arrow on the bottom right side of the screen to return to the Main Menu. NOTE: At the Main Menu, you can change the nature of the program from Intermediate to Advanced using the toggle switch in the upper right side of the screen. All assigned readings are at the Advanced level unless it is indicated in the syllabus with Intermed. Click on one of the Chapter boxes to begin the text part of the program. After you finish the assigned reading or homework assignment, click on the Menu box to return to the Main Menu. Click on the Quit button to exit the program. Finally, click on the LOGOFF button (upper right side) and then click on Yes.

    Geology 333 is taught by Prof. Stephen Altaner
    27 Computing Applications Bldg. (CAB, 605 E. Springfield, Champaign), mailbox outside 156 CAB, 244-1244, e-mail:
    Office hours = Tuesday 1 - 2 PM, Thursday 11 AM - noon, or by appointment

    Lab Instructor is Haley Cabaniss
    70 CAB, mailbox in 144 CAB,
    Office hours = Thursday 2 - 4 PM or by appointment