Geology 333 (ESE 333) - Earth Materials and the Environment - Spring 2017

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 will be available on April 5.
  • Wiki Project Instructions - Final Draft of Wiki is due by 10 am, Friday (April 21)
  • Web Links

  • Announcements

    No Lecture Class - Friday, March 17 and Monday, April 3

    As scheduled in the syllabus, there is no Lecture class on Friday, March 17 and on Monday, April 3. These canceled classes are offset by the extra classes that occurred on Jan. 26 and Feb. 2.

    Lab #11 - Student Presentations on 12 Soil Orders
    April 4 (10 am - noon, 69 CAB)

    There are twelve individual student presentations. Length is 3 - 5 minutes (enforced strictly) followed by several minutes of questions. Make sure to describe following:
    • Soil Order Characteristics - presence and development of soil horizons, soil fertility, other significant soil properties, and characteristic age, vegetation and soil minerals, if applicable
    • Environment of Formation - features of climate, bedrock composition and topography, if applicable
    • Distribution in USA and World - Locations in USA and world where soil order occurs and why it occurs there
    A typed outline of presentation is required at the time of your presentation. Give an effective presentation, including good opening and closing and good organization. Practice your presentation to be within time guidelines and improve delivery. Prof. Altaner will attend these presentations. Click here for detailed instructions including Web site references.

    Schedule of Presentations = Mollisol, Alfisol, Spodosol, Entisol, Inceptisol, Gelisol, Andisol, Aridisol, Histosol, Vertisol, Ultisol, Oxisol. Click here for a presentation schedule that includes student names.

    Powerpoint Presentations and Handouts - Send Powerpoint file to Haley by 5 pm on Monday, April 3 so that she can load the file onto her laptop computer. If you do not meet the 5 pm, April 4 deadline, then you cannot give a Powerpoint presentation. Give your Powerpoint file a descriptive name that includes your soil order and your last name, e.g., Histosol_Altaner.  Be prepared to give your presentation even if computer projection equipment does not work. Provide Haley with copy ready materials by Noon on Monday, April 3, if you want black and white handouts to distribute to audience or overhead transparencies.

    Wiki Group Project - Detailed Feedback by Monday (March 27)

    Prof. Altaner expects to provide detailed feedback on all the Wiki Group Projects by Monday, March 27. There will be general comments posted in the private Discussion Board associated with each Wiki Project and specific comments written directly on printed copies of the Wiki.

    Below is a schedule of rock and mineral resource assignments:

     Mineral/Rock Resource



     Manisha Balakumar, Victoria Figueroa


     Nicolaus Gamsby, Jordan Jauch


     Emma Hoffmann, Andony Landivar-Macias


     Joanna Krueger, Erin Slifer


     Wesley Pesantez, Tomasz Rutkowski

     Iron Ore

     Madeleine McGrady, Chaz Yankowski


     Tucker Bowman, Morgan Kaplan


     Michelle Frankel, Joshua Garay

     Phosphate Rock

     Hannah Blomberg, Rodrigo Fernandez Santoyo

     Rare Earth Elements

     Raymond Bizot, Lamanda Fox

    Midterm Exam - Class Results

    A = 102.5 - 90% (40% of class)
    B = 89 - 80% (10% of class)
    C = 79 - 70% (30% of class)
    D = 69 - 60% (10% of class)
    F = <60% (10% of class)
    Range = 102.5 - 56.3%
    Average score = 82.6%
    • Individual scores for Midterm Exam are in Compass Grade Center.
    • The question booklet and answer key for the Midterm Exam are on reserve in Grainger Engineering Library (1301 W. Springfield Ave., Urbana).
    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 28.

    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. 1 to April 24.

    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. 14 through March 28).

    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 Building (Room 8, 608 S. Wright St., U) - this Lab is a general access lab and so it is never reserved for classes
    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: All of these facilities, except for the English Building Lab, 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 = Friday noon - 2 PM or by appointment