Geology 333 (ESE 333) - Earth Materials and the Environment
General Course Information - Spring, 2017

Lecture = MWF 10 - 10:50 am, 220 Davenport Hall
Lecture Instructor = Prof. Stephen Altaner, 27 Computing Applications Bldg. (CAB, 605 E. Springfield, Champaign), mailbox outside 156 CAB, 244-1244,
Office hours = Tuesday 1 - 2 PM, Thursday 11 AM - noon, or by appointment

Lab = Tuesday, 10 - 11:50 AM, 69 CAB
Lab Instructor = Haley Cabaniss, 70 CAB, mailbox in 144 CAB,
Office hours = Friday noon - 2 PM or by appointment

Course Objectives
Geology 333 introduces origin, occurrence, and identification of minerals, soils, and rocks as well as the nature and origin of ore deposits. Throughout the course we will discuss environmental importance of these earth materials.


Books and Articles on Reserve in Grainger Engineering Library (1301 W. Springfield, Urbana)
Chang, L. L. Y. (2002) Industrial Mineralogy: Materials, Processes and Uses. Prentice-Hall, 472 pp.
Chernicoff, S., Whitney, D. (2007) Geology (4th ed.). Prentice-Hall, 679 p.
Craig J. R., Vaughn D. J., Skinner B. J. (2011) Earth Resources and the Environment (4th ed.). Prentice-Hall, 508 p.
Keller, E. A. (2008) Introduction to Environmental Geology (4th ed.). Prentice-Hall, 661 p.
Kesler, S. E. (1994) Mineral Resources and the Environment. Macmillan, 391 p.
Klein, C. Philpotts, A. (2013) Earth Materials: Introduction to Mineralogy and Petrology. Cambridge Univ., 533 p.
MacKenzie, W. S., Adams, A. E. (1994) A Colour Atlas of Rocks and Minerals in Thin Section. Manson, 192 p.
Marshak, S. (2011) Earth: Portrait of a Planet (4th ed.). Norton, 736 p.

Study of Minerals/Tasa Minerals Software

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.

Class Web Site
The GEOL 333 Web site, <>, contains important class information including summaries of Lecture and Lab notes, Lab Exercises, some of the Lecture and Lab homework assignments, syllabus, announcements, exam information, and links to many useful Web sites.

Illinois Compass 2g Web Site
Two of the Lecture homework assignments, the Wiki Group project, and grades are available at the Illinois Compass 2g Web site for GEOL 333:  <>.  Use your University Network ID and University Password to log onto the Illinois Compass 2g Web site and then click on the link Spring 2017-GEOL 333-Earth Materials and the Environment-GEOL 333 + ESE 333. To view your grades, click on the My Grades link on the left side.

Geology Virtual Library Web Site
The Geology Library has a Web site to help GEOL 333 students find many Library resources at: <>

Lecture Exams (2) = 30%
Wiki Group Project = 10% (First draft of Wiki = 10 points, Final draft of Wiki = 55 points, Oral presentation = 25 points, Reflection = 10 points)
Lecture Homework = 10%
Field Trip Notes = 10%
Lab Assignments (Exercises, Quizzes, Presentation, and Final Exam) = 40%
Lecture Attendance (1% penalty subtracted from your total percentage score for each unexcused Lecture class absence; you are allowed three unexcused absences)
The plus/minus grading system will be used.

Labs involve hands-on identification of minerals and rocks. You will complete the assigned in-class exercise during Lab and hand in the completed assignment at the end of the Lab period unless Haley approves a later completion date. The first seven Labs will begin with a short quiz based on the assigned reading or information from the previous Lab. On April 4, each student will give a short presentation on a specific soil type. Details about the presentation will be available in Lab a few weeks before the presentation. On April 18, there will be a geology field trip to a coal outcrop called a cyclothem. The field trip will leave at 9:55 AM and return at ~11:55 AM. If you need to use the Lab room (69 CAB) outside of normal Lab hours, you can use your I-card in the door lock. If you do use 69 CAB outside of normal Lab hours, then you must lock the room whenever you leave and you must clean up and put things away before you leave.

There are two exams, each are worth 15% of your grade. One exam is given during class hours on Feb. 24 and one during finals week on May 12 at 1:30 - 4:30 PM. The final exam covers only the last half of the semester. Exam format is multiple-choice, true-false, matching, and short answer questions, which usually can be answered with a few words or sentences, or up to one - two paragraphs. More specific information about exams will be given closer to each exam time.

Lecture Homework
There are six homework exercises involving the Internet, Study of Minerals software (available only at any ICS Computer Lab), and questions for thought. Topics and due dates for homework exercises are: Jan. 27 = Gems and Mineral Mining; Feb. 6 = Mineral Resources; Feb. 15 = Gold Mining and Sustainability; March 1 = Plate Tectonics and Meteorite Impact Craters; April 6 = Soils and Sustainability; 4/28 = Engineering Strengths of Earth Materials. One class period before it is due, the homework will be available at the homepage of the Class Web site or the Illinois Compass 2g Web site (Homework #3 and #5 only).

Wiki Project
Working in a team of 2 (or possibly 3) students, you will explore an important rock or mineral resource in detail and then write a summary of your findings. You will study one of 10 rock and mineral resources from the following list: aluminum, copper, crushed stone (aggregate), diamond, gold, iron ore, lead, lithium, phosphate rock, and rare earth elements. Your written summary, which will be posted on the Illinois Compass 2g Class Wiki space, will examine the importance, nature, origin, production, and uses of a specific rock or mineral resource. In addition, you will identify the top countries in terms of production and consumption of a specific rock or mineral resource, along with reasons for their high ranking. Finally, you will evaluate the environmental impacts of producing a specific rock or mineral resource as well as sustainable solutions to those impacts. The text part of your rock or mineral resource summary should be 600 - 1,200 words in length. Figures, tables, and references do not count towards the total word count. You must list several references as sources of your information. References to websites must include the URL (the Web site's address), title, and the Web site's sponsor. All figures must have a reference. Write in your own words; plagiarism (representing someone else's words or ideas as your own) will be penalized severely.

You will submit a complete first draft, about which Prof. Altaner will provide detailed feedback. The final draft should incorporate changes recommended by Prof. Altaner.  Grades will be based on the content and presentation of your Wiki as well as mechanics of your writing, i.e., spelling and grammar. During Lecture class on April 28, May 1, and May 3, each group will give a 10 - 13 minute oral presentation, which will be based on the information in your Wiki.  The first draft of the Wiki is worth 10 points, the final draft of the Wiki is worth 55 points, the oral presentation is worth 25 points, and the reflection is worth 10 points. In the reflection exercise, you will review the summaries of other rock and mineral resources developed by your fellow students. Report and presentation deadlines are listed below:

 Information Required  Deadline
 First Draft of Wiki  March 13
 Final Draft of Wiki  April 21
 Oral Presentation  April 28, May 1, and May 3
 Wiki Reflection
 May 3

Field Trip
Everyone will participate in an all-day field trip on Saturday, April 22 from 7:25 AM - ~6 PM. We will travel to north-central Illinois, visit three scenic state parks (Starved Rock, Matthiessen, and Buffalo Rock), and examine Paleozoic sedimentary rocks deposited 300 - 450 million years ago, glacial deposits from the Ice Age, steep-walled canyons, waterfalls, and a reclaimed strip mine for coal. Also, there will be an opportunity to collect fossils. There will be one strenuous hike of ~2 miles in length. The purpose of the trip is to learn about the geologic history of the Midwest and to identify and interpret geologic features in the field. During the trip, students will take notes, which will be handed in at the end of the trip and graded. Students will need to bring a sack lunch. To cover transportation in University vehicles there is a fee of $20, which is deducted from your student financial account when you add this course. The Dept. of Geology has subsidized 30% of field trip costs. Additional details will be announced closer to the field trip date.

Lecture Attendance
Students are allowed to miss three Lecture class periods without an official excuse, e.g., verified family emergency or illness.  If a student misses more than 3 Lecture class periods without an official excuse, then one point per unexcused absence will be deducted from their total percentage score for the course. For example, if you have 6 unexcused absences and your total percentage score is 92% (A-), then after adjusting for Lecture absences, your adjusted total percentage score is 89% (B+). Fractions of a point will be deducted if a student is frequently late by a substantial amount.

Academic Integrity
Please review the academic integrity policy of the University of Illinois, found at:
The U of I academic integrity policy applies to this course. By turning in materials for review, you certify that all work presented is your own and has been done by you independently, or as a member of a designated group for group assignments. During your writing assignments, if you use the words or ideas of another writer, you must give proper acknowledgement in the form of a citation and reference. Not referencing properly is to commit plagiarism, a form of academic dishonesty. More information about proper referencing in this course will be given in the Jan. 22 Lecture on Scientific Communication. After that class, if you are not absolutely clear on what constitutes plagiarism and how to cite sources appropriately, then please ask Prof. Altaner. Please be aware that the consequences for plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty will be severe. Students who violate university standards of academic integrity are subject to disciplinary action, including a reduced grade, failure in the course, and suspension or dismissal from the University.

Disability Accommodation
To obtain appropriate accommodation, students with physical or learning disabilities must contact the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) at 1207 S. Oak St., Champaign (333-4603,, <>). Students must complete a form provided by DRES and then deliver it to the instructor explaining what accommodation is needed. No accommodation can be made without this form.

Go back to the Geology 333 Home Page.