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Science, Grade 9 - 12, Geology Elective, 2005

1.) Describe Earth's layers, including the lithosphere, asthenosphere, outer core, and inner core.

•  Identifying methods for determining the composition of Earth's lithosphere
Example: collection and analysis of rocks and minerals

•  Describing the composition of Earth's lithosphere
Example: granitic and basaltic rocks

•  Relating the types of lithosphere to tectonic plates
Examples: granitic lithosphere with continental plates, basaltic lithosphere with oceanic plates

•  Comparing the temperature, density, and composition of Earth's crust to that of the mantle and outer and inner cores
2.) Relate the concept of equilibrium to geological processes, including plate tectonics and stream flow.

Examples: stream channel on a slope, movement of tectonic plates, convection within Earth

3.) Explain natural phenomena that shape the surface of Earth, including rock cycles, plate motions and interactions, erosion and deposition, volcanism, earthquakes, weathering, and tides.

4.) Describe the topography of the sea floor and the continents.

•  Describing the formation of continental shelves
•  Explaining changes of continental topography caused by erosion and uplift
Example: formation of southern Appalachian Mountains in Alabama

5.) Classify rocks as sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic.

•  Identifying characteristics of extrusive and intrusive igneous rocks
•  Describing mineral composition and chemical elements of rocks
•  Describing characteristics of clastic, organic, and chemical sedimentary rocks
•  Explaining texture and composition of rocks
6.) Explain the concept of geological time within the framework of the geologic time scale.

•  Describing how sedimentary rocks provide a record of evolutionary change
•  Describing the role of fossils in determining the age of strata
•  Identifying geological time scales, including eon, era, period, and epoch
•  Identifying relative and absolute dating methods
7.) Describe processes of rock formation.

Examples: cooling, deposition

•  Explaining factors that control texture and composition of rocks
Examples: formation depth, formation size, chemical composition

•  Describing processes of fossil formation
8.) Explain interactions among topography, climate, organic activity, time, and parent material through which soils are created.

9.) Describe the movement and storage of water in terms of watersheds, rainfall, surface runoff, aquifers, and surface water reservoirs.

•  Identifying major regional and national watersheds
10.) Explain the mechanism of plate tectonics.

•  Explaining processes that cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions
•  Identifying Earth's main tectonic plates
•  Describing faults and folds and their relationships to tectonic forces
•  Describing technologies used to measure and forecast earthquakes and volcanic eruptions
11.) Identify mass movements, including topples, slides, spreads, and flows.

12.) Identify natural subsurface openings, including lava tubes, solution cavities, and caves.

•  Explaining the process that leads to sinkholes in karst development
13.) Describe the formation and characteristics of river systems.

•  Explaining the formation of alluvial fans
•  Identifying natural events and man-made structures that affect rivers
Examples:

- natural events—weather, construction of dams by beavers;

- man-made structures—levees, dams

14.) Explain the interaction of the continuous processes of waves, tides, and winds with the coastal environment.

•  Identifying the impact of periodic weather phenomena on coastal regions
Examples: hurricanes destroying sand dunes, El Niño or La Niña redefining shorelines

•  Identifying the positive and negative impact of humans on coastal regions
Examples:

- positive—shoreline protection,

- negative—buildings replacing protective dunes and barriers

15.) Identify geological regions in Alabama and the southeastern United States.

•  Identifying geological ages of Alabama rocks
•  Describing characteristics of geological regions within Alabama
•  Identifying earthquake zones in Alabama
•  Identifying types of rocks in Alabama
•  Identifying areas of Alabama that have sinkholes and caves
•  Identifying varying seasonal rainfall patterns throughout Alabama
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