Approved by University Studies Sub-Committee.  A2C2  action pending.




Department GEOSCIENCE____________________________ Date ____2 April, 2003__________

___340_______________ ___Sedimentology & Stratigraphy_________________ _________4___

Course No. Course Name Credits

This proposal is for a(n) __XX___ Undergraduate Course

Applies to: __XX__ Major __XX___ Minor

__XX_ Required __XX_ Required

_____ Elective _____ Elective

University Studies (A course may be approved to satisfy only one set of outcomes.):

Course Requirements:

Basic Skills: Arts & Science Core: Unity and Diversity:

_____ 1. College Reading and Writing _____ 1. Humanities _____ 1. Critical Analysis

_____ 2. Oral Communication _____ 2. Natural Science _____ 2. Science and Social Policy

_____ 3. Mathematics _____ 3. Social Science _____ 3. a. Global Perspectives

_____ 4. Physical Development & Wellness _____ 4. Fine & Performing Arts _____ b. Multicultural Perspectives

_____ 4. a. Contemporary Citizenship

_____ b. Democratic Institutions

Flagged Courses: __XX_ 1. Writing

_____ 2. Oral Communication

_____ 3. a. Mathematics/Statistics

_____ b. Critical Analysis

Prerequisites ____GEOS 220 and ENG 111_________________________________________________________

Provide the following information (attach materials to this proposal):

Please see "Directions for the Department" on previous page for material to be submitted.

Attach a University Studies Approval Form.

Department Contact Person for this Proposal:

___Dr. Jim Meyers________________________X5266 _______________jmeyers@winona.edu__________

Name (please print) Phone e-mail address



Routing form for University Studies Course approval. Course__GEOS 340________

Department Recommendation _XX__ Approved _____ Disapproved

_________________________________ __2 April, 2003_____ ___csumma@winona.edu____________________

Department Chair Date e-mail address

Dean’s Recommendation _____ Approved _____ Disapproved*

_________________________________ ________________

Dean of College Date

*In the case of a dean’s recommendation to disapprove a proposal, a written rationale for the recommendation to disapprove shall

be provided to the University Studies Subcommittee.

USS Recommendation _____ Approved _____ Disapproved _____ No recommendation

_________________________________ ________________

University Studies Director Date

A2C2 Recommendation _____ Approved _____ Disapproved

_________________________________ ________________

Chair of A2C2 Date

Faculty Senate Recommendation _____ Approved _____ Disapproved

_________________________________ ________________

President of Faculty Senate Date

Academic Vice President Recommendation _____ Approved _____ Disapproved

_________________________________ ________________

Academic Vice President Date

Decision of President _____ Approved _____ Disapproved

_________________________________ ________________

President Date

Please forward to Registrar.

Registrar _________________ Please notify department chair via e-mail that curricular change has been recorded.

Date entered

GEOS 340 – Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

University Studies Writing Flag

Winona State University

The purpose of the Writing Flag requirement is to reinforce the outcomes specified

for the basic skills area of writing. These courses are intended to provide contexts,

opportunities, and feedback for students writing with discipline-specific texts, tools,

and strategies. These courses should emphasize writing as essential to academic

learning and intellectual development.

Courses can merit the Writing Flag by demonstrating that section enrollment will allow

for clear guidance, criteria, and feedback for the writing assignments; that the

course will require a significant amount of writing to be distributed throughout the

semester; that writing will comprise a significant portion of the students’ final course

grade; and that students will have opportunities to incorporate readers’ critiques of

their writing.

Geoscience 340 is a required core course for all geoscience major options and for Earth Science Teaching

majors. This course is designed as a lecture and field oriented laboratory course. Students are engaged in

three lecture/discussion sessions each week, and also work outdoors during each week's laboratory session

to solve a semester-long class research problem in the sedimentology and stratigraphy of a local rock unit.

The course is usually taken at the junior or senior level and is considered one of the main geoscience courses

in which our students conduct and present their research in a formal written report. To that end, writing

assignments are given on a weekly basis, beginning early in the semester, in order to prepare the students

for their final opus. Bi-weekly summary papers are prepared, based on reading of journal articles; twice

weekly essays are written based on "warm-up" questions posted on the web; laboratory reports include

written components on methods, data, and interpretations; exams are primarily essay-based and require

students to employ critical thinking to explain phenomena in the field of sedimentology and stratigraphy. In

addition to the more traditional writing assignments, it is critically important that students become familiar

with writing in the field. All students in this course are required to keep a detailed field notebook

documenting the results of their weekly field observations, and to periodically complete field reports

summarizing their work on different phases of the field project throughout the semester. The field notes

must follow a standard format, which is attached to this syllabus. The final writing assignment is a twenty

to thirty page research paper based on students’ field, laboratory, and library research conducted

throughout the semester. For all writing assignments, instructor feedback is provided. For some writing

assignments, peer feedback is given. And for some writing assignments, including the final research paper,

students are required to revise their work, based on instructor’s editorial comments.

Writing flag courses must include requirements and learning activities that promote

students' abilities to...

a. practice the processes and procedures for creating and completing successful

writing in their fields;

A basic form of writing in the geological sciences is the completion of the field notebook. Students must

learn how to detail their observations in the field. This is as much an exercise in writing as it is an exercise

in learning to observe carefully and completely, because one cannot write of description of something one has

not observed. Students take field notes each week, which are collected and reviewed regularly by the course

instructor (as often as weekly by some instructors and with each project by other instructors in the

department). Data collection in the field takes place most weeks during the semester (weather permitting).

When notebooks are collected, they are checked for completeness of recorded observations and

organization, following a prescribed format (see appendix of syllabus); if incomplete and/or poorly organized,

students are required to return to the field to complete the assignment. In this manner, students are

effectively given the opportunity to create multiple edited drafts of their work. From these field notes,

students are asked to write summary field reports that synthesize their findings. Reports follow a standard

geologic format, requiring students to become familiar with the style of writing common to one part of the

geologic literature.

A second writing skill that geoscience students are required to develop is preparing well written, concise

summaries of articles from the scientific literature. Preparation of these summaries not only develops a

concise, well-organized approach to scientific writing, but also requires students to learn to use geoscience

literature databases, read journal articles and learn to extract the most important points from scientific

papers. These assignments are given on an every-other-week basis, and the instructor edits each paper

carefully, so that substantial feedback is provided for the student to continue to improve this skill.

A third writing skill that this course emphasizes is the preparation of short essays based upon daily

questions posed by the instructor. These exercises are referred to as "warm-ups" and are administered via

the course web page (see web reference

Students prepare these essays in advance of discussion of the topic in class, thereby providing them the

opportunity to think through the problem independently. Their essays also reveal misconceptions, and areas

of misunderstanding in their developing knowledge base, enabling the instructor to focus on those problems

during the subsequent lecture and discussion session. Following the completion of each warm-up, the

instructor provides each student with an example essay, showing how the thought process can be best

organized to convey understanding in a written form.

Students in sedimentology and stratigraphy also use a fourth technique that further develops their writing

skills. A significant portion of each exam requires students to write extended essays using critical thinking

to solve geologic problems (see appendix of syllabus). These exams are given in a three-hour period, and

allow the students sufficient time to write and rewrite their answers before final submission. Sometimes

these exams permit the students to use reference material, and sometimes they do not. The instructor

provides each student with substantial written feedback on each of their essays, and discusses shortcomings

and ways to correct them.

Finally, students in this course prepare a research paper based upon their semester-long field, laboratory,

and library research. The format of the paper follows a prescribed style manual (see appendix of syllabus),

and is evaluated according to a standardized set of criteria, given to the students in advance of their

writing. The completion of the paper follows a schedule that keeps students on task, and the instructor

evaluates each student’s work during each phase of the completion schedule (see appendix of syllabus).

b. understand the main features and uses of writing in their fields;

Writing in the geological sciences takes on many forms dependent upon the purpose of the communication. In

this course, we focus on:

1. field reporting

2. paraphrasing papers from the geological literature

3. preparing essays in "warm-ups" and on exams to convey knowledge of content and the use of critical

thinking to solve problems based on scientific reasoning

4. completion of a research paper summarizing the results of a scientific study involving field, laboratory,

and library research

c. adapt their writing to the general expectations of readers in their fields;

Scientific writing (and writing in the geosciences) is very different from writing in other disciplines. It is

seldom in the first person, it focuses on the active voice, it requires the use of complex terminology, and it

makes extensive use of maps, cross sections, diagrams, photographs, graphs, charts, and tables. And there

are the all important field notes that begin the process.

By requiring a specific and common format for field notes and scientific reports and teaching students the

boundaries of flexibility in taking field notes, students learn the expectations of field data collection and

research reporting in the discipline. They also learn that the formats they are required to follow are the

norm in the discipline when they see them in print as they read the geologic literature.

In the sedimentology and stratigraphy course, students begin to learn these expectations not only in the

field, but also by doing extensive reading in the geologic literature. They use computer databases to search

the literature, they choose and read journal articles, and prepare summary papers of the works they read.

This process familiarizes them with the style of writing and presentation of data required in the

geosciences. Students then put these skills to use in writing a research paper based upon their original field,

laboratory and library research.

d. make use of the technologies commonly used for research and writing in their


Field reports and data analysis are done using computers; students work primarily with MS Word and Excel in

this course, but also make use of specific geologic software that allows for the presentation of rose

diagrams and stereonets (graphic representation of field measurements). Students also use drawing

programs to prepare their illustrations, and also make use of digital photography to insert pictures into the

text of their research papers. There is a strong component of library work required in this course.

Students use the geologic literature database GEOREF, available through the library, to choose papers to

read for their literature summaries. They also use this database to research the literature dealing with the

project they are working on in the field and laboratory. For this work, students prepare annotated

bibliographies that are critiqued by the instructor.

e. learn the conventions of evidence, format, usage, and documentation in their


The requirement that students turn in their field notebooks multiple times during the semester helps ensure

that they learn to adopt the format, usage, and styles of evidence presentation and documentation required

in the discipline.

Extensive reading in the geologic literature, writing summary papers of these articles, and reviewing peer

and instructor’s critique of summary papers also teaches students how professionals gather and use evidence

to reach their conclusions. These reading exercises also teach students how professionals document their

interpretations by presenting a complete and accurate database, and by using formal documentation of

related papers in the geologic literature, following a style that is standard for the field of sedimentology and


Students begin to practice these skills in more formal writing by completion of the field reports, which

require clear presentation of field evidence to support conclusions. Each report follows a standard format,

usage, and documentation procedure, which mimics that found in the geologic literature. Paraphrasing of

papers from the literature also helps students learn how data is used and cited to make interpretations.

Finally, preparation of the final research report gives students the opportunity to use all their skills in

writing what is probably their first full-blown scientific paper.

Sample Syllabus


FALL, 2002


PA 114-H 457-5266


The fundamental purpose of the course is understanding and application of principles by which we:

(1) interpret source, depositional processes, environment of deposition and diagenesis of sediment and

sedimentary rocks.

(2) interpret the stratigraphic record in terms of the tectonic, climatic and depositional history of

sedimentary basins

(3) to fulfill a writing flag requirement in the University Studies Program, by reinforcing outcomes specified

for the basic skills area of writing. This course will provide contexts, opportunities, and feedback for

students writing with discipline-specific texts, tools, and strategies. The course will emphasize writing as

essential to academic learning and intellectual development.

Courses can merit the Writing Flag by demonstrating that section enrollment will allow for clear guidance,

criteria, and feedback for the writing assignments; that the course will require a significant amount of

writing to be distributed throughout the semester; that writing will comprise a significant portion of the

students’ final course grade; and that students will have opportunities to incorporate readers’ critiques of

their writing.

The course will enable students to

a. practice the processes and procedures for creating and completing successful writing in their fields;

b. understand the main features and uses of writing in their fields;

c. adapt their writing to the general expectations of readers in their fields;

d. make use of the technologies commonly used for research and writing in their fields;

e. learn the conventions of evidence, format, usage, and documentation in their fields.

These outcomes will be noted by letter at appropriate points in the syllabus where specific requirements of

the course accomplish those goals.

Course Outline

I. Processes and responses in derivation,

transport, deposition and

diagenesis of sediment

A. Introduction (p. xiii-17)

B. Weathering and derivation of sediment (p.


C. Transport and deposition of siliciclastic

sediment (p. 26-41)

1. Fluid flow and particle transport

2. Gravitational flow

D. Sedimentary structures (p. 42-65 and

outside reading)

1. Primary physical structures

a. bedforms and the concept of flow regime

b. stratification types

2. Soft-sediment deformation structures

3. Biogenic structures

II. Siliciclastic sediments

A. Conglomerates (p. 66-78)

1. Composition

2. Texture

a. grain size

b. grain shape

c. surface texture

3. Classification and occurrence

B. Sandstones (p. 78-101)

1. Composition

2. Texture

a. grain size

b. grain shape

c. surface texture

3. Classification and occurrence

C. Mudrocks (p. 102-119)

1. Composition

2. Origin and occurrence

D. Diagenesis (p. 120-135)

1. Compaction

2. Cementation

3. Recrystallization and Replacement

4. Diagenetic histories

E. Siliciclastic depositional environments

1. Terrestrial (p. 136-167)

a. alluvial fans

b. fluvial systems

i. braided

ii. meandering

c. lacustrine

d. eolian

2. Coastal (p. 168-195)

a. deltas

b. peritidal

c. barrier complexes

3. Marine (196-227)

a. shelf

b. slope and rise

c. pelagic

III. Biogenic, chemical and other nonsiliciclastic

sedimentary rocks

A. Carbonate rocks (p. 230-253)

1. Carbonate mineral chemistry and carbonate


2. Controls on carbonate deposition

3. Limestone components and classification

4. Limestone diagenesis

5. Dolomite and dolomitization

B. Carbonate depositional environments (p.


1. Peritidal

2. Subtidal shelf

3. Reefs and buildups

C. Other biogenic rocks (p. 282-295)

1. Chert

2. Phosphorites

3. Organic-rich sediments

D. Chemical and non-epiclastic sedimentary

rocks (296-323)

1. Solution geochemistry

2. Iron-rich sedimentary rocks

3. Evaporites

4. Volcanogenic sedimentary rocks

IV. Stratigraphy

A. Lithostratigraphy (p. 324-367)

1. Facies

2. Transgression and regression

3. Framework for accumulation

4. Gaps in the record

5. Catastrophic uniformitarianism

6. Correlation

7. The nature of the control

a. cycles

b. event-stratigraphy

8. Time, time-rock and rock units and the

stratigraphic code

B. Biostratigraphy (p. 368-385)

1. Evolution and paleoecology

2. Biostratigraphic zonation

3. Time-significance of biostratigraphic


4. Index fossils

5. Quantitative biostratigraphy

C. Geophysical and chemostratigraphic

correlation (p. 386-421)

1. Well-logging

2. Seismic stratigraphy

a. waves in the Earth

b. seismic profiles


d. The Exxon-Vail curve

e. Sequence stratigraphy

3. Magnetostratigraphy

4. Chemostratigraphy

D. Geochronology and Chronostratigraphy


1. Radioactive decay

2. Age-dating methods

3. Chronostratigraphy and correlation

4. Constructing the geologic time scale

E. Sedimentary rocks in space and time (p.


1. Basin analysis

2. Stratigraphic diagrams and maps

3. Tectonics and sedimentation

a. cratonic sedimentation

b. plate tectonics

i. divergent margins

ii. convergent margins

iii. transform margins

c. geosynclines and plate tectonics

d. tectonics and sandstone petrology

4. Secular changes in the sedimentary record

Course mechanics

I. Attendance

a. You are expected to attend all lecture sessions. Exams will draw upon lecture material as well as

readings from the text and outside sources.

b. Attendance in laboratory is required. Missing a lab session without prior approval of the

instructor will result in a zero for that particular exercise.

II. Assignments

a. Readings in each topic should be read for general content in advance of the class during which

that topic is being considered, and reread with greater care following each class, in conjunction

with your notes. If you follow this guideline, lectures will be more meaningful, discussion will be

possible, and material in the text will be ultimately more comprehensible.

b. Prior to each class period, warm-up questions will be posted on the course web page. These

questions will be based on the reading for the next class period, and must be answered by each

student via e-mail, no later than 12:00 of the day the class meets. Credit will be given to each

student for answering the questions. Student answers will be reviewed by the instructor, and will

form the basis for the classroom discussion/lecture session. Feedback will also be provided to

students and example peer and instructor essays will be posted on the web so that students can

benefit from review. (outcomes a, b and d). More information on warm-ups is included in the

appendix of the syllabus.

c. In addition to the reading in the text, outside readings will be assigned from time to time. These

readings will serve as a means of supplementing and expanding your knowledge and will be

considered in classroom discussions and on exams. The readings will also introduce you to the main

features and uses of writing in your field, general expectations of readers in your field, and

the conventions of evidence, format, usage, and documentation in your field (outcomes b, c and e).

Questions regarding these readings will also appear on the course web page.

III. Field and laboratory work - You are required to complete field and lab work as assigned. The

format of the work will be explained for each session. Field notes, including written rock

descriptions and sketches, will be required and will follow a standard format (see appendix of

syllabus) (outcomes a-e). Written reports will also be due as a part of field and laboratory work

(outcomes a-e). Some of these reports will be relatively short, while others will be more

comprehensive. Reports will follow a standard format used in the discipline of sedimentology and

stratigraphy (see appendix). You must use Microsoft Word, and Excel to complete these reports.

Some reports will also involve the use of more specialized software for data processing (outcome

d). Plagiraism will result in an automatic zero for these reports. Laboratory topics will generally

coincide with material being studied in the lecture/discussion sessions.







IV. Summaries of outside readings –

Each student must complete written summaries of recent articles in sedimentology and stratigraphy

as assigned (outcomes a-e). The summaries are to average 250-500 words apiece and are to be

turned in on the date assigned. The summaries will be evaluated on the basis of grammar,

organization and conciseness, and the communication of the essence of the article. Your choice of

papers will also be taken into account in the evaluation of this component of your grade. Use

GEOREF to search the literature for appropriate papers (outcome d). Each summary must be

prepared using Microsoft Word (outcome d). Plagiarism will result in an automatic zero for the

summary. In addition to the instructor’s review of each paper, your work will undergo peer

review. The peer review will be "double blind" (that is, neither the writer nor the reviewer

will be known to students).

You must rewrite and resubmit each summary paper based upon the reviews.

V. Research report – Each student will complete a research report based upon the field,

laboratory, and library research conducted throughout the course (outcomes a-e). The report

must follow a standard format (see appendix of syllabus) and will be approximately 20-30

double-spaced pages (including figures). The text must be prepared using Microsoft Word.

Elementary data processing, and preparation of graphs and tables will be done using Microsoft

Excel. You may also need to use more specialized software to process directional data, and

drawing software will also be used to prepare diagrams, including stratigraphic sections.

Digital images from the field or lab work may also be inserted into the text to provide


Students will follow a schedule of completion of the report. And as each component of the

report is finished, the instructor will provide feedback and the student must revise the work,

based on those editorial comments. The final draft will also be rewritten from an earlier

draft (not the first draft!!!), based on instructor’s feedback.

Criteria for grading this report are given in the appendix of the syllabus. Each student must

be aware of these criteria at the start of the project to enable maximum learning.

Finally, suggestions for writing a good abstract and a good scientific paper are also given in

the appendix. While these suggestions are addressed to graduate students and professionals,

most all of the suggestions are entirely appropriate for advanced undergraduates students.

VI. Completion of assignments - Assignments may not be turned in after the announced due date.

Work not completed by the class period on the due date will receive a zero.

VII. Examinations - Three exams will be given, including the final exam. Up to 50 % of the final

exam will be comprehensive. The instructor will not give makeup exams without prior approval.

Excuses for illness will require substantiation from a physician or the university health services.

Exams will make substantial use of essay questions (outcomes a-c). Suggestions for preparation

for exams and for writing successful essay answers are given in the appendix of the syllabus.

VII. Grading:

Exam #1 12%

Exam #2 12%

Exam #3 12%

Laboratory work 10%

Specific Writing components

Warm-ups (on web page) 10%

Field notes 10%

Literature summaries 10%

Final paper 24%

No student will pass the course without completing all exams and laboratory projects, and achieving

a passing average grade for all aspects of the course.

VIII. Consultation - I will be available for consultation throughout the semester. You are strongly

encouraged to keep in touch, especially if you are having difficulty. Stop by during office hours

(posted on my office door) or make arrangements with me for an appointment. Of course, feel free

to drop by any time you can catch me for whatever.

Textbook: Prothero, D.R., and Schwab, F., 1996, Sedimentary Geology: W.H. Freeman and Company,

New York, 575 p.


Ager, D.V., 1981, The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record: Macmillan, London, 166p.

Allen, J.R.L., 1977, Physical Processes of Sedimentation: Allen and Unwin, London, 248p.

Allen, P.A., and Allen, J.R., 1990, Basin Analysis - Principles and Applications: Blackwell Scientific

Publ., Oxford, England, 451p.

Basan, Paul, and others, 1978, Trace Fossil Concepts: Soc. Econ. Paleontologists and Mineralogists

Short Course No., 5, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 201 p.

Bathurst, R.G.C., 1975, Carbonate Sediments and their Diagenesis: Elsevier, Amsterdam, 658p.

Blatt, H., Berry, W.B.N., and Brande, S., 1990, Principles of Stratigraphic Analysis: Blackwell

Scientific Publications, Oxford, England, 512p.

Blatt, Harvey, Middleton, G.V., and Murray, Raymond, 1980, Origin of Sedimentary Rocks: Prentice-

Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 782 p.

Boggs, Sam, Jr., 1995, Principles of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy: Merrill Publishing Co.,

Columbus, Ohio, 784 p.

Collinson, J.D., and Thompson, D.B., 1982, Sedimentary Structures: Allen and Unwin, Boston, 194 p.

Davis, R.A., Jr., 1983, Depositional Systems: Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 669 p.

Einsele, G., 1992, Sedimentary Basins: Springer-Verlag, New York, 628p.

Friedman, G.M., Sanders, J.E., and Kopaska-Merkel, D.C., 1992, Principles of Sedimentary Deposits:

MacMillan, New York, 717p.

Hallam, A., 1992, Phanerozoic Sea-level Changes: Columbia University Press, New York, 266 p.

Hallam, A., 1981, Facies Interpretation and the Stratigraphic Record: W.H. Freeman and Co., San

Francisco, 291p.

Harms, J.C., Southard, J.B., and Walker, R.G., 1982, Structures and Sequences in Clastic Rocks:

Soc. Econ. Paleontologists and Mineralogists Short Course No. 9, Calgary, Canada.

Krumbein, W.C., and Sloss, L.L., 1963, Stratigraphy and Sedimentation: W.H. Freeman and Co., San

Francisco, 660p.

Leeder, M.R., 1982, Sedimentology: Process and Product: Allen and Unwin, London, 344p.

Lemon, R.R., 1990, Principles of Stratigraphy: Merrill Publ. Co., Columbus, Ohio, 559p.

Matthews, R.K., 1984, Dynamic Stratigraphy: Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 489p.

Miall, A.D., 1984, Principles of Sedimentary Basin Analysis: Springer-Verlag, New York, 490p.

Middleton, G.V., and Southard, J.B., 1984, Mechanics of Sediment Movement: Soc. Econ.

Paleontologists and Mineralogists Short Course No. 3, second edition, Providence, Rhode Island.

Prothero, D.R., 1989, Interpreting the Stratigraphic Record: Freeman and Co., San Francisco, 410 p.

Reading, H.G., ed., 1986, Sedimentary Environments and Facies: Elsevier, New York, 615 p.

Reineck, H.E., and Singh, I.B., 1980, Depositional Sedimentary Environments: Springer-Verlag,

Berlin, 549p.

Schlee, J.S., ed., 1984, Interregional Unconformities and Hydrocarbon Accumulation: American

Association of Petroleum Geologists Memoir 36, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 184 p.

Shaw, A.B., 1964, Time in Stratigraphy: McGraw-Hill, New York.

VanWagoner, J.C., and others, 1990, Siliciclastic Sequence Stratigraphy in Well Logs, Cores and

Outcrops: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Methods in Exploration Series, No. 7,

Tulsa, Oklahoma, 55 p.

Walker, R.G., and James, N.P., eds., 1992, Facies Models-Response to Sea Level Change: Geological

Association of Canada, 409p.


Sedimentology and Stratigraphy Warm-ups

Web assignments will be a significant part of the course. I like to use the "warm-up" concept. Prior

to about half of our class sessions, questions will be posted on the course page ob Blackboard.

These warm-up questions will be based on the reading for the next class period, and must be

answered by each student via e-mail, no later than 12:00 of the day the class meets. Course credit

will be given to each student for making an honest attempt at answering the questions. The

statement on academic honesty and cheating, explained in the syllabus, will apply to these

assignments. Student answers will be reviewed by the instructor, and will form the basis for the

classroom discussion/lecture session. Oftentimes, answers reveal misconceptions that can be dealt

with during the next class.

Warm-ups will be completed using the application called "Blackboard." Instructions for the use of

Blackboard appear below. If you have difficulty accessing the warm-ups through Blackboard, or

difficulty in submitting your answers through Blackboard, consult with me immediately using e-mail

Preparations for Exams

1. When preparing, try to understand how things work, instead of memorizing ideas or phrases. You

need a certain amount of terminology, of course, but being able to recall things doesn't come from

memorizing lists of stuff, but rather comes through working with ideas, trying to fight through the

how’s and whys of things instead of just focusing on the what’s.

2. Don't just try to memorize things I mention in class, or things that I focus on in warm-ups, but

try to relate an entire reading assignment to the key ideas. So often, students want the instructor

to tell them everything, rather than to have the instructor assist them with understanding how

things work, then expecting them to use that to synthesize a broader set of information from their


3. The authors of the text have enriched your understanding through the inclusion of discussion

about stratigraphic units where the principles you are learning can be applied. You were asked to be

certain to read this material in order to come to a better understanding of the concepts of facies

and depositional systems. It should have been no surprise that questions on this material were on

the exam. Hereafter, be more diligent in your preparation.

4. Just doing the reading never cuts it in a course of any substance. You have to understand the

concepts, how one thing, one idea, relates to another. And that often requires reading and

rereading the material for deeper understanding. It means going back over things several times

until you have it, it means going back over things so that interrelationships can be established, it

means paying very close attention to diagrammatic material, because visual learning is often easier

than the verbal learning from reading the printed words.

5. When taking a written exam such as the ones we do in this course, be certain to strive for

completeness in your responses. If asked to answer something in two sentences, construct your

response in such a way that all the pertinent information required is included in your answer.

Concise doesn't mean incomplete.

6. My exams tend to leave few stones unturned. They are really a record of what we did in class,

and they are built so that they follow the material in the same sequence that it was considered in

class. Look at them as a walk through the course, and prepare accordingly. When you reread one of

these exams, and your responses to it, the exam will essentially be a recap of the course, not just

little snippets that tested you at random.

7. My expectations are high, and I won't insult your intelligence by dumbing down the material.

Remember that you are mature undergraduate students, that some of you are at the end of your

formal education, and that you are about to become professionals. And others of you are preparing

to enter graduate school, where the learning that you accomplish here will stand you in good stead.

8. Please bring questions to me as they arise. Consultation may be able to solve some problems that

independent study, or collaborative study with peers, might not be able to do.

Exam #1

One of the things you should begin working on is the interpretation of the various diagrams in the

text. It is very likely that the first exam will include diagrams similar to key diagrams in the

textbook, and you will be required to answer questions based on them.

Another helpful hint is to read the examples in the boxes in the text. These boxes provide

illustrations of how the principles discussed in any particular section can be applied to real

sedimentologic and/or stratigraphic situations. I may focus on one or more of these boxes on the

exam in order to see if you can apply the principles.

You can expect some questions on the exam, which will deal with faulty geologic statements. In

questions such as these, you will be asked not only to identify which statements show faulty

reasoning, but why do they show faulty reasoning. Identify the problem with the statement and

discuss why it is wrong, don't just fix it.

You will be required to answer some questions on the exam in two sentences or less. This is because

only a short answer is required, and also because you need to learn to state things in a clear and

concise way - get right to the point and provide the necessary documentation in a brief and concise


I will try to build some choices into the exam, so that you can pick and choose what you want to

answer within a given topic. For example, I might ask a series of questions all dealing with, let's say,

textures of sandstones, and require you to answer 3 of 4, or something like that.

Although multiple-choice questions have been used for warm-up purposes, I don't normally ask many

multiple choice questions on my exams Sometimes I'll put a section of matching on the exam, but

multiple choice questions will not appear in any abundance, so don't expect a lot of them.

Often I will ask a series of questions based on a relatively lengthy description of a rock unit in the

field, supplemented with some data from the lab (usually thin section data). I might give a two or

three-paragraph description of a rock unit or formation, then ask a bunch of questions based on

that description. Most of these questions are interpretive, but occasionally some are observationbased

and deal with "what's this, what's that."

Sedimentology/Stratigraphy Research Paper

Grading Criteria

(Explanation: 1 = excellent 2 = good 3 = satisfactory 4 = poor 5 = unsatisfactory)

Quality of field work (x2)

Quality of Laboratory work

Quality of Abstract


major/minor headings (outline)

body of paper including paragraph construction

separation of data and interpretation


Evidence of proof reading (do not turn in a first draft!)




word usage

sentence structure

use of quotations


depth of treatment

presentation of ideas or information representing a variety of viewpoints

synthesis of ideas and information

connection between data and interpretation

quality of interpretations

Use of References

documentation in body of paper

form of "references cited" section

quality of references cited


Stratigraphic sections and correlation diagrams

Graphic display of data

Well-written and complete captions

Proper attribution of figures taken from other work

Use of tables

Overally effectiveness of figures and captions in conveying data and interpretations

Overall Evaluation

Research report - schedule for completion

Week 2 - Selection of topic

Week 4 - Preliminary annotated bibliography

Week 6 - Preliminary outline

Week 8 - Annotated bibliography

Week 10 - Expanded outline

Week 12 - First draft

Week 14 - Final draft

Format for Field Description of Sedimentary Rocks

The major objectives in preparing megascopic descriptions of sedimentary rocks include: (1)

conveying information in field notes that enable other geologists to recognize the lithologies; (2)

providing information that will enable one to map facies; and (3) serving as a basis for making

interpretations of processes and environments of deposition.

Descriptions are made at two levels of observation: (1) outcrop scale; and (2) hand specimen scale.

These two levels of observation require different approaches to rock description. This exercise

considers only that approach used in the description of hand specimens.

Preparation of concise yet complete hand specimen descriptions requires the geologist to make

repeated, organized sets of observations. These observations should be made in the same manner

each time a sample is described, so that the repetition promotes consistency and completeness.

While obvious differences exist between sandstones and carbonate rocks, significant fundamental

similarities are shared by these two rock groups, so that a similar approach to description can be

undertaken. Data should be assembled in brief paragraph form, with punctuation carefully chosen

to separate different categories of data.

Description of siliciclastic and carbonate rocks should begin with weathering characteristics and

fresh colors, and progress through composition, texture, fabric, stratification, and trace and body


For sandstones, the following format is appropriate.

Name of sandstone (quartz sandstone, feldspathic sandstone, lithic sandstone); Weathering

characteristics, colors, fresh colors; Composition of framework, cement; Size of framework

constituents (median, range, vertical variations; (FOR COARSE-GRAINED ROCKS ONLY) - sorting

of framework constituents, rounding of framework constituents, composition and texture of matrix;

Fabric (grain distribution and orientation); Bedding and lamination (how manifested, form,

thickness - includes cross bedding and bedforms); Organic structures; Body fossils.

For limestones, the following format is appropriate

Name of limestone (Dunham) - if dolomitic, or with terrigenous admixture, name should reflect this;

Weathering characteristics, colors, fresh colors; Allochems (grain support vs. mud support,

description and size of allochems, if current transport is apparent describe grain sorting and

effects of abrasion; cement, if visible; recrystallization fabrics; Bedding and lamination (how

manifested, form, thickness - includes cross bedding and bedforms); Organic structures, including

stromatolites and their geometry (an aspect of bedding).

For Dolostones, use the following format:

Name of rock type; Weathering characteristics, colors, any vugs or cavities; fresh colors; Texture,

including crystal size and degree of "granularity" (whether sugary in appearance, or simply

interlocking crystals with little porosity between them), crystal shape if visible; any visible

allochems, such as fossil fragments, oolites, or intraclasts; Bedding and lamination (how

manifested, form, thickness - includes cross bedding and bedforms); Organic structures, including

stromatolites and their geometry (an aspect of bedding)

For Shales, use the following format

Rock Name; weathered color, weathering characteristics such as fissile (breaks into thin chips) or

blocky; fresh color; calcareous or non-calcareous; silty or clayey (determined by chewing); trace

or body fossils

Preparation of Abstracts

(1) as a basis for selecting papers, (2) to aid people in deciding which papers they wish to hear at

a meeting, and (3) as a published document for reference. Each abstract should, therefore, not only

be well presented but also should be informative. Abstracts that contain such statements as "A new

model will be presented," "the problem of . . . will be considered," " . . . will be discussed," or "the . .

. is described," are inadequate. Such abstracts ' outline what papers are about, but do not tell what

they contributed. They are not informative.

One dictionary (Webster's unabr. 2nd ed.) defines an abstract as "That which comprises or

concentrates in itself the essential qualities of a larger thing. . . " Our abstracts must contain

essential information, without added commentary or interpretation. An Abstract differs from a

summary in that the latter is usually a restatement, generally at the end of a paper, only of salient

findings and conclusions. The abstract, on the other hand, also includes other vital portions of a

paper, such as purpose and methods.

The importance of the abstract is stated by K. K. Landes in "The Scrutiny of the Abstract, 11" (in

Cochran, W., and others, eds., 1973, Geowriting: Washington, D.C., Am. Geol. Inst., 80 p.):

"To many writers the preparation of an abstract 'is an unwanted chore required at the last

minute by an editor or insisted upon even before the paper has been written by a

deadline-bedeviled program chairman. However, in terms of market reached, the abstract is the

most important part of the paper. For every individual who reads or listens to your entire paper,

from 10 to 500 will read the abstract.

"If you are presenting a paper before a learned society, the abstract alone may appear in a preconvention

issue of the society journal as well as in the convention program; it may also be run by

trade journals. The abstract, which accompanies a published paper will most certainly reappear in

abstract journals in various languages, and perhaps in company internal circulars as well. It is much

better to please than to antagonize this great audience. Papers written for oral presentation should

be completed prior to the deadline for the abstract, so that the abstract can be prepared from the

written paper and not from raw ideas gestating in the writer's mind." [p. 34]

B. H. Weil, in "Standards for Writing Abstracts" (in Cochran and others), noted the following on

the purpose and importance of abstracts:

"A well-prepared abstract enables readers to identify the basic content of a document quickly

and accurately, to determine its relevance to their interests, and thus to decide whether they need

to read the document in its entirety. Readers for whom the document is of fringe interest often

obtain enough information from the abstract to make their reading of the whole document

unnecessary. Therefore, every primary document should include a good abstract. Secondary

publications and services that provide bibliographic citations of pertinent documents should also

include good abstracts if at all possible." [p. 361]

"For various reasons, it is desirable that the author write an abstract that the secondary

services can reproduce with little or no change. These reasons include the economic pressures on

the secondary services caused by continuing increases in the volume of scholarly publication; the

need for greater promptness on the part of the secondary services in publishing information about

the primary literature; and the growing value of good authors' abstracts in computerized full-text

searching for alerting and information retrieval." [p. 351]

Weil (ibid.) offers the following recommendations for writing good abstracts:

"Make the abstract as informative as the document will permit, so that readers may decide

whether they need to read the entire document. State the purpose, methods, results, and

conclusions presented in the document, either in that order or with initial emphasis on findings," [p.


"For most papers and portions of monographs, an abstract of fewer than 250 words will be

adequate. For notes and short communications, fewer than 100 words should suffice. Editorials and

Letters to the Editor often will require only a single-sentence abstract. For long documents such as

reports and theses, an abstract generally should not exceed 500 words and preferably should

appear on a single page.

"Begin the abstract with a topic sentence that is a central statement of the document's major

thesis, but avoid repeating the words of the document's title if that is nearby.

"Write a short abstract as a single, unified paragraph, but use more than one paragraph for long

abs tracts, e.g., those in reports and theses. Write the abstract in complete sentences, and use

transitional words and phrases for coherence.

"Use verbs in the active voice whenever possible; they contribute to clear, brief, forceful writing.

The passive voice, however, may be used for indicative statements and even for informative

statements in which the receiver of the action should be stressed.

"Avoid unfamiliar terms, acronyms, abbreviations, or symbols; or define them the first time they

occur in the abstract.

"Include short tables, equations, structural formulas ' and diagrams only when necessary for

brevity and clarity." [p. 371]

Whereas an abstract should present the quantitative and (or) qualitative information in a paper,

Weil (ibid.) points out that this is sometimes impractical.

"However, some discursive or lengthy texts, such as broad overviews, review papers, and entire

monographs, may permit the preparation of an abstract that is only an indicative or descriptive

guide to the type of document and what it is about. A combined informative-indicative abstract

must often be prepared when limitations on the length of the abstract or the type and style of the

document make it necessary to confine informative statements to the primary elements of the

document and to relegate other aspects to indicative statements

Format for giving reference

Purkait, Barendra, 2002, Patterns of grain-size distribution in some point bars of the Usri River,

India: Journal of Sedimentary Research, v. 72, p. 367-375,

If both the first name and middle initial of the author are known, then give the initials only for the

first and middle names.

Note that only proper nouns are capitalized in the title of a journal article, in addition to the first

letter of the title.

Always put a colon after the title of the article but before the name of the journal.

Do not abbreviate the name of the journal.

Do not give the number of the issue following the volume. Give volume only, and abbreviate with a

lower case "v."

Use "p" for page numbers, not "pp."

A period always follows the completed reference.

The format for citing a paper in a monograph of collected papers is different. The format for

citing a monograph is also different. See the "Suggestions to Authors" section at the end of the

appendix for additional information on format of references.

USGS Report Standards

(Condensed by J. Meyers)

From "Suggestions to Authors of the reports of the United States Geological Survey," sixth



A. Page setup, font, and spacing specifications

1. Paper: 8 1/2" x 11" with 6 1-2" x 9" image area

2. Microsoft Word, font size 10 pt., Times New Roman

3. Spacing: Drafts should be double-spaced, final reports single-spaced on one side of page.

Leave two lines of space between paragraphs.

B. Title Page

1. The title should be brief and stated with clarity. However, do not use a pyramid of prefixes or

several adjectives in an attempt to shorten the title. For example, "Neogene geochronobioclimato

paleomagneto stratigraphy" is inappropriate.

2. The title is centered on the title page just above the middle, followed by two spaces and then the

name of the author, also centered on the page.

C "Contents", "Illustrations", and "Tables" - The paper should include lists of contents, illustrations and tabl

1. "Contents" (The word "Contents" is upper case and centered on the page.)

a. Consists of headings appearing in the paper, beginning four spaces beneath the word "contents".

b. Rank of the headings should be indicated by appropriate indentation under the

preceding related headings. (Indent each rank four spaces.)

c. The heading should be followed by a series of periods extending to the "page" column

where the appropriate page numbers of each heading are given.

2. "Illustrations"

a. The word "illustration" is typed in upper case letters and centered on the page four

spaces below the last item listed under contents.

b. Type the word "Figure" flush with the left margin, followed by the figure number and

a period, followed by the figure title (upper and lower case letters).

c. Follow the figure title by a series of periods, extending to the page column.

3. "Tables" - Directly analogous to "Illustrations".

D. Headings - OBS reports use only four levels of headings.

1. First level headings: Include titles of each of the major parts

of the report. It should be centered between the margins, typed

in capitals, not underlined.

2. Second level headings: Used to indicate subordinate topics within major parts of the

report. Typed in all capital letters set-flush with left margin. Leave 3 lines of space above

this heading and two lines of space between it and the following paragraph.

3. Third level headings: Used to subdivide material. appearing under a second level heading.

Typed in capital and lowercase letters, underlined, and set flush with left margins; leave two

lines of space above and two between it and the following paragraph.

4. Fourth level headings: Paragraph headings indented the same number of spaces as ordinary

paragraphs (five-space indent). Initial capital letter only; underlined, followed by a period.

5. Example:



Winter Patterns

Methods. (text starts here

E. Illustrations

1. All figures should be made to fit the 6 1/2" x 9" image area.

2. Figure caption should be centered below each figure with only the first letter of first

word capitalized.

3. Example: Figure 1. Location of channel sample sites.

F. Tables

1. All numbered and given a descriptive title.

2. Size: all tables should fit within 6 1/2" x 9" image area.

3. Capitalize the first letter of each word in table title.

4. Example: Table 4. Channel Lengths for Iowa Rivers

G. Abstract

1. The abstract should be the initial first-order heading and should typed on the first page

of the body of the report.

2. For most reports, the abstract should specify the problem; the method of attack, the type

of data used, and should briefly state the conclusions. It should be informative rather than

descriptive, and should be a complete unit, independent from the text. See suggestions for

preparation of abstracts, given earlier in this syllabus.

3. Read abstracts from a variety of papers to become familiar with the writing of this very

important part of your report.

H. Appendices

1. Designated by capital letters.

2. Requirements for tables and illustrations in the main text also

applicable to appendix tables and illustrations.

I. Footnotes break the reader's train of thought and are seldom needed in scientific writing. A

well-constructed paragraph should need no explanatory (in effect, parenthetical) footnote.


A. References

1. For documentation in the text, references are cited by giving author's surname and year of

publication. For quotes and specific reference to data, a page number is also given.

a. If the reference pertains to only one text sentence, the information is given in parentheses

at the end of the sentence unless the reference is not pertinent to some part of the

sentence, as in: Anchorage was severely damaged by landslides around subsidence and

fissures during the 1964 earthquake (Hansen and others 1966), but little effect of

this damage is now visible……….

b. If the author's name naturally falls in the sentence, only the date and page reference

are included within the parentheses, as in: Scholler (1911, p. 49) reported that the type

specimen of this material contained 3.21 percent Li2O.

c. If the reference pertains to more than one preceding sentence it may be identified in

a separate sentence, as (See Hansen and others, 1966).

d. See pages 714-75, "Suggestions to Authors of Reports of the U.S. Geological Survey,

6th ed., for more details.

2. The list of references cited (alphabetized by surnames) should follow the last page of the

text and should be titled "References Cited" (upper case letters, centered at the top of the

page). Use the following format (See P. 76-81, "Suggestions to Authors, 6th ed., for additional

examples). Repetition of a name or group of names is avoided by use of dashes.

a. Articles in journals

Handin, J. W., and Griggs, David, 1951, Predicted fabric changes, pt. 2 of Deformation of

Yule Marble: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 62, p. 863-886.

Note that modern style requires no abbreviations in the journal name, and the number of

the volume is not given.

b. Books

Ritter, D. F., 1978, Process Geomorphology: Dubuque, Iowa, Wm. C. Brown, 603 P.

Note that the first letter of all essential words in the title is upper case (excluding

conjunctions, prepositions, etc.)

c. Articles or chapters in book which represent a compilation

Thayer, T. P., 1967, Chemical and structural relation of ultramafic and feldspar rocks in

Alpine intrusive complexes , in Wyllie, P. J., ed., Ultramafic and Related Rocks: New York,

John Wiley, p. 222-239.

Note: Individual journals have their own style of listing references and the author should

confirm the appropriate usage when submitting papers.

B. Capitalization: see CBE Style Manual

C. Prefixes, Suffixes, Combining Forms

1. All words formed by adding a prefix or combining form to a base element are written solid.

e.g. nondegrading, preimpoundment, semistable

2. Except after co, de, pre, pro, an(l re, use a. hyphen to avoid doubling a vowel or consonant

(e.g. hull-ess).

3. Use a hyphen before like (e.g. lake-like environment).

4. Compound adjectives should be hyphenated.

D. Numerals

1. Use numerals for a single number of 10 or more (50 books, 10 samples).

2. Use numerals for numbers under 10 that are fractional (1.5 points).

3. Use numerals for standard units of measure (19 mm, 10 km), time

(5 hours, 12 years), dates, mathematical expressions (a factor of 5)

and age.

E. Metric and Decimal Systems

1. Use a metric system of measurements with equivalent units expressed parenthetically if


2. Use decimal system, not fractions (0.25, not 1/4).

F. Quotations

1. The author is obligated to quote only the exact words of the reference, not the

typographical or compositional style.

2. There is no obligation to reproduce antiquated or incorrect spelling, capitalization,

punctuation, and grammar.

3. Omissions in quoted matter are indicated by three asterisks.

G. Writing Checklist

1. Avoid strange or rare words, foreign words or phrases.

2. Use simple sentence structure, minimum of punctuation.

3. Use the active voice rather than passive voice.

4. Use past tense to describe what was done and what was found. Use present and future

tenses to express facts, laws and conclusions. Never use first person writing in a report!

Example: I found a great deal of information