EOSC 310 · The Earth and the Solar System

The Earth as a planet: its composition, internal dynamics, and surface evolution. Rotation, magnetic field, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes. The ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere as components of a varying geo-environment. Not for credit in the Faculties of Science and Applied Science. No background in science or mathematics is required. Please consult the Faculty of Science Credit Exclusion List: www.students.ubc.ca/calendar/index.cfm?tree=12,215,410,414. [3-0-0] Prerequisite: Second-year standing.

Course Availability & Schedule

 Distance education offered

 Non-specialist course

Learning Goals

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Apply an evidence-based, logical, scientific approach to ask and address questions about our planet and solar system.
  2. Explain everyday observations of the natural world in terms of planetary processes.
  3. Interpret observations of other solar system bodies using knowledge of how Earth works.
  4. Recognize the complex links among geologic, oceanic, and atmospheric processes.
  5. Identify and use appropriate time scales to describe and link different planetary processes.
  6. Articulate the relevance of each science to individuals and to society.
  7. Evaluate earth science-related topics presented in the media, on the basis of the evidence presented and your knowledge of physical processes.  

 See also learning goals for non-specialist courses.


section 99A, Term 1: Dr. Kirsten Hodge

section 99C, Term 2: Dr. Kirsten Hodge

section 98A, Summer: TBA


Grotzinger, J. and Jordan, T.H., 2014
Understanding Earth, 7th edition
ISBN 9781464138744

Lecture Topics

The course is divided into six principle topic areas

1 Introduction / Origin and Architecture of the Solar System
2 Planetary Structure and Interiors
3 Plate Tectonics - The Unifying Theory of Geology on Earth
4 Atmospheres and Energy - Terrestial Planets versus the Gas Giants
5 Oceans and Water on Earth (and elsewhere?)
6 Planetary Climates - From Mass Extinctions to Current Climate Trends