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The Story of Earth: An Observational Guide

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Daniel Hauptvogel, University of Houston

Virginia Sisson, University of Houston

Copyright Year: 2021

Publisher: University of Houston

Language: English

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Table of Contents

  • Chapter 0: Geologic Skills
  • Chapter 1: Plate Tectonics
  • Chapter 2: Earth Materials
  • Chapter 3: Geologic Time
  • Chapter 4: Sedimentary Structures
  • Chapter 5: Stratigraphy
  • Chapter 6: Fossil Preservation
  • Chapter 7: Fossils
  • Chapter 8: Paleoenvironments
  • Chapter 9: Geologic Structures and Mapping
  • Chapter 10: Interpreting Earth's History using Maps
  • Chapter 11: Paleoclimate

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  • About the Book

    Our goal in creating the material for this lab manual was to focus heavily on students making observations of geologic data, whether rocks, minerals, fossils, maps, graphs, and other things. We want students to look at things and wonder why, how, and when. The exercises and examples used in this book are scattered throughout the world. We wanted to make sure that one region of the world was not the sole focus of this work.

    About the Contributors


    Dr. Daniel Hauptvogel:

    I’m an Instructional Associate Professor and have been at UH since 2015. I currently teach GEOL 1303 Physical Geology and GEOL 1370 Natural Disasters. I was born and raised in New Jersey, where I attended Montclair State University for my B.S. and M.S. in geology and went to The Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York for my Ph.D. I didn’t start as a geology major though, in fact, I didn’t declare geology as my major until my junior year. I sort of floundered around trying to figure out what I wanted to do, and my grades showed it. However, once I joined the geology program, I felt at home, and it has been smooth sailing ever since.

    My graduate training in geology was in paleoclimate with a focus on sediment geochemistry, particularly in Antarctica. I began research on Antarctica as an undergraduate after my mineralogy professor suggested I get involved in undergraduate research. I continued to study Antarctica with different projects throughout my Master’s and Ph.D. Today, I find myself more interested in geoscience education and student success.

    I credit my initial interest in geology to my grandfather, who lived in the Rocky Mountains of northwestern Montana near Glacier National Park. During my visits, we went to various mountains, lakes, parks, etc. The most memorable of which was Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park. I was too young to appreciate the views and the geologic significance of the area, but now I’m longing to return there.

    Dr. Virginia Sisson

    I’m an Instructional Professor and have been at UH since 2008. My teaching includes GEOL 1303 Physical Geology, and I am the co-director of our summer field geology camp at the Yellowstone Bighorn Research Association camp near Red Lodge, Montana. In 1986, I moved to Houston after finishing my Ph.D. at Princeton University and an A.B. at Bryn Mawr College. At first, I did research and teaching at Rice University before moving across town to UH.

    I love to do geology field research and have spent many summers in Alaska, British Columbia, Guatemala, and Venezuela.  You might see some of these places in the lab exercises as well as other places that I’ve done field research such as Appalachians (Maine, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) and Rocky Mountains (Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado), Grand Canyon, Myanmar, Malaysia, Norway, India, Costa Rica, Cascades (Washington), California, Utah, and Nevada. In fact, I started majoring in geology when I saw all the places that my physical geology teachers had traveled.

    By trade, I’m a metamorphic petrologist (and sometimes igneous rocks as well) who uses tools such as geochronology, geochemistry, fluid inclusions, cathodoluminescence, remote sensing, UAVs (drones), structural geology, and tectonics. Some of my research has touched on global geochemical cycles and how exhumation may influence local climate. Most recently, I’ve focused on the geology of jade and associated rocks. This led to my Andy Warhol 5 minutes of fame when our rediscovery of Olmec blue jade made the front page of the NY Times.

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