Teaching Resources

Geology Class Resources

Links to Geologic Info

(Reviewed by Steve Altaner for Geo 100)

General | Big Bang | Earth Origin | Earth Interior | Minerals | Asbestos| Sedimentary Rock | Hard Rock | Geologic Time | Rock Record | Earth's Clock | Dinosaurs | Fossil Fuel | Fuel & Environ | Volcanoes | Eruptions | Earthquakes | Earthquakes II | The Big One | Continental drift | Continental drift II | Plate Tectonics | Rivers | Floods | Floods II | Groundwater | Water & Environ | Glaciers

Topic #1- General Geologic Links or Why Study the Earth?


This site allows you to have questions answered by a geology from the U.S. Geological Survey (a great way to check up on the accuracy of Prof. Altaner's lectures). There is also a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's).

U.S. Geological Survey

The education page of the U.S. Geological Survey is a great place to start exploring the field of geology. The site includes links to pages on geology, biology, mapping, and water as well as links to other earth and environmental science sites.

Topic #2 - Big Bang (Origin of the Universe)

Breaking News from Astronomy Now

See the day's top stories on astronomical topics (head count of elusive brown dwarf stars, Hubble watches star tear apart its neighborhood, more extra-solar planets found, and many more). This site also maintains an archive of past news stories.

Webstars - Astrophysics in Cyberspace

This list of astronomical resource sites has been created by the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. It is intended as a resource for users who have a general interest in astronomical topics. Here you may find astronomical images, magazines, and organizations, information about space exploration programs, history of astronomy, and astrobiology.

Topic #3 - Origin of Earth (and the Solar System)

Lunar + Planetary Institute Homepage

Lunar + Planetary Institute is an academic research institution which studies the current state, evolution, and formation of the solar system. Their homepage includes a discussion of the question of life on Mars and a 3-D tour of the solar system (bring your 3-D glasses).

Views of Solar System

There is a gallery of images from NASA and other sources at this site. Basic data, images, and video is provided for each component in the solar system. Text is available in English and Spanish.

Welcome to the Planets

This NASA site includes data and images for each of the planets, a glossary, and information about the spacecraft that produced the images.

Topic #4 - Journey to the Center of Earth

Earth's Interior and Plate Tectonics

This site, which is located within the "Views of the Solar System" web site, contains numerous illustrations and text on Earth's interior including descriptions of Earth's layers (crust, mantle and its subdivisions, core and its subdivisions, continental lithosphere and oceanic lithosphere) and plate tectonics. There are also links to more detailed information on selected topics

Topic #5 - Building Blocks of Earth - Minerals

Ken's Fluorescent Minerals

Lots of beautiful images of fluorescent minerals as well as links to other cool mineral-related web sites.

Mineral Gallery

Site constains a lot of information and quality photographs of great mineral samples.

Smithsonian Gem & Mineral Collection

This OUTSTANDING site contains images and descriptions of some of the more remarkable gem and mineral specimens in the Smithsonian Institute. Specimens include the Hope Diamond, Napoleon I's crown and diamond necklace to his Empress Marie Louise, Marie Antoinette's earrings, and the Star of Bombay.

Mineralogical Society of America Mineral Links

The Mineralogical Society of America has variety of excellent mineral-related links including sites with extensive, mineral-related links, Mineral Databases, Dictionaries, Tutorials, Sites devoted to a specific mineral, Sites devoted to a specific mineralogical topic, Sites devoted to mineral localities, Sites devoted to biographies of mineralogists, Sites that are mineral-related (but otherwise hard to catagorize), and Mineral-related bulletin boards.

The Mineral and Gemstone Kingdom

This site contains a wealth of information on the nature and properties of many different minerals. As of Fall, 1997, a similar section on gems was under construction. You can search for your favorite mineral by its name, chemical composition, crystal structure, or physical properties. There is also information on how to start and organize a mineral collection(located in mineral resources).

The Museum of Mineralogy, School of Mines, Paris

Zillions of photos from their collections.

Topic #6 - Asbestos

Asbestos in the Home: A Homeowner's Guide

This is the asbestos homepage from the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), which includes many links to many sources of information about asbestos including general Asbestos Information, EPA Asbestos Contacts, Asbestos Laws and Regulations, Asbestos Publications, Asbestos in Your Home, and Vermiculite and Asbestos, Vermiculite Insulation Fact Sheet, and other Asbestos Links.

Questions and Answers AboutAsbestos Exposure

Cancer facts about asbestos from the National Cancer Institute National Institutes of Health.

Topic #7 - Soft Rock: Sedimentary Rocks

The Virtual Geosciences Professor

This site contains geology course resources on the Internet including a long list of virtual
fieldtrips available on the Web and a lengthy listing of geology course web pages from around
the world.

Web Resourcesfor Sedimentary Geologists

Lots of Internet links related to the field of sedimentary geology including professional societies,
scientific journals, scientific meetings, research groups, individual sedimentary geologists, and
other interesting Internet sites in geology.

Topic #8 - Hard Rock: Igneous + Metamorphic Rocks


Topic #9 - Geologic Time

Grand Canyon National Park

The unofficial Grand Canyon National Park home page. Loads of information about the Grand Canyon including descriptions of the geology of the Grand Canyon, a virtual trip to the Grand Canyon area, maps, visitor information, news articles related to the Canyon, and a river trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

Topic #10 - The Record in Rocks

University of California Museum of Paleontology

Virtual exhibits from the University of California Museum of Paleontology including phylogeny (the ancestor/descendant relationships which connect all organisms that have ever lived), geologic time (history of Earth and a clickable time scale with links to rock and fossil locations), and evolutionary thought.

The Burgess Shale

A description of a unique fossil location of early life on Earth. Burgess Shale fossil animals are preserved virtually intact with all of their soft parts. The fossils represent some of the first types of complex life on Earth, creatures that existed near the beginning of the biological flourish known as the Cambrian Explosion. Site includes related links for exploring geology, paleontology, and evolution.

Topic #11 - Earth's Clock

Radiocarbon Web-Info

Lots of information from the University of Waikato in New Zealand about radiocarbon dating, the main technique which has been used to build the most recent part of the geologic time scale (Late Pleistocene and Holocene).

A Radiometric Dating Resource List

This is a list of resources, some on the web, some not, which can be consulted by anyone interested in learning more about how radiometric dating (including radiocarbon dating) is done, or in responding to arguments criticizing radiometric dating.

Topic #12 - Extinction of the Dinosaurs


Topic #13 - Power from Earth: Fossil Fuel

Energy and Statistical Information onthe Web

Compiled by the Energy Information Association of the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE), this site has hundreds of energy-related links including U.S. DOE, national laboratories, federal, state and local government, universities, international Energy Statistics, energy companies (including coal, electricity, foreign and domestic oil), trade associations, and other federal information and statistics sources (including the White House).

The Story of Oil

The homepage for Shell Oil Company has a well-done overview of oil exploration, production, transportation, and products. There are several nice photographs of drilling platforms, fossils, and refineries. From the homepage, take the link for "Welcome to Shell" located under the pull-down menu along the upper left side. Then select "History of Innovation" and finally "The Story of Oil."

Topic #14 - Fossil Fuel and the Environment

EPA Global Warming site

An outstanding, all-purpose web site on global warming.

Global Warming Project, NorthwesternUniversity

In this project, you can learn about the scientific factors that contribute to the controversial global warming debate. The project places you as an advisor to the heads of state of several different nations, prompting you to learn about the issue as you respond to the various questions and concerns of these leaders. As an expert scientist on the issue, you will need to understand and be able to explain to the heads of state what forces affect climate and what global warming actually means. Once you do this, you will need to help the different nations of the world understand how global warming will affect them and what they can do about it. You will ultimately need to present a proposal that offers a set of solutions which address the concerns of their country.

Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

This site provides information to "evaluate complex environmental issues, including potential climate change associated with elevated levels of carbon dioxide" and other greenhouse gases.

Climate Processes Over the Oceans, Earth Observing System, NASA, University of Washington

The NASA Earth Observing System based at the University of Washington has developed this site. The Earth Observing System represents an interdisciplinary investigation which will use data from satellite instruments and a variety of climate models to construct an integrated view of atmospheric climate over the oceans. Primary problem areas include the role of circulation, clouds, radiation, water vapor, and precipitation in climate change, and the role of ocean-atmosphere interactions in
the energy and water cycles.

Simulation of Global Warming

This interesting site contains animations that show 70 year predictions in global surface temperature and sea-ice coverage.

Topic #15 - The Wrath of Vulcan (Volcanoes)

Organization of Igneous Rocks

A comprehensive guide to igneous rocks, maintained by the Geology Department at James Madison University. This is an easily navigated site, which contains resources for igneous rock classification, keys for identification, landforms, phase diagrams, distribution, and a self test.

Bob's Rock Shop

A gallery of images of over 150 rock specimens, plus many links and lots more.

Topic #16 - Erupting Volcanoes

Volcano World

If you have to pick one web site about volcanoes to visit this one should be it!! This site at the University of Oregon contains everything you ever wanted to know about volcanoes including: Exploring Earth's Volcanoes (maps, photos, text, and a glossary about practically every volcano on our planet), What's Erupting Now? (current information about the most recently active volcanoes such as Montserrat and Etna), Volcano Movie Clips (video footage about the Kilauea, Stomboli, Etna), Volcanoes of Other Worlds (information about volcanoes located on the Moon, Venus, and Mars), Volcanic Parks and Monuments (information about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Mt. Saint Helens, other U.S. Volcanic Parks and Monuments, and Volcanic Parks in other countries), Today in Volcano History (past volcanic events that occurred on the current date), Ask a Volcanologist, and Volcano World contest (test your knowledge about volcanoes).

USGS Volcanic Hazards Program

Learn about the hazards of volcanoes in general and the U.S. Geological Survey program on monitoring volcanoes and reducing the risks associated with volcanoes. In addition, you can find information on currently active volcanoes in this and other countries.

Michigan Technological University Volcanoes Page

This site, which is run by the Keweenaw Volcano Observatory, Michigan Tech,"aims to provide information about volcanoes to the public and to complement other informational sites on the web." Sections exist for recent activity, mitigation efforts, Central American volcanoes, remote sensing of volcanoes, on-line journals, volcano humor, and links to other sites.

Smithsonian Global VolcanismProgram

Which are earth's active volcanoes? The Volcano Basic Data files (sorted either alphabetically or geographically by volcano number) contains geographic and geologic information for all Holocene volcanoes (those with known activity during the last 10,000 years) . The data include a unique volcano number, volcano name, location, latitude and longitude, summit elevation, volcano type, status, and the time range of the last recorded eruption.

Hawaii Center for Vulcanology Homepage

From the University of Hawaii, the Hawaii Center for Vulcanology homepage is a great place to learn about Hawaiian volcanoes. The site includes maps, photos, scientific information, and web links to the Hawaiian volcanoes and volcanic islands.

Topic #17 - A Violent Pulse (Earthquakes)

USGS Earthquakes Hazard Program

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has an ENORMOUS amount of earthquake information and data under the Earthquake Hazards Program web site, making it a FIRST STOP for anyone seeking information on earthquakes. There are sections for Earthquake Activity where you can search data relating to past earthquakes, present earthquakes, and probability maps for future earthquakes; earthquake facts and education including Today in Earthquake History, Cool Earthquake Facts, an very large number of Earthquake links (under Lists and Popular Topics), Are you ready for an Earthquake?, FAQ's, and Science Fair Ideas; Earthquake Hazards and Preparation; and Under Earthquake Research there are descriptions of numerous current research projects sponsored by the USGS.

Topic #18 - A Violent Pulse (Earthquakes II)

Earthquake Stuff for Teachers

Dozens of GREAT links to many earthquake-related web sites organized into the following topics: Faults, Earthquakes & Plate Tectonics, Virtual Field Trips, Locating Earthquakes & Earthquake Magnitudes, Seismic Waves, and Other Topics.

The Mississippi Valley-"Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"

A USGS Fact Sheet about the New Madrid, MO earthquakes in 1811 - 1812. In the winter of 1811-12, the central Mississippi Valley was struck by three of the most powerful
earthquakes in U.S. history. Even today, this region has more earthquakes than any other part of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Government agencies, universities, and private
organizations are working to increase awareness of the earthquake threat and to reduce loss of life and property in future shocks.

SeismicityMaps of Recent Earthquake Activity in the USA

This site allows you to click on a region of the USA for recent earthquake activity, e.g., in the last hour, day, or week). It also includes: Seismogram Displays, Information on Past & Historical Earthquakes, and maps with Current Global Earthquake Information.

<a href="http://www.geo.arizona.edu/saso/" title="Southern Arizona Seismic Observatory (SASO), Univ. of Arizona">Southern Arizona Seismic Observatory (SASO), Univ. of Arizona

This site has a focus (pardon the pun) on seismograms including: current seismosgrams (past 24 hours) from the SASO seismic recording station; seismograms of the day (week or month); list of recent major earthquakes; make your own seismogram; and maps of recent seismicity (global and USA).

Tsunami!: The WWW Tsunami Information Resource

This site, developed by the University of Washington Geophysics Program and NOAA (National Oceanographic Administration) provides a wealth of general information and research about tsunamis including: ~real-time tsunami informational bulletins; the creation and movement of a tsunami; a survey of several great tsunamis have affected coastal communities; the tsunami warning system for people in coastal areas; and protecting yourself from the hazards of tsunamis. There are lots of maps, photos, and computer simulations here.

Topic #19 - Are We Ready for "The Big One?" (Earthquakes III)

Earthquakes In The Midwestern and Eastern United States??!!

Brief descriptions of earthquakes from the 1600's to today that have caused notable damage in the Midwestern and Eastern United States. It is located within the UPSeis web site (run by the Department of Geological Engineering and Sciences at Michigan Technological University), which is a program created to teach young people (and not-so-young people) more about the planet we live on and how it works.

Topic #20 - Drifting Continents (Continental Drift)

This Dynamic Earth: The Story of Plate Tectonics - Historical Perspective

This is a chapter on Continental Drift (and Alfred Wegener) in an electronic version of a book on Plate Tectonics by Jacquelyne Kious and Robert Tilling of the USGS.

Topic #21 - Continental Drift

This Dynamic Earth: The Story of Plate Tectonics - Historical Perspective

This is a chapter on Continental Drift (and Alfred Wegener) in an electronic version of a book on Plate Tectonics by Jacquelyne Kious and Robert Tilling of the USGS.

Topic #22 - Grand Unification Theory (Plate Tectonics)

Plates of the World

This site contains a global map showing different plate boundaries. There are numerous areas which you can select and obtain additional information describing the specific plate boundary.

This Dynamic Earth: The Story of Plate Tectonics

This is an electronic version of a book on Plate Tectonics by Jacquelyne Kious and Robert Tilling of the USGS. This comprehensive and well-done book includes the following topics: historical perspective (continental drift and Alfred Wegener), understanding plate motions (types of plate boundaries), some unanswered questions (like the driving force for plate movement and plate tectonics on other planets), developing the theory (sea-floor spreading and Harry Hess), "Hotspots": Mantle thermal plumes (explaining Hawaii volcanoes and J. Tuzo Wilson), and plate tectonics and people (impact of plate tectonics on people, e.g., natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis; and natural resources such as soils, ore deposits, fossil fuels, and geothermal energy).

Topic #23 - Sculpting Earth with Water - Rivers

EPA - Surf Your Watershed

An outstanding site from the EPA with an enormous amount of environmental information about watersheds (drainage basins) in the USA. Sections include "Locate your Watershed", "Index of Watershed Indicators", "Adopt your Watershed", "Water Atlas", "Environmental Websites", "River Corridors and Wetlands Restoration", and "Mississippi River Basin."

Water Resources of the United States, USGS

Loads of water-related data from the US Geological Survey. Information includes recent information on stream flow levels from across the country, headline news (commonly related to recent world-wide flooding), a features section (which in Nov. 1997 covered USGS work in the Chesapeake Bay and a USGS report on Preliminary estimates of water use in the United States, 1995), water data (which includes real-time or historical records of stream flow data from zillions of gaging stations around the country such as the Boneyard Creek or the Chicago river, water quality data, water use data, and acid rain data).

Wild and Scenic Rivers - By State

This interesting site from the US National Parks Services locates wild and scenic rivers by state, the agencies responsible for keeping the river pristine, and what to see while travelling down the river. Only one Illinois river (Middle Fork of Vermilion) made the list and it's in our back yard!

Topic #24 - Floods(I)

Flood Summaries


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) gives information from the National Weather Service on flooding, flood warnings, and flood advisories throughout the United States.

Office of Wetlands, Oceans, & Watersheds

Another EPA site: this one gives lots of information on wetlands including their role in reducing flood size.

Topic #25 - Floods - II

Just Doing My Job: Mississippi flood of 1993

Story and photos of the Mississippi flood of 1993 from NASA.

River Watch for the Mississippi(+ Illinois) River Basin

The goal of this web site from the National Weather Service is to make it easier to get all of your Mississippi mainstem river forecast information from one central location. Also included is information on the Illinois River drainage basin. Just click on the river basin of your choice to get the updated stages and forecasts.

Significant 20th Century Floods in the USA USGS Measures a Century of Floods

This USGS web site lists 32 of the most significant floods (in terms of number of lives lost and/or property damage) in the United States during the 20th century. Specific additional sections include: USGS Flood Measurements; Significant Floods of the 20th Century; Regional Floods, Flash Floods; Ice-Jam Floods; Storm-Surge Floods; Dam- and Levee-Failure Floods; Debris, Landslide, and Mudflow Floods; Flood Information on the Internet; Other Internet Sites; and Flood Facts.