Geological Oceanography Course Policy Statement

SO461 Fall 2016

Instructor: Prof. P.L. Guth


EI availability: By arrangement (usually in 0800 to 1630 except when teaching; most efficient to schedule in advance in person or by email). We can do Google Hangouts evenings, with the ability to share graphics.

Text:  online in the help file for MICRODEM. You are responsible for updating them at least weekly.

SO461 Geological Oceanography Course Learning Outcomes.  At the conclusion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Interpret the history of the earth through deep time using uniformitarianism.
  2. Differentiate earthquakes focal mechanisms and use them to infer faults types and regional tectonic processes.
  3. Distinguish the uses of marine magnetic data with the magnitude, inclination, and declination of the field.
  4. Interpret seismic reflection profiles, defending the conversion of two way travel time to depth
  5. Interpret seismic refraction data and seismic tomography.
  6. Interpret bathymetric and topographic data to infer plate tectonic features.
  7. Model plate motions with rotations about Euler poles
  8. Investigate triple junction stability and migration
  9. Interpret sedimentation rates, compaction, and thickness patterns in the marine environment.
  10. Differentiate plate settings for common metamorphic, sedimentary, and igneous rocks, and mineral resources.
  11. Distinguish geologic hazards based on plate tectonic settings.

 Course Policy and Guidelines:

Students in this course will come to class prepared, alert and ready to actively participate in classroom discussions.  The following course policies are listed for your guidance:

A.  Reading Assignments:  Will be completed prior to each class, and may be included on quizzes prior to coverage in lecture.  The student is responsible for all material covered in class and during laboratory sessions.  The instructor will cover major topics and supplement text material in lecture, but some testable material will only be found by reading the text.  The frequency of unannounced quizzes will be driven by the level of interest and preparation demonstrated by students in class.

B.  Calculators:  Calculators will not be allowed or required.

C.  Cease Work:  Students will immediately stop work on all graded work when instructed to do so by the instructor.  Where I come from, failure to do so resulted in dismissal for an honor violation.  Here I will take up the matter with your company officer as failure to respond to a direct order and violation of written instructions.

D. Graded Assignments:

 E.  Absenteeism: If you miss a class or lab session you are responsible to get the notes, handouts and assignments from that session.  Lateness will be duly reported by the section leader or assistant section leader.

 F.  Extra Instruction:  The instructor has an open door policy, but you must find him in before you can take advantage of it.   The most efficient way to obtain E.I. is to make an appointment. Come to E.I. prepared to recount what you have already done to find answers to your questions; have questions ready.  The key to education is learning to find answers on your own.  You will be encouraged to do just that (painful as it may be).  DO NOT come to E.I. expecting "gouge" as you will be disappointed.   There will be no E.I. for an exam, and questions answered, about the material on the exam on the day the exam in scheduled.

 G.  Section Leaders:  Section Leaders and assistants are expected to be familiar with the procedures associated with the academic accountability system.  You are required to simply report what is true and allow the system to make judgments concerning guilt.

 H.  Grading.  If you do not keep up with the labs in this course you will probably have severe problems because the work will be cumulative.   Unless permission is granted for emergency illness or other compelling reason, papers, projects, and labs will be docked 100% if they are not turned in electronically at the start of class on the date assigned.  If  you will not be at class, you are still responsible for turning in the assignment electronically on time.  With the second late assignment your company officer will be contacted.


5 week

12 week

15 week


Quiz & Labs















IClassroom Decorum.  In accord with USNA policy, there will be no eating or sleeping in class.  In accord with Oceanography Department policy, the only drinks allowed in the classroom will not generate any trash.  Violators of this food and drink policy will be dismissed from class with a note to their company officer.  Once class starts and until class is dismissed, there will be no using the computers in the classroom unless directed by the instructor for class purposes.  You will not get up and leave the classroom with permission; take care of personal business before or after class.

Course web page:

Bookmark the course web page at  It will have the current syllabus, lessons objectives, advance material for the labs, and other important information.