Fall Semester 2011

University of North Carolina Wilmington




Dr. Nancy Grindlay   
Office:  Room 1327, Center for Marine Science; Room 119, DeLoach Hall  
Phone:  962-2352 
email: (best way to contact me) 

Course Objectives: To develop an understanding of the topography, sediments, structure and evolution of ocean basins, and the tools and methods used by marine geologists.

Course Assessment:

  1. Mid-term, final exams (25% each) = 50% Format of the exams is typically a combination of short answer, true / false, matching, problem solving and essay
  2. In-class exercises/ problem sets =25%
    When required, in-class exercises/problem sets are due at the beginning of the next class.  Write-ups should be neatly printed or typed, all graphs and figures presented digitally (e.g. using EXCEL, Corel Draw, etc.) and if applicable, uploaded to Blackboard Learn.
    Points will be deducted from write-ups that are turned in late (10% per day).
  3. Paper on topic of choice relevant to marine geology = 25%

Letter grades will be determined using the following scale:

100 - 93 A
92 -90 A-
89 - 87 B+
86 - 83 B
82 - 80 B-
79 - 77 C+
76 - 73 C
<73 F

Course Readings:

You are not required to purchase a textbook for the course. Several books are on reserve in Randall Library. Reading assignments from these textbooks and scientific journal articles are linked to the lecture schedule topics. You can download electronics versions of most of the assignments from the Library reserves or the class page on Blackboard Learn.

You are responsible for any reading I assign. Note: essay questions on the exams tend to pertain directly to one or more of the assigned readings.

The books on reserve are available for 24-hour checkout:

Marine Geology, by J.P. Kennett

The Sea Floor: An Introduction to Marine Geology, by E. Seibold and W. Berger

The Ocean Basins: Their Structure and Evolution, by the Open University Course Team

Ocean Chemistry and Deep Sea Sediments, by the Open University Course Team

Understanding Earth by Press and Siever

Tentative Lecture Schedule


Dates Topic
Aug. 24 Introduction
Aug. 26 Minerals and Rocks
Aug. 31 Minerals and Rocks (PS #1)
Sep. 5 Labor Day, No Class
Sep. 7 Earth's Interior and Structure, Geologic Time Scales
Sep. 12 Sea Floor Mapping
Sep. 14 Ocean Basin Physiography
Sep. 19 Ocean Basin Physiography (PS#2)
Sep. 21 Paleomagnetism/Marine Magnetic Anomalies
Sep. 26 Plate Tectonics
Sep. 29 Plate Tectonics (PS#3)
Oct. 3 Plate Driving Forces/Continental Rifting
Oct. 5 Oceanic Lithosphere Formation/Structure
Oct. 12 Oceanic Lithosphere Evolution
Oct. 10 Fall Break, No Class
Oct. 17 Oceanic Lithosphere Evolution (PS#4)
Oct. 19 Mid-Term Exam
Oct. 24 Marine Sediments Lithogenic
Oct. 26 Marine Sediments Lithogenic/Biogenic (PS # 5)
Oct. 31 Marine Sediments Biogenic (PS #5)
Nov. 2 Stratigraphy
Nov. 7 Coastal Processes
Nov. 9 Coastal Processes
Nov. 14 Sealevel Change
Nov. 16 Sealevel Change
Nov. 21 Ocean Currents
Nov. 23 Thanksgiving Break, No Class
Nov. 28 Paleoceanography
Nov. 30 Paleoceanography (PS #6)
Dec. 5 Paleoceanography (PS#6)
Dec. 7 Course Wrap up (Paper Due)
Dec. 12 (Mon.) Final Exam , 3-5 pm

Religious Observance Policy

In accordance with NC SL 2010-211, you are entitled to two excused absences for religious observances per academic year. You must inform me in writing the first week of class if you will be missing any classes due to religious observance and using one of the two permissible absences for the academic year. In addition, please inform the Registrar the first week of class who will then confirm your intentions to miss class with the impacted course instructors. Any absence for religious purposes will be considered unexcused unless you submit the request in writing the first week to either me and the Registrar.

The UNCW Statement on Diversity in the University Community

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Zero Tolerance Policy

            UNCW practices a zero tolerance policy for violence and harassment of any kind.  For emergencies contact UNCW CARE at 962-2273; Campus Police at 962-3184; or Wilmington Police at 911.  For University or community resources visit: Violence prevention information and resources available at

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