Course Information •• Resources & Files •• Important Dates •• Links

Historical Geology

GLY 262

Spring 2019

From its very beginning to the present, the Earth has undergone considerable physical, chemical and biologic change. This history can be read using various means from rocks and fossils accessible to us all. To study the history of the Earth is important not only because it helps us understand what processes and events have helped shape our planet's present physical and biologic make-up, but it can also help predict future events that may consequently affect humankind.

This course is an introduction to the major events which had a profound impact on the changing physical and biologic landscape throughout Earth's history. The course will stress both theory and facts concerning the history of Earth and life, and more importantly, how we know it. The course is designed to give the student a broad perspective and appreciation of Earth's history and serve as a stepping-stone to more advanced courses in Earth Science.

General Course Information


Dr. Christopher A. McRoberts
1010 Bowers Hall
voice: x2925

Times and Text

  • Lecture: Mon, Wed, Fri: 11:30-12:20; Laboratory: We: 12:45-3:30

  • Syllabus [in pdf format]

  • Required Text: Prothero and Dott. 2010. Evolution of the Earth, 8th edition. McGraw Hill Publishers.

FieldTripPica FieldTripPicb

The Darwin Prize

  • The Darwin Prize, SUNY Cortlandís Geology Departmentís Award for Excellence in Historical Geology. Not to be confused with the Darwin Award, the Darwin Prize is an annual award given to a student(s) who have demonstrated outstanding performance in their student presentation and grades in SUNY Cortlandís Historical Geology course. Click here to see the past awardees since it's inception in 1998.

Hutton Unconformity at Jedburgh, Scotland, illustrated by John Clerk in 1787

Course Resources and Files

Documents [will be added as the semester progresses]

Geologic Timescale

Writing in the geological sciences

Sepkoski's biodiversity figure


Practice Exams [will be added as the semester progresses]

Practice Exam 1

Practice Exam 2

Practice Exam 3


Important Dates

Wednesday February 27: Exam 1
Wednesday April 10: Exam 2
Saturday April 20: All day field trip (8:00-5:00)
Tuesday May 14, 11:00: Final Exam

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General Historical Geology Links

Catskill forest (Goldring, 1924, New York State Museum)

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Page created 1/3/99, modified 1/24/19

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