GEOL 212: Planetary Geology
This course was offered at the University of Maryland, Fall 2009

Course Description
An examination of the geologic and geochemical processes at work in the solar system from the perspectives supplied by space age exploration of the planets and other solar system bodies.

An Introduction to the Solar System, Eds. N. McBride and I. Gilmour.
ISBN 0-521-54620-6

Course Outline
The course will approximately follow the structure of the textbook:

Week 1, 8/31-9/4:
Introduction; Background

Week 2, 9/9-9/11:
Ch. 1: Tour of the Solar System — Terrestrial Planets

Week 3, 9/14-9/18:
Ch. 1: Tour of the Solar System — Gas Giants, Formation of SS; Ch. 2: Internal Structure of the Terrestrial Planets — Understanding Internal Structure

Week 4, 9/21-9/25:
Ch. 2: Internal Structure — Earth’s Core; Heat sources and transport; Plate Tectonics; Terrestrial Interiors

Week 5, 9/28-10/2:
Ch. 2: Outer satellite interiors; Ch. 3: Planetary Volcanism
Midterm 1 on 9/30

Week 6, 10/5-10/9:
Ch. 3: Planetary Volcanism

Week 7, 10/12-10/16:
Ch. 4: Planetary Surface Processes

Week 8, 10/19-10/23:
Ch. 4: Planetary Surface Processes; Radiometric dating
Midterm 2 on 10/23

Week 9, 10/26-10/30:
Ch. 5: Atmospheres of Terrestrial Planets

Week 10, 11/2-11/6:
Orbits; Ch. 6: Giant Planets

Week 11, 11/9-11/13:
Ch. 6: Giant Planets; Ch. 7: Minor Bodies of the Solar System

Week 12, 11/16-11/20:
Ch. 7: Minor Bodies of the Solar System
Midterm 3 on 11/18

Week 13, 11/23-11/25:
Ch. 7: Minor Bodies of the Solar System; Ch. 8: Origin of the Solar System

Week 14, 11/30-12/4:
Ch. 8: Origin of the Solar System; Ch. 9: Meteorites

Week 15, 12/7-12/11:
Ch. 9: Meteorites

Final exam: Thursday, Dec. 17, 1:30-3:30

The lectures will significantly enhance the reading, and in some cases depart entirely from the subject matter covered by the textbook. In this course, as in most others, there is historically a strong correlation between attendance and grades.

Grades and Course Requirements
Assignments     10%
Presentation      15%
Paper                10%
Midterms (3)    15% each
Final                 20%
Each student will make one short presentation at some point in the semester, and provide a write-up on this topic. Details will be given in class. In addition, there will be a small number of class assignments, and a few exams.