Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
G 200G
Course Title:
Geology Field Studies Columbia River Gorge
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces basic concepts in geology through lecture and a field trip in the vicinity of the Columbia River Gorge. Prior geology experience recommended. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Geology Field Studies: Columbia River Gorge (G200 G) is a one credit course designed to engage students with the earth sciences by examining the geology of the Columbia River Gorge area.  The course consists of a one day field trip buttressed by supporting lectures that introduce aspects of geology as needed to explain the geology of the Columbia River Gorge area. This course can be used to partly fulfill graduation requirements for the Associate Degree. The text and materials have been chosen by the faculty and the emphasis of the course will be the viewpoint of the author(s). This includes the geologic time scale and the evolution of the Earth.
Regarding the teaching of basic geologic principles (such as geologic time and the theory of evolution), the Portland Community College Geology Department stands by the following statements about what is science.

  1. Science is a fundamentally non-dogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. A scientific theory is neither a guess, dogma, nor myth. The theories developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance, but can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation.
  2. €œCreation science,€ also known as scientific creationism, is not considered a legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F.2d 1004).
  3. Geology instructors at Portland Community College will teach the generally accepted basic geologic principles (such as geologic time and the theory of evolution) not as absolute truth, but as the most widely accepted explanation for our observations of the world around us. Instructors will not teach that €œcreation science€ is anything other than pseudoscience.
  4. Because "creation science", "scientific creationism", and "intelligent design" are essentially religious doctrines that are at odds with open scientific inquiry, the Geology/General Sciences SAC at Portland Community College stands with such organizations such as the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, and the American Geological Institute in excluding these doctrines from our science curriculum.

Students are expected to be able to read and comprehend college-level science texts and perform basic mathematical operations in order to successfully complete this course.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completing this course, students should be able to:

A. narrate a geologic history of the Columbia River Gorge region by combining site specific content knowledge with limited field observations and experiences within the Columbia River Gorge region.

B. connect current  hazard assessments and environmental concerns affecting the Columbia River Gorge region to the geography and geologic history of the Columbia River Gorge region.

C. communicate geologic concepts effectively using maps and diagrams in written and/or oral formats

Course Activities and Design

The material in this course will be presented in a combination of field trip and lecture/discussion. Other educationally sound methods may be employed such as collection of field data, small group work, research papers and guest lecturers.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

At the beginning of the course, the instructor will detail the methods used to evaluate student progress and the criteria for assigning a course grade. The methods may include one or more of the following tools: examinations, quizzes, homework assignments, field trip write-ups, research papers, small group problem solving of questions arising from application of course concepts and concerns to actual experience, oral presentations, or maintenance of a field note book.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Geologic materials and structures underlying the Columbia River Gorge area.
  • Internal and external processes which produced the geologic materials and structures underlying the Columbia River Gorge area.
  • The geologic history recorded by the geologic materials and structures underlying the Columbia River Gorge area.
  • Geologic hazards associated with the Columbia River Gorge area.
  • Geologic resources associated with the Columbia River Gorge area.
  • The impact of global change on the Columbia River Gorge area.
  • Field based observation of the Columbia River Gorge area.
  • Intertwining personal experience and scientific knowledge to create a sense of place for the Columbia River Gorge area.