Course Number:     GG 103 (TV - 'Olelo channel 55)

Web site: (access to this site required; read note at end of this syllabus)

Effective Date:         Spring, 2005

Course Credits:       3 credits

Catalog Description:   Hawaiian geology and geologic processes; origin of Hawaiian Islands, volcanism, rocks and minerals, landforms, steam and coastal processes, landslides, earthquakes and tsunamis, ground water, geologic and environmental hazards.

Prerequisites:           Computer access with a valid University of Hawaii userid, basic computer knowledge (word processing, mainly), access to the internet; plus, an interest in how this world works - how our Hawaiian Islands were created and continue to be formed by natural processes; no recommended special preparation; basic reading skills are required.

Requirements Course Satisfies at WCC/UHM: Partially satisfies natural science requirement for Assoc. in Arts degree in the community college and for the Bach. of Arts/Science degree at the university.

Activities Outside of Class: Weekly access to the website for links to reading Volcano Watch; no laboratory or field trips required for this course, but concomitant participation in geology field-trip course(s) is highly recommended -see listing below.

Instructor/Contact  Addresses:
Dr. Floyd W. McCoy
WCC: Hale 'Imiloa 115 (office) and 117A (laboratory)
telephone (WCC):      236-9115*
fax (WCC):      247-5362
web site:
web master:                                  

* note :   a message is recorded here, changed weekly, concerning field trips, assignments, etc. .

Consultation Hours:           WCC (live contact):   office hours - Mon. & Wed., 0930 - 1230, Tue. 0930-1300; or by appointment

From any campus:   via e-mail, website, appointment, or recorded message at 236-9115                    

Textbook:      [UHM, Dept. Geology &   Geophysics, Custom Edition] Essential Geology , Pearson/Prentice Hall Macdonald, Abbott and Peterson; Volcanoes in the Sea, The Geology of Hawaii ; Univ. Hawaii Press, 1983 (2nd edition), or

Macdonald and Abbott; Volcanoes in the Sea, The Geology of Hawaii ; Univ. Hawaii Press, 1970 (1st edition)

note :   the first textbook is preferred; the second and third books remain the basic source of information concerning the geology of Hawaii but are considerably out-of-date.

Ancillary Reading, Viewing and Events: Supplementary, non-required reading is in libraries at all campuses, both on reserve and on open shelves; you are encouraged to peruse this literature; numerous seminars, talks, symposia and exhibits occur throughout the university system and at various museums, you are particularly encouraged and welcomed to these; announcements made in class, posted on the Marine Option Program bulletin board in Hale 'Imiloa at WCC, or listed on the website; posters depicting various aspects of geology and field trips are on bulletin boards in the Hale 'Imiloa foyer.

Course Objective: An appreciation of the natural landscape that we live on and that surrounds us here in Hawaii; of the structure of the earth; of the immense antiquity and history of this planet; of temporal events that shape the earth's surface as evolutionary and predictive processes; of anthropogenic impacts -- how this world works and has worked, with emphasis on the Hawaiian Islands.

Mode of Instruction:         Lectures delivered via television that expand upon, and update, the information presented in the textbook; a special emphasis is placed upon descriptions of current research concepts and new information from this research; movies and videotapes compliment lectures.

special note:   if you find lecture delivery via TV does not suit you, you are welcome to join the live lecture session at WCC (Mon. & Wed., 5:30 - 6:55 pm, Hale 'Imiloa room 113) - please contact the instructor before making the change.

  Examinations:         Type of examination:   written, via the internet on with a mix of short answer, multiple choice and short essay questions.


                                    Quizzes:   one or more; these will be announced during the lecture preceding the date of the quiz.

                                    One midterm :   1 hour, covering all material discussed up to the examination date; if this examination is not taken on the scheduled date, a make-up exam. can be given but will have different and more difficult questions.

                                    Final exam. :   2 hours, concerned with the entire course, with some emphasis on the last half of the course; must be taken on scheduled date.

                        Extra/special credit :   discouraged; none routinely awarded; no term papers are required; under unusual circumstances, extra/special credit might be devised via consultation with the instructor.

                        Location for examination:

                                    WCC:   The Learning Center, Lono 113, between 0900 - 4 p.m. on the day of the examination;

                                    LCC:   The Learning Center, between 0900 - 4 p.m., on the day of the examination;

                                    Kauai CC:   The Learning Center, Lono 113, between 0900 - 4 p.m. on the day of the examination;

                                    Other Campuses :   will be announced.

                        Grading scheme:   letter grades calculated from an average of all test scores, with the midterm = 40%, quizzes = 20%,   and the final = 40% of the total grade; letter grades assigned with:                             

A = 90 - 100%
B = 80 - 89%
C = 70 - 79%
D = 60 - 69%
F = < 60%
N = course not completed due to unforeseen difficulties
C/NC = credit/no credit option, assigned only via registration
I = incomplete due to unusual circumstances and assigned only with permission of the instructor; no credit given until this grade is changed to an A-D letter grade - it is your responsibility to make this change.

                        special note:   if you find writing examinations via the internet does not suit you, you are welcome to take a more traditional   exam., using paper and pencil, at WCC during the time scheduled for the examination with the live lecture section -   you must contact the instructor at least a week in advance to make this change.

Field Trips:    Not required but highly recommended; each requires registration at WCC (easily done from other campuses by inter-campus registration procedures); 1 credit awarded for each course; to obtain credit          for neighborhood island field trips, you must participate on all four days of the trip and pass either a written final examination at WCC or an examination administered on the internet (address will be announced); the Oahu field-trip course has different requirements that are noted below; complete course descriptions are given in the WCC catalog, on the WCC website, as well as on the Webct site.

                        GG 210 - Oahu Field Geology :   every spring semester; Saturday mornings, 0830-1230, meet in Hale 'Imiloa Building (WCC) or at field site; short, easy hikes throughout the island to observe and        discuss geologic features mixed with laboratory exercises; transportation to field sites via private cars; course grade is a function of participation on fieldtrips and satisfactory completion of laboratory exercises. [not offered fall, 2003]

                        GG 211 - Big Island Field Geology:   fall semester; four   days during either Veteran's Day week-end or Thanksgiving Day week-end; involves short hikes and one difficult hike onto lava flows, with one day on the summit of Mauna Kea (a harsh, cold, high-altitude environment), and one night at Mauna Kea State Park (Pohakuloa) in rustic cabins (if these are available).

                        GG 212 - Maui Field Geology:   spring semester, 2005; during first four days of spring recess; involves a difficult one-day hike into Haleakala.

                        GG 213 - Molokai, Lanai and Kaho'olawe Field Geology:   spring semester, 2006; during first four days of spring recess; involves hiking to Kalaupapa and one night there in rustic accomodations, a one-day hike around the Kalaupapa peninsula, and four-wheel driving on rough roads on Lanai.

                        GG 214 - Kauai and Ni'ihau Field Geology:   spring semester, 2004; first four days of spring recess; involves short easy hikes.

Note::   All field classes require medical clearance and legal waiver forms; all   involve hiking over irregular ground and can be difficult; all trips are preceded by lectures at WCC.

"Civilization occurs with the consent of geology."

[Will Durant, American historian]

Schedule of lectures and corresponding chapters in the textbook:

Week Subject Chapter

Introduction to course; geology as a science; scale, rates and time; metric system, Marine Option Program (MOP)

- -

Structure of the earth

1, 15, [1]
2 Structure of the earth (continued) 1, 15, [1]

Plate tectonics

1, 16, 17, [18]
3 Plate tectonics (continued) 1, 16, 17, [18]

Hot spot/midplate volcanoes

16, [18]

Geography of Hawaiian volcanoes

4 Structure of Hawaiian volcanoes 4, [2]

Rocks and minerals

2, 3, 6, [4]

Extrusive and intrusive igneous rocks

3, [2]
5 Extrusive and intrusive igneous rocks (continued) 3, [2]

Extrusive igneous rocks: lava flows

3, 4, [2]
6 Extrusive igneous rocks: pyroclastic debris and rocks 4, [2, 3]

Hawaiian-type eruptions

4, [3]
7 Predicting Hawaiian Eruptions 4, [3, 7]

Types and classification of igneous rocks

3, [4]
8 Types and classification of igneous rocks 3, [4]

Formation and crystallization of igneous rocks

3, [4]

Types of eruptions

4, 7, [7]
9 Types of eruptions 4, 7, [7]


1-4, 6, 15, 16,

Midterm examination

1 - 4, 7, 17, 18
[1 - 4, 7, 17, 18
10 Stages of Hawaiian volcanism and island evolution 6, [6]
                spring recess           GG 212   Geology of Maui field trip   
11 Geologic history of Oahu 6, [6]

Mechanical and chemical weathering

5, 8, 9, [8
12 Hydrologic cycle 9, [10, 11]

Ground water

10, [10, 11]
13 Mass wasting; aeolian processes 8, [9, 12]

Glaciers, glaciation and sea-level changes

13, [13

Landscape evolution; geomorphic cycle

9, [10]
14 Rock cycle 1, [12 - 14

Absolute and relative dating

18, [16]
15 Age of the Hawaiian Islands [16]

Geologic time

1, 18, [16

Volcanic hazards: identification, management, mitigation

4, 7, 17, [7, 17]
16 Volcanic hazards: identification, management, mitigation 4, 7, 17, [7, 17]

* Chapter numbers in bold print are those in the first section of the text Essential Geology .   Those in normal print are chapters in the second section of the text Essential Geology   that were copied from the 2nd edition of Volcanoes in the

 Sea .   Those in [small italics] are in the 2nd edition of Volcanoes in the Sea that may not have been copied to the text, but are optional or review reading should you have access to the 2 nd edition of Volcanoes in the Sea (it is in the WCC library).

Note: Schedule of lectures is tentative and likely will change as geologic events occur during the semester.




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