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Geophysical Sciences @ TCC

General Oceanography I

Geology 111

Geology 111 is the first course in a two part General Oceanography sequence (Geology 112 being the second). This is a great multi-discipline science experience which covers all major branches of science. The course begins the study of oceans and ocean basins, covering such topics as the scientific method, history of oceanography, origin of the earth and its oceans, plate tectonics, paleomagnetism, ocean floor topography, marine geology, water chemistry, and climates. If you would like to know more about Oceanography I, keep reading. Otherwise, you can return to Geophysical Science's Homepage.

Course Goals

Geology 111 and 112 are college-level, introductory courses designed to give you a broad survey of the physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes of the oceans. The courses, however, do not presume that you have any prior knowledge of any science, however. In fact, if your general science background is weak, this should prove to be a great opportunity for you to learn more about science.

Lectures and laboratories are set up to compliment each other. The lectures provide opportunity for presentation of theory, while the labs give them some "hands on" experience with the concepts they learn in lecture.



Instructional Material

  • Textbook : Introductory Oceanography, by Harold V. Thurman, 8th edition, Merrill Publishing Co.
  • Oceanography Lab Manual, Departmental

Basic Concepts

    • Overview of oceanography
    • The scientific method and oceanography
    • History of oceanography from antiquity to the present
    • Formation and structure of the earth
      • Minerals and rocks
    • Plate tectonics, sea floor spreading, paleomagnetism
    • Volcanism and seismicity
    • Morphology of the sea floor
    • Ocean sediments, weathering, and sedimentary rocks
    • Sea water chemistry
    • Oceans and the climate

Course Matrix





Introduction; History of oceanography,

Data, measurements, units, and conversions; Lab Apparatus; Graphing; Scientific Method in lab applications


Atoms, elements, chemical bonds

Bathymetry - contours, terrain features


Atoms, elements, chemical bonds

Bathymetry - profiles


Minerals, rocks, energy

Navigation - charts, planets/stars in navigation


Formation of the earth, Earth's composition, Geologic Time

Morphology and geography of the marine environment


Plate tectonics seismicity

Lab test


Plate tectonics,


Materials of the sea floor - Igneous and sedimentary rocks


Oceans of the world

Intro to ocean sampling methods; familiarization cruise prep and briefing


Marine sediments

Familiarization Cruise


Marine sediments

Materials of the sea floor – sediments


Marine sediments

Settling velocity


Properties of water

Grain size analysis (Sand)


Properties of water

Sea Water Chemistry


Oceans, weather, climate

Air - Sea Interaction


Oceans, weather, climate

Test 2


Exam (during exam week)




The three hour laboratory periods emphasize empirical methods in oceanography. Numerous experiments and field trips will be conducted to give the student an idea on practical application of principles learned in the lecture.


The ocean cruise is conducted aboard TCC’s research vessel, the R/V Matthew F. Maury, to give you insight as to how an oceanographer obtains data in the shipboard environment. The cruise is required and will be held on a weekend. It will take the place of the regularly scheduled laboratory period. Students should make arrangements to be available.

A typed (GSA format) paper based on the student's observations and participation in shipboard sampling procedures is required. The paper will focus on each sampling method and navigational aid. 

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