Geology 100: Planet Earth

Fall 2016

Tsunami Overtopping Wall - Japan2011

Tsunami surges over massive seawall in northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011 (Reuters/Miyako City Office and Toru Hanai)

"Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice."

Will Durant, philosopher & historian

Welcome to the Geology 100 home page. Planet Earth is offered each semester by the Department of Geology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign . It is an introductory course that covers earth resources, natural hazards and development of landscapes and that provides a context for understanding the concept of environmental change.


 Course Details:

Required Textbooks -  Purchase or Reserve Reading Options

Essentials of Geology (5th ed.) by Marshak (2016) - There are several ways you can obtain this textbook: 1) You can purchase the Essentials of Geology textbook from one of the local bookstores (IUB and TIS). IUB offers an online price comparison service at the following URL: <>. 2) You can purchase the textbook (paperback, loose-leaf, or Ebook) directly from the publisher, Norton at the following URL: <>. 3) You can purchase or even rent the textbook through a variety of online vendors by searching the Internet. 4) You can go to Grainger Engineering Library (1301 W. Springfield Ave., Urbana) and read the copy of the textbook that is on reserve there. Grainger Engineering Library is open from 10 am Sunday to midnight Friday and 10 am to midnight Saturday.
Planet Earth Discussion Guide (23rd ed.) by Marshak, Long, and Altaner (2016) - This textbook must be purchased from one of the local bookstores (IUB and TIS) because it is not available online. Although one copy of this textbook is on reserve in Grainger Engineering Library, you will need to make copies of the Lab and Homework exercises if you use that copy on reserve.

i>clicker Policy and i>clicker Registration

The i>clicker student response system is used in the Lecture class meeting of this course. i>clicker helps Prof. Altaner to understand what you know and gives everyone a chance to participate in class. As described below, you will receive extra credit based on your participation and performance on i>clicker questions in class. I will NOT use i>clicker to keep track of attendance because your attendance in Lecture class, although strongly encouraged, is voluntary. You can use any of the following i>clicker models:

Original i>clicker
i>clicker +
i>clicker 2
The mobile application, REEF Polling by i>clicker will NOT be allowed in GEOL 100.

Beginning on Aug. 29, between 3 - 5  i>clicker questions will be asked each day in Lecture class. You will receive 0.1% point added to your total percentage score if you answer all or all but one of the i>clicker questions for that class and 0.05% point if you get at least two of them correct. Assuming 26 class periods involving i>clicker questions, that means you can earn up to 3.9% of extra credit added to your total percentage score. Because points from i>clicker questions are for extra credit only, no credit is given if a student does not attend class (with or without an official University excuse), forgets his/her i>clicker, has an i>clicker malfunction, or has to arrive to class late or to leave early. i>clicker points for the week will be posted in the Illinois Compass 2g Grade Center every Friday. If your i>clicker is not registering, contact Prof. Altaner ( immediately. We're unable to retroactively change i>clicker points and so the sooner the issue is resolved the better.

To register your i>clicker, go to the GEOL 100 Illinois Compass 2g Web site and click on i>clicker registration on the left side, and then follow instructions from there. Do NOT register your i>clicker on the Web site; if you do, we won’t be able to match your responses with your name and you will NOT receive any credit for i>clicker questions. Bringing a fellow student’s i>clicker to class and voting for them is cheating and violates the University Student Code. If you are caught with a remote other than your own or have votes in a class that you did not attend, you will forfeit all clicker points and may face additional disciplinary action.

You can view Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about i>clicker policy in GEOL 100 by reading FAQ #35-50. You can read much more information about i-clickers such as how to use your i>clicker and i>clicker battery life at the following Web site:

Sickness Policy

Please do NOT attend GEOL 100 class if you are sick, especially with flu-like symptoms such as a fever of 100° or higher, cough, sore throat, body aches and possibly diarrhea or vomiting. You should STAY HOME until 24 hours after your temperature returns to normal (98.6°) without taking any fever-reducing medicine such as Tylenol, Advil, or aspirin.
If you miss Discussion class due to illness, then you will be allowed to make up the Discussion, assuming that you follow either the Preferred or Alternate procedures described under Make-up Policy at: <>. If you are sick when an exam is given, then you will be allowed to take a make-up exam without any penalty, assuming that you contact Prof. Altaner BEFORE the exam date. See FAQ #6 for advice on catching up after missing Lecture class.

Interested in a Flexible and Applied Geology Major? Earth and Environmental Sciences

Planet Earth is taught by Prof. Stephen Altaner

Office = 27 CAB 244-1244 e-mail:

Discussion Instructors

Quan Zhou 72 CAB
Ann Long (Head Discussion Instructor) 37 CAB 244-6172

Go back to the top of the Geology 100 Home Page.

Please report any problems to Ann Long