GEOM 154 Introduction to Earth System Science
Dr. René Heyn
purpose of the module is to ensure that the student obtains
an overall understanding of the earth and how it functions.
Special attention is given to the nature, composition, and classification
of materials constituting earth and the importance of time in
This module provides a general introduction to the fundamental
concepts of geology. The module includes:
general introduction to rocks and minerals
internal structure of the earth and plate tectonic processes
rocks, sedimentary rocks, and metamorphic rocks
mineral and energy resources
aims to instruct students in the interaction between different
Earth System components. This should lead to the understanding
that the Earth comprises a complex but fascinating set of related
systems, and that physical, biological, environmental and earth
sciences do not exist in isolation.
student will be able to:
a knowledge of and ability to identify common minerals and
a proficiency of the basic processes affecting the earth
and how they are inter-related through the paradigm of plate
an understanding of geological time and both the changes
(including evolution of life forms) that have occurred over
the 4.5 billion years of the existence of the earth and
its future fate.
an understanding of basic concepts about the formation of
various types of mineral deposits and natural organic carbon
an understanding of the general geological structure and
stratigraphy of southern Africa.
an appreciation of the importance of geological parameters
in applied science like civil engineering and environmental
Study Materials and Textbook Recommendations
Earth An Introduction to Physical Geology 9th edition by Tarbuck
Practical guide: Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology 8th edition
Edited by R.M. Busch
a list of references and suggested reading that would be useful
during the course. Most of the titles below are available in
the JS Gericke library, and others will be available as reserve
texts in the department:
Carlson, D.H., Plummer, C.C. and McGeary, D. (2006). Physical
Geology: Earth Revealed (6th ed). McGraw-Hill, New York, 580
Gabler, R.E., Petersen, J.F. and Trapasso, L.M. (2007). Essentials
of Physical Geography (8th ed).Thomson Brooks/Cole, USA, 658
Holden, J. (2005). An Introduction to Physical Geography and
the Environment. Pearson Education Limited, London, 664 pp.
Marshak, S. (2005). Earth: Portrait of a Planet (2nd ed). W.W.
Norton & Company Inc., New York, 748 pp.
McCarthy, T. and Rubidge, B. (2005). The Story of Earth &
Life: A Southern African Perspective on a 4.6-billion-year journey.
Struik Publishers, Cape Town, 333 pp.
Norman, N. and Whitfield, G. (2006). Geological Journeys: A
Traveller’s Guide to South Africa’s rocks and landforms.
Struik Publishers, Cape Town, 320 pp.
Plummer, C.C., McGeary, D. and Carlson, D. (2005). Physical
Geology (10th ed). McGraw-Hill, New York, 580 pp.
Skinner, B.J., Porter, S.C. and Botkin, D.B. (1999). The Blue
Planet: An Introduction to Earth System Science (2nd ed). John
Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 552 pp.
9. Tarbuck, E.J. and Lutgens, F.K. (2005). Earth: An Introduction
to Physical Geology (8th ed). Pearson Education Inc., New
Jersey, 684 pp.
practical sessions, students will learn to use basic scientific
skills to study course-related subjects and processes.