• Unit Five Interpreting Earth's History

    What You'll Learn:
    • How geologists divide Earth's long history.
    • How certain geologic principles can be used to interpret age relations in layered rocks.
    • How different techniques to determine the ages of rocks are used.
    • What fossisl are, how they form, and how they are used to interpret Earth;s history.
    Why It's Important 1:
    Fossils and rocks contain a recod of Earth;s history and can be used to make preditions about Earth's future.  Some fosils can help identify potential sites of energy resouces.
    Key Vocabulary 1:
    geologic time scaleperiodcorrelation
    cross-cutting relationshipsoriginal horiziotalitysuperposition
    half-lifekey bedradioactivity decay
    radiometric datingvarvealtered hard part
    index fossilmoldoriginal preservation

    Key Concepts/Understandings 1:
    • Describe the geologic time scale.
    • Distinguish among the follwing geologic time scale divisions:  eon, era, period, and epoch.
    • Apply the principles for determining relative age to interpret rock sequences.
    • Describe an unconformity and how it is formed within the rock record.
    • Explain the several different methods used by scientists to determnie absolute age.
    • Describe how objects are dated by the use of certain radioactive elements.
    • Expalin how annual tree rings and glacial varves are used to date geologic events.
    • Define fossil.
    • Expalin several methods by which fossils can be preserved.
    • Describe the characteristics of an index fossil.
    • Discuss how fossils can be used to interpret Earth's past physical and environmental history.
    What You'll Learn 2: 
    • How the age of earth is determined.
    • How the continents, atmosphere, and oceans formed.
    • When life first appeared on Earth.
    • What kinds of organisms populated the PreCambrian Earth.
    Why It's Important 2:
    Most of earth's history occurred during the Precambrain.  During this time, the crust, atmosphere and oceans formed and life first appeared.  Early lifeforms produced oxygen through photsynthesis, and, thus, changed teh atmosphere and the history of life on Earth.
    Key Vocabulary 2:
    Canadian ShielddifferentiationLaurentia
    microcontinentsPrecambrian shieldbanded iron formation (BIF)
    cyanobacteriared bedstromatolite
    amino acidsEdiacara faunaeukaryote
    hydrothermal ventprokaryoteVarangian Glaciation
    Key Concepts/Understandings 2:
    • Describe the evidence used to determine the age of earth.
    • Understand why scientists theorize that the early Earth was hot.
    • Explain the origin of earth's crust.
    • Describe the formation of the Archean and Proterozoic continents.
    • Describe the formation of Earth's atmosphere and oceans.
    • Identify the origin of oxygen in the atmosphere.
    • Explain the evidence that oxygen existed in the atmosphere during the Proterozoic.
    • Describe the experimental evidence of how life developed on Earth.
    • Distinguish between prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
    • Identify when the first multicellular animals appeared in geologic time.
    What You'll Learn 3:
    • How the Appalachaian and Ouachita Mountains formed.
    • When and on what scale three mass extinctiions occurred.
    • Why coal is common in pennsylvanian-aged rocks.
    • How the development of seed and eggs affected the evolultion of life.
    Why It's Important 3:
    The tectonic setting of eastern North America provided a hospitable envitonment not only for a wide variety of animals and plants, but also fro the vast swamps that ultimately formed the rich coal depostis of eastern North America.
    Key Vocabulary 3:
    Burgess Shalepaleogerographypassive margin
    regressiontransgressionAcadian Orogeny
    Antler OrogenyCaledonian Orogenymass extinction
    Paleozoic faunaTaconic Orogenyvascular plant
    Alleghenian Orogenyamniote eggAncestral Rockies
    cyclothemGondwanaOuachita Orogeny
    Key Concepts/Understandings 3:
    • Describe the Cambrian paleogeography of Laurentia.
    • Discuss the concept of a passive margin.
    • Describe the Cambrian fauna.
    • Describe teh Middle paleozoic paleogerography.
    • Expalin the concept of an active margin and the formation of a clastic wedge.
    • Describe the Middle Paleozoic fauna.
    • Define the concept of mass extinction.
    • Descrie the formation of Pangaea.
    • Explain how cyclothems formed.
    • Identify the importance of amniote eggs.
    • Discuss the causes of the Late Permian mass extinciton.
    What You'll Learn 4:
    • How plate tectonics shaped the landscape of western North America.
    • What the characteristics of a dinosaur are.
    • How dinosaurs and many other organisms become extinct at the end of the Mesozoic Era.
    Why It's Important 4:
    As the physical geology of Earth changed, so did the biosphere.  Reptiles ruled the land during the Meoszoic, but their reign ended abrubtly with the dawn of the Cenezoic.
    Key Vocbulary 4:
    modern faunaOrnithischiaSauischia
    Basin and Range ProvinceTethys Seahominid
    hominoidHomo sapiensprimate
    Key Concepts/Understandings 4:
    • Explain the breakup of Pangaea.
    • Distinguish between the different characteristics of the Mesozoic Orogenies.
    • Discuss why many pleontolgoists theorize the birds are descended from dinosuars.
    • Describe how paleontologists distinguish among reptile, diosaur , and mammal fossils.
    • Expalin the evidence indicating that a mereorite impat caused the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction event.
    • Describe the type of tectonism that characterized the Cenezoic orogeny.
    • Understand the extent of glaciation that occured in North America.
    • Describe the landscatpe of the Oligocene.
    • Discuss teh cnages in animals in North Americ during he Cenezoic.
    • Identify the characteristics of primates.
    • Explain what seperates hominids from the other hominoids.

Last Modified on February 23, 2015