• Length:
    8 Weeks
  • Effort:
    3–4 hours per week
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  • Course Type:
    Instructor-led on a course schedule



About this course

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Students explore the co-evolution of Earth's environment and life from ~2 billion years ago to 500 million years ago by examining rocks from several field location around the world. This course is designed to give students an introductory understanding of Earth history and geology through a series of lectures, virtual field trips, and interviews with experienced geologists. Virtual field sites include the early-mid Proterozoic of Minnesota, and the Neoproterozoic and early Phanerozoic of Svalbard (Norway) and the Death Valley region (eastern California).

What you'll learn

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  • Describe key aspects of the rock and fossil record over Earth’s early history
  • Look at a sedimentary rock and describe key features
  • Use those observations to make inferences about the depositional environment
  • Understand how geology from the field can aid understanding of Earth’s history

Meet your instructors

Kristin Bergmann
Weedon CD Assistant Professor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.