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MITx: The History of Ancient Environments, Climate, and Life

A survey of Earth's early history of life and environments through a combination of classroom lecture and virtual field trips to Northern Minnesota, Svalbard, Norway, and the Death Valley area. At these key sites, students explore the interactions between Earth's early environments and ancient life.

The History of Ancient Environments, Climate, and Life
8 weeks
3–4 hours per week
Instructor-led on a course schedule
This course is archived

About this course

Skip About this course

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).

At a glance

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Associated skills: Geology

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • 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

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners residing in 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.

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