Earth & Planetary Sciences Online Courses

Geology of National Parks (5 credits)


Collaboratively created by three University of California Earth Science faculty, including UCSC’s own Susan Schwartz, this online course provides you with a unique opportunity to explore how geologic processes control the landscapes and features in our National Parks. Along the way, you’ll learn about the concepts of geologic time, plate tectonics and how the rock record can be used to reconstruct the geological story of the parks from 3 experts in the field.

Geologic concepts and processes responsible for shaping our national parks including mountain building, volcanic and earthquake activity, sedimentation, weathering, erosion, and glaciation. An understanding of how geology impacts our lives is emphasized. Appropriate for both science and non-science majors who wish to enhance their knowledge, enjoyment, and appreciation of our national parks. (General Education Code(s): SI.)

Note: Course includes additional fee for online exam proctoring.

Course Video

Instructor: Susan Schwartz

Earthquakes (5 credits)


Causes and effects of earthquakes. How do we measure, mitigate, and try to predict earthquakes? Plate motion, frictional faulting, earthquake triggering, wave propagation, earthquake damage, related hazards, and other social effects. Hazard reduction through earthquake forecasting and earthquake-resistant design. Class includes one full day weekend field trip to local faults. Advanced algebra and high school geometry recommended. Students are billed a $20 materials fee. (General Education Code(s): MF.)

Note: Course includes additional fee for online exam proctoring.

Proposed Instructor: Thomas Goebel