Essentials of Oceanography

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Quick Facts about EARTH 540

  • Instructor for Summer 2020 - Assoc. Prof. Eliza Richardson, Department of Geosciences.
  • Authors - Chris Marone and Michael Arthur, Professors, Department of Geosciences
  • Overview - EARTH 540 is an elective course in Penn State's online Masters of Education in Earth Sciences. This course is designed specifically for science teachers who seek to enrich their knowledge of oceanography and contemporary principles of the fluid Earth and who are able to study only part-time and at a distance from the Penn State Campus. EARTH 540 is offered periodically, generally once or twice per year.


    It is strongly recommended that students successfully complete EARTH 501 before taking EARTH 540.

  • Learning Environment - This Web site provides the primary instructional materials for the course. The Resources menu links to important supporting materials and a list of the lessons we will cover in the course can be found in the menu bar to the right. Canvas, Penn State's course management system, is used to support the delivery of this course, as well, as it provides the primary communications, calendaring, and submission tools for the course.
  • Topics of Study - EARTH 540 introduces knowledge and broadens understanding of the oceans and their role in climate, coastal processes, and life within the fluid Earth. Students will gain insight into the physical and chemical processes that determine properties of the ocean and govern interactions between the ocean, atmosphere, groundwater, and the fluid/solid Earth. Topics will reinforce fundamental scientific principles such as heat transfer, chemical equilibrium, and conservation of energy.
    • Lesson 1 - The Water Planet: Earth and the Goldilocks Principle
    • Lesson 2 - Living on an Island: Origin of Ocean Basins and Sea Floor Morphology
    • Lesson 3 - From Rock to Salt
    • Lesson 4 - The Global Thermostat. The Ocean-Atmosphere-Climate Connection
    • Lesson 5 - The Sea is Rising, the Sea is Rising
    • Lesson 6 - Tides Turning and the Planetary Connection
    • Lesson 7 - Environmental Issues: Coral Reefs Imperiled, The Dead Zone
    • Lesson 8 - The Secret Lives of Fishes and the Great Meal Deal
    • Lesson 9 - Capstone Project


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