Geology of the National Parks

Tour the National Parks

A geyser erupting

"Geysers and grizzlies and glaciers, oh my!"

The national parks may be America's best idea, saving the finest parts of the nation for everyone to enjoy forever. What better way to learn about the natural world than to tour the parks with us? We'll explore how the mountains and valleys formed and why they often come with volcanoes and earthquakes. You'll see what really killed the dinosaurs and how we can help save their modern relatives in the parks. With film clips, slide shows, and our geological interpretations of classic rock songs, isn't it time for a road trip?

Tour Overview

Watch a brief video introduction from Dr. Alley!

GEOSC 10 Introduction with Dr. Richard Alley
Click for transcript

Welcome to Geosciences 10. I'm Richard Alley, and I'll be your tour guide to the geology of the national parks. In the course of the semester, we're going to visit some of the most beautiful and interesting places in the world. We're going to ask some big questions. Why are there mountains and volcanoes and earthquakes? Um, why are the mountains torn down by rivers, by glaciers? Um, what's the history of this planet, how do we live on the planet, how do we stay happy and healthy and terrific with the planet? And while we're doing it, we are going to visit some of the most beautiful and wonderful places on the planet. By the end of the semester, we're all going to know a lot more about the national parks, and you are going to be so excited that next summer you're going to be off to visit one because they're such wonderful places. Have a great semester. I'm going to jump on my bicycle, head in to school, and get to it.

Trip Reviews

5 stars  The more I learned in your class, the more I wanted to learn.
5 stars  Your enthusiasm and passion for the subject matter was very inspiring, and I looked forward to doing the assignments and readings each week. 
5 stars  I did not want to leave school behind me without letting you know how much your class meant to me, and how much it helped me.

About Your Guides

Dr. Richard Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences, and Dr. Sridhar Anandakrishnan, Professor of Geosciences, will be your guides through the national parks and the worlds of geology, tsunamis, volcanoes, glaciers, deep time, evolution, extinction, biodiversity, and global warming.