Undergraduate course

Introduction in Historical Geology and Paleontology

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring, Autumn
  • Course codeGEOV105
  • Number of semesters1
  • Resources

Objectives and Content

The course aims to give an introduction to Earth as a system with interaction between the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. This is a complex system with a long history. Changes in the interacting processes have short- and long-term consequences that can be modelled for the past and the future. The course shall convey an understanding of fundamental geobiological processes, documented largescale changes, as well as the role of humans in, and their impact on, the Earth system.

The course will impart how principal biological processes (e.g. photosynthesis, biomineralisation, growth and decay of plants) have affected the Earth system (e.g. atmospheric chemistry, global biogeochemical cycles). The course further addresses topics such as the evolution of life on Earth, important fossil groups, geodynamic processes (e.g. spreading and subduction of oceanic crust, orogenesis, volcanism) and subsequent largescale changes in palaeogeography and global climate with examples from the geological development of Norway.

Learning Outcomes

The student can

  • explain principal terms, definitions and theories (e.g. geologic time, the Earth system, geobiology, the carbon cycle, evolution)
  • explain how the geo- and biosphere can affect each other (e.g. biogeochemical cycles)
  • demonstrate how the geological table is hierarchic and systematic organised, as well as explain its construction
  • discuss the consequences of different geodynamic processes (e.g. changes in paleogeography, volcanism) have had for ocean, climate, and life
  • outline the main features of the evolution of life on Earth, with examples from the fossil succession  

The student can

  • perform simple quantitative analyses (e.g. date geologic material with isotope data, estimate extinction rates from fossil data)
  • summarize observations/data/principles graphically
  • interpret (read and explain) graphs and figures with Earth system data (e.g. isotope and time series)
  • recognise and discuss different geological processes that affects the biosphere, and different biological processes that affects the geosphere
  • do simple searches for relevant Earth Science literature, as well as cite sources correctly

 General competence
The student can

  • use a precise geological language to describe and discuss geological processes and events
  • acknowledge, evaluate and communicate the role of humans in, and our dependency and impact on, the Earth system
  • demonstrate the ability to function individually, in cooperation and ethically with others
  • accomplish laboratory and field work in alignment with GEO¿s/UiB¿s health and safety regulations

Required Previous Knowledge

GEOV101 and GEOV102

Recommended Previous Knowledge

GEOV104, GEOV107, GEOV109

Access to the Course

Access to the course requires admission to a programme of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

Forms of Assessment

The forms of assessment are: portfolio evaluation

Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.

Assessment Semester

Autumn. Assessment is only given in the teaching semester.

Reading List

The reading list will be available within June 1st for the autumn semester and December 1st for the spring semester.

Course Evaluation

The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.

Course Coordinator

The course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB, or you may contact studierettleiar@geo.uib.no

Course Administrator

The Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Earth Science has the administrative responsibility for the course and program.


Contact Information

The student coordinator can be contacted here:


Tlf 55 58 35 19