Spring 2021 - EASC 403 D100

Quaternary Geology (3)

Class Number: 1643

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 11 – Apr 16, 2021: Fri, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 26, 2021
    Mon, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    EASC 201, EASC 209W or GEOG 213, and EASC 308. All with a grade of C- or better.



Stratigraphy and history of the Quaternary Period with emphasis on glaciation, glacial sediments, and landforms. The course includes several 1-day trips and at least one 3-day trip.


This course is intended for senior EASC undergraduate students and others who possess a general background in geology and can also have some training in related science disciplines such as geography and biology. The course provides an in-depth examination of Quaternary geology (i.e., the geology of the past 2.6 million years). Topics include Quaternary processes and sediments, stratigraphy, geomorphology, surficial geology, and Quaternary geochronology. The emphasis is on developing an understanding of (1) the recent geologic record in four dimensions (time being the fourth dimension), (2) important natural process that have shaped the landscape during the Quaternary and (3) Quaternary sediments and landforms. Principles and concepts are illustrated with examples from Western Canada and the adjacent northwestern U.S. The course has a strong field emphasis within the constraints imposed by winter weather.

Course Organization:
There will be a 2-hour lecture each Friday. I will also lecture in at least a portion of the lab period. Lectures will be remote and synchronous, although I will be recording them as well. On 4-5 Fridays, however, field trips will replace the lecture/lab. We have asked for permission to run local fieldtrips in this time of COVID.  DO NOT schedule any other courses on Friday as we will be leaving campus at 8:30 AM and returning as late as 6 PM. Unfortunately the  3-day excursion to the Channeled Scablands in central Washington in March or the beginning of April will be cancelled


  • Term Presentation 20%
  • Mid-Term Examinations 20%
  • Final Examination 35%
  • Class Participation (overall class mark of ‘no-shows’ reduced 5%) 5%
  • Scabland Term Paper 20%


**You should also budget for all field trip expenses. As we will be in the field a minimum of 4-5 days in late winter/early spring, be prepared for cool wet weather. You will need a backpack, field boots with ankle support, a camera, and standard items including a field notebook, pen, and pencils.

Be aware that during the field trip there will be periods of strenuous hiking, hiking close to cliffs and crossing roads with busy traffic. Appropriate clothing and footwear should be worn. Further details regarding safety, food, and field supplies will be discussed prior to the field trip.



Assigned readings:
A collection of research papers will be distributed during the class. The articles provide information on the Quaternary geology of British Columbia; some articles are pertinent to the field trips.


Course E-Text (not required):

Glacial Geology; Ice Sheets and Landforms. 2nd edition Bennett, M.R. & Glasser, N.F. 2010. John Wiley & Sons. 
ISBN: 9781119104537

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).