GEO 333

Spring Semester, 2005



Instructor: Dr. Randall Schaetzl

Office: 413 Natural Science

Office Hours: M,W 2:15-4:15, and by appt.

Mailbox: 315 Natural Science

Contacts, emergency or otherwise: Ph.          353-7726 (office)

347-0164 (home)


Texts and Resource Materials: No formal texts are required for this course. Each student is expected, however, to examine, read and study the web page designed for this course on a frequent basis.

Web page (bookmark it!):

NOTE: We lost this web page due to a server malfunction last December and are rapidly recompiling it now. Pages/parts of it will become available daily; stay updated and keep looking. Our goal is to have all the “relevant” pages up and available by the date of the lecture for which they are needed.


The web page is updated often, and you will be responsible for added material. Material for a given lecture may not all be on one page, but may be “scattered” throughout a few different sections of the GEO 333 web page. Some exam questions WILL come directly from these two sources, even if the specific topics have not been explicitly covered in lecture.


It is STRONGLY recommended that each student download the course notes from Angel and print them out. Place these notes pages in a three-ring binder and use them as your in-class notebook.


Lectures: T, Th, 3:00 - 4:20, Room 206 Old Hort Building. Because so much of the material in this class is NOT available in a textbook or even on the web page, attendance at lecture is essential.


Prerequisites: none


Course Goals: This course is intended for those students who want an overview of the basic geography of Michigan. Emphasis will be on the physical resources of the state, and how humans have utilized those resources. Geographic patterns - their occurrence, relevance, and influence on human society - will be stressed, and in order to better comprehend and follow the lectures, knowledge of geographic patterns in Michigan will be expected.


Exams and Quizzes: There will be two mid-semester exams and a final exam, and two quizzes, in GEO 333. The final exam is cumulative. Point totals are listed above.


First exam

90 points

Second exam

90 points

Final exam (cumulative)

120 points

Quizzes (50 points each)

100 points

Extra credit

available (see below)


400 points


Students will not be allowed to turn in their exams or take a quiz without first presenting a valid MSU ID or another form of identification with a photo on it. There will be no exceptions to this policy! 

Exams will contain some T/F and multiple choice questions. Each exam will also have 2-5 short answer/short essay type questions, and a few questions involving maps.  The first exam will cover material discussed since the beginning of the course. The second exam will cover only material discussed since the first exam. The final exam is comprehensive but stresses material covered since the second exam.  Material from both the lecture and the web page will be covered on exams. Only the essay and map portions of the exams will be returned to the students. A computer-derived answer sheet will also be returned, detailing the student's responses to the objective questions, and providing a list of the correct responses. Keys to all exams will available in the professor's office, and students may look over any and all of their exams during office hours. If you miss the first or second exam, you will normally be assigned, for the missed exam, the average grade from your other two exams - provided you have a valid excuse. Make-up exams are rarely given, and are generally only allowed in cases where a doctor's excuse is presented or if the student discusses their particular dilemma with the professor well before the exam date. If an exam is missed due to a family funeral, a newspaper obituary (with the date of the newspaper issue clearly shown) must be presented to the instructor within five class days of the missed exam or the student will receive a grade of zero for the exam.


There are two quizzes during the course of the semester. Each will be given during the last 20 minutes of lecture. Quiz #1 will be involve naming all the counties of Michigan on a county outline map. Quiz #2 will be similar to the first, except that identification will involve major cities, rivers, lakes, bays, islands and landforms. For each quiz, the percentage of correct answers will be determined and then halved, to arrive at a final grade out of 50 possible. There are no secrets as to what is on the quizzes. Here’s what you can expect:


QUIZ 1: You will be given a blank county outline map of Michigan and will be expected to fill in the name of each of Michigan’s 83 counties (names are not provided, spelling must be “very close" to be judged correct).


QUIZ 2: You will be given several blank maps of Michigan, and will be expected to fill in or identify on the map the following physical and cultural features:


RIVERS: Presque Isle, Ontonogan, Sturgeon (TWO of them, both in the UP), Michigamme, Menominee, Escanaba, Tahquamenon, Manistique, St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, Grand, Muskegon, Manistee, St. Marys, St. Clair, Detroit, Pere Marquette, Thunder Bay, Au Sable, Rifle, Tittabawassee, Shiawassee, Flint, Cass, Saginaw, Huron, Raisin, Black (the one in Sanilac County). The rivers are drawn on the map and the names are given; the student must match the correct number to the correct river.


LAKES (largest to smallest): St. Clair, Houghton, Torch, Burt, Charlevoix, Mullett, Gogebic, Portage, Crystal, Manistique, Black, Higgins, Hubbard, Indian. Locations are indicated on the maps but names are NOT given (spelling must be “close”).


CITIES: Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Flint, Ann Arbor, Warren, Alpena, Traverse City, Houghton, Marquette, Munising, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, Muskegon, Ludington, Charlevoix, Gaylord, Bay City, Monroe, Midland, Saginaw, Port Huron, Sault Ste. Marie, Manistique, Escanaba, Ironwood, Iron Mountain, Jackson, Niles, Adrian, Cadillac, Mt. Pleasant, Menominee, Dearborn, Petoskey, Manistee. Cities are represented on the map as labeled dots, you must provide the name for each city/dot.


BAYS: Keweenaw Bay, Big Bay de Noc, Grand Traverse Bay, Whitefish Bay, Huron Bay, Thunder Bay, Saginaw Bay, Little Traverse Bay. Locations are indicated on the maps but names are NOT given (spelling must be “close”).


LANDFORMS: Huron Mountains, Garden Peninsula, Whitefish Point, St. Clair Delta, Seney Swamp, Keweenaw Range/Copper Country, Chippewa County Clay Plains, Sleeping Bear Dunes, SE Michigan Interlobate moraine, Grayling Fingers, Porcupine Mountains, Antrim-Charlevoix drumlin field, Menominee drumlin field, Leelanau peninsula. The landforms are drawn on the map and the names are given; the student must match the correct number to the correct landform.


ISLANDS: Less Cheneaux Islands, Beaver Island, North and South Manitou Islands, Mackinac Island, Bois Blanc Island, Isle Royale, Sugar Island, Neebish Island, Drummond Island. Locations are indicated on the maps but names are NOT given (spelling must be “close”). 

Grading: A total of 400 points can be earned in this course. The scores of the three exams, the quizzes, and any extra credit points will be summed and rounded up or down to the nearest tenth of a percentile, from which a final course grade will be assigned based strictly on the grade scale shown below.

           87% or greater = 4.0

           83% - 86.9% = 3.5

           75% - 82.9% = 3.0

           71% - 74.9% = 2.5

           62% - 70.9% = 2.0

           58% - 61.9% = 1.5

           50% - 57.9% = 1.0

           less than 200 points (50%) is not passing. No exceptions.


Extra Credit: There are at least two ways to earn extra credit in this course:


1. Produce a small project on a topic of interest to you and to Dr. Schaetzl. The project must involve something that can benefit future students, in that parts of it can be loaded directly onto the GEO 333 web page. Use of imagery in this project is strongly encouraged; some text is expected. The final product of this type will be in digital form, handed in on a disk (Word or html files are preferred). Students will NOT be allowed to do a project of this sort if they do not have permission from Dr. Schaetzl prior to April 1. Students can earn up to 30 EC points for a highly professional, digitally-presented report.


2. Provide Dr. Schaetzl with newspaper or magazine articles, images, rocks, items of historical interest, or other information that can be used to bolster the class or the web page in the future. For this type of contribution students may earn up to 5 EC points for each item.


I am also open to other ideas for extra credit, within reason. ALL EXTRA CREDIT PROJECTS ARE DUE NO LATER THAN THE DATE OF THE LAST LECTURE.




GEO 330: Geography of the United States and Canada

GEO 407: Regional geomorphology of the United States

GEO 408: Soil geomorphology field study

ANP 491: Great Lakes archeology

ANP 438: Great Lakes Indians

GLG 302: Geology of Michigan

FOR 101: Michigan’s forests

FW 207: Great Lakes biology and management

FW 284: Natural history and conservation in Michigan

HST 320: History of Michigan

PLB 218: Plants of Michigan

PRR 100: Recreation in Michigan natural resources

RD 440: Resource development public policy process in Michigan

ZOL 361: Michigan birds



GEO 492: Field study of Michigan (next available in summer 2006, with instructor’s permission)






Lecture topics

web page URLs for assigned readings

Jan 11

Introductory comments, course structure , goals and grading; the GEO 333 web page

Jan 13

PART I: The geologic basement

Geologic concepts; geologic time;

the Precambrian Era in Michigan; discovery and geography of Michigan’s iron ranges

Look at the iron mining parts of this page:

Jan 18

Geology of iron ore; history and development of iron mining; Iron mining video

Look at the iron mining parts of this page:

Jan 20

The geography of iron and steel; the Soo Locks;

shipping on the Great Lakes

Also see the iron and steel parts of this page:

The Soo Locks animation:

Jan 25

Moving iron ore to the steel mills;

steelmaking: the end point of iron; QUIZ 1

Examine the iron and steel parts of this page:

Jan 27

Geology of the Copper Range and Isle Royale;

History and development of copper mining

the copper parts of this page:

Precambrian parts of this page:

Feb 1

Sandstones of the UP; waterfalls, cuestas and the Michigan Paleozoic basin

most everything after “Paleozoic Era” on this page:

Feb 3

Early Paleozoic rocks of the Michigan basin; glass;

Silurian rocks in the Michigan basin-–a little bit of everything; limestone and cement

Feb 8

More Silurian wealth: hydrocarbons QUIZ 2

everything under the heading “hydrocarbons (oil and gas)” on this page:

Feb 10

Salt and brines; Devonian and Mississippian rocks in the Michigan basin; the story of Dow chemical;

shale, clay and bricks

everything under “salt” on this page:

Feb 15

Coal; gypsum

Major aquifers of the Michigan basin; the period of erosion and weathering; karst landscapes, sinkholes and caves

Feb 17



Feb 22

PART II: The last 2 million years

Glaciation: history of the Laurentide ice sheet, onset of the ice, major ice lobes; deglaciation sequence

The first five web pages listed on this page:

Feb 24

Retreat of the ice (continued); end moraines, outwash plains and lake plains

The three-part deglaciation sequence listed here:

Mar 1

Glacial sediments, proglacial lakes, and glacial landform regions

The pages associated with glacial lakes, on this page:

The glacial landforms listed on this page:

Many of the pages found here also are associated with glaciation:

Mar 3

The Great Lakes in postglacial time;

Michigan’s dunes and sand mining

Many pages here have Great Lakes topics included within them:

Dunes are found on several pages here:


Spring Break


Mar 15

The Great Lakes: diversions of water into and out of them;

Coastal issues: how coasts function; coastal development and contemporary erosion problems

Many pages here have Great Lakes topics included within them:

Mar 17

Part III: The last 500 years

Native American Indians, French “invaders” and the British

All the pages within this one:

Several pages within this one:

Mar 22

Early Michigan, statehood and the Toledo War;

Michigan’s external boundaries and internal land divisions

Several pages within this one:

Mar 24

The USPLS system of land subdivision; Michigan fever

It should be obvious which pages on this page: are pertinent

Mar 29

Lumbering: the start, its heyday and the end game;

Lumbering video

Lumbering era materials are all located here:

Mar 31



Apr 5

Post-lumbering issues; stumped wastelands; post-logging fires, the CCC

and most of these pages:

some of the latter pages on this page are useful:

Apr 7

Michigan’s population trends, migration;

Sprawl video; urban sprawl, industrialization, the rural-urban transition

some of these pages are pertinent:

Some pages here:

Some of these pages are more pertinent than others:

Apr 12

Part IV: How we use Michigan’s physical environment

Soils of Michigan; peat and muck, sod, soil quality

Look here:

Apr 14

Major vegetation patterns in Michigan; post-lumbering changes and modern challenges; early agriculture

All of the pages here:

Apr 19

Agriculture: early and later crop rotations;

dairying and corn belt agriculture

Don’t ignore the many fine pages here:

Apr 21

Agriculture: specialty crops: dry beans, sugar beets, potatoes, mint

Don’t ignore the many fine pages here:

Apr 26

Michigan climate and weather: factors and controls;

Michigan’s fruit belt and the “lake effect”

Lake effect and climate pages are here:

Fruit pages are here:

Apr 28

Catch up



Monday, May 2 FINAL EXAM 3:00-5:00 pm 206 Old Hort Building