1. The two main geology maps we use in this course:

    There are links for the maps in the lessons that use them (lessons 4 and up). The url for the site is This is the home page of a Geological Survey site about Ottawa’s geology. To get the maps, click ONLINE DATA and then check the menus for Bedrock and Surficial maps.

    The Generalized Bedrock Geology map of Ottawa - Hull (map 1508A) and the Surficial Geology map of Ottawa (map 1506A) are available for about $10 or $15 each from the Geological Survey map office at 601 Booth St., just north of Dow's Lake. Go up the steps between the limestone outcrops and turn hard left just inside the door (I expect World of Maps should also have them).

    It is not essential that you buy these maps; they can be found online and they load quickly at the college (but slowly with dial-up). There are links in the lessons whenever necessary. The bedrock map online is slightly more detailed than the paper map, and the lessons are written to match the online map; so you might get a little confused if you are working only from the paper bedrock map. The paper surficial map is identical to the online surficial map and is much faster to use (at least for an old fossil like myself).

  2. That giant table (#1) in lesson 2:

    Table 1 is simply a list of the elements. The 2nd column, labelled "atomic number" is the number of protons in each atom. They are positively charged, and will attract an equal number of electrons to orbit around them. The remaining columns, labelled "K, L, M, N, O, P" are the orbits that these electrons fall into. They will always fill the inner orbits first. The importance of these orbits, for this course, is the outer orbits and sub-orbits (labelled 1 to 6 and s, p, d, or f), and the rule: all atoms like to have their outer orbits and sub-orbits either empty or full. Look at carbon, atomic # 6. Its outer electrons lie in sub-orbit 2p. If you look down the 2p column, you see that this sub-orbit can hold up to 6 electrons; thus carbon will be looking for a friend that will either take these 2 electrons or give it 4 more. Oxygen (atomic # 8) has 4 electrons in its outer sub-orbit; if they join to form CO (carbon monoxide) carbon could empty its 2p sub-orbit by moving those 2 electrons to fill oxygens 2p suborbit (4 + 2 = 6). However, this is like a couple that enjoys dating, but has no plans for marriage; because it is only carbon's outer SUB-orbits that is empty. Carbon will be truly happy only when it gives up the 2 electrons in sub-orbit 2s as well; this will completely empty its outer orbit (L). It can do this by finding another oxygen to make CO2 (carbon dioxide). Thus each oxygen takes 2 electrons from the single carbon atom, and a relatively stable molecule (or marriage of atoms) is created (atoms are polygamous!).

    Using this reasoning, you can answer all the harder questions in the lesson 2 quiz.

  3. If you didn’t get to Lesson 1 (the face-to-face meeting):

    Knowing that many people don't show for the face-to-face, I didn't include any information that is not found in Blackboard. It was more of an inspirational presentation with a quick summary of the course using many of the mineral samples pictured in the course documents.

    In a few weeks my current contract with a local mineral exploration firm will be completed. After that I expect to schedule a meeting in the on-line center (C102) with any special needs or advanced students. If you have any geology related problems that we can't solve by e-mail, we could address them then.