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.  World of Maps also has a few copies.

    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


  1. Using the bedrock & surficial geology maps on the Geological Survey web site: For the lesson 4 assignment all you need is the surficial geology map legend; to get that, you click the upper left button "toggle between legend and layer list".  The legend will appear along the right side of the map.


In encourage you to browse around the maps and note the distribution of the various deposits.  I find the maps most useful with regional roads, lakes, and geology chosen as visible, and geology chosen as active (you need to toggle back to the layer list to set these choices - and then click "refresh map" in the lower right).  Next click the upper right button in the left side menu and hide the overview map, as it is not worth the space it occupies.  Next click the magnifying glass and drag a small rectangle over part of the map you wish to see in detail.  Once you get an image large enough to see, you can pan around the map with the hand or the blue arrows.  Click the "i" and then click anywhere on the map and it will identify whatever lies there (from the layer you have chosen as active).  They haven't added road names to their database.  If you need to know exactly where you are, check the extreme lower left corner of the screen:  The first number is the UTM easting, and the second is UTM northing of your cursor location; these are the blue lines and numbers on a topographic map.




  1. That giant table (#1) in lesson 2:  Table 1 is simply a list of the elements.  The 2nd column, labeled "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, labeled "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 (labeled 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 oxygen’s 2p sub orbit (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-orbit 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.


  1. 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.