Geology (GEOL) 313

Our Physical Resources (Revision 4)

GEOL 313 Course website

Revision 4 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: None

Centre: Centre for Science

GEOL 313 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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GEOL 313 explores the nature and uses of numerous physical resources of the world, emphasizing on the resources of Canada, and Alberta in particular. The course covers such topics as formation, distribution, extraction, and use of fossil fuels, and nuclear and other energy resources. GEOL 313 examines water, soil, metallic, and industrial resources as well as the political, economic, and social impacts of their development.


Unit 1: Resources: An Introduction

Unit 2: Plate Tectonics and the Origins of Resources

Unit 3: Resource Exploitation and the Environment

Unit 4: Energy from Fossil Fuels

Unit 5: Nuclear Power and Other Energy Alternatives

Unit 6: The Abundant Metals

Unit 7: The Geochemically Scarce Metals

Unit 8: Industrial Minerals

Unit 9: Water and Soil Resources

Unit 10: Resource Development and International Trade


To receive credit for GEOL 313, you will be based on five assignments, a course project, and two examinations. The passing grade for GEOL 313 is sixty per cent (60 percent). You must average sixty per cent on the assignments and receive a grade of at least sixty per cent to pass each examination. The table below lists the components that contribute to your grade, and their weight.

5 Assignments (8% each) Midterm Exam
Course Project Final Exam Total
40% 20% 15% 25% 100%

The midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Craig, James R., David J. Vaughan, and Brian J. Skinner. Earth Resources and the Environment , 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2010.

The Canadian Centre for Energy Information. Our Petroleum Challenge: Sustainability into the 21st Century, 7th ed. Calgary, AB: Canadian Centre for Energy Information, 2004.


Bott, R. Canada's Oil Sands, 3rd Ed. Calgary, AB: Canadian Centre for Energy Information, 2010.

Coal Kit (Modules 1-4). Calgary, AB: The COAL Association of Canada, 2003.

Coal: Economics
Coal: Environment
Coal: Evolution
Coal: Technology

Industry Canada. Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Sector Profile 2005. Ottawa, ON: Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2006.

McKenzie-Brown, P. Canada's Natural Gas Resources. Calgary, AB: Petroleum Communication Foundation, 2000.

The Mineral and Metals Policy of the Government of Canada: Partnerships for Sustainable Development. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 1996.

Other Materials

The course materials include a study guide, student manual, assignment manual, and a reading file.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the GEOL 313 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “C-” (60 per cent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 4, October 10, 2007.

View previous syllabus