OSHR 1152 - Earth History - the First 4 1/2 Billion Years

  • Noncredit

This course is offered through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Colorado State University. You must be a member of Osher to enroll in this course.

If you are fascinated with the history of our planet, but have questions about how and when Earth formed, the nature of the first rocks formed on Earth, the origin of the oceans, granite, and life, then this course is for you. We will discuss these and other subjects such as how Earth obtained an oxygen atmosphere, the mineral revolution, the snowball-hothouse cycle, the plate tectonic cycle and the rise of the terrestrial biosphere. The central theme of this course is the co-evolution of Earth and life.

We will end our overview of Earth history by examining possible scenarios for a changing Earth at various time scales from the next hundred years to the next five billion years.

Recommended Reading: Hazen, R.M., 2012, The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years from Stardust to Living Planet, 306 p, Penguin Group, N.Y. (Paperback, approximately $15 and cheaper if bought used online.)

Noncredit courses do not produce academic credit nor appear on a Colorado State University academic transcript.


Frank Ethridge


Frank G. Ethridge, professor emeritus of geology at Colorado State University, worked as a geologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Texas Highway Commission, and Chevron Oil Co. Frank has conducted courses and led field trips for geological societies and petroleum companies. He taught geology at Southern Illinois University and Colorado State University for a total of 35 years.