This spring, Collin College will offer Geology 1402 – Earth Science II for the first time.

The course, which is designed for non-science majors, includes a lab. Students will learn about climate change, renewable resources, fossil fuels, hurricanes, volcanoes, solar flares, extinction events, impact craters, rip currents, earthquakes and more.

Collin Cougar sat down with Professor Paul Manganelli to learn more about the class and what it will offer.

Collin Cougar: First and foremost, why should I care about geology? I mean, other than finding a cave to make a den in, rocks don’t interest me that much.
Professor Paul Manganelli: So you’re saying that the rocks that provide you shelter don’t interest you much? Well, besides containing the natural resources for many of the materials that humans build homes from, rocks provide geologists a window into Earth’s past.  When we understand what happened in Earth’s past, it allows us to prepare for Earth’s future and our place in it.   Besides that, it is well known that geology rocks!
Also, Earth Science is much more than just geology.  It’s astronomy, meteorology and oceanography.

CC: Why should people sign up for this class?
PM: Because the coolest science on the planet is the science of the planet!  Plus, what’s more important than understanding how the planet you live on works?  Earth Science II is like an owner’s manual and troubleshooting guide for Earth.

CC: How does this course differ from the things Collin has offered before?
PM: This course examines humans’ place in the Earth system, which has never been offered before at Collin.  It also explores the connections among the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere (the solid Earth) and biosphere (all life on Earth) to show how a change in one leads to changes in all the others.

CC: What section of the course do you think students will enjoy the most? Is it learning about volcanoes? I’ll bet it’s volcanoes.
PM: While it’s true that studying volcanoes is a blast, every student will make their own unique connection with the material.  I do have a feeling the sections on asteroid strikes and mass extinction events will make an impact.  Some might also get blown away by the section on tornadoes…

CC: Why offer free exercise manuals and use the same textbooks from Earth Science I? What, are you anti-business or something?
PM: We’re not anti-business. We’re pro-students!  Geology department faculty and staff across the district have worked together over the last few years to reduce course costs for students while delivering engaging materials.  Downloadable lab exercises and a common textbook for Earth Science I & Earth Science II are a result of our collaborations.

CC: What do you hope students will take away from the course?
PM: I hope they will have a more in-depth understanding of their role in the Earth system.  As members of the biosphere (all life on Earth) we all affect, and are affected by, the Earth on a daily basis.  I also hope the students will begin thinking of themselves as the Earthlings they truly are and understand how deep their connection to the Earth system actually goes.

For more information, contact Professor Manganelli at