Writing Prompt #1 … for in-class Thursday 7th September 2017

In 1785, James Hutton, a Scottish farmer who would come to be known as the father of geology, presented work from nearby Siccar Point that suggested that the earth has a long history of slow acting geologic processes. This idea of uniformitarianism, often summed up as, “the present is the key to the past,” was controversial at the time, and implied that we did not need to site catastrophic or supernatural events to explain the geologic history of the earth. In your own words, explain the concept of uniformitarianism. Use at least one example of something on earth that is the result of slow acting geologic processes. Explain why Hutton’s proposal of slow geologic processes was controversial (i.e., what did it imply about the earth/age of earth)? Describe one other way that uniformitarianism was important for other disciplines besides geology.

For what it is worth, here’s a photo of Siccar Point where Hutton came up with ideas. The yellow line is added to show the transition of layers of rocks:

Instructions and guidelines:

You can do research outside of class, write/prepare notes and/or a draft to bring to class 7th Sept. Writing will happen in class 7th Sept – you cannot turn the writing in before or after 7th Sept in class and you cannot email it to me.

During in class writing you will get a piece of paper on which to complete your writing. Writing must fit on the front of the page – anything on the back will not be read.

Write in complete sentences. Answer all parts of the question (this one has four questions you need to answer – read the prompt carefully).

Use standard essay format (topic sentence, supporting information, conclusion).

It should be about 140-200 words – roughly one page (front only) hand written.

You will be graded on content, grammar, punctuation, and flow. A grading rubric is posted.

Grades are out of 10 pts. You will automatically get half credit (5 pts) if you come to class and participate in the writing, provided you write something that is related to the topic. Grades go up from there based on quality of the writing and accuracy of the content. 6 pts = D, 7 pts = C, 8 pts = B, 9 pts = A, 10 pts = PERFECT! See posted rubric for more specifics about grading.

We will spot check for cheating – we are really good at spotting material that has simply been copied from the web. If we catch you turning in plagiarized material we will report it to the Dean of Students office as cheating and you will receive a 0 on the writing.

Feel free to draft your answer outside of class and bring it with you to class on writing day. You will not be allowed to turn in your draft, but can “transfer” it to the paper we hand out.

We encourage you to make an appointment via email to bring your draft to Dr. P or a TA for feedback prior to writing day. You cannot email your draft to us for feedback – you must meet in person with someone for feedback. The only way to ensure a good score is to get feedback on your draft PRIOR to turning in your final in class version.

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