Geological evolution of a habitable planet

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The goal of the course is to study the geological evolution of the Earth from its formation to the present day and define the chemical and physical conditions that have enabled the development of multicellular (complex) life on Earth.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge of principles of advanced geology. Ability to analyze natural geological systems in their complexity and interconnection.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
All lectures will take place synchronously on the TEAMS platform and will be recorded. There will be organized also two face-to-face lectures to be held in open-air at the Botanical Garden of the University of Milan in compliance with the regulations imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19. The exams will be in written form on the platform or in oral form on the TEAMS platform upon detailed request of the student. Exams will be held in compliance with the Covid-19 containment regulations. All course material and infos relating to Covid-19 containment will be published on the Ariel web page of the course and on
Course syllabus
Discussion on the physical prerequisites to simple and complex life. Evolution of the earth and the solar system: the first 500 million years; stabilization of the earth system and structuring of Earth in interconnected 'spheres'; birth of modern plate tectonics and the carbon cycle; description of the long-term carbon cycle and of the Earth's natural thermostat; how does the earth keep liquid water on its surface? Climate variability and extreme climates compared: snowball Earth and the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum. Birth of oxygen: the Great Oxygenation Event and the Neoproterozoic Oxygenation Event. Earth's magnetic field and its shielding effects on the Earth's hydrosphere and atmosphere. Catastrophism as the engine of evolution: the K/T boundary limit and the P / T boundary. Evolution and history of the human species. Final discussions: from chondrites to the Anthropocene.
Prerequisites for admission
Teaching methods
Teaching will take place through classic frontal (teacher-student) lectures (to be held online on the TEAMS platform). Flipped classroom sessions with student presentations are also organized.
Teaching Resources
Class material on the Ariel web page of the course and on
Assessment methods and Criteria
The final exam consists of a written test with 1-2 questions on the topics of the course. Students who have attended class for the entire duration of the course can take the final exam also by presenting and discussing a report on one of the topics of the course based on the critical reading of at least 3 ISI scientific articles. The exams take place online on TEAMS and platforms. Oral exams can be organized upon detailed request.
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Muttoni Giovanni