GeoNews Reports

You must write three reports summarizing Earth-human interactions (voluntary or involuntary) that occur during the course of the semester. (If you have a valid reason for wanting to summarize a prior interaction, see me for approval.) Each typed 2-3 page report should include: 1) a narrative summary of the event (in your own words); 2) references to news reports, scientific reports, or reputable web sites containing data about the event; 3) explanations relating the interaction to processes discussed in class; and 4) a bibliography of source material. Please note that you should not simply relate facts about some event. Rather you must demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the Earth processes relevant to the event.

Due dates are noted in the syllabus. You may turn reports in early.

Detailed Requirements:

  1. Reports should be typed with margins set at 1.25" on the left edge and 1.0" at the top, bottom and right edges. A simple cover sheet is sufficient; you do not need covers or binders.
  2. Use a simple font, no larger than 10-12 pt. I suggest Times New Roman.
  3. Each report should have four or more "citations" referring to sources of information you used to write the paper. Certainly one of these should be your textbook (or another geologic text that helps you discuss the relevant general processes or facts). Other sources might include news agencies or web-based scientific organizations. These latter sources are perfectly acceptable since you will be reporting on current events.

Citation Details:

In general, you should cite any significant thought or concept taken from another person's written (or spoken) work, and the work should be referenced in detail within the Bibliography section of your report. You do not need to reference things that are considered common knowledge. For example, you would not need to cite a source for the following sentence, "New Orleans is located in southern Louisiana." This is considered common knowledge. However, if you find references to the fact that portions of New Orleans are subsiding at rates of 5 mm per year due to groundwater pumping, then you should cite the source of the information and include a reference in your bibliography.

Do not provide extensive quotations from your source. Rather, you should summarize the author’s thoughts or concepts in your own words.

For citations and your bibliography use the "APA Style" (American Psychological Association). Any librarian can direct you to descriptions of this style, but you may also visit the following web sites for examples:

links to the APA Style Guide:
Brigham Young University's online APA style guide:
examples of in-text citations:
examples of in-list references:
examples of web-based and electronic sources:

You may want to use the following site, which will automatically produce your citations for you:

Citation Machine: (enter in the information from your source and click the "Make Citations" button)

Your report should have at least four cited references in the text and included within the Bibliography section of your paper. Note the following rules for these:

  1. You should cite only one web-based news agency source in your report.
  2. You should cite at least one scientific textbook or scientific journal.
  3. Newspaper and magazine articles are acceptable.
  4. You should not cite television programs or videos.
  5. You should not cite encyclopedias or dictionaries (i.e., not general reference books).