This is to be a research-based paper in which you explore a specific aspect of an Earth science topic in more detail than is covered in the class. You are to find out what the experts think about the topic and report on the rationale for their understanding, that is, upon what experimental and observational evidence and logic do they base their conclusions.
You can choose any topic of interest to you that is related to the Earth science topics that we covered in class. However make sure that it is specific enough that you can cover it well in the paper. This should not be a general overview paper. Some sample topics are listed at the end, but you are not limited to these topics.
Your thesis in the paper should be supported by facts obtained from research. A minimum of four sources must be used. They should include at least one book other than the textbook or other reference book (either in print or in electronic format from the library database) or an article from peer-reviewed academic journals. Web-based materials should come from credible sources. University-related and government agency websites generally have credible scientific information, while personal and business-related sites should be treated with healthy skepticism. Although you may not find books that directly addresses the issue about which you are writing, you may find one that addresses necessary background or general supporting information about your topic. Reference material (e.g. encyclopedias, dictionaries, your textbook) do not count toward your four references, although you are welcome to use them.
You should credit your sources whenever you quote from or paraphrase a source. Additionally, you should always cite your source for any statements made in the essay that are not general knowledge (because you presumably obtained them from one of your sources). For instance if you state that 98 percent of all the fish in the ocean are green, you will want to cite your source.
A bibliography page, or works cited page, should be located on a separate page immediately following the body of your essay. It should contain the list of works used listed alphabetically by last name of lead author. Although I will not be extremely picky about the formatting of the works cited page, I do expect all the information needed to locate each source, and I expect it to roughly follow the standard formatting used in composition classes. Be sure to include the date of access for URL?s.
The paper should be 5-8 pages long, typewritten, double spaced, and written in a standard (and legible) font (12 point Times New Roman for example). It is to be submitted electronically via Isidore, where it will be checked by Turnitin.com. The paper is due by the end of the last day of class (12/9/2016).
Sample topics:

1. Select a recent natural disaster, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flood, and
hurricanes, provide a detailed geological/hydrological/meteorological analysis for the disaster in order to answer questions such as: how did it happen? Why did it happen in that particular place/time? What kind of environment settings and triggers led to the disaster? How did it affect people and their environment?

Scientists used many methods to establish past events. Choose a major event in the Earth history and research on the detailed methodology and evidence that scientists used to establish the particular event. Examples include: extinction of dinosaurs, existence of ice ages,
What?s the historical trend of global temperature for the past 150 years? How does it compare with temperature change in the past 1000 (2000, up to 500,000) years? How did scientists measure and compile global temperature today, and how did they reconstruct the climate in the past? How do we know that the present global warming is largely caused by human activities?
What are the potential impacts of climate change? Focus on one specific aspect of our natural environment, such as potential impacts on precipitation patterns of the Midwest, frequency and magnitude of hurricanes, sea-level rise, the Arctic Ice extent, and the Arctic ecosystem etc.

 

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