Geological Events that Changed Earth's History


What are the key moments that define the shape of the Earth as we know it today? Investigating these momentous events from 4 billion years ago includes topics as diverse as Geological time and Noah’s flood, Snowball Earth, the first life on Earth and the first extinction of life, volcanic eruptions, death of the dinosaurs, asteroid impacts, and building mountains such as the Himalayas. Each and every one of the topics chosen has a crucial place in determining the shape of the landscape we know today, the position of continents and oceans and, last but not least, life on Earth. Explore a world you thought you knew, but will provide you with many surprises.

Programme details

Session 1

Introduction: Geological time and Noah’s flood

Session 2

Locked in the deep freezer: Snowball Earth

Session 3

The start of life on Earth, the first life forms and the first major extinction

Session 4

Volcanic eruptions and supervolcanoes

Session 5

Death of the dinosaurs with 80% of life on Earth – asteroids and more

Session 6

Visit to the University Museum Oxford for evidence of Earth’s crisis moments

Session 7

Earthquakes – moving and breaking plates

Session 8

The ups and downs of building mountains

Session 9

Ice Ages: what, how and why? (Part 1)

Session 10

Ice Ages: what, how and why? (Part 2)

Session 11

Global warming: cycles and sinks

Session 12

Unravelling geological events – so what’s the story?


* Please note that the cost of all fieldtrips is including in the course fee.


Description Costs
Programme Fee (No Accommodation - inc. Tuition, Lunch & Dinner) £850.00
Programme Fee (Standard Single Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1485.00
Programme Fee (Standard Twin Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1245.00
Programme Fee (Superior Single Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1600.00
Programme Fee (Superior Twin Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1345.00


Dr Jill Eyers


Jill Eyers is a tutor with many years experience with Oxford (OUSSA) and the Open University, and with a passion for everything geological. She is a geologist who has travelled the world for her research, has written a number of books and appeared in several television and radio programmes.

Course aims

The course aims to introduce some key moments of Earth’s history and investigate why they occurred, what happened and what major change was the result.

Teaching methods

All summer school courses are taught through group seminars and individual tutorials. Students also conduct private study when not in class and there is a well stocked library at OUDCE to support individual research needs.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to :

•          Recognise some major geological events, what occurred and why

•          Identify other geological events that might fall into these categories

•          Assess and make predictions for Earth in the future

Assessment methods

Students are assessed during the summer school by either a 1500 word written assignment or a presentation supported by individual documentation. To successfully gain credit (10 CATS points) students should attend all classes and complete the on-course assignment. There is also a pre-course assignment of 1000 words set. Although this does not count towards credit, it is seen as an important way of developing a student's ideas and therefore its completion is mandatory.