Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America

In partnership with
Ford Cochran,
Geologist and Program Director, National Geographic
Share This Course
4.1 out of 5
246 Reviews
74% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 1707
Video Streaming Included Free

What Will You Learn?

  • numbers Discover how glaciers form and their historical advance and retreats. Also, learn how a glacier is like a candy bar!
  • numbers Chart the geology of Appalachian Trail and journey to a continental collision that raised mountains.
  • numbers Learn the story of the Grand Canyon - a geological saga of deposition and erosion that started 1.7 billion years ago.
  • numbers Use fossilized flora and fauna to open a window on ancient ecosystems, extinct species, and the history of life on Earth.
  • numbers Learn how more than 2,000 natural arches formed in the Arches region.

Course Overview

In 1872, a wondrous region called Yellowstone was set aside as the world’s first national park, giving adventurous travelers access to a geologist’s paradise that seethes with pent-up volcanic forces. As more and more national parks were created—not just in the United States but also in Canada and Mexico—geologists were revolutionizing their field, piecing together a detailed understanding of how the world works. National parks have made these magnificent reminders of the awe-inspiring power of our planet accessible to everyone. Today, there is no better education in the remarkable forces that formed our world than a tour of the national parks of North America. These parks capture a special place in our hearts and draw millions of tourists each year.

From Yellowstone’s bubbling, steaming landscape to the great slabs of granite along Acadia’s shores, each park contributes its own chapter to the story of Earth. Most visitors get only a superficial view of these sites, guided by the informational signposts or tour books, but there is so much more to be discovered. Our national parks offer profound lessons for anyone who loves history, geology, and nature. This course provides in-depth insights, intriguing perspectives, and riveting little-known facts about these treasured places that you won’t find simply by driving through them. And the next time you do drive or hike through a national park, you’ll have a deeper appreciation for the forces—geological, historical, and otherwise—that shaped it.

You will learn how our majestic parks provide dramatic evidence of geological processes such as:

  • Colliding continents: From Maine’s Acadia National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, the rolling Appalachians are the eroded remnants of once-mighty peaks formed in the collision of ancient continents.
  • Glaciation: The magnificent valley that welcomes visitors to Yosemite National Park is the work of vanished glaciers that were nearly a mile thick. Glaciers sculpted this region and much of North America in a succession of pulses during Earth’s latest ice age.
  • Uplift and erosion: Imagine a board lifting into a buzz saw. A similar phenomenon produced the Grand Canyon and other breathtaking chasms in the American West, as the Colorado Plateau rose and fast-flowing rivers sliced through the land.
  • Volcanic Hotspots: Deep beneath Yellowstone National Park is a huge magma chamber that erupted as a supervolcano 640,000 years ago and will explode again. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park hides a tamer, fiery hotspot.

Formed just 16 years after Yellowstone was dedicated as a park, the National Geographic Society has led the way in securing protection for America’s most important natural wonders. With a connection to the national parks that stretches back all the way to the 1800s, the National Geographic Society has maintained an abiding interest in their creation and preservation, sponsoring scientific and exploratory expeditions; featuring the parks in scores of magazine articles, books, and films; and working to raise awareness and support for national parks at home and abroad. Apart from the National Park Service itself, no other organization has compiled as impressive an archive of maps and images, assembled as knowledgeable a staff, or been as committed to educating the public on the subject of these national treasures.

We are proud to join forces with this extraordinary institution to present Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America, a fascinating introduction to geology that forged North America’s national parks. Beautifully illustrated, these 36 half-hour lectures take you to more than a hundred spectacular sites guided by geologist and former college professor Ford Cochran, who is currently the Director of Programming for National Geographic Expeditions. He is a storyteller and an explorer at heart who specializes in interpreting landscapes for a variety of audiences.

No previous background in geology or science is needed to experience the thrill that these lectures offer, just a sense of curiosity as you unravel the mysteries of some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet.

Learn about Every National Park…and More

The scope of this course is truly astonishing. Professor Cochran covers every national park in the United States, together with exceptional state parks, national monuments, historical parks, marine sanctuaries, and other preserves, plus a number of outstanding parks in Canada, Mexico, and beyond. Anyone planning a trip to one or more of these sites, whether a weekend outing or a transcontinental expedition, will find their experiences immeasurably enriched by Professor Cochran’s insightful and entertaining presentation. And just staying at home watching the series is an adventure itself!

As a special bonus, three of National Geographic’s top experts appear in interview segments following many of the lectures. Photojournalist Chris Johns was the first journalist onto Mount Saint Helens after it erupted in 1980, and he recently stepped up from Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic magazine to oversee all editorial content creation at National Geographic. Biologist and wildlife documentary producer John Francis is currently National Geographic’s Vice President for Research, Conservation, and Exploration. And Kaitlin Yarnall is one of the gifted cartographers behind National Geographic’s famous maps, now serving as Executive Editor for Cartography, Art, and Graphics at National Geographic magazine as well as Director of Cartography for the Society. These three creative professionals add their fascinating perspectives to Wonders of the National Parks, rounding out the experience to provide truly enriching lessons.

The Greatest Spectacle on Earth

Many visitors to national parks never go beyond the most accessible sites, but this course shows how to experience the breathtaking diversity of these places in depth. You learn how each park fits into the geological epic of North America—a story of mountain ranges created by the collision of tectonic plates, of oceans rising and drowning the lowlands, of volcanoes raining ash and liquid fire, of glaciers growing to towering heights and scouring the terrain down to the bedrock, of desert sands burying entire regions, of earthquakes transforming the land in an instant, and of the tenacious, erosive power of flowing water. If it sounds like the greatest spectacle on Earth, it is!

Drawing on his wide experience as a field geologist and National Geographic expedition lecturer, Professor Cochran has plenty of recommendations for must-see attractions and activities. Here are just a few:

  • Driving: A National Geographic staffer once told Professor Cochran that Canada’s Icefields Parkway was “the most spectacular drive anywhere.” He took the trip and discovered why. The largest icefield in the Rocky Mountains, it stretches from Banff National Park to Jasper National Park along the Continental Divide.
  • Hiking: Among the many hikes suggested by Professor Cochran, he especially loves the West Rim Trail at Zion National Park. The awe-inspiring views of the sandstone canyons carved by the North Fork of the Virgin River are well worth the walk.
  • For the more adventurous:
  • Canoeing and kayaking: A tranquil river trip takes you through the dramatic badlands of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, retracing a portion of Lewis and Clark’s epic voyage.
  • Rock climbing: One of the oldest rivers on the continent, paradoxically called the New River, has worn a gorge into a uniquely hard form of sandstone that is a nearly perfect rock for climbers, who flock to New River Gorge National River to test their skills.

Remind Yourself: “This Is Real!”

In addition to geology, Wonders of the National Parks also touches on botany, zoology, atmospheric science, and other disciplines as they relate to specific protected areas. The course also explores the role that humans have played in these distinctive landscapes. For example:

  • Gettysburg: Gettysburg National Military Park provides a geology lesson wrapped up in a history lesson. Little Round Top, Cemetery Ridge, and other key sites in the three-day battle owe their existence to the rifting that opened the Atlantic when the supercontinent Pangaea split apart.
  • Gold rush: Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve includes gold formations mined during Alaska’s great gold rush. Just as in California’s gold fields, seafloor subduction and other tectonic forces created the right conditions to concentrate the glittering element in rocks near the surface.
  • John Wesley Powell: One of the founders of the National Geographic Society was John Wesley Powell, who led the first expeditions through the canyon country of the Colorado Plateau, including the Grand Canyon. His vivid reports brought these future parklands to public attention.
  • Ansel Adams: The world’s most revered nature photographer did his most famous work in the parks of the American West. Professor Cochran takes Adams’s classic view of Yosemite Valley and reads it like a book, pointing out the riveting geological story it tells.

With a career at National Geographic spanning more than 20 years, plus his professional training in geology, Professor Cochran is the ideal lecturer for this course: a deeply knowledgeable scientist, an experienced and enthusiastic traveler, and a consummate storyteller who lives and breathes the Society’s mission to “inspire, illuminate, teach.”

You may even be able to detect Professor Cochran’s background in English literature, which he pursued as an undergraduate before falling in love with geology. He often peppers his lessons with quotes and stories, adding an additional dimension of elucidation. For example, in his lectures on Yosemite, he quotes the great author and naturalist John Muir, whose eloquence helped preserve Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks in the 1890s. Professor Cochran has a similar way with words, describing one of the Yosemite hikes as follows: “The soaring scale and beauty of the granite landscape from this portion of the John Muir Trail are so extraordinary that, though you’re there and seeing it—actually seeing it—you still have to remind yourself: This is real!”

Hide Full Description
36 lectures
 |  Average 31 minutes each
  • 1
    Yellowstone: Microcosm of the National Parks
    Start your tour of the geological wonders of North America's national parks with Yellowstone, where the breathtaking landscape inspired the idea of a national park. Focus on the processes that produce Yellowstone's many geothermal formations, particularly its geysers. x
  • 2
    Yellowstone's Cataclysmic Origins and Future
    Read the evidence in the rocks to discover Yellowstone's bigger story: the massive volcanic eruptions that created the region and will one day destroy it, the glaciers that shaped the terrain, and the meltwater floods that carved the impressive Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. x
  • 3
    Grand Teton and Jackson Hole
    At Grand Teton National Park south of Yellowstone, an active fault lifts some of North America's oldest rocks to the summits of some of the continent's youngest mountains. Explore these glacier-sculpted peaks, and learn the origin of the broad valley, called Jackson Hole, at the base of the Teton Range. x
  • 4
    Hawaii Volcanoes: Earth's Largest Mountains
    Compare the lessons of hotspot volcanism at Yellowstone with the very different landscape at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which is also stoked by upwelling magma from Earth's mantle. Professor Cochran describes rivers of fire on the Big Island of Hawaii and suggests distinctive lava formations to visit. x
  • 5
    The Hawaiian Islands and Maui's Haleakala
    How does a barren volcanic landscape become a tropical paradise? Study the speed with which volcanic islands erode, leaving rich soil behind. Watch these processes at work on the Big Island of Hawaii, at Haleakala National Park on Maui, and also in the National Park of American Samoa. x
  • 6
    Mount Saint Helens, Lassen Volcanic, Rainier
    Tour Mount Rainier National Park and Lassen Volcanic National Park in the Pacific Northwest, which are part of the Cascade Range of active volcanoes that include Mount Saint Helens. Then visit a group of similarly cataclysmic volcanoes in national parks in central Mexico. x
  • 7
    Crater Lake, Olympic, North Cascades
    Learn how seafloor subduction raised a lofty volcano only to obliterate it in a colossal eruption that created Crater Lake in Oregon. Hundreds of miles to the north, tectonic forces upended the imposing mountains of Olympic National Park and formed the high jagged peaks at North Cascades National Park. x
  • 8
    Volcanoes of Alaska: Katmai and Lake Clark
    Travel to Alaska to explore the vast national parks at Katmai and Lake Clark. Katmai was the site of the 20th century's largest volcanic eruption, while Lake Clark is unusual among national parks for having no roads and being accessible only by boat or small plane. x
  • 9
    Alaska's Glacier Bay and Kenai Fjords
    Continue your tour of the largest state with stops at two spectacular parks that are popular destinations for cruise ships: Glacier Bay and Kenai Fjords. Discover how glaciers form and examine their historical advance and retreat in this region. Also, learn how a glacier is like a candy bar! x
  • 10
    Yosemite: Nature's Cathedral
    Survey the most beautiful valley on Earth: Yosemite. Even for those who have not yet visited, its views are iconic thanks to stunning photos by Ansel Adams and others. Investigate the geological history of the park, focusing on its most distinctive rock type - granite. x
  • 11
    Redwoods, Sequoias, and the Sierra Nevada
    Dig deeper into the geology of Yosemite, charting the role of glaciers in shaping the terrain. Also, learn the origin of California's famous gold deposits. Then study the special conditions that promote the growth of giant sequoias, and visit the national parks that preserve these towering trees for posterity. x
  • 12
    Pinnacles to Joshua Tree: The San Andreas
    Trace the earth-shaking San Andreas fault through a series of national parks and recreation areas - from Point Reyes, Golden Gate, and Pinnacles in the north to the Santa Monica Mountains, Channel Islands, Joshua Tree, and Mexico's Sierra de San Pedro Martir in the south. x
  • 13
    Denali to Gates of the Arctic
    The story of the tectonic train wreck that built Alaska is written all over the three largest national parks in the U.S.: Wrangell-St. Elias, Gates of the Arctic, and Denali. These remote preserves encompass America's tallest mountains, all built by subduction zone processes. x
  • 14
    Death Valley and Great Basin: The Rift Zone
    Continental rifting has caused huge blocks of land to sink between high mountain belts, producing Death Valley, the lowest, hottest, driest place in North America. Explore this and other national parks and monuments in the Great Basin region. x
  • 15
    Shenandoah: The Collision of Old Continents
    A hike along the Appalachian Trail is a journey back in time to a continental collision that raised mountains rivalling the Himalayas - now eroded into the Appalachians. Chart the geology of this ancient chain from Shenandoah National Park to Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. x
  • 16
    Great Smoky Mountains and Hot Springs
    Survey some of the attractions that make the Great Smoky Mountains America's most visited national park. Investigate a related geological structure in the famous Hot Springs National Park, discovering why there are hot springs so far from volcanic activity. x
  • 17
    National Rivers: Gorges, Falls, and Meanders
    Rivers are an important clue to the geology of a region and also offer superb possibilities for recreation. Journey to some of America's national rivers, wild and scenic rivers, water trails, and other river parks, including the Upper Missouri River Breaks, the New River Gorge, and Niagara Falls. x
  • 18
    Great Dune Fields of North America
    Sand dunes aren't usually pictured in a setting of alpine peaks, but that's precisely the scene at Great Sand Dunes National Park in the Colorado Rockies. Study the conditions that create sprawling dune fields here as well as in Kobuk Valley, White Sands, Death Valley, and Nebraska's Sand Hills. x
  • 19
    National Seashores and Lakeshores
    Get your feet wet at America's coastal national parks, where dunes, salt marshes, ponds, and lagoons characterize shorelines. Investigate the myriad dynamic processes at Cape Hatteras, Cape Cod, and Assateague National Seashores, and at Sleeping Bear Dunes, Indiana Dunes, Pictured Rocks, and Apostle Islands National Lakeshores. x
  • 20
    Reefs: Virgin Islands, Florida, Texas
    Turn to a trio of national parks where corals and other reef creatures are helping create new carbonate rock. Then encounter a massive reef from our planet's past, raised to towering heights at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. x
  • 21
    National Marine Sanctuaries and Monuments
    Continue your underwater adventures by touring America's national marine sanctuaries and monuments, spread over more than a dozen locations up and down the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, plus the Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes, Hawaii, and beyond. x
  • 22
    Acadia's Highlands and Islands
    The rocks of coastal Maine reveal a gripping legacy of lost oceans, colliding continents, epic mountains, furious volcanoes, and massive glaciers. Acadia National Park records evidence of all this, etched into its granite summits and boulder-strewn shores. x
  • 23
    The Dakota Badlands
    Visit Theodore Roosevelt, Badlands, and Mount Rushmore National Parks in the Dakotas, beholding the landscape that inspired Theodore Roosevelt to become an ardent conservationist. Learn how the fantastic forms of the badlands are the product of deposition, uplift, and erosion. x
  • 24
    The Grand Canyon's 2-Billion-Year Staircase
    Descend into the Grand Canyon, recording the full sequence of strata from top to bottom - a story that takes you from 270-million-year-old limestone formed in a shallow sea to basement rocks that record a mountain-building saga from 1.7 billion years ago. x
  • 25
    Carving the Grand Canyon
    What did it take to carve the Grand Canyon? Explore theories on how this remarkable chasm came to be. Then take a boat trip through the park, from the Colorado River's access point at Lee's Ferry, down fearsome rapids and into a majestic wonderland. Also, study how humans have changed the river. x
  • 26
    Petrified Forest and Other Fossil Parks
    See Petrified Forest National Park, a colorful landscape littered with fossil trees that shaded Earth's earliest dinosaurs. Here and in other parks in the U.S. and Canada, fossilized flora and fauna open a window on ancient ecosystems, extinct species, and the history of life on Earth. x
  • 27
    Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches
    Nowhere is nature's artistry more exquisite than in the intricately eroded parks of the Colorado Plateau - from Bryce Canyon, to Arches National Park, to Canyonlands National Park. Seek answers to these strange, sculpted landforms, asking questions such as: How did more than 2,000 natural arches form in the Arches region? x
  • 28
    Zion, Gunnison's Black Canyon, Capitol Reef
    Witness other wonders of canyon erosion on the Colorado Plateau, including the deep and narrow Black Canyon of the Gunnison, as well as The Narrows, a dramatic slot canyon in Zion National Park. x
  • 29
    Mesa Verde and Ancient Settlements
    Explore parks where geology supported the settlement of people in North America. Begin at the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings, cleverly engineered to exploit natural shelter and rock seeps. Then survey other cliff dwellings and pueblos in the Southwest. x
  • 30
    The Colorado Rocky Mountains
    Ascend the heights of the Rocky Mountains, asking how tectonic processes nearly a thousand miles away could possibly have raised this extensive range. Venture to Rocky Mountain National Park, Red Rocks, the Garden of the Gods, the Maroon Bells, and the Canadian Rockies. x
  • 31
    Montana's Glacier and the Canadian Rockies
    Journey to Glacier National Park, where the glaciers may be disappearing, but the impressive glacier-sculpted terrain remains. x
  • 32
    Big Bend on the Rio Grande and Saguaro
    Investigate the multitude of geological processes on view at Big Bend National Park in Texas. Here you find signs of continental collisions, volcanic eruptions, dramatic erosion, and other breathtaking events. Then survey another geologist's paradise - Saguaro National Park. x
  • 33
    Mammoth Cave, Wind Cave, Carlsbad Caverns
    Visit underground parks, exploring a tiny portion of the hundreds of miles of mapped passages in Mammoth Cave, Wind Cave, and Carlsbad Caverns National Parks. Consider the similarities and differences between these caves - two carved by mildly acidic rainwater, the other by dilute sulfuric acid! x
  • 34
    The Everglades and the Congaree Bottomland
    Florida is a limestone-dominated piece of proto-Africa that got stuck to North America. Also study similar terrain at Congaree National Park and Chichen Itza in the Yucatan. x
  • 35
    Voyageurs, Isle Royale, the Canadian Shield
    Explore the ancient heart of North America - the Canadian Shield - heading north from Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota to Northeast Greenland National Park, the largest, most northerly national park in the world. En route, stop off at parks on Isle Royale, Baffin Island, and Ellesmere Island. x
  • 36
    Assembling North America, Park by Park
    Conclude by surveying national parks not yet visited in the course, traversing North America on a grand expedition. Along the way, assess the geology of this spectacularly diverse continent. From the Appalachians to the Aleutians, the national parks and other protected lands tell a dramatic and unforgettable story. x

Lecture Titles

Clone Content from Your Professor tab

What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Download 36 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 36 lectures on 6 DVDs
  • 386-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
  • Closed captioning available

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 386-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Suggested readings
  • List of parks

Enjoy This Course On-the-Go with Our Mobile Apps!*

  • App store App store iPhone + iPad
  • Google Play Google Play Android Devices
  • Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Tablet + Firephone
*Courses can be streamed from anywhere you have an internet connection. Standard carrier data rates may apply in areas that do not have wifi connections pursuant to your carrier contract.

Your professor

Ford Cochran

About Your Professor

Ford Cochran
Geologist and Program Director, National Geographic
Geologist, journalist, and educator Ford Cochran is Director of Programming for National Geographic Expeditions, where he selects and manages the expert scholars, writers, photographers, explorers, and scientists sent on educational expeditions for travelers to destinations around the world. As an undergraduate at the College of William and Mary, he studied English literature. He then took graduate courses in Earth Science at...
Learn More About This Professor
Also By This Professor


Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America is rated 4.1 out of 5 by 246.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Visually Stunning! Glad I bought, gives me the opportunity to 'travel' to places I have not yet had the chance to visit.
Date published: 2019-12-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I purchased this as a gift for my son who, with his wife, has hiked in 38 of the National Parks and who has as a goal to hike in all of them. I have purchased other tapes and I am always amused with the fact that they begin in LaVernge, TN, (150 miles from my home) go to Murreesboro, then Nashville, pass by my house on the way to Hernando, MS and then Memphis before being delivered to me in Jackson, TN, a week after they started.
Date published: 2019-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North This is one of the most helpful, beautiful video presentations I have ever seen. I only wish that I would have had this before starting to "collect: National Park visits. I will never visit another park without first reviewing the video of that park. The lecturer knows his material and presents it in such a way that you really are made to understand the geology and wonder of each park. I would have rated it "10" if I could have.
Date published: 2019-10-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating Geology! Beautifully Taught! This is a wonderful course, on the GEOLOGY of North America (notice the small print in the title), beautifully taught. It is NOT a travelogue or tourist guide! I mention this first because the negative reviews seem mostly due to unfulfilled expectations of the latter. The depth (no pun intended) of geological knowledge which has been developed about our planet, and about North America and our National Parks in particular, is astonishing, and is on full display here. The parks are used as visible and accessible examples for our geological education, and they work. The photos (no videos) and descriptions are wonderful, and of course we should all visit all of them! But this is truly a science course, not a "Great Tour". The geological facts, including much arcane vocabulary, are densely packed and come at us fast and furious. If exposure to this is your goal, you will love this course. The late Professor Cochran is outstanding. He speaks eloquently and with excellent modulation, a pleasure to listen to. And it is almost unbelievable how much information he is able to pack into these lectures. The photos are plentiful and well-done. Yes, there could have been more, and videos would have been nice, but - again - remember this is a science course, not a travel agency enticement. BTW, I just got back from my first ever trip to the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce (which motivated my taking the course at this time.) If you have never been there, GO!!!
Date published: 2019-10-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from excellent teaching Love the shots of the park and the geologic explanations of how they were formed, but would like more shots of park while the lecturer is speaking. It would make it come alive more.
Date published: 2019-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unbelievable Photograph We bought this once before and loved it. Lent it to friend who thought they returned it, but didn't. We thought it was worth buying again. The photography in this series is fantastic. Shots that you can't really see from on the ground in some cases. The science by Ford Cochran can be a little intimidating, but even though some of it was over our heads, the series definitely improved our visit to Yellowstone. I have recommended this series to several National Park Rangers.
Date published: 2019-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Geology Info My wife and I have been to about two dozen, and plan to see three more in 2020. Courses enrich the experience, and adds things to look for in the parks.
Date published: 2019-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Almost great We gave it a five because we learned so much and want to do all 36 hours again. Definetely get the CD version. He is a good presenter. We see the whole country, the parks, and the world differently. We have been some of the countries most prolific park visiters. My wife is a Geomorphologist and I a mining engineer.. This course is a treasure trove. We don't want to diminish the value of this course. What we would like to do is make suggestions to TGC that would make it perfect. 1st don't stand there with a piece of rock in you hand and say this is Gabro. Show us. Either with a slide or close up. 2nd if you are sjowing us geological graphic and mention some feature, event, or whatever HIGHLIGHT IT on the graphic. 3rd Some parks they clearly had not visited and rushed through them. Get someone who has been there to present or add. The course is about the parks and geology, not you. You don't have to be the only focus.
Date published: 2019-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from GEOLOGY NATIONAL PARKS Changed my thinking on Global Warming. Always thought that the Earth today was the “Finished Product”. Look out for the “Next Ice Age”. Kind of blows away the Genesis theory (Misses by a couple of million years).
Date published: 2019-04-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Informative but a bit boring We bought this course with the idea of passing it on to a sister, thinking it might be more like a travelog. But, as a geology course it becomes rather tedious with the "professor" using the same gestures, clothing and monotone voice throughout. Would like to have more videos and stills showing what he is talking about.
Date published: 2019-04-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Strange Audio Good information, but please don't use this audio style again. Maybe it's just myself, but I find it slight disturbing and slightly distracting. It's as if the professor is in one room with a microphone while the viewer/listener is in another room watching through glass in a soundproof wall. The audio, while properly synced seems to be from a speaker in your room. I've enjoyed many of your courses and will continue. The previous method of Micing the professor for the recording and having the natural sound in the same room as the audience is IMO much better. I hope I've communicated my concerns as I had hoped. Keep up the good work. (I am not an Audio Engineer. So take this for what it's worth). C R Ellsworth
Date published: 2019-03-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Very boring! I found these videos extremely boring. The professor was not exciting to listen to and he spoke from a classroom atmosphere with a world map behind him. I expected the teacher to be on location. Definitely not what I bargained for!
Date published: 2019-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spectacular pictures Interesting information given by a very knowledgeable source. Anything presented by National Geographic is worth the money and the time spent to view it. Very happy that we purchased this.
Date published: 2019-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You can always learn something new Haven’t looked at all the information on parks I was planning on visiting as many parks that I can and was looking for as much information as I can find ,so far this is pretty good. Thanks for putting this out at a good price.
Date published: 2019-03-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good instructor Good course easy to follow, good examples, and good instructor, Joel keeps it interesting so you don't get bored
Date published: 2019-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Even better than I imagined! The text is very informative and the photos are breath taking. Makes one want to visit them all!
Date published: 2019-02-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Appropriate title I bought this for my grandsons, but I am watching it first. I am finding it very informative. The instructor is very knowledgeable, but one criticism is that he talks much to fast.
Date published: 2019-02-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh We'll prob'ly return this one. This would be an excellent course for a geology student, but we did not know that when buying it. We watched a half dozen of these 30-minute segments and found that they're about rocks (geology), not really about the parks themselves. We expected to learn a bit about the formations, of course, but then see amazing views and fly through animations, and why we'd want to visit each park in each season. Maybe learn about rapids and trails, animals and vegetation. Instead, they use Google Earth (which I can do myself) and mostly static frames of hills and valleys (I can also do that). We also don't understand perhaps 20% of the words -- VERY technical geologic words -- like "Gneiss", "composite" and names of time eras -- that are given without context as if everyone understands them. On the bright side, "gneiss" was an answer to the crossword puzzle this week, so I'll give it a star for that.
Date published: 2019-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative! This course is very informative. The speaker is great and conveys his enthusiasm for the subject and the diagrams are very helpful. It makes me want to visit our National Parks and check out the geology there!
Date published: 2019-02-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonders of the National Parks Well put together, interesting, many facts. I do however wish more pictures would be included.
Date published: 2019-02-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Information! The information is excellent as is the instructor. Too much is shown of the instructor. More pictures and movie clips are needed. Graphics should also show movement, instead of always being still images. Pictures that are shown are good and illustrate what the instructor is talking about. Instructor's voice is pleasant and easy to listen to.
Date published: 2019-02-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Rather tedious I was expecting to see the flora and fauna ofbthr oarks, not just the geologic wonders. The lecturer is very informed but a bit boring. I feel like I’m back in college in a lecture hall.
Date published: 2019-02-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Disappointed I was interested in the national park but did not understand it was more about the land under the park than the park itself. Each park has its own special identity that makes people want to visit. I guess you could say I wanted a look at the ‘behind the scenes’, the extra things that make each park so special from all the others. I will return.
Date published: 2019-02-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful photos, excellent & interesting lectures I enjoyed the fascinating looks at the Parks and explanations of the the underlying geology especially. However I find the camera focus on the teacher rather too emphasized, as it would be preferable to show more of the subject matter. I have noticed with Nat Geographic there are no videos; why is that? With other Great Courses also, despite people expecting more visuals in a DVD, there is a lot of camera time focusing on the professor. Why is that? Surely it is more interesting to include more of the subject. To my mind, a better approach is to provide visuals rather than having to listen to lectures for most of the DVD. (Recently, I watched an excellent program on the Papal States combining Art, Architecture and History where the lecturers spoke throughout but were on camera for one very short burst each. So each expert did not take up camera space, but rather spoke about his/her own speciality to inform us whilst providing examples. I enjoyed that format far more).
Date published: 2019-02-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable Lecturer is a little dry, and overall I feel course would be improved with better photos, film clips. But we are learning and enjoying!
Date published: 2019-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very informative I have thoroughly enjoyed the lectures I’ve seen so far. If i have one quibble, it’s with the lecturer’s pronunciation. I’ve spent many years living in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and California. The lecturer’s pronunciation of place names don’t always track with the way the locals pronounce them. It makes me wonder if, when I get to the lectures about places I have not lived, whether I’ll be misinformed there.
Date published: 2019-01-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love learning something new about our National Par Love the photography. The course instructor is great, showing humor while he teaches. Learning new things I never knew about the parks!
Date published: 2019-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Epic adventure through North America I learned so much about the geologic history of the North American continent. The video sequences are amazing and the graphics stimulating. Cochran is very knowledgeable and his presentation skills make the course easy to follow and enjoy.
Date published: 2019-01-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from My expectations were out of line with the course description. After 4 lectures on volcanology I realized that the emphasis is definitely on the geology and not on the park. I expected more of an introduction to the unique features of each park to help in deciding which to visit, more of a travelogue focused on the geologic features. The other criticism I have is that, although there are beautiful photographs that one would expect from National Geo, there is a distinct lack of video in this series.
Date published: 2019-01-22
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Wonders of the National Parks I purchased this set in December and am extremely disappointed in color quality after viewing all of Disc 1. I have over 37 years in the photographic industry and image quality was always an important parameter. I would like tto return this set for full price including the exorbitant shipping charge. Let me know the address to send the package.
Date published: 2019-01-10
  • y_2020, m_8, d_4, h_15
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.10
  • cp_3, bvpage2n
  • co_hasreviews, tv_15, tr_231
  • loc_en_US, sid_1707, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.0
  • CLOUD, getContent, 79.51ms

Questions & Answers

Customers Who Bought This Course Also Bought

Buy together as a Set
Save Up To $16.00
Choose a Set Format