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Course Descriptions

Not every course is available every semester, please check the course schedule for the most current listing of courses.

101. The Dynamic Earth: Physical Geology
(GER 2A) (A) Fall and Spring (3,3) Kaste, Morse,  Staff.

An investigation of the major features of the earth and its materials and the interaction of the geologic processes active on the surface and in the interior of the earth. Topics include volcanoes, rivers, glaciers, earthquakes, natural resources, and global change.

 

110. Earth's Environmental Systems: Physical Geography
(GER 2A) Fall and Spring (3,3) Bailey and Lockwood.

Introduction to the interactions between the earth’s environmental systems – the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and solid earth. Emphasis will be placed on the relationship between the environment and the human condition.

 

150W. Freshman Seminar in Geology
Fall and Spring (4)  Macdonald and Owens.

A course designed to introduce freshmen to topics in the study of geology. Satisfies the freshman writing requirement. Topics will vary from semester to semester.

 

160. Investigating the Earth: Introductory Geology Laboratory
(Lab) Fall and Spring (1,1) Morse, Staff. Prerequisite or corequisite: GEOL 101 or GEOL 110 or GEOL 150.

Investigating the Earth through exercises involving observations and interpretations of maps, minerals and rocks, groundwater and streams, coastal processes, and earthquakes. Required field trips. Three laboratory hours.
 

204. GIS in the Earth and Environmental Sciences
Fall, Spring (3) Staff. Prerequisite: ENSP 101 or GEOL 101, 110, or 150

 
   This course will provide an introduction to using Geographic Information Systems    
   (GIS) as a tool in earth and environmental science and policy. Emphasis will be on
   hands-on application of GIS to create maps, to organize and visualize spatial data,
   and to query spatial data to elucidate answers to earth and environmental questions.
   (Cross-listed with ENSP 204)

 

303. Age of Dinosaurs
Spring (3) Lockwood. Prerequisite: GEOL 101 or GEOL 110 or GEOL 150. Not offered 2013-2014.

In this course, we’ll use dinosaurs and the Mesozoic world to explore concepts of geologic time, extinction, climate change, evolution, and plate tectonics. Emphasis will also be placed on how science works and major discoveries in dinosaur paleontology. 

 

305. Environmental Geology
Spring (3) Kaste. Prerequisite: GEOL 101 or GEOL 110 or GEOL 150. Offered Spring 2014.

The application of geology toward understanding the connections between human activities and the environment. Topics include climate change, flooding and water pollution, coastal processes, and natural hazard prediction. May not be taken for credit after taking GEOL 408.

 

306. Marine Geology
Spring (3) Kuehl and McNinch. Prerequisite: GEOL 101 or GEOL 110 or GEOL 150. Offered alternate years.

The physical geology of the continental margins and ocean basins. Evolution of the ocean basins, oceanic circulation patterns, marine environment, and human impact are stressed. Offered in alternate years.

 

307. Planetary Geology
Fall (3) Bailey and Levine. Prerequisite: GEOL 101 or GEOL 110 or GEOL 150. Not offered 2013-14

An investigation of planetary bodies in the Solar System. Topics include celestial mechanics, the formation of planets and satellites, planetary surfaces, and planetary atmospheres.

 

310. Regional Field Geology
Spring, Summer (1-3,1-3) Staff. Prerequisites GEOL 101 or 110 or 150, GEOL 160, and instructor permission

Field techniques and their application in the study of the geology and geologic history of selected regions. One to four-week field trip with pre-field trip lecture sessions. This course may be repeated for credit. Fee Required.

 

311. Field Methods in the Earth Sciences
Fall or Spring (3) Bailey. Prerequisite: GEOL 322 or 323. Not offered 2013-2014.

Field techniques and their application to solve geological and environmental problems. Topics include GPS surveying, topographic surveying, bedrock and surficial mapping, and introduction to geophysical methods. Required Spring Break field project. Offered in alternate years.

 

312. Weather, Climate, and Change
Fall (3) Bailey. Prerequisite: GEOL 101 or GEOL 110 or GEOL 150.  Not offered 2013-14.

An introduction to meteorology and climate with an emphasis on the workings of the atmosphere. The course will consider weather forecasting, hazards, and the nature of climate and change through time.

 

314. Watershed Dynamics (cross-listed with BIOL 404 Special Topics and ENSP 201)
Spring (4) Chambers and Hancock. Prerequisite: GEOL 101 or GEOL 110 or GEOL 150 or BIOL 203 or 204. Offered alternate years.

This team-taught course will combine biologic and hydrologic approaches to explore the interactions between the physical, biological, and chemical processes active in watersheds. Emphasis will be placed on understanding how interactions between these processes control water quality and biologic diversity, and how anthropogenic activities modify these processes. Laboratory is required.

 

315. Hydrology
Spring (4) Hancock. Prerequisite: GEOL 101 or GEOL 110 or GEOL 150, MATH 111.  Offered Spring 2014.

Quantitative investigation of the major components of the hydrologic cycle and their interactions, including atmospheric water, surface water, and groundwater. Field trips required. Three class hours, three laboratory hours.

 

316. Environmental Geochemistry
Fall (3) Kaste. Prerequisite: GEOL 101 or GEOL 110 or GEOL 150, CHEM 103. Offered Fall 2013.

This course examines the chemical interactions among water, rock, and biota. We will investigate the basic inorganic and organic chemistry of nutrients, metals, and carbon. Topics covered include weathering, oceanic and terrestrial biogeochemical cycles and heavy-metal deposition.

 

320. Surface Processes: Landscapes & Water
Fall (4) Hancock. Prerequisite: GEOL 101 or GEOL 110 or GEOL 150, GEOL 160

A quantitative investigation of processes that act to shape the Earth’s surface. Explores the links between surface processes, tectonics, and climate; the mechanics and rates of landscape processes and evolution; and the movement of water on and near the surface.

 

321. Rock-Forming Minerals
Fall (4) Owens. Prerequisite: GEOL 101 or GEOL 110 or GEOL 150, GEOL 160

An introduction to the structures, compositions, characteristic features, and uses of the most common minerals. This course will emphasize the fundamental role that minerals play as the building blocks of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks. Field trips.

 

322. The Sedimentary Record
Spring (4) Macdonald. Prerequisite: GEOL 101 or GEOL 110 or GEOL 150, GEOL 160

An introduction to the origin and interpretation of sediments, fossils, and sedimentary rocks with a focus on depositional environments, paleoclimates, and the use of sediments, fossils, and sedimentary rocks in the interpretation of earth history. Field trips.

 

323. Earth Structure & Dynamics
Spring (4) Bailey. Prerequisite: GEOL 101 or GEOL 110 or GEOL 150, GEOL 160

An introduction to the internal structure of the earth and its dynamics. Geological and geophysical characteristics of the earth are used to understand tectonic processes. Examines major earth structures and investigates the physics of deformation. Field trips.

 

330. Introduction to Oceanography
Fall (3) Bauer, Patterson. Prerequisite: GEOL 101 or GEOL 110 or GEOL 150. Offered alternate years.

Description of physical, chemical, biological, and geological processes operating in the world ocean. The interdisciplinary nature of oceanography is emphasized, providing an integrated view of factors which control ocean history, circulation, chemistry and biological productivity. Students may not take both GEOL 306 and GEOL 330 for credit. (Cross listed with BIOL 330)

 

404. Introduction to Geological Research
Spring (1) Bailey.

Analysis of journal articles, discussion of research topics, and instruction in the use of library resources including electronic databases. Class work will include oral and written presentations and students will develop a formal research proposal for a senior research or Honors project in consultation with their research advisor. Enrollment is restricted to geology majors, normally in their junior year.

 

*407. Special Topics in Geology.
Fall and Spring (1-3,1-3) Staff. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Advanced study of topics not routinely covered by existing courses. Subjects, prerequisites and instructor will vary from year to year. This course may be repeated for credit.

 

*409. Independent Study in Geology.
Fall and Spring (1-3,1-3) Staff.

A program for geology majors who wish to pursue independent study of a problem or topic in geology. May be repeated for credit.

 

422. Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
Spring (3) Owens. Prerequisite: GEOL 321. Offered Spring 2014.

Mineral and rock genesis in the igneous and metamorphic environments. A study of hand specimens and thin sections, structures, textures, and areal distribution. Field trips. Three class hours, three laboratory hours.

 

423. Paleontology
Spring (3) Lockwood. Prerequisite: GEOL 101 or 110 or 150 or both BIOL 203 and BIOL 204.

The taxonomy of fossil organisms and the role of fossils in the study of organic evolution and the time relations of rock sequences. The laboratory stresses invertebrate morphology and quantitative measurement of local marine fossils. Field trips. Three class hours, three laboratory hours. (Cross listed with BIOL 317)

 

424. Sedimentology Seminar
Macdonald Prerequisite: GEOL 322

Advanced seminar in topics in Sedimentology

 

425. Structural Geology Seminar
Fall (2) Bailey Prerequisite: GEOL 323

Advanced seminar in topics in Structural Geology

 

426. Paleobiology Seminar
Lockwood Prerequisite: GEOL 423

Advanced seminar in topics in Paleobiology

 

427. Surface Processes Seminar
Hancock Prerequisite: GEOL 320

Advanced seminar in topics in Surface Processes

 

428. Geochemistry Seminar
Kaste Prerequisite GEOL 316

Advanced seminar in topics in Geochemistry

 

429. Hydrology Seminar
Hancock Prerequisite: GEOL 314 or 315

Advanced seminar in topics in Hydrology

 

437. Special Topics Seminar
Prerequisites GEOL 101 or 110 or 150, GEOL 160

Advanced seminar

 

491-492. Senior Research
Fall and Spring (2,2) Staff. Prerequisite: GEOL 404.

Independent study throughout the senior year culminating in a written thesis and a formal presentation.

 

495-496. Honors
Fall, Spring (3,3) Staff. Prerequisite: GEOL 404.

The requirements of Honors study in geology include a program of research accompanied by readings from the original literature, the satisfactory completion of a comprehensive examination in geology, and the preparation and presentation of an Honors essay based on the student’s reading and research. Hours to be arranged. For College provisions governing the Admission to Honors, see the Department Honors section of the catalog under Requirements for the Baccalaureate Degree.