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2004-05 and 2005-06

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Maria Luisa B. Crawford, Chair and Major Adviser
W. Bruce Saunders

Assistant Professors:
Donald C. Barber
Arlo B. Weil (on leave, 2004-05)

Lecturer and Laboratory Coordinator:
Blythe L. Hoyle

Matthew Strine

The department seeks to make students more aware of the physical world around them and of its development through time. The subject includes a study of the materials of which the Earth is made; of the physical processes which have formed the Earth, especially near the surface; of the history of the Earth and its organisms; and of the various techniques necessary to investigate Earth processes and history.

Each introductory course is designed to cover a broad group of topics from a different perspective. Students may elect any of the 100-level courses. Geology applies many scientific disciplines to investigate problems of the Earth. Fieldwork is an essential part of geologic training and is part of many classes and of most independent research projects.

Major Requirements

Thirteen courses are required for the major: Geology 101, 102 or 103, 202, 203, 204 and 205; two courses each in two of the following: chemistry, mathematics, physics; Geology 403; and either two advanced geology courses or one advanced geology course and an additional upper-level course in chemistry, computer science, mathematics or physics.

Additional courses in the allied sciences are strongly recommended and are required by most graduate schools. A student who wishes to follow a career in geology should plan to attend a summer field course, usually following the completion of the 200-level courses.

All geology majors undertake a research project (Geology 403) in the senior year. Most students complete a one-semester project in the fall semester; a two-semester project may be undertaken with approval of the department.


Honors are awarded to students who have outstanding academic records in geology and allied fields, and whose research is judged by the faculty of the department to be of the highest quality.

Minor Requirements

A minor in geology consists of Geology 101, 102 or 103 and any four of the following: Geology 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206 or 236.

Concentration in Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies Concentration allows students to explore the interactions between the geosphere, biosphere and human societies. The concentration, offered jointly by the Departments of Anthropology, Biology, Geology and Growth and Structure of Cities, takes the form of concentrations in each of these departments.

The Environmental Concentration in Geology consists of the five core courses required of all environmental studies concentrators — Biology 103, 220, Anthropology 101, Geology 103, and the senior seminar in environmental studies — as well as 11 courses specific to the Environmental Concentration in Geology: Chemistry 101 or 103, 104, Mathematics 101, 102, Geology 101, 202, 205, 302 or 312, 403, one additional 300-level course in Geology or Biology, and one additional course in Anthropology. Students are encouraged to take additional environmentally-oriented courses in the social sciences and the humanities, such as Economics 105, 213, 214 and 234, Growth and Structure of Cities 185 and Political Science 222.

Concentration in Geochemistry

The Geochemistry Concentration encourages students majoring in Geology or Chemistry to design a course of study that emphasizes Earth chemistry. In geology this concentration includes at least: Geology 101, 103, 201, 202, 205, one of 301 or 302 or 305; and Chemistry 101 or 103, 104 and 231. Additional Chemistry courses may include 211 or 222. Other courses that complement this concentration are calculus, computer programming and computer modeling.

GEOL B101. How the Earth Works

An introduction to the study of planet Earth — the materials of which it is made, the forces that shape its surface and interior, the relationship of geological processes to people, and the application of geological knowledge to the search for useful materials. Laboratory and fieldwork focus on learning the tools for geological investigations and applying them to the local area and selected areas around the world. Three lectures and one afternoon of laboratory or fieldwork a week. One required one-day field trip on a weekend. (staff, Division IIL)

GEOL B102. Earth History

The history of the Earth from its beginning and the evolution of the living forms that have populated it. Three lectures, one afternoon of laboratory a week. A required two-day field trip is taken in the late spring. An extra fee is collected for this trip. (Saunders, Division IIL)

GEOL B103. Earth Systems and the Environment

This integrated approach to studying the Earth focuses on interactions between geologic, biologic, climatic and oceanographic processes. The course provides a basic understanding of systems operating within the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. The second half is devoted to developing an understanding of the interactions among these systems, including the consequences of population and economic growth, industrial development and land-use changes. The course consists of three lectures and one lab a week, and includes a required two-day field trip for which an extra fee is collected. (Barber, Division IIL; cross-listed as Growth and Structure of Cities 103)

GEOL B201. Crystallography and Optical Mineralogy

Crystallography involves the study of the external forms and symmetry of crystalline solids, as well as an intro-duction to the study of crystals using x-ray diffraction. Optical mineralogy introduces the effects of the interaction of light with crystalline substances, and use of the polarizing microscope for mineral identification. Lecture three hours, laboratory at least three hours a week. Prerequisite: Geology 101 or 103 or Chemistry 101 or 103 and 104. (Crawford, Division IIL)

GEOL B202. Mineralogy and Crystal Chemistry

The crystal chemistry of representative minerals. Descriptive and determinative mineralogy, as well as the relation between the physical properties of minerals and their structures and chemical compositions. The occurrence and petrography of typical mineral associations and rocks is also covered. Lecture three hours, laboratory at least three hours a week. Prerequisite: Geology 201. (Crawford, Division IIL)

GEOL B203. Invertebrate Paleobiology

Biology, evolution, ecology and morphology of the major marine invertebrate fossil groups. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory a week. A semester-long research project introducing microcomputer-based morphometric analysis will be based on material collected on a three-day trip to the Tertiary deposits of the Chesapeake Bay. (Saunders, Division IIL)

GEOL B204. Structural Geology

Three lectures and three hours of laboratory a week, plus weekend field trips. Recognition and description of deformed rocks, map reading, and an introduction to the mechanics and patterns of deformation. Prerequisites: Geology 101 and Mathematics 101. (staff, Division IIL)

GEOL B205. Sedimentary Materials and Environments

An introduction to the principles of sedimentology, depositional processes, facies analysis and stratigraphy. We explore the controls on composition and texture of sedimentary materials — clastic, carbonate and chemical — placing particular emphasis on understanding the physical, chemical and biological processes governing sedimentation in different environments. This information facilitates interpretation of sedimentary sequences and the development of facies models to aid in reconstructing past environmental conditions. Three lectures and one lab a week, with at least one day-long field trip. Prerequisite: Geology 101, 102 or 103 or permission of instructor. Recommended: Geology 201, 202 and 203. (Barber, Division IIL)

GEOL B206. Energy, Resources and Public Policy

An examination of issues concerning the supply of energy and raw materials required by humanity. This includes an investigation of requirements and supply of energy and of essential resources, of the geological framework that determines resource availability, and of the social, economic and political considerations related to energy production and resource development. Two 90-minute lectures a week. Prerequisite: one year of college science. (staff, Division II) Offered in alternate years.

GEOL B209. Natural Hazards

Discussion of Earth processes that occur on human time scales and their impact on humanity both past and present. We will quantitatively consider the past, current and future hazards presented by geologic processes, including earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, floods and hurricanes. The course will include discussion of the social, economic and policy contexts in which geologic processes become geologic hazards. Case studies will be drawn from contemporary and ancient societies. Lecture three hours a week, with one day-long field trip. Prerequisite: one semester of college science or permission of instructor. (Barber, Division II or Quantitative Skills)

GEOL B236. Evolution

A lecture/discussion course on the development of evolutionary thought, generally regarded as the most profound scientific event of the 19th century; its foundations in biology and geology; and the extent of its implications to many disciplines. Emphasis is placed on the nature of evolution in terms of process, product, patterns, historical development of the theory, and its applications to interpretations of organic history. Lecture three hours a week. Prerequisite: a 100-level science course or permission of instructors. (Davis, Gardiner, Saunders, Division II; cross-listed as Anthropology 236 and Biology 236)

GEOL B250. Computational Models in the Sciences

(Wong, Division II or Quantitative Skills; cross-listed as Biology 250 and Computer Science 250)

GEOL B301. Geochemistry of Crystalline Rocks

Principles and theory of various aspects of geochemistry including elementary thermodynamics and phase diagrams, an introduction to isotopes, and the applications of chemistry to the study of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Three lectures per week augmented by occasional fieldwork. Prerequisites: Geology 201, 202, Chemistry 101 or 103 and 104 or consent of the instructor. (Crawford)

GEOL B302. Low-Temperature Geochemistry

The geochemistry of Earth surface processes. Emphasis is on the chemistry of surface waters, atmosphere-water environmental chemistry, chemical evolution of natural waters and pollution issues. Fundamental principles are applied to natural systems with particular focus on environmental chemistry. Two hours of lecture a week and problem sessions. Prerequisites: Chemistry 103, 104 and Geology 202 or two 200-level chemistry courses, or permission of instructor. (Hoyle, Lukacs) Offered in alternate years — not offered in 2004-05.

GEOL B303. Advanced Paleontology

Principles, theory and application of various aspects of paleobiology such as evolution. Seminar-based, with a semester-long research project. Three lectures, three hours of laboratory a week (with occasional fieldwork). Prerequisite: Geology 203 or permission of instructor. (Saunders) Not offered in 2004-05.

GEOL B304. Tectonics

Three hours of lecture and a problem session a week. Plate tectonics and continental orogeny are reviewed in light of the geologic record in selected mountain ranges and certain geophysical data. Prerequisite: Geology 204. (Weil) Not offered in 2004-05.

GEOL B305. Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology

The origin, mode of occurrence, and distribution of igneous and metamorphic rocks. The focus is on the experimental and field evidence for interpreting rock associations and the interplay between igneous and metamorphic rock genesis and tectonics. Three lectures and three hours of laboratory or equivalent field work a week. Occasional weekend field trips. Prerequisites: Geology 201, 202 and Chemistry 101 or 103, and 104. (Crawford) Offered in alternate years — not offered in 2004-05.

GEOL B310. Introduction to Geophysics

What do we know about the interior of the Earth? Geophysical observations of the Earth's magnetic field, gravity field, heat flow, radioactivity and the propagation of seismic waves provide a means to study plate tectonics and provide a window to the remote (subsurface) regions of the Earth. Geophysical techniques are used in the exploration for mineral and energy resources; in the monitoring of groundwater, earthquakes and volcanoes; and in the investigation of other planets in our solar system. This course is designed for geology majors, for astronomy majors interested in studying planets and for physics majors interested in how physics is applied to the study of the Earth. Three class hours a week. Prerequisites: Geology 101 and Physics 101-102. (staff) Not offered in 2004-05.

GEOL B312. Quaternary Geology

The Quaternary Period comprises the last 1.5 million years of Earth history, an interval dominated by climate fluctuations and the waxing and waning of large northern hemisphere ice sheets. This course covers the many types of geologic evidence, from glacial geomorphology to deep-sea geochemistry, that are used to reconstruct ocean and atmospheric conditions (e.g., temperature) through the Quaternary. We also consider recent nonglacial deposits and landforms, including coastal features, but the general emphasis is on how the landscape has evolved within the context of Quaternary climate variability. Three class hours a week, including hands-on data analysis, and one day-long field trip. Prerequisite: Geology 101, 102 or 103. (Barber) Not offered in 2004-05.

GEOL B314. Marine Geology

An introduction to the structure and tectonics of ocean basins, their sedimentary record and the place of marine systems in the geologic record. Includes an overview of physical and chemical oceanography, and a review of how paleoceanographic research has shaped our knowledge of Earth's climate history. Meets twice weekly for a combination of lecture, discussion and hands-on exercises, including one day-long field trip. Prerequisite: Geology 101, 102 or 103. (Barber)

GEOL B328. Analysis of Geospatial Data Using GIS

An introduction to analysis of geospatial data, theory and the practice of geospatial reasoning. As part of this introduction students will gain experience in using one or more GIS software packages and be introduced to data gathering in the field by remote sensing. Each student is expected to undertake an independent project that uses the approaches and tools presented. (Crawford, Wong, Wright; cross-listed as Biology 328 and Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology 328, Division II or Quantitative Skills)

GEOL B336. Evolutionary Biology: Advanced Topics

A seminar course on current issues in evolution. Discussion based on readings from the primary literature. Topics vary from year to year. One three-hour discussion a week. Prerequisite: Geology 236 or permission of instructor. (Gardiner, Saunders, Murphy; cross-listed as Anthropology 336 and Biology 336)

GEOL B350. Advanced Topics in Geology

A seminar course offered occasionally covering topics on areas of Geology not otherwise offered in the curriculum. For 2004-05, two sections will be offered: Topics in Paleobiology Research (fall semester) and Neotectonics (spring semester). Prerequisites: advanced standing in Geology and consent of the instructor. (staff)

GEOL B397. Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies

(staff; cross-listed as Anthropology 397 and Biology 397)

GEOL B403. Independent Research

An independent project in the field, laboratory or library culminating in a written report and oral presentation. (staff)

Graduate seminars in geology are open to qualified undergraduates with the permission of the instructor, the student's dean and the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

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