2013-2014 Undergraduate Catalog

Geology

Students may complete a major or minor in Geology. Within the major, students may complete concentrations in geoarchaeology or geochemistry.

Faculty

Don Barber, Associate Professor of Geology on the Harold Alderfer Chair in Environmental Studies
Selby Cull, Assistant Professor of Geology
Lynne J. Elkins, Lecturer in Geology and Director of the Undergraduate Summer Science Research Program
Pedro J. Marenco, Assistant Professor of Geology
Arlo Brandon Weil, Chair and Professor of Geology

The department seeks to give students a well-rounded earth science education that balances fundamental knowledge of geology with broadly applicable problem-solving and communication skills.

The integrated science of geology combines biology, chemistry and physics as they apply to the workings of Earth and other planets. Well-trained geoscientists are increasingly in demand to address the environmental challenges and natural resource limitations of the modern world. A central tenet for understanding and predicting Earth processes and environmental change is the ability to decipher past Earth history from geologic records. Thus the major in Geology includes study of the physics and chemistry of Earth materials and processes; the history of the Earth and its organisms; and the range of techniques used to investigate the past and present workings of the Earth system. Field and lab work are an essential part of geology training at Bryn Mawr, and are part of all introductory courses, most other classes, and most independent research projects.

Major Requirements

Thirteen courses are required for the major: GEOL 101 and 102 or 103; 202, 203, 204, and 205; MATH 101 and 102, or alternates approved by the adviser; a two semester sequence of CHEM (103-104) or PHYS (101-102 or 121-122); GEOL 399; and either two advanced geology courses or one advanced geology course and an additional upper-level course in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, or computer science.

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 (GEOL 399) and write a thesis in the spring semester of their senior year.

Honors

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 two of the 100-level geology courses, and any four of the 200- or 300-level courses offered by the department.

Concentration in Geoarchaeology

The geoarchaeology concentration allows students majoring in anthropology, archaeology, or geology to explore the connections among these fields with respect to how our human ancestors interacted with past environments, and how traces of human behavior are preserved in the physical environment. In geology, the geoarchaeology concentration consists of 13 courses: GEOL 101 or 102 or 103; 202, 203, 204, 205, 270, and 399; two semesters of chemistry; two semesters of math, statistics or computational methods; either ARCH 101 or ANTH 101; and one 200- or 300-level elective from among current offerings in Anthropology or Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. Paperwork for the concentration should be filed at the same time as the major work plan. For course planning advice, consult with Don Barber (Geology), Rick Davis (Anthropology), or Peter Magee (Archaeology).

Concentration in Geochemistry

The geochemistry concentration encourages students majoring either in geology or in chemistry to design a course of study that emphasizes Earth chemistry. Paperwork for the concentration should be filed at the same time as the major work plan. For a Geology Major with a concentration in Geochemistry, the following are required in addition to Geology Major requirements: CHEM 103 (General Chemistry) and CHEM 104 (General Chemistry II), CHEM 211(Organic Chemistry) or CHEM 231 (Inorganic Chemistry), GEOL 302 (Low Temperature Geochemistry) or GEOL 305 (Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology) or GEOL 350 (requires major advisor approval), one additional 300-level geochemistry-themed GEOL course or one additional advanced CHEM course. For a Chemistry Major with a concentration in Geochemistry, the following are required in addition to Chemistry major requirements (see Chemistry major advisor): GEOL 101 (How the Earth Works), GEOL 202 (Mineralogy/Crystal Chemistry), two additional 300-level geochemistry-themed GEOL courses including GEOL 302 (Low Temperature Geochemistry) or GEOL 305 (Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology) or GEOL 350 (requires Geology major advisor approval). For course planning advice, contact Pedro Marenco, Lynne Elkins (Geology) or Sharon Burgmayer (Chemistry).

COURSES

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.
Requirement(s): Division II with Lab
Approach: Quantitative Readiness Required (QR); Scientific Investigation (SI)
Counts towards: Environmental Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Elkins,L., Cull,S.
(Fall 2013)

GEOL B102 Earth: Life of a Planet
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 (Sat-Sun) field trip is taken in April.
Requirement(s): Division II with Lab
Approach: Scientific Investigation (SI)
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Elkins,L., Marenco,P.
(Spring 2014)

GEOL B103 Earth Systems and the Environment
This integrated approach to studying the Earth focuses on interactions among geology, oceanography, and biology. Also discussed are the consequences of population growth, industrial development, and human land use. Two lectures and one afternoon of laboratory or fieldwork per week. A required two-day (Fri.-Sat.) field trip is taken in April.
Requirement(s): Division II with Lab
Approach: Scientific Investigation (SI)
Counts towards: Environmental Studies
Crosslisting(s): CITY-B103
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

GEOL B115 Focus: Living with Volcanoes
This course explores how people have long lived alongside, in the shadow of, and at times directly on top of active volcanoes. Volcanic centers are hosts to sporadic and difficult-to-predict destructive and explosive activity, persistent and damaging passive degassing, valuable nutrient-rich soils, vibrant ecosystems, and important geothermal energy systems. The goals of this class are to examine the scientific basis for understanding volcanoes and predicting their behavior; to study the role of volcanoes in history and lore across human societies; and to examine our complicated relationship with them in the modern world. Three hours per week.
Requirement(s): Division II: Natural Science
Units: 0.5
(Not Offered 2013-14)

GEOL B120 Focus: Origin of Life
Where and how did life originate on Earth? What are the minimum conditions for life to arise, and persist, on any planet? In this course, we will explore the fundamental requirements for life; critically examine many of the hypotheses that have been proposed to explain the origin of life on Earth; survey the fossil, geochemical, and molecular evidence for early life, and propose means of identifying life and its effects elsewhere in the universe. Three hours per week.
Units: 0.5
(Not Offered 2013-14)

GEOL B125 Focus: Geology in Film
Geologic processes make for great film storylines, but filmmakers take great liberty with how they depict scientific “facts” and scientists. We will explore how and why filmmakers choose to deviate from science reality. We will study and view one film per week and discuss its issues from a geologist’s perspective. This is a half semester Focus course. Prerequisite: Freshman standing.
Units: 0.5
(Not Offered 2013-14)

GEOL B130 Focus: Life in the Hothouse - Earth’s Future Climate
An overview of Earth’s climate in the 22nd century (year 2100 and beyond) based on the current scientific consensus. In addition to describing the forecast conditions, we discuss the scientific basis for these predictions and their associated uncertainties, and how climate forecasts have been communicated to the public to date. This is a half semester Focus course. Prerequisite: Freshman standing.
Requirement(s): Division II: Natural Science
Counts towards: Environmental Studies
Units: 0.5
(Not Offered 2013-14)

GEOL B202 Mineralogy and Crystal Chemistry
The crystal chemistry of representative minerals as well as the relationship between the physical properties of minerals and their structures and chemical compositions. Emphasis is placed on mineral identification and interpretation. The occurrence and petrography of typical mineral associations and rocks is also covered. Lecture three hours, laboratory at least three hours a week. One required field trip on a weekend. Prerequisite: introductory course in geology or chemistry (both recommended).
Requirement(s): Division II with Lab
Approach: Quantitative Readiness Required (QR); Scientific Investigation (SI)
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Cull,S.
(Fall 2013)

GEOL B203 Invertebrate Paleobiology
Biology, evolution, ecology, and morphology of the major marine invertebrate fossil groups. Lecture three hours and laboratory three hours a week. A semester-long research project culminating in a scientific manuscript will be based on material collected on a two-day trip to the Tertiary deposits of the Chesapeake Bay.
Requirement(s): Division II with Lab
Approach: Scientific Investigation (SI)
Counts towards: Environmental Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Marenco,K.
(Fall 2013)

GEOL B204 Structural Geology
An introduction to the study of rock deformation in the Earth’s lithosphere viewed from all scales - from the mi¬croscopic (atomic scale) to the macroscopic (continental scale). This class focuses on building a foundation of knowledge and understanding that will allow students to broaden their appreciation and understanding of the complexity of the Earth system and the links between geologic structures at all scales and plate tectonics. Three lectures and three hours of laboratory a week, plus weekend field trips. Prerequisites: GEOL 101 and MATH 101.
Requirement(s): Division II with Lab
Approach: Quantitative Readiness Required (QR)
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Weil,A.
(Spring 2014)

GEOL B205 Sedimentary Materials and Environments
An introduction to sediment transport, depositional processes, and stratigraphic analysis, with emphasis on interpretation of sedimentary sequences and the reconstruction of past environments. Three lectures and one lab a week, plus a weekend field trip. Prerequisite: GEOL 101, 102, 103 or instructor permission. Recommended: GEOL 202 and 203.
Requirement(s): Division II with Lab
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

GEOL B206 Energy Resources and Sustainability
An examination of issues concerning the supply of energy and raw materials required by humanity. This includes an investigation 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.
Requirement(s): Division II: Natural Science
Counts towards: Environmental Studies
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Barber,D.
(Fall 2013)

GEOL B209 Natural Hazards
A quantitative approach to understanding the earth processes that impact human societies. We consider the past, current, and future hazards presented by geologic processes, including earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, floods, and hurricanes. The course includes discussion of the social, economic, and policy contexts within which natural geologic processes become hazards. Case studies are drawn from contemporary and ancient societies. Lecture three hours a week. Prerequisite: one semester of college science or permission of instructor.
Requirement(s): Division II and Quantitive
Approach: Quantitative Methods (QM); Quantitative Readiness Required (QR)
Counts towards: Environmental Studies
Crosslisting(s): CITY-B210
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Elkins,L.
(Fall 2013)

GEOL B236 Evolution
A lecture/discussion course on the development of evolutionary biology. This course will cover the history of evolutionary theory, population genetics, molecular and developmental evolution, paleontology, and phylogenetic analysis. Lecture three hours a week.
Requirement(s): Division II: Natural Science
Approach: Scientific Investigation (SI)
Crosslisting(s): BIOL-B236; ANTH-B236
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Davis,G.
(Spring 2014)

GEOL B250 Computational Methods in the Sciences
A study of how and why modern computation methods are used in scientific inquiry. Students will learn basic principles of simulation-based programming through hands-on exercises. Content will focus on the development of population models, beginning with simple exponential growth and ending with spatially-explicit individual-based simulations. Students will design and implement a final project from their own disciplines. Six hours of combined lecture/lab per week.
Requirement(s): Division II and Quantitive
Approach: Quantitative Methods (QM); Quantitative Readiness Required (QR); Scientific Investigation (SI)
Counts towards: Environmental Studies
Crosslisting(s): BIOL-B250; CMSC-B250
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

GEOL B270 Geoarchaeology
Societies in the past depended on our human ancestors’ ability to interact with their environment. Geoarchaeology analyzes these interactions by combining archaeological and geological techniques to document human behavior while also reconstructing the past environment. Course meets twice weekly for lecture, discussion of readings and hands on exercises. Prerequisite: one course in anthropology, archaeology or geology.
Approach: Inquiry into the Past (IP); Scientific Investigation (SI)
Crosslisting(s): ARCH-B270; ANTH-B270
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

GEOL B298 Applied Environmental Science Seminar
This project-oriented seminar aims to foster student skills in research, analysis and synthesis of information in the interdisciplinary field of applied environmental science, with a specific focus on renewable energy. Students will conduct research on alternative energy options that could potentially be implemented at Bryn Mawr. Advanced standing (Junior/Seniors); Co-Enrollment with CHEM B206 required.
Approach: Quantitative Readiness Required (QR)
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

GEOL B301 High-Temperature Geochemistry
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: GEOL B202, CHEM B101 or B103 and B104 or consent of the instructor.
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Elkins,L.
(Spring 2014)

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. One required field trip on a weekend. Prerequisites: CHEM 103, 104 and GEOL 202, or permission of instructor.
Counts towards: Environmental Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

GEOL B304 Tectonics
Plate tectonics and continental orogeny are reviewed in light of the geologic record in selected mountain ranges and certain geophysical data. Three hours of lecture and a problem session a week. Prerequisite: GEOL 204 or permission of instructor.
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

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 lecture hours weekly. Occasional weekend field trips. Prerequisites: GEOL 202.
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

GEOL B310 Introduction to Geophysics
An overview covering how geophysical observations of the Earth’s magnetic field, gravity field, heat flow, radioactivity, and seismic waves provide a means to study plate tectonics. Also covered are the geophysical techniques used in mineral and energy resources exploration, and in the monitoring of groundwater, earthquakes and volcanoes. Three class hours a week.
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Weil,A.
(Fall 2013)

GEOL B314 Marine Geology
An introduction to the structure of ocean basins and the marine sedimentary record. Includes an overview of physical, biological, and chemical oceanography, and modern coastal processes such as shoreline erosion. Meets twice weekly for a combination of lecture, discussion and hands-on exercises, including one day-long field trip. Prerequisite: GEOL 101, 102 or 103, and 205, or permission of instructor.
Counts towards: Environmental Studies
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

GEOL B328 Analysis of Geospatial Data Using GIS
Analysis of geospatial data, theory, and the practice of geospatial reasoning.
Counts towards: Environmental Studies
Crosslisting(s): CITY-B328; BIOL-B328; ARCH-B328
Units: 1.0
(Not Offered 2013-14)

GEOL B350 Advanced Topics in Geology
This is a topics course. Topics vary. Recent topics include Carbonate Petrology, Appalachian Geology, Advanced Evolution, The Snowball Controversy, and Climate Change.
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Weil,A., Marenco,P., Cull,S., Barber,D.

Fall 2013: Current topic description: Students will learn how to study ancient marine environments using geochemical records preserved in carbonate rocks. Students will develop skills to understand the history of carbonate rocks including their formation and subsequent alteration. Students will use advance laboratory techniques and equipment on actual research samples. Class time will consist primarily of lab with minimal lecture.

Fall 2013: Current topic description: Investigation into the patterns, causes and impacts of sea-level variability on timescales ranging from millions of years to hours. Students will read and discuss classic and current journal papers on the topic, work with data and take field trips to coastal sites. Prerequisites: Advanced standing in the geology major; e.g., 2 or more GEOL courses at 20-level or above.

Spring 2014: Current topic description: Through reading and dicussion of the primary literature, students will explore the history of reefs from the earliest microbial reefs to modern coral reefs. We will cover the environmental conditions that lead to reef building as well as the organisms that build and live in them. We will also explore challenges to modern reef ecosystems and discuss the future of reefs. Prerequisites Geo 203 and 205.

Spring 2014: Current topic description: This course introduces topics that intersect the disciplines of petrology & tectonics (PetroTectonics), e.g. mantle and lithosphere evolution, crustal growth processes, and the structure and mechanics of collisional and extensional orogens. A wide range of concepts will be covered that integrate mantle and lithospheric processes into global plate tectonic framework. Prerequisites Geo 202 and 204.

GEOL B399 Senior Capstone Seminar
A capstone seminar course required for all Geology majors. All Geology seniors will be required to participate in this two-semester seminar that meets weekly for 1.5 hours for a total of 1.0 credit (0.5 credits per semester). Enrollment required in two half-credit course, one in the fall and one in the spring semester of the senior year. The focus of the seminar will be to integrate the student’s major curriculum into open peer-led discussions on cutting edge research in the many diverse fields of Geology, to discuss the impact and relevance of Geology to modern society, and to work on oral and written communication skills.
Units: 1.0
(Spring 2014)

GEOL B403 Supervised Research
At the discretion of the department faculty, rising seniors may undertake an independent thesis project in addition to mandatory full participation in the senior capstone seminar. This student thesis is conducted under the supervision of a faculty advisor(s). The undertaking of a thesis is modeled after a Master’s thesis project, which is scaled down for the different time frame (one year versus two years) and educational level of a senior undergraduate student. The thesis project plan is initially developed, and agreed upon by conference between the supervising faculty member(s) and the student. Most of the research is conducted independently by the student. The advisor serves as a source of ideas concerning scientific literature, methodologies, and financial support. The advisor may visit and inspect the research sites, laboratory or model, and offer advice on how the research should be conducted or modified.
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Dept. staff, TBA
(Fall 2013)

GEOL B403 Supervised Research
At the discretion of the department faculty, rising seniors may undertake an independent thesis project in addition to mandatory full participation in the senior capstone seminar. This student thesis is conducted under the supervision of a faculty advisor(s). The undertaking of a thesis is modeled after a Master’s thesis project, which is scaled down for the different time frame (one year versus two years) and educational level of a senior undergraduate student. The thesis project plan is initially developed, and agreed upon by conference between the supervising faculty member(s) and the student. Most of the research is conducted independently by the student. The advisor serves as a source of ideas concerning scientific literature, methodologies, and financial support. The advisor may visit and inspect the research sites, laboratory or model, and offer advice on how the research should be conducted or modified.
Units: 1.0
Instructor(s): Dept. staff, TBA
(Spring 2014)