Contact Us
Department of Geology
Bryn Mawr College
101 North Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Phone: (610) 526-7392
Fax: (610) 526-5086

Geology Courses
and the Geology Major

Read the Geology Major/Minor Requirements online, or download a printable .pdf file of Geology info from the 2009-10 College catalog, including information on the Geoarchaeology and Geochemistry concentrations in Geology.

For information on the Environmental Studies curriculum c onnect to Environmental Studies @ Bryn Mawr online, or download a printable .pdf copy of the ES concentration guidelines.

This page displays the schedule of Bryn Mawr courses in this department for this academic year. It also displays descriptions of courses offered by the department during the last four academic years.

For information about courses offered by other Bryn Mawr departments and programs or about courses offered by Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges, please consult the Course Guides page.

For information about the Academic Calendar, including the dates of first and second quarter courses, please visit the College's master calendar.

Fall 2017

COURSE TITLE SCHEDULE/
UNITS
MEETING TYPE TIMES/DAYS LOCATION INSTR(S)
GEOL B101-001 How the Earth Works Semester / 1 Lecture: 9:10 AM-10:00 AM MWF Park 180 Marenco,K., Weil,A.
Lab: 1:10 PM- 4:00 PM T Park 100
GEOL B101-002 How the Earth Works Semester / 1 Lecture: 9:10 AM-10:00 AM MWF Park 180 Marenco,K., Weil,A.
Lab: 1:10 PM- 4:00 PM W Park 100
GEOL B101-003 How the Earth Works Semester / 1 Lecture: 9:10 AM-10:00 AM MWF Park 180 Marenco,K., Weil,A.
Lab: 1:10 PM- 4:00 PM TH Park 100
GEOL B203-001 Biosphere Through Time Semester / 1 Lecture: 9:55 AM-11:15 AM TTH Park 200 Marenco,K., Marenco,P.
Lab: 1:10 PM- 4:00 PM M Park 300
GEOL B206-001 Energy Resources and Sustainability Semester / 1 Lecture: 9:55 AM-11:15 AM TTH Park 180 Barber,D.
GEOL B299-001 Geology Field Short Course Semester / 0.5
GEOL B302-001 Low-Temperature Geochemistry Semester / 1 LEC: 2:25 PM- 3:45 PM TTH Park 200 Marenco,P.
GEOL B399-001 Senior Capstone Seminar Semester / 0.5 Lecture: 2:10 PM- 4:00 PM F Park 200 Dept. staff, TBA
GEOL B403-001 Supervised Research Semester / 0.5,1 Dept. staff, TBA
GEOL B403-001 Supervised Research Semester / 0.5,1 Dept. staff, TBA

Spring 2018

COURSE TITLE SCHEDULE/
UNITS
MEETING TYPE TIMES/DAYS LOCATION INSTR(S)
GEOL B204-001 Structural Geology Semester / 1 Lecture: 9:55 AM-11:15 AM TTH Weil,A.
Lecture: Date/Time TBA
GEOL B205-001 Sedimentary Materials and Environments Semester / 1 Lecture: 9:10 AM-10:00 AM MWF Barber,D.
Lecture: Date/Time TBA
GEOL B208-001 Geology Super Lab Semester / 1 Lecture-Lab: 12:55 PM- 3:10 PM TTH Marenco,P.
GEOL B209-001 Natural Hazards Semester / 1 Lecture: 10:10 AM-11:00 AM MWF Marenco,K.
GEOL B350-001 Advanced Topics in Geology: Applachian Geology Semester / 1 Lecture: 11:10 AM-12:00 PM MWF Weil,A.
GEOL B399-001 Senior Capstone Seminar Semester / 0.5 Lecture: 2:10 PM- 4:00 PM F Dept. staff, TBA
GEOL B403-001 Supervised Research Semester / 0.5,1 Dept. staff, TBA
GEOL B403-001 Supervised Research Semester / 0.5,1 Dept. staff, TBA
BIOL B236-001 Evolution Semester / 1 Lecture: 9:55 AM-11:15 AM TTH Davis,G.
ENVS B397-001 Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies Semester / 1 Lecture: 9:10 AM-12:00 PM TH Barber,D.

Fall 2018

(Class schedules for this semester will be posted at a later date.)

2017-18 Catalog Data

GEOL B101 How the Earth Works Fall 2017 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. Quantitative Readiness Required (QR) Scientific Investigation (SI) Counts toward Environmental Studies

Back to top

GEOL B102 Earth: Life of a Planet Not offered 2017-18 The history of the Earth from its beginning, including its climate and tectonic history 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. Scientific Investigation (SI)

Back to top

GEOL B103 Earth Systems and the Environment Not offered 2017-18 This integrated approach to studying the Earth focuses on interactions among geology, oceanography, and biology. Also discussed are the consequences of human energy consumption, industrial development, and land use. Two lectures and one afternoon of laboratory or fieldwork per week. A required field trip is taken in April. Scientific Investigation (SI) Counts toward Environmental Studies

Back to top

GEOL B109 Quantitative Problems in the Earth Science Not offered 2017-18 An introduction to quantitative methods used for solving problems in Earth science. We will examine a wide variety of geologic questions: seismicity and earthquakes, volcanic activity, landslide triggers, flooding patterns, and more. We will then practice a range of quantitative techniques to approach those questions, both from a broad, global perspective and by examining current, relevant case studies. Prerequisite: Quantitative Readiness Required. Quantitative Methods (QM) Quantitative Readiness Required (QR) Scientific Investigation (SI)

Back to top

GEOL B110 Focus: Exploring Topics in the Earth Sciences
Section 001 (Spring 2017): Exploring Mars Not offered 2017-18 This is a half -semester focus course. Scientific Investigation (SI)

Back to top

GEOL B125 Focus: Geology in Film Not offered 2017-18 This is a half semester Focus course. 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. Course does not meet an Approach Counts toward Film Studies

Back to top

GEOL B202 Mineralogy and Crystal Chemistry Not offered 2017-18 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, one required). Quantitative Readiness Required (QR) Scientific Investigation (SI) Counts toward Geoarchaeology

Back to top

GEOL B203 Biosphere Through Time Fall 2017 We will explore how the Earth-life system has evolved through time by studying the interactions between life, climate, and tectonic processes. During the lab component of the course, we will study important fossil groups to better understand their paleoecology and roles in the Earth-life system. Writing Intensive Scientific Investigation (SI) Counts toward Environmental Studies

Back to top

GEOL B204 Structural Geology Spring 2018 An introduction to the study of rock deformation in the Earth's lithosphere viewed from all scales - from the microscopic (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 a required three-day, weekend field trip. Prerequisite: GEOL 101 and MATH 101. Quantitative Readiness Required (QR)

Back to top

GEOL B205 Sedimentary Materials and Environments Spring 2018 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 one-day field trip. Prerequisite: GEOL 101, 102, or 103 or permission of instructor. Recommended: GEOL B202 and B203. Course does not meet an Approach Counts toward Geoarchaeology

Back to top

GEOL B206 Energy Resources and Sustainability Fall 2017 An examination of issues concerning the supply of energy required by humanity. This includes an investigation of the geological framework that determines resource availability, aspects of energy production and resource development and the science of global climate change. Two 90-minute lectures a week. Suggested preparation: one year of college science. Scientific Investigation (SI) Counts toward Environmental Studies

Back to top

GEOL B208 Geology Super Lab Spring 2018 Students will learn the fundamentals of geological laboratory analysis via measurements on geological materials chosen by the students. We will utilize the analytical equipment and techniques available in the Geology Department including (but not limited to) X-ray diffractometry, thin-section petrography, carbon isotope mass spectrometry, and inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Emphasis will be placed on data processing and quantitative analysis of large datasets. Prerequisites: GEOL 101, GEOL 202, one other 200 level course, junior/senior status. Scientific Investigation (SI)

Back to top

GEOL B209 Natural Hazards Spring 2018 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. Quantitative Methods (QM) Quantitative Readiness Required (QR) Scientific Investigation (SI) Counts toward Environmental Studies

Back to top

GEOL B260 Origin Stories: From the Big Bang to Mother Earth Not offered 2017-18 This is a co-taught intermediate science course, instructed by a Geology and Physics professor, that will focus on the core scientific principals related to Cosmology, Physics and Geology that help address fundamental questions regarding the origin of the Universe, the origin of time, the origin of stars and our own solar system, and the origin of Earth, its atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. The course will be a mix of fundamental scientific principles used to scaffold a deeper understanding of how scientists have come to understand and question stories of origin. Group discussions will be informed by close reading of scientific texts, and occasional problem sets. Scientific Investigation (SI)

Back to top

GEOL B299 Geology Field Short Course Fall 2017 Geology majors choosing to participate in the annual Fall- or Spring-Break Geology Department Field Trip must enroll in GEOL B299. Enrollment in this class does not guarantee a spot on the field trip. Several pre-trip class meetings help maximize student engagement on the trip by providing a forum for discussing the assigned readings. During the week-long field trip, students are exposed to geologic field methods while visiting sites that exemplify different geology from that at sites near campus. Geologic methods introduced include proper field note-taking, mapping and measuring geologic structures, and interpreting geologic history. Culminating work introduces students to geologic illustration and report writing. A passing grade requires full participation and engagement by the student before, during and after the field trip. At least one post-trip meeting is held on campus to synthesize the material covered, and to go over students' final reports. Prerequisite: GEOL B101, B102 or B103; and GEOL B202, B203, B204 or B205. Scientific Investigation (SI)

Back to top

GEOL B302 Low-Temperature Geochemistry Fall 2017 Stable isotope geochemistry is one of the most important subfields of the Earth sciences for understanding environmental and climatic change. In this course, we will explore stable isotopic fundamentals and applications including a number of important case studies from the recent and deep time dealing with important biotic events in the fossil record and major climate changes. Prerequisites: GEOL 101 or GEOL 102, and at least one semester of chemistry or physics, or professor approval. Counts toward Environmental Studies

Back to top

GEOL B304 Tectonics Not offered 2017-18 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.

Back to top

GEOL B305 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology Not offered 2017-18 The study of igneous and metamorphic rocks, including their origins and modes of occurrence. The focus is on understanding how these rocks form, and on applying a combination of field methods, laboratory techniques, and theoretical understanding to interpret the origins of igneous and metamorphic rocks. The class will build on the study of mineralogy by examining assemblages of coexisting minerals, and what those assemblages reveal about the pressure, temperature, and chemical conditions under which a rock must have formed. For a culminating term project we will conduct an intensive study of local metamorphic rocks. Three lecture hours weekly and one weekly lab. One weekend field trip. Prerequisites: GEOL 202.

Back to top

GEOL B310 Introduction to Geophysics Not offered 2017-18 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 and the earth's interior. Three class hours a week with weekly problem sets. Prerequisite: one year of college physics or with permission of professor. Counts toward Geoarchaeology

Back to top

GEOL B314 Marine Geology Not offered 2017-18 An introduction to oceanography, coastal processes, and the geomorphology of temperate and tropical shorelines. Includes an overview of the many parameters, including sea level change, that shape coastal environments. Meets twice weekly for a combination of lecture, discussion and hands-on exercises, including a mandatory multi-day field trip to investigate developed and pristine sections of the Mid-Atlantic US coast. Prerequisite: One 200-level GEOL course OR one GEOL course AND one BIOL course (any level), OR advanced BIOL major standing (junior or senior). Counts toward Environmental Studies

Back to top

GEOL B350 Advanced Topics in Geology
Section 001 (Spring 2017): Acid Mine Drainage Systems
Section 001 (Spring 2018): Applachian Geology
Section 002 (Spring 2017): Carbonate Environments Spring 2018 This is a topics course. Course content varies. Recent topics include Carbonate Petrology, Appalachian Geology, Advanced Evolution, The Snowball Controversy, and Climate Change.
Current topic description: This class explores the Appalachians, including investigation of the: margin of eastern Laurentia prior to orogeny, orogenic activity within the continental plates involved in Pangea amalgamation; evidence and ramifications for opening and closing of the major Paleozoic oceans; and implications of these tectonic events on Earth surface systems. This course involves paleontological, geochemical, and stratigraphic approaches of inquiry, and is discussion based with a focus on primary literature.
Scientific Investigation (SI)

Back to top

GEOL B398 Senior Seminar 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, but is scaled down for the shorter time frame (one 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.

Back to top

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 courses, 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.

Back to top

GEOL B403 Supervised Research Optional laboratory or field research on a wide variety of topics, open to junior or senior majors. Interested students must consult with department faculty members as early as possible, preferably before the start of the semester, in order to choose a faculty supervisor. The student and faculty supervisor meet early in the semester to plan the research and discuss gradable outcomes (e.g., final research paper). Requires permission of the instructor and the major advisor.

Back to top

GEOL B403 Supervised Research Optional laboratory or field research on a wide variety of topics, open to junior or senior majors. Interested students must consult with department faculty members as early as possible, preferably before the start of the semester, in order to choose a faculty supervisor. The student and faculty supervisor meet early in the semester to plan the research and discuss gradable outcomes (e.g., final research paper). Requires permission of the instructor and the major advisor.

Back to top

GEOL B425 Praxis III Independent or group projects with a significant emphasis on community outreach and service. Projects usually focus on addressing environmental issues through collaborative work with off-campus practitioners. Prerequisites: advanced standing in the environmental studies concentration or permission of the instructor. Counts toward Praxis Program

Back to top

BIOL B236 Evolution Spring 2018 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. Scientific Investigation (SI) Counts toward Counts toward Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Back to top

BIOL B250 Computational Methods in the Sciences Not offered 2017-18 A study of how and why modern computation methods are used in scientific inquiry. Students will learn basic principles of visualizing and analyzing scientific data through hands-on programming exercises. The majority of the course will use the R programming language and corresponding open source statistical software. Content will focus on data sets from across the sciences. Six hours of combined lecture/lab per week. Writing Attentive Quantitative Methods (QM) Quantitative Readiness Required (QR) Scientific Investigation (SI) Counts toward Counts toward Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Counts toward Counts toward Environmental Studies Counts toward Counts toward Neuroscience

Back to top

ENVS B397 Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies Spring 2018 In this capstone course, senior Environmental Studies minors from across the disciplines will draw on the perspectives and skills gained from their majors and from their preparatory work in the minor to collaboratively engage high-level questions of environmental inquiry. Prerequisite: Open only to Environmental Studies minors who have completed all introductory work for the minor. Counts toward Counts toward Environmental Studies

Back to top

PHYS B350 Computational Methods in the Physical Sciences Not offered 2017-18 This course provides an introduction to a variety of computational tools and programming techniques that physical science graduates might encounter in graduate work or employment in STEM-related fields. Tools explored will include both command-line and GUI programming environments, both scripting and scientific programming languages, basic programming concepts such as loops and function calls, and key scientific programming applications such as integration, finding of roots and minima/maxima, least-square fitting, solution of differential equations, boundary-value problems, finite-element analysis, Fourier analysis, matrix operations, Monte Carlo techniques, and possibly neural networks. Where possible, examples will be taken from multiple scientific disciplines, in addition to physics. This course is intended for second semester sophomores, juniors and seniors. Co-requisite: MATH B203 and three units of science (Biology, Physics, Chemistry or Geology).

Back to top

Geology help pages - includes help on library research, writing scientific papers, quantitative problem solving, and computer help
Stay informed - Join the geology and enviro-news e-mail listservers to receive important announcements about your major, notification of up-coming events, and information about summer internships and jobs.
Guidelines for seniors
Top ten reasons to major in geology at Bryn Mawr