Courses

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 calendars page.

Spring 2024 GEOL

Course Title Schedule/Units Meeting Type Times/Days Location Instr(s)
GEOL B104-001 The Science of Climate Change Semester / 1 Lecture: 11:25 AM-12:45 PM TTH Park 25
Hearth,S.
GEOL B204-001 Structural Geology Semester / 1 Lecture: 10:10 AM-11:00 AM MWF PK 373
Weil,A., Weil,A.
Laboratory: 1:10 PM-4:00 PM W PK 373
GEOL B205-001 Sedimentary Materials and Environments Semester / 1 Lecture: 11:10 AM-12:00 PM MWF PK 373
Barber,D., Barber,D., Marenco,K., Marenco,K.
Laboratory: 1:10 PM-4:00 PM M PK 373
GEOL B209-001 Natural Hazards Semester / 1 Lecture: 9:55 AM-11:15 AM TTH Park 300
Marenco,K.
GEOL B305-001 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology Semester / 1 Lecture: 9:55 AM-11:15 AM TTH Park 100
Hearth,S.
GEOL B350-001 Advanced Topics in Geology: Carbonate Environments Semester / 1 LEC: 12:55 PM-2:15 PM TTH PK 373
Marenco,P.
GEOL B400-001 Senior Thesis Semester / 0.5,1 LEC: 3:10 PM-4:00 PM F PK 373
Weil,A.
GEOL B403-001 Supervised Research 0.5,1 Dept. staff, TBA
BIOL B236-001 Evolution Semester / 1 Lecture: 9:55 AM-11:15 AM TTH Park 25
Davis,G.

Fall 2024 GEOL

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

Spring 2025 GEOL

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

2023-24 Catalog Data: GEOL

GEOL B101 How the Earth Works

Fall 2023

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

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GEOL B104 The Science of Climate Change

Spring 2024

A survey of the science behind climate change. Students will analyze climate data, read primary scientific literature, examine the drivers of climate change, and investigate the fundamental Earth processes that are affected. We will also examine deep-time climate change and the geologic proxies that Earth scientists use to understand climate change on many different time scales. This course is appropriate for students with little to no scientific background but is geared toward students who are considering a science major. Two 90-minute lectures per week.

Quantitative Methods (QM)

Quantitative Readiness Required (QR)

Scientific Investigation (SI)

Counts Toward Data Science

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GEOL B107 Geology of Coal, Oil, and Nuclear Energy

Fall 2023

This course covers the fundamentals of coal, oil, and nuclear, with an emphasis on their environmental and climate impacts. Concepts to be developed include the geologic formation of these materials, their relationships with the biosphere and geochemistry, and the long-term environmental consequences of their extractions. Students will conduct specimen and data analysis, field sampling, and lab work in order to examine local environmental impacts related to mining and drilling, as well as global impacts related to climate change. Emphasis will be placed on the scientific process, and how scientists obtain, process, and interpret data. No previous scientific training is required; however, a basic proficiency with data analysis in Excel or R is beneficial, as this course will rely heavily on data analysis.

Scientific Investigation (SI)

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GEOL B108 Earth's Oceans: Past, Present, and Future

Not offered 2023-24

This course is designed to expose students to the fundamentals of oceanography with an emphasis on how Earth's oceans are tied to life and climate and how we study these links in the present and in the fossil record. We will spend much time understanding how the modern ocean works and how biogeochemical cycles interact with it. A major focus will be how we can use the ocean's past and present to make predictions about its future. This is a flipped course in which students study pre-recorded presentations outside of class. Class time is devoted to labs, demonstrations, and other activities.

Scientific Investigation (SI)

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GEOL B112 Geology in Film

Not offered 2023-24

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.

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GEOL B202 Mineralogy and Crystal Chemistry

Fall 2023

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). This is course fulfills a Writing Attentive requirement.

Writing Attentive

Quantitative Readiness Required (QR)

Scientific Investigation (SI)

Counts Toward Geoarchaeology

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GEOL B203 Biosphere Through Time

Fall 2023

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. Prerequisite: GEOL B101, GEOL B108, or GEOL B209.

Scientific Investigation (SI)

Counts Toward Environmental Studies

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GEOL B204 Structural Geology

Spring 2024

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)

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GEOL B205 Sedimentary Materials and Environments

Spring 2024

An introduction to sediment transport, depositional processes, and stratigraphy, 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 on a weekend. Prerequisite: GEOL B101 or B108 or instructor permission. Recommended: GEOL B202 and B203.Recommended: GEOL B202 and B203. This is course fulfills a Writing Attentive requirement.

Writing Attentive

Course does not meet an Approach

Counts Toward Geoarchaeology

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GEOL B206 Energy Resources and Sustainability

Fall 2023

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

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GEOL B208 Geology Super Lab

Not offered 2023-24

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.

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GEOL B209 Natural Hazards

Spring 2024

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.

Quantitative Methods (QM)

Quantitative Readiness Required (QR)

Scientific Investigation (SI)

Counts Toward Environmental Studies

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GEOL B210 Cataloging Collections

Section 001 (Fall 2022): Minerals, Museums/Wstrn Colnsm

Not offered 2023-24

This course is an introduction to cataloguing as an integral component of museum collections management. Students will consider the history, theories, and practices of cataloguing as a museum practice as it relates to the different objectives of various types of museums (art, natural history, science, history, zoological). Students will explore how cultural attitudes, institutional policies, and social expectations have historically influenced, and continue to shape, the development of collections management policies and procedures, while undertaking projects related to collections research and cataloguing. They will evaluate and recommend standardized vocabularies to build a collections database that accommodates more complex histories while optimizing searchability. They will engage with instructors who are actively involved in the professional operations of and calls to "decolonize" collections, becoming trained in the fundamentals of cataloguing collections as they actively rethink these structures and contribute to object records.

Course does not meet an Approach

Counts Toward Data Science

Counts Toward Museum Studies

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GEOL B299 Geology Field Short Course

Not offered 2023-24

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 may include proper field notetaking, 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; and GEOL B202, B203, B204 or B205.

Scientific Investigation (SI)

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GEOL B302 Low-Temperature Geochemistry

Not offered 2023-24

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 important case studies from the recent and deep time dealing with important biotic events in the fossil record and major climate changes. Prerequisites: GEOL B101 or GEOL B108, and at least one semester of chemistry or physics, or permission of instructor.

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GEOL B304 Tectonics

Not offered 2023-24

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.

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GEOL B305 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology

Spring 2024

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 B202.

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GEOL B310 Introduction to Geophysics

Not offered 2023-24

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

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GEOL B350 Advanced Topics in Geology

Section 001 (Fall 2022): Geology and Colonialism
Section 001 (Fall 2023): Applachian Geology
Section 001 (Spring 2024): Carbonate Environments

Fall 2023, Spring 2024

This is a topics course. Course content varies. Recent topics include Geology and Colonialism, 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

Course does not meet an Approach

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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 bi-weekly for 2 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 capstone seminar is to reinforce students' ability to address geoscience questions and to communicate their findings orally and in writing. Students and faculty will meet once every other week to help students develop the skills necessary to complete their independent projects, discuss topics related to scientific literacy and practice, and prepare students for the next step in their careers.

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GEOL B400 Senior Thesis

Rising seniors will undertake an independent project in addition to mandatory full participation in the senior capstone seminar. This student project is conducted under the supervision of a faculty advisor(s). The 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.

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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.

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GEOL B415 Teaching Assistant

Course does not meet an Approach

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BIOL B236 Evolution

Spring 2024

A lecture/discussion course on 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)

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BIOL B250 Computational Methods in the Sciences

Fall 2023

A study of how and why modern computation methods are used in scientific inquiry. Students will learn basic principles of analyzing, modeling, and visualizing scientific data through hands-on programming exercises. Content will draw on examples from across the life sciences. This course will use the Python programming language. Six hours of combined lecture/lab per week.

Quantitative Methods (QM)

Quantitative Readiness Required (QR)

Scientific Investigation (SI)

Counts Toward Data Science

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