GeologyMary S. Hubbard, Head
Professors Chaudhuri, Clark, Cullers, Oviatt, and West; Associate Professors Archer and Hubbard; Assistant Professors Gao, Liu, and Nicolaysen; Emeriti: Professors Twiss, Underwood, and Walters.
Geology includes the study of the composition, behavior, and history of the earth and of other members of the solar system. On Earth, geologists focus on interactions within and among the solid earth, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. In addition to providing an understanding of the past history of these interactions as a context for future changes, geologists examine the environmental effects of society's actions, including pollution of ground water, surface water, and soil and the development and use of mineral, energy, and water resources.
Geologists operate in two laboratories: the earth itself (field laboratory) and the standard chemical, physical, or biological laboratory. However, geologists cannot control the variables affecting the natural processes operating in the field, as a chemist can control the variables experimentally in a laboratory. Geologists are the observers of processes in operation or already concluded and often must deduce conclusions from incomplete data or by analogy with processes that may be reproduced only in part in a laboratory.
The Department of Geology offers a program of study in geology and cooperates with the College of Education in an earth science program for high school teachers. It also cooperates with the Department of Civil Engineering in a dual degree in civil engineering and geology. For detailed plans of study, consult the head of the department.
Students in geology must have an overall average grade of C (not a C grade in each course) in their geology, other natural science, mathematics, and computer science courses.
Minor in geology
In addition to the general requirements for the B.A. or B.S. degree, the teacher certification requirements and the following must be completed:
Earth and space science (EDESC)
See the Secondary Licensure section for details about earth and space science as a secondary teaching field.
Dual degree in civil engineering and geology
GEOL 100. Earth in Action. (3) I, II, S. An introduction to the materials making up the earth, and to the internal and surface processes that shape and change our planet. Three hours rec. a week.
GEOL 101. Geology Colloquium. (1-3) I, II. Topics in earth science chosen to illustrate current research of scientists and methods chosen to study the physical universe. At each offering of this course a syllabus will be available giving the topics to be studied and the details of administration of the course. May be repeated once. Not open to geology majors.
GEOL 103. Geology Laboratory. (1) I, II, S. Field and laboratory investigation of minerals, rocks, and fossils; use of maps; environmental studies, erosion, transportation, sedimentation. Two hours lab a week. Pr.: GEOL 100, 102, 105, or 125 or conc. enrollment.
GEOL 105. Oceanography. (3) I, II. The oceans: their boundaries, contents, and processes. Three hours rec. a week.
GEOL 115. Environmental Geology. (3) I, II. Major reservoirs of Earth and the hydrologic cycle; minerals and rocks on the surface and in subsurface environments; minerals and rock-water interactions; compositional variations of waters; surface and ground water pollutions; atmospheric pollutions; waste disposal problems.
GEOL 125. Natural Disasters. (3) I, II, S. Discussion of geological phenomena such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and floods, with particular emphasis on their causes, effects, and significance as hazards. Three hours rec. a week.
GEOL 305. Earth Resources. (3) I, II. Origin and geologic settings of energy, water, and mineral resources. Additional emphasis will be placed upon exploration and development. Pr.: GEOL 100 or GEOG 221.
GEOL 310. Topics in Geology. (1-3) I, II. Seminar discussion of subjects of current interest in geology. Pr.: A course in natural science at the 100 level or higher.
GEOL 399. Honors Seminar in Geology. (1-3) Selected topics. Open to nonmajors in the honors program.
GEOL 499. Senior Honors Thesis. (1-3) I, II, S. Directed research and preparation of an honors thesis. May be repeated once to a maximum of 3 hours credit. Open only to seniors in the arts and sciences honors program.
GEOL 506. Geology and Environment. (3) II. Fluxes of various elements to major reservoirs and residence times of the elements in major reservoirs; origins of surface and ground waters, ocean water, and atmosphere; interactions of hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere and lithosphere; changing atmosphere and global warming; cycles of various elements; migration of various pollutants in surface and subsurface environments; medical geology. Pr.: Any one of the following: GEOL 100, 105, 115, GEOG 222, CHM 110, BIOL 198, PHYS 102.
GEOL 512. Earth Science. (3) II. A critical study of the atmosphere, weather, climate, composition, and processes of the earth; also, the interaction of these in producing the pattern of landforms and human activity. Three hours rec. a week. Pr.: GEOL 100 or GEOG 220 or junior standing.
GEOL 515. Geology of the National Parks. (3) On sufficient demand. Stratigraphy, structure, and geological history that produced the scenery of the national parks. Selected national monuments also will be studied. Pr.: GEOL 100 or 105.
GEOL 520. Geomorphology. (3) I, II. Classroom, laboratory, and field studies of landforms and surficial deposits, with an emphasis on earth-surface processes. Classroom lectures and discussions; laboratory exercises; and field investigations. Two hours rec. and three hours lab a week. Pr.: GEOL 100 or 221.
GEOL 540. Ice Ages and Environmental Change. (3) I. Studies of the recent geologic past, especially of the last major ice age to the present. Causes of glaciation and climatic change, ways of reconstructing past geologic environmental and geologic environments changes during the time when human civilization developed, including recent historic time. Three hours rec. a week. Pr.: GEOL 100 or GEOG 221.
GEOL 560. Field Methods. (3) I. Introduction to methods used to collect geologic data in the field. Emphasis is placed on map-reading, rock description, use of aerial photographs, and construction of geologic maps and cross sections. One hour rec. and four hours lab a week. Pr.: GEOL 503.
GEOL 581. Invertebrate Fossils. (3) I. Systematics, biology, ecology, and preservational environment of ancient life, with emphasis on marine invertebrates and calcareous algae. Six hours lab/lec. a week. Pr.: GEOL 502 and junior standing.
GEOL 599. Senior Thesis. (1-3) I, II. Directed research and preparation of a senior thesis. May be repeated once to a maximum of 3 hours credit. Open only to seniors in geology.
GEOL 602. Mineral Exploration. (3) I, II. Geological, geochemical, and geophysical prospecting techniques and their application in the exploration for metallic mineral deposits. Three hours rec. a week. Pr.: GEOL 503.
GEOL 605. Introduction to Geochemistry. (3) II. Introduction to the use of inorganic geochemistry in the investigation of geologic processes in the crust, mantle, and surface environment. Three hours rec. a week. Pr.: CHEM 210, CHEM 230, GEOL 502.
GEOL 608. Optical Mineralogy-Petrography. (3) I. Identification of minerals and rocks as crushed fragments and in thin section. Two hours lec. and one four-hour lab a week. Pr.: GEOL 503 and PHYS 214 or 114.
GEOL 620. Volcanology. (2) II. Examines processes associated with active volcanoes, as revealed by volcanic deposits. Emphasis on influence of volcanoes on human civilizations including economic deposits, climate change, or volcano monitoring. Pr.: GEOL 520.
GEOL 630. Stratigraphy-Sedimentation. (3) I. Description, classification, correlation, chronology, and paleogeography of sedimentary rock systems and the depositional environments in which they formed. Two hours lec. and three hours lab a week. Pr.: GEOL 100 and 103.
GEOL 640. Introduction to Geophysics. (3) I. Introduction to a broad area of solid earth geophysics and exploration geophysics, such as plate tectonics, earthquake study, structure and dynamics of the Earth's deep interior, and geophysical exploration for natural resources. Two hours rec. and two hours lab a week. Pr.: PHYS 114.
GEOL 642. Field Geophysics. (3) II. Acquisition and computer processing of geophysical data such as those from seismic reflection, seismic refraction, gravity, magnetic, and electrical methods. One hour rec. and four hours lab per week. Pr.: GEOL 640.
GEOL 650. Exploration Geophysics. (3) I. Seismic, gravity, magnetic, and electrical methods used in exploration for petroleum accumulations and mineral deposits. Two hours rec. and two hours lab a week. Pr.: GEOL 640.
GEOL 680. Field Geology. (3) S. Field projects in the Rocky Mountains designed to give students practical experience in applying geologic knowledge and skills. Three six-day weeks in the field. Pr.: GEOL 503, 530, and 560.
GEOL 703. Economic Geology Laboratory. (1) I. Laboratory activities related to metallic and nonmetallic mineral deposits, including detailed studies of selected deposits. Pr.: GEOL 702 or conc. enrollment.
GEOL 704. Paleoecology. (3) I. Application of biological, physical, and chemical factors in modern marine environments to the quantitative study of the structure and dynamics of fossil populations and communities. Two hours rec. and three hours lab a week. Pr.: GEOL 581.
GEOL 708. Sedimentary Geochemistry. (3) I, II. Geochemical principles and processes in deposition and diagenesis of sediments; different chemical pathways in the exogenic cycle. Two hours rec. and three hours lab a week. Pr.: GEOL 503 and MATH 220.
GEOL 711. Water Resources Geochemistry. (2) II. Geochemistry of ground and surface waters; emphasis on mineralogic and hydrologic controls on inorganic constituents and properties. Two hours rec. a week. Pr.: GEOL 503 or AGRON 705 or 755.
GEOL 712. Advanced Geochemistry. (3) II. Application of chemical principles to igneous, metamorphic systems; emphasis on equilibria, oxidation-reduction, crystal chemistry, and thermodynamics. Three hours lec. a week. Pr.: GEOL 503 and CHM 500 or 585.
GEOL 715. Dating Earth Materials. (3) II. Discusses how ages are measured for rocks, minerals, waters, and sediments by analysis of isotopes produced by radioactive decay or cosmic rays. Pr.: CHM 230, GEOL 503.
GEOL 720. Quaternary Geology. (3) II. Quaternary stratigraphy as the framework for studying the geomorphic, climatic, archaeological, and biological changes of the last two million years, with emphasis on the North American record. Three hours rec. a week and one field trip a semester. Pr.: GEOL 630.
GEOL 747. Computational Geophysics. (3) II. Computer skills and techniques used in geophysical data processing and analysis such as linear and nonlinear inversion, forward modeling of gravity, magnetic, and seismic data, seismic tomography, seismic anisotropy, and seismic wave attenuation. One hour rec. and four hours lab per week. Pr.: GEOL 640.
GEOL 750. Geologic Evolution of Planet Earth. (3) II. Integration of the various geologic disciplines into a broadbased understanding of the history and dynamics of the earth. Specific regions, such as the western U.S., will be selected each year for detailed study. Guest lectures will make up a significant part of the course. Three hours rec. a week. Pr.: Completion of, or conc. enrollment in, all other courses required for the B.S. or B.A. degree in geology (except summer field courses).
GEOL 790. Problems in Geology. (Var.) I, II, S. Work is offered in mineralogy, paleobiology, paleoecology, stratigraphy, structural geology, igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary petrology, geomorphology, planetary geology, hydrogeology, geochemistry, and isotope geology. Pr.: Background of courses needed for problem undertaken.