Courses in Geology

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GEOL 1000 The Physical Earth with Laboratory (4 sem. hours).

Study of the earth, including earth material properties, surface erosional and depositional processes, and earth interior processes. Offered every year in the fall semester.

GEOL 1200 Geosystems with Laboratory (4 sem. hours).

This course explores the fundamental characteristics of Earth’s major systems. Emphasis is placed on identifying synergies between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere which combine to form the biosphere. Offered every year in the fall semester.

GEOL 1300 Human and Natural Disasters with Laboratory (4 sem. hours).

The study of Earth resources, systems, and processes from a natural hazard perspective. Primary focus is on geologic and climatic disasters, but where appropriate human and technological disasters will be investigated. Offered every other year in the spring semester.

GEOL 2000 Plate Tectonics and Earth History with Laboratory (4 sem. hours).

Study of successive events leading to the present configuration of the continental masses, the evolution and development of life, and the kinds and distribution of rocks and minerals, all viewed using the framework of the theory of plate tectonics. Prerequisite: Introductory (1000-level) geology course. Offered every year in the spring semester.

GEOL 2100 Hydrology and Chemistry of Natural Waters with Laboratory (4 sem. hours).

A comprehensive study of the occurrence, distribution, and geochemical processes of natural waters. Topics include: Hydrologic cycle, Darcy’s Law, groundwater flow in confined and unconfined aquifers, stream flow, the effects of common forms of pollution on the natural system, current environmental regulations, and remediation technologies. Prerequisite: Introductory (1000-level) geology course. Offered every other year in the spring semester.

GEOL 2200 Process Geomorphology with Laboratory (4 sem. hours).

A comprehensive approach to studying the processes that shape Earth’s surface and the resulting landforms; their origin, evolution, form, and spatial distribution. In this class, students will explore the Earth’s surface while applying two approaches: first a descriptive approach, in which landforms are considered as indicators of geologic age, and second, a quantitative analysis of landform morphology and field measurement of geomorphic processes. Prerequisite: Introductory (1000-level) geology course. Offered every year in the fall semester.

GEOL 3000 Sedimentary Geology with Laboratory (4 sem. hours).

Rock sequences, lithologic and paleontologic facies of various parts of the United States, and basic sedimentological principles. Field trips are required. Prerequisite: GEOL 2000. Offered every year in the fall semester.

GEOL 3100 Solid Earth Geophysics with Laboratory (4 sem. hours).

Introduction to the fundamentals of geophysics and geophysical exploration (controlled-source seismology, earthquake seismology, gravity, magnetics, and heat flow). Specific observations illustrate how each technique constrains certain aspects of the plate tectonic framework that is fundamental to the study of the earth. Offered every other year in the spring semester.

GEOL 3200 Subsurface Mapping and Resource Evaluation with Laboratory (4 sem. hours).

Discipline-oriented objectives presented in this course aid in the interpretation and description of geologic features presented on maps and cross sections. The student will learn to analyze geologic data and construct maps and cross sections that effectively illustrate the geologic condition represented by the data. The student will formulate credible reserve estimates for both petroleum and mineral prospects. Additional components of this course include an introduction to geographic information systems (GIS) software and wire line logging techniques and interpretation. Prerequisite: GEOL 2000. Offered every other year in the spring semester.

GEOL 3300 Applied Geophysics with Laboratory (4 sem. hours).

Application of near surface geophysical methods to environmental and engineering problems (ground water, archaeology, earthquake hazards, etc.). Geophysical methods discussed and demonstrated include seismic, electrical, gravity/magnetic, ground penetrating radar, and borehole geophysics. Fieldwork required. Offered every other year in the spring semester.

GEOL 3500–3503 Field Study in Geology (1–4 sem. hours).

Open to geology majors and some non-geology majors who are interested in field-based study of geologic concepts and processes. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Offered occasionally.

GEOL 3510 Field Geology I: The Greater Yellowstone Geoecosystem (4 sem. hours).

This course is designed to provide students with a field-based introduction to the Yellowstone region (Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho). Students learn the tectonic and volcanic history of the Yellowstone Plateau, and observe the modern expression of this volcanic field in Yellowstone’s famed geysers and hot springs. In addition, evidence of recent earthquakes is investigated and mapped. Through various field exercises, students also examine stream processes and chemistry. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Offered every three years in the summer.

GEOL 3520 Field Geology I: Earthquakes and Volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest (4 sem. hours).

Nowhere in the United States are the processes and products of plate tectonics more apparent than in the Cascadia region of the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Northern California, and Washington). This course is designed to provide students with a field-based introduction to earthquakes and volcanic hazards of one of the most geologically interesting and beautiful areas of the United States. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Offered every three years in the summer.

GEOL 3530 Field Geology I: Folded Rocks—Crossing the Appalachia (4 sem. hours).

This course is designed to provide students with a field-based introduction to the geology and geological history of the Appalachian Mountains. In addition, the course will provide students with opportunities to observe and analyze earth materials and geologic processes in the field. The course will begin with an overview of the tectonic and surficial processes of the southern Appalachians. The middle section of the course will focus on the geology of the Blue Ridge province of the Appalachians. Students will examine deformation associated with mountain building using various techniques in structural geology, including geologic mapping and cross-section preparation. Through various field exercises, students will also investigate stream, mass wasting, and tectonic processes. Offered every three years in the summer.

GEOL 3750–3753 Special Topics in Geology (1–4 sem. hours).

Open to geology majors and some non-geology majors who are interested in studying a special area of geology that is not offered in a regular course. Course may be repeated with different topic. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Offered occasionally.

GEOL 3800–3803 Directed Research (1–4 sem. hours).

Laboratory and/or field research in geology under the guidance of a faculty member. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

GEOL 4000 Mineralogy and Petrology with Laboratory (4 sem. hours).

This course will introduce the student to the concepts of mineralogy that are the basis for petrologic, geochemical, and economic investigations. Identification of minerals in hand sample will aid in understanding the physical and chemical environments that promoted mineral genesis. Discipline specific skills developed include systematic analysis of minerals and mineral assemblages and the association of mineral and chemical composition with the environment of formation. Approximately one-third of the course will focus on understanding the relationship between mineral assemblages and igneous and metamorphic rock identification, classification, and petrology. Prerequisite or Corequisite: GEOL 2000. Offered every year in the fall semester.

GEOL 4200 Structural Geology with Laboratory (4 sem. hours).

Origin and classification of the structural features of the rocks comprising the Earth’s crust. Lab emphasizes various techniques of structural analysis. Prerequisites: GEOL 2000. Offered every year in the fall semester.

GEOL 4500 Field Geology II (4 sem. hours).

Advanced training in the methods of geologic fieldwork and an introduction to regional geology. Prerequisites: To be determined by the college or university offering the course but should include GEOL 2000, GEOL 2200, GEOL 3000, GEOL 4200, and previous field experience. Offered in every other year in the summer.

GEOL 3901, 3911, 4921, and 4931 Junior and Senior Geology Seminars (1 sem. hour each for a total of 4 sem. hours).

The geology seminar series is designed to prepare the student for laboratory and field-based experiment formulation and design, research protocol, data interpretation, and presentation of results in an academic or professional manner, both in written and oral forms. The seminar courses, while independently focusing on specific objectives each semester, will occasionally hold joint meetings to cover special topics or listen to guest speakers. Offered every year in the fall and spring semesters.

GEOL HI–HII Honors Project 1 and 2 (1–4 sem. hours).