Course Offerings

Fall 2014

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

General Geology with Field Emphasis

GEOL 100 - Harbor, Leonard-Pingel, Low, Mitchell (Multiple Sections)

The study of our physical environment and the processes shaping it. The materials and structure of the Earth's crust, the origin of the landforms, the concept of geologic time, and the nature of the Earth's interior are considered, with special emphasis on field study in the region near Lexington. No credit for students who have completed GEOL 101. Offered on occasion as a First-Year Seminar. Contact the instructor for additional information. Laboratory course.

GEOL 100A: FS: General Geology with Field Emphasis (4): First-Year Seminar.

General Geology with Field Emphasis

GEOL 100A - Rahl

The study of our physical environment and the processes shaping it. The materials and structure of the Earth's crust, the origin of the landforms, the concept of geologic time, and the nature of the Earth's interior are considered, with special emphasis on field study in the region near Lexington. No credit for students who have completed GEOL 101. Offered on occasion as a First-Year Seminar. Contact the instructor for additional information. Laboratory course.

GEOL 100A: FS: General Geology with Field Emphasis (4): First-Year Seminar.

History and Evolution of the Earth

GEOL 205 - Leonard-Pingel

An introductory examination of the origin and physical evolution of the Earth as inferred from the rock record. Areas of particular emphasis include: (1) the origin of the solar system and differentiation of the planets; (2) the evolution of the terrestrial atmosphere and hydrosphere; (3) explanations for the development of life; (4) organic evolution and interpretations of "mass extinctions;" (5) the changing configuration of continental blocks and ocean basins by continental drift, seafloor spreading, and plate tectonics; and (6) the growth of continental blocks and their mountain systems.

Earth Materials I: Rocks and Minerals

GEOL 211 - Mitchell

A laboratory course introducing Earth materials, including minerals and rocks, with an emphasis on a hands-on approach to identifying and interpreting minerals and their associations in igneous and metamorphic rocks. Students learn the techniques and principles of hand sample identification, optical mineralogy and petrography, X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy.

Geomorphology

GEOL 247 - Harbor

Investigation of landforms from maps, aerial photographs, digital data, and the analysis of the surficial processes by which they are formed. Laboratory activities include identification and interpretation of topography, field measurements of landscape form and process, and a required weekend field trip. Laboratory course.

Introductory Geophysics

GEOL 275 - Connors

A review of the geophysical methods used to study the interior of the Earth, the magnetic field, isostasy, and earthquake seismology. Attention is given to the methods used in geophysics to collect and analyze data. A gravimeter, a magnetometer, seismic refraction and electrical resistivity equipment are used to collect field data. The data, corrections, and interpretations are incorporated into a technical report for each of the four surveys.

Tectonics and Thermochronology

GEOL 360 - Rahl

An introduction to mountain belts and thermochronologic techniques used to quantify tectonic processes. Topics include: orogenic wedges, metamorphic core complexes, rifting, strike-slip systems, orogenic plateaus, the relationship between tectonics and climate, and the use of bedrock and detrital thermochronology to measure rates of faulting, erosion, and exhumation. Concepts are discussed in the context of natural examples, including the Appalachians, the European Alps, the Himalaya, the Andes, and the Basin and Range Province of the southwestern United States.

Seminar

GEOL 395 - Connors

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Directed Individual Study

GEOL 401 - Connors, Harbor, Leonard-Pingel, Rahl (Multiple Sections)

Advanced work and reading in topics selected by the instructor and meeting the special needs of advanced students. This course may be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Senior Research Thesis

GEOL 472 - Connors, Greer, Harbor, Mitchell, Rahl (Multiple Sections)

Candidates for the Bachelor of Science degree in geology are urged to undertake research on a field or laboratory problem which can lead to the presentation of a senior thesis. Work on this project should be started in the spring term of the junior year. Interested students should consult members of the faculty who will help define the problem and provide guidance during research.

Honors Thesis

GEOL 493 - Connors, Greer, Harbor, Leonard-Pingel, Mitchell (Multiple Sections)

Honors Thesis.


Spring 2014

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Earth Lab

GEOL 105A - Harbor / Salisbury

The emphasis and location of the study area differs from year to year. Most course activity involves outside field work with a series of multi-day to multi-week field trips. The primary goal of this course is an in-depth introduction to a particular region or field of geological study for introductory level science students. Information about the course is made available prior to the end of the fall term. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different but only four credits may be used toward major requirements.

Earth Lab

GEOL 105B - Greer / Doss

The emphasis and location of the study area differs from year to year. Most course activity involves outside field work with a series of multi-day to multi-week field trips. The primary goal of this course is an in-depth introduction to a particular region or field of geological study for introductory level science students. Information about the course is made available prior to the end of the fall term. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different but only four credits may be used toward major requirements.

Environmental Field Methods

GEOL 231 - Low

An introduction to the study of standard methods, equipment and tools used in environmental field investigations. Special attention is given to methods used by geologists to measure, record, and report field observations associated with groundwater, surface water, soil and air. Focus is given to the validity of data obtained using various investigative strategies as well as data handling and presentation. The course has an intensive field component using the local watershed as a model environmental system.

Regional Geology

GEOL 373 - Connors / Mitchell

The emphasis and location of the study area differs from year to year. Most course activity involves outside fieldwork with a series of multi-day to multi-week field trips. Information about the course is available prior to the end of the fall term. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different but only four credits may be used toward major requirements.


Winter 2014

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

General Geology

GEOL 101 - Low

The study of our physical environment and the processes shaping it. The materials and structure of the Earth's crust, the origin of the landforms, the concept of geologic time, and the nature of the Earth's interior are considered. No credit for students who have completed GEOL 100. Laboratory course.

Global Climate Change

GEOL 141 - Greer

A study of Earth's complex climate system and the impact of human activities on future climates. Through readings, discussions, data analyses and modeling exercises, the past and future changes in temperature, ocean circulation, rainfall, storminess, biogeochemistry, glacial ice extent and sea level are explored.

Water Resources

GEOL 150 - Low

An examination of the quality and quantity of water resources as a limiting factor for life on earth. Issues include resource depletion, pollution, historical use and over-use, remediation, habitat maintenance, and water supply mechanisms. Resource constraints are analyzed from a scientific perspective in order to understand water resource problems and envision solutions.

Selected Topics

GEOL 197 - Mitchell

Selected topical coverage of various timely or general interest subject areas in geology. The topic selected varies from year to year and is announced in advance of the registration period. Topics have included impact and extinction of the dinosaurs; volcanoes and tectonics; geologic consideration in land-use planning; and the geology of national parks. May be repeated for a maximum of four credits if the topic is different.

Winter 2014 Topic:

GEOL 197: Volcanoes and Earthquakes (3). An introduction to volcanoes and earthquakes, and the role of these geologic phenomena in shaping the evolution of Earth and its climate, landscapes, and life. This course addresses the fundamental role of plate tectonics in controlling the occurrence, distribution and nature of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, as well as the natural hazards associated with these phenomena. Case studies of historical and ancient events include risk assessment and hazard mitigation. (SC) Mitchell.

GIS and Remote Sensing

GEOL 260 - Harbor

A laboratory course introducing the use of a Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing in geological/environmental analyses and decision making. Students use state-of-the-art software with a wide variety of spatial geologic, environmental, economic and topographic data derived from satellites; remote databases and published maps to evaluate geologic conditions; local landscape processes; environmental conditions; and hypothetical land-use cases.

Earth Materials II: Geochemistry

GEOL 311 - Mitchell

A laboratory course emphasizing the principles and tools of the chemical composition of Earth materials to interpret petrogenesis. The course focuses on processes occurring below and at the Earth's surface. Topics include: crystal chemistry, magmatic and metamorphic processes, trace element and isotope geochemistry, oxidation and reduction, and water-rock interactions. The laboratory includes both a local field and laboratory component and focuses on using analytical techniques to evaluate chemical composition including electron microscopy, ion chromatography, X-ray diffraction, and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry.

Petroleum Geology and Geophysics

GEOL 335 - Connors

A survey of the theory and practice of petroleum geology and geophysics. Topics covered include the nature and origin of petroleum, a study of where oil and gas accumulate from the perspective of basin analysis, and the basic principles of reflection seismology and petrophysics. The key petroleum system elements of charge, seal, reservoir and structure are studied within the context of how a geologist or geophysicist goes about exploring for and developing petroleum accumulations. Emphasis is placed on the Geology use of industry software and data to analyze geologic features, deposits, and basins that are relevant to petroleum exploration and production.

Seminar

GEOL 395 - Connors

Winter 2014 Topics:

GEOL 395-01: Petroleum Geology and Geophysics Lab (1): Corequisite: GEOL 335. Applications of petroleum geology and geophysics using industry well log, seismic reflection data, and other relevant data sets. Emphasis is placed on the Geology use of industry software and data to analyze geologic features, deposits, and basins that are relevant to petroleum exploration and production. Connors

GEOL 395-02: New Zealand (1): Connors and Mitchell

Seminar

GEOL 395 - Connors / Mitchell

Winter 2014 Topics:

GEOL 395-01: Petroleum Geology and Geophysics Lab (1): Corequisite: GEOL 335. Applications of petroleum geology and geophysics using industry well log, seismic reflection data, and other relevant data sets. Emphasis is placed on the Geology use of industry software and data to analyze geologic features, deposits, and basins that are relevant to petroleum exploration and production. Connors

GEOL 395-02: New Zealand (1): Connors and Mitchell

Seminar

GEOL 397 - Harbor

The title, term of meeting, and credits for seminars will be announced to all geology majors. May be repeated for degree credit with permission and if the topics are different.

Winter 2014 Topic:

GEOL 397: Glaciology and Glacial Geology (3). Prerequisite: GEOL 100, 101 or 105. For the last 30 million years, glaciers have marched to the orbital drumbeat of our cooling planet. Glacial advances and retreats are fundamental components of Neogene because their erosion and deposition shape a good portion of the geological record and their appearance alters sea level, climate and tectonics. This seminar explores the creation, movement and disappearance of glacial ice, the morphology of glaciers, and the landforms and deposits they leave behind.  We use textbooks, primary geological literature, numerical and analogue modeling and discussion to explore the breadth of this field. Harbor

Directed Individual Study

GEOL 401 - Harbor

Advanced work and reading in topics selected by the instructor and meeting the special needs of advanced students. This course may be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Senior Research Thesis

GEOL 472 - Connors, Greer, Harbor (Multiple Sections)

Candidates for the Bachelor of Science degree in geology are urged to undertake research on a field or laboratory problem which can lead to the presentation of a senior thesis. Work on this project should be started in the spring term of the junior year. Interested students should consult members of the faculty who will help define the problem and provide guidance during research.

Honors Thesis

GEOL 493 - Rahl

Honors Thesis.