Course Offerings

Winter 2019

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 - Connors, Christopher D. (Chris)

Preference given to first-years and sophomores. 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. Lab fee required.

General Geology

GEOL 101 - Jay Seymour, Cassidy N.

Preference given to first-years and sophomores. 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. Lab fee required.

Planetary Geology

GEOL 104 - Jay Seymour, Cassidy N.

Large-scale geological features of the Earth are examined and compared with surface features visible on images of other planets and planetary satellites of the solar system. Features examined include those resulting from volcanism, impact cratering, and structure; eolian, fluvial, glacial and periglacial processes; and mass movement. The composition of terrestrial and lunar rocks and extraterrestrial objects is examined. Models of the origin and evolution of planets and their satellites are discussed.

Global Climate Change

GEOL 141 - Greer, Mary L. (Lisa)

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 - Hinkle, Margaret A.

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.

Hydrology

GEOL 240 - Hinkle, Margaret A.

Systems and processes of water movement on and below the Earth's surface. Encompasses the theoretical and applied aspects of soil moisture, runoff, flooding, groundwater movement, and water-well use. Numerical evaluation of flow properties from field and lab data describing water movement in soils, aquifers, and streams. Laboratory course.

Structural Geology and Tectonics

GEOL 250 - Connors, Christopher D. (Chris)

Description and methods of analysis of large- and small-scale structural features of the Earth's crust. Topics also include the analysis of geometry, strain and stress as they relate to deformation in the earth. Rock mechanics, application of structural geology in environmental engineering and resource exploration, geometric and computational techniques used in structural analysis, interpretation of geologic maps, and the structural development of mountain systems are also covered. Laboratory course.

Sedimentation and Stratigraphy

GEOL 330 - Greer, Mary L. (Lisa)

Properties, origins, and dynamics of sediments and sedimentary rocks. Correlation, organization, and historical interpretation of the sedimentary rock record. Field and laboratory analyses of sedimentary rocks. Laboratory course.

Seminar

GEOL 397A - Harbor, David J.

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 2019, GEOL 397A-01: Seminar: Glaciology and Glacial Geology (3). Prerequisite: Geology majors, or GEOL 100 or 101 with instructor consent. 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 of 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.

Honors Thesis

GEOL 493 - Hinkle, Margaret A.

Honors Thesis.

Fall 2018

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 - Jay Seymour, Cassidy N.

Preference given to first-years and sophomores . GEOL 100A: First-Year seminar, open to FY students only. 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. Laboratory course. Lab fee required.

General Geology with Field Emphasis

GEOL 100 - Knapp, Elizabeth P.

Preference given to first-years and sophomores . GEOL 100A: First-Year seminar, open to FY students only. 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. Laboratory course. Lab fee required.

General Geology with Field Emphasis

GEOL 100 - Greer, Mary L. (Lisa)

Preference given to first-years and sophomores . GEOL 100A: First-Year seminar, open to FY students only. 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. Laboratory course. Lab fee required.

General Geology with Field Emphasis

GEOL 100 - Harbor, David J.

Preference given to first-years and sophomores . GEOL 100A: First-Year seminar, open to FY students only. 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. Laboratory course. Lab fee required.

General Geology with Field Emphasis

GEOL 100A - Rahl, Jeffrey M.

Preference given to first-years and sophomores . GEOL 100A: First-Year seminar, open to FY students only. 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. Laboratory course. Lab fee required.

Geomorphology

GEOL 247 - Harbor, David J.

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, Christopher D. (Chris)

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. Laboratory course.

Earth and Environmental Geochemistry

GEOL 311 - Hinkle, Margaret A.

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.

Tectonics and Thermochronology

GEOL 360 - Rahl, Jeffrey M.

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.

Directed Individual Study

GEOL 401 - Greer, Mary L. (Lisa)

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.

Honors Thesis

GEOL 493 - Hinkle, Margaret A.

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

GEOL 493 - Harbor, David J.

Honors Thesis.

Spring 2018

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 105 - Harbor, David J.

Preference given to first-years and sophomores. 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. Lab fee required.

Spring 2018, GEOL 105-01: FS: Earth Lab: Sand (4). First-Year seminar. A Jockey John Robinson Seminar. Prerequisite: First-Year standing. Sand is everywhere. It is between our toes at the beach, sweeping beneath us in rivers, and blown against us in stinging desert storms. And yet, this ubiquitous, ordinary substance tells incredible stories of plate tectonic upheavals, vast seas covering now-dry continents, and journeys through rivers, into inland deserts, and along ocean shores. This field-based seminar explores the origin and nature of sand, its journeys, and how geologists use observations in modern environments along with detailed microscopic and field descriptions of rocks to define the conditions of landscapes long past. Participation requires camping on eastern barrier islands, travel to the Colorado Plateau of Utah, and a healthy imagination. Most expenses are covered by the Jockey John Robinson Fund. (SL) Harbor.

Earth Lab

GEOL 105 - Greer, Mary L. (Lisa)

Preference given to first-years and sophomores. 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. Lab fee required.

Spring 2018, GEOL 105-02: Earth Lab: Is the Earth Worth Saving (4). Can we 'save the earth'? What does that really mean? This course explores both the humbling existence of humans in deep time (4.6 billion years), and the potentially profound impacts of humans on the earth environment. Students consider whether it is the earth or only ourselves that we wish to 'save'. We study how rocks reveal a deep and rich history of changing climate and environment with time, and then compare this record with what we know about human-influenced climate and environmental change in the last few hundred years. We reflect on what, if anything, we should do with this information. We evaluate the effectiveness of efforts to 'protect' the environment, specifically with regards to marine-protected areas. Extensive field exploration of the geology of Rockbridge County and a week-long trip to Belize, to visit protected and unprotected coral reefs. (SL) Greer.

Earth Lab

GEOL 105 - Rahl, Jeffrey M.

Preference given to first-years and sophomores. 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. Lab fee required.

Spring 2018, GEOL 105-03: Earth Lab:  The Geology of Virginia (4). No prerequisites. Suitable for all students. From the billion-year-old rocks of the Blue Ridge to the sediments actively accumulating at the modern shore, the geology of Virginia preserves a rich and fascinating record of Earth history. Students explore the geology of Virginia, with emphasis on the physical processes responsible for rock formation and landscape evolution. Topics include: plate tectonics and mountain building, volcanism, metamorphism, erosion, sedimentation, and coastal processes. The course takes full advantage of our local setting and features many field trips, including at least one overnight trip to the coastal plain. (SL) Rahl .

Regional Geology

GEOL 373 - Connors, Christopher D. (Chris) / Ball, Stephen M.

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.

Spring 2018, GEOL 373-01: Regional Geology of New Zealand (4). Prerequisites: Open to geology majors only. Instructor consent, two geology courses numbered 200 or above, and GEOL 395. A study of the regional geology of New Zealand. This remarkably geologically diverse land allows students to learn about coastal and neotectonic geomorphology, structural geology and tectonics, glacial geology, glaciology, volcanology, metamorphic petrology, and stratigraphy, through hands-on direct exposure to beautiful examples available at the surface in New Zealand. Connors.