Course Offerings

Winter 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

GEOL 101 - Farris, David W.

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 - Hinkle, Margaret A.

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.

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.

Selected Topics

GEOL 197 - Rahl, Jeffrey M.

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 2018, GEOL 197-01: Special Topic: Are We Alone? (3). Despite estimates that there are billions of stars in the Universe (likely trillions of billions), Earth remains the only planetary body that we know has life (so far). This apparent paradox led the physicist Enrico Fermi to wonder: "where is everybody?" In this course, we explore modern thinking about the potential for extraterrestrial life, with particular focus on the concept of planetary habitability. What are the essential ingredients for the evolution of life like we know it? Our investigation focuses on relevant aspects of the planet we know best, Earth, including its formation, composition, climate, and tectonics. We also discuss the origin, history, and potential future of life on our planet. (SC) Rahl.

History and Evolution of the Earth

GEOL 205 - Greer, Mary L. (Lisa)

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 - Rahl, Jeffrey M.

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.

GIS and Remote Sensing

GEOL 260 - Harbor, David J.

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.

Petroleum Geology and Geophysics

GEOL 335 - Connors, Christopher D. (Chris)

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 source, charge, seal, reservoir and trap 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. Laboratory course.

Seminar

GEOL 395 - Connors, Christopher D. (Chris)

Topics vary by term.

Winter 2018, GEOL 395-01: Seminar: Geology of New Zealand (1). Prerequisites: Open to geology majors only or by instructor consent. This seminar prepares students for the spring term course, GEOL 373: Regional Geology of New Zealand, through reading and discussing the geology of New Zealand. Connors.

Senior Research Thesis

GEOL 472 - Rahl, Jeffrey M.

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, Christopher D. (Chris)

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

GEOL 493 - Rahl, Jeffrey M.

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

GEOL 493 - Harbor, David J.

Honors Thesis.

Fall 2017

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 - Farris, David W.

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 - Connors, Christopher D. (Chris)

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 - 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 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.

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.

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 - Farris, David W.

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.

Seminar

GEOL 395A - Greer, Mary L. (Lisa)

Topics vary by term.

Directed Individual Study

GEOL 401 - Harbor, David J.

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 - Rahl, Jeffrey M.

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.

Senior Research Thesis

GEOL 472 - Harbor, David J.

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, Christopher D. (Chris)

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

GEOL 493 - Rahl, Jeffrey M.

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

GEOL 493 - Harbor, David J.

Honors Thesis.

Spring 2017

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 - Leonard-Pingel, Jill S.

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 2017, GEOL 105-01: Earth Lab: Dinosaurs (4). Prerequisite: First-Year or sophomore standing only. Additional course fee required, for which the student is responsible after Friday of the 7th week of winter term. A multidisciplinary investigation into the morphology, classification, and ecology of the dinosaurs and their close relatives; the environmental, climatic, and geographic conditions on earth during the time of the dinosaurs and how geologists make those paleo-environmental interpretations; and the biological principles involved in understanding the origin, evolution, and extinction of the dinosaurs. In addition, students discuss how scientific investigations proceed, how science is conveyed to a larger audience, and why dinosaurs in the media are often portrayed with so many scientific errors. (SL) Leonard-Pingel .

Earth Lab

GEOL 105 - Axler, Jennifer A. (Jen)

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 2017, GEOL 105-02: Earth Lab: Energy, Resources, and the Environment (4). Prerequisite: First-Year, sophomore, or junior standing only. Additional course fee required, for which the student is responsible after Friday of the 7th week of winter term. Energy from natural resources is used in many aspects of daily life, powering homes, schools, farms, businesses, and vehicles. In this modern industrial society, affordable energy is integral to sustaining our economic, social, and political standings. Most of our energy comes from the use of fossil fuels which come with a significant environmental impact. This course surveys the production and efficiency of a wide range of energy resources (including oil, gas, coal, solar, and wind), and studies the environmental impacts of obtaining energy and natural resources via each of these systems. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each energy resource and how we might improve our current energy system. (SL) Axler.

Environmental Field Methods

GEOL 231 - Smith, Stephen G.

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 - Harbor, David J.

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 2017, GEOL 373-01: Regional Geology: Iceland (4). Prerequisites: Instructor consent and two geology courses numbered 200 or above. Learn and discover the volcanic and glacial geology of Iceland, and explore sustainability practices. Most of the course is taught in the field in Iceland. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different but only four credits may be used toward major requirements. Harbor .