2014–2015 Geology Courses

 

GEOL 110 Introduction to Geology, LE (3)
What are the processes and events that have made the earth look the way it does today? How long have these processes been going on? How different will the earth look in the future? In answering these questions, this course will not only introduce students to the basic principles of geology, but will also explore the problems inherent in the scientific study of the deep past. Students should take note: this class will make you see the world around you differently.
       
GEOL 200/300 Special Topics in Geology (4)
Meets the special needs of students interested in pursuing more advanced studies in geology.
       
GEOL 201 Mineralogy (4)
In this course, students will learn how atoms combine to form minerals, the most basic elements of geology. Emphasis will be placed on the diagnostic physical properties of minerals and how those properties result from the microscopic arrangement of atoms in the crystal lattice. Labs will give students the opportunity to work in teams to use those diagnostic properties to identify and classify mineral samples. Includes a 2-hour weekly lab. Prerequisite: GEOL 110, CHEM 111 (may be taken concurrently).
       
GEOL 202 Petrology (4)
This class serves as an introduction to the processes that create igneous and metamorphic rocks. Emphasis will be placed not only on the classification of rocks from hand samples and thin sections, but also on the geological processes that lead to the formation of these rocks. Includes a 2-hour weekly lab. Prerequisites:
GEOL 201.
       
GEOL 205 Environmental Earth Sciences (4)
A study of the earth as a dynamic system focusing on the human dimensions of global change. Changes to the earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere through time will be explored, as will geologic risks and human impact on the globe.
       
GEOL 214 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (4)
This course takes an in-depth look at how geologists use sedimentary rocks to interpret the changing nature of the earth’s surficial environment. This class utilizes actualistic experiments and field studies in addition to traditional lectures and discussions. Topics include the physical nature of sediment and sedimentary environments (shelf, terrestrial, and carbonate); naming clastic and chemical sedimentary rocks; dating, correlation, and magnetostratigraphy; biostratigraphy and biogeography; and sequence stratigraphy. Includes a 2-hour weekly lab.
       
GEOL 310 Structural Geology and Tectonics (4)
This course studies the fate and evolution of the solid parts of the earth after initial rock formation has occurred. Students in this class will learn about the forces that bend, break and shape rock as well as the origin of those forces from tectonic processes. Includes a 2-hour weekly lab. Prerequisites: GEOL 110, PHYS 152.
       
GEOL 315 Principles of Paleontology (4)
This course introduces the organisms that compose the fossil record as well as the methods that paleontologists use to reconstruct the life of the past. Topics include modes of preservation, classification and the species problem, biases of the fossil record, phylogenetic reconstructions, functional morphology, paleoecology, morphometric analyses, evolutionary developmental biology, evolutionary trends, and critical intervals in the history of life. Cross-listed as BIOL 315. Prerequisites: BIO 202.
       
GEOL 360 Field Geology (6)
This course, which should preferably be taken in the summer before senior year, provides the opportunity for students to put their skills into practice. After an initial week of in-class instruction on field methods, students will get in the vans for the ultimate in experiential learning. At various field locales around Utah and Colorado, students will gain experience mapping, measuring sections, and creating stratigraphic columns. Prerequisites: GEOL 110, GEOL 202, GEOL 214, GEOL 310.
       
GEOL 401 Directed Studies

(1–4)

A tutorial-based course used only for student-initiated proposals for intensive individual study of topics not otherwise offered in the Geology program. Prerequisite: consent of the instructor and school dean.
       
GEOL 402 Senior Seminar (3)
This class will familiarize students with scholarly geological literature. Students will read and discuss contemporary geological research papers and will learn the process for writing research proposals and journal articles. Prerequisites: GEOL 110, GEOL 202, GEOL 214, GEOL 310, GEOL 315 or consent of the instructor.
       
GEOL 405 Geochemistry (4)
This class will act as a capstone class for students with a particular interest in the chemical evolution of the earth. Topics to be covered may include the formation of the planet, oxygenation of the atmosphere, chemistry of the earth’s interior, ocean chemistry, and stable isotope geochemistry. Prerequisites: GEOL 202, CHEM 112, or instructor’s permission.
       
GEOL 415 History of Life on Earth (3)
This course examines a number of fundamental questions about the history of this planet’s biosphere. Questions include: how has the earth changed as an abode for life over the course of geologic time? How has life on earth changed over geologic time? Have there been significant interrelations between changes in the earth and changes in its biota? How can we scientifically study unique and unrepeatable events? Prerequisites: GEOL 214, GEOL 315, or instructor’s permission.
       
GEOL 425 Geophysics (4)
This class will act as a capstone class for students with a particular interest in the physical evolution of the earth. Topics may include the dynamics of the earth’s interior, the generation and evolution of the earth’s magnetic field, gravimetry as a tool for geologic exploration, rotation of the earth’s core, and the flow of heat in the mantle. Prerequisites: GEOL 310, PHYS 152, or instructor’s permission.