Geology and Geography

Professor: Harvey K. Flad, Brian J. Godfrey (Associate Chair);Associate Professors: Jill Schneiderman, Jeffrey R. Walker (Chair);Assistant Professors: Brian McAdoo, Kirsten Menking, Yu Zhouab;Visiting Assistant Professors: Kikombo Ngoy, Friedrich Pflueger.


Geography and Geology are unique in combining, within the same department, the distinctive perspectives of both the social and natural sciences at Vassar. By examining societies in their spatial and regional contexts, geography helps explain the human dimensions of environmental change. By exploring the many processes shaping the planet, geology provides an understanding of the physical limits of human activity. The interdisciplinary geographygeology major creates a cohesive and rigorous focus on the earth as humanity's home.

Requirements for Concentration: 12 units, including a common methods course (Geography 220, 222, or 225), an interdisciplinary senior thesis (GeographyGeology 300b), five units of geology, and five units of geography. In geography, the five units should include: Geography 105; two 200level courses; Geography 301; and Geography/Geology 355 or another 300level geography seminar. In geology, the five units should include: Geology 151, Geology 152, two 200level courses (preferably Geology 230 and 260), and one 300level course.

SeniorYear Requirements: GeographyGeology 300, Geography 301

Course Offerings

See geography and geology.

300b. Senior Thesis (1)

An original study, integrating perspectives of geography and geology. The formal research proposal is first developed in Geography 301, the senior seminar, and then is presented to a faculty member in either geography or geology, who serves as the principal adviser. A second faculty member from the other respective discipline participates in the final evaluation.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1)


Faculty: see geology-geography

Requirements for Concentration: 10 units, including an introductory course (105a or b, or 115), 220 or 222, 300, 301 and at least one additional 300-level seminar. With the consent of the adviser, 2 of the required 10 units may be taken from cognate fields, such as anthropology, geology, urban studies, or international studies, if the courses are clearly related to the student's focus within geography. After the declaration of the major, no required courses may be elected NRO.

Senior-Year Requirement: Geography 300; 301.

Recommendations: Geology 151; Field Work (290); and a study-abroad experience.

Students interested in focusing their geography program in areas such as environmental design, cultural ecology, global studies, land-use planning, or historic preservation should see the department for a list of recommended course sequences in geography and related disciplines.

Advisers: Mr. Flad, Mr. Godfrey, Mr. Ngoy, Ms. Zhou.

Correlate Sequence in Geography: Geography offers correlate sequences which designate coherent groups of courses intended to complement the curricula of students majoring in other departmental, interdepartmental, and multidisciplinary programs. Students pursuing a correlate sequence in geography are required to complete a minimum of six courses in the department, including an introductory course and at least one 300-level seminar. The two suggested concentrations are outlined in detail below.

Environmental Land-Use Analysis: The correlate sequence in geography with a concentration in land-use analysis is intended for students interested in Environmental Studies. It offers a succinct program in physical geography for students interested in science education, urban planning, or environmental policy. With the consent of the adviser, one unit of geology may be selected. The six courses taken for this concentration must be selected from the following list:

Geography 105 Global Geography (1)

Geography 115 Reading the Landscape (1)

Geography 120 Earth Resources and the Environment (1)

Geography 220 Cartography (1)

Geography 222 Geographic Research Methods (1)

Geography 225 Geographic Information Systems (1)

Geography 250 Urban Geography (1)

Geography 255 Environmental Perception and Conservation (1)

Geography 265 Population, Environment, and Sustainable Development (1)

Geography 285 Conservation of Natural Resources (1)

Geography 301 Senior Seminar (1)

Geography 355 Environment and Land-Use Planning (1)

Geography 370 Topics in Social and Urban Geography (1)

Regional Analysis: The correlate sequence in geography with a concentration in regional analysis is intended for students interested in area studies. It offers a succinct program in world regional geography for students interested in social studies education, international studies, or foreign language or area study. The six courses taken from this concentration must be selected from the following list:

Geography 105 Global Geography (1)

Geography 220 Cartography (1)

Geography 222 Geographic Research Methods (1)

Geography 225 Geographic Information Systems (1)

Geography 230 Africa (1)

Geography 235 East Asia (1)

Geography 240 Latin America (1)

Geography 242 Brazil (1)

Geography 245 North America (1)

Geography 265 Population, Environment, and Sustainable

Development (1)

Geography 275 Economic Geography (1)

Geography 301 Senior Seminar (1)

Geography 340 Advanced Regional Studies (1)

Geography 370 Topics in Social and Urban Geography (1)

I. Introductory

105a or b. Global Geography: Cultural, Political, and Economic Systems (1)

An introduction to human geography through the spatial analysis of cultural, political, and socioeconomic systems. Geographical perspectives on contemporary world issues are studied at the local, regional, and global scales. Geography's major themes are introduced, including population growth and distribution, land use and settlement, cultural landscapes, natural resources, urbanization, economic development, and geopolitics, along with the analytical tools of mapping, cartographic communication, and spatial data analysis. The impacts of increasing global interdependence are examined in case studies of selected world regions. The department.

[115b. Reading the Landscape: Exploration, Travel, and Sense of Place] (1)

Using the literature of discovery, travel, and regional description, a variety of primary resources is examined, including journals, travelogues, essays, photographs, regional novels, maps, paintings, and field observation. Major topics in world regional geography are investigated through these varied perceptions and methodological approaches with an emphasis on how geographers can use this data to analyze spatial patterns and processes. Field trips to selected localities in the Hudson Valley to examine the natural and cultural Landscape. Mr. Flad.

Open to freshman only: satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Course.

Alternate years: not offered in 2000/01.

180a or b. Conceptualizing Nature: Environmental Practices in Social Context

This first-year course examines the ways in which nature is treated, defined, and interpreted according to prevailing social relations in different geographical and historical contexts. In short, the conceptualization of nature is a socially contested process that brings into question relations of domination and power structures. Following ecofeminst theories and other insightful perspectives on the environment, this course provides a critical introduction to different practices and approaches that shape the conceptualization of nature. Using illustrative case studies, environmentalist approaches and social constructions of nature are analyzed not only according to their internal logic, but also relative to the practices with which they are associated.

"A" semester: Open to freshman only: satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Course.

II. Intermediate

The prerequisite for 200-level courses is 1 unit of introductory geography.

220a. Cartography (1)

Cartography, the science and art of map making, is integral to a geographer's craft. The course reviews the history of cartography, in particular, the making of maps as a primary way for people to conceptualize and represent space around them. While being an ancient discipline, cartography is being thoroughly revolutionized by cutting-edge technology. The course is also aimed at enhancing the ability of students to interpret topographic maps, and to make thematic maps with the aid of remote sensing, computer aided graphic design and GIS. Mr. Ngoy.

Prerequisite: by permission, preference given to students concentrating in geology and geography and those pursuing an independent program with a member of the departmental staff serving as adviser. Satisfies college requirement for quantitative reasoning.

Two 75-minute periods; one 2-hour lab.

[222a. Geographic Research Methods] (1)

A comprehensive overview of the most widely used research methods in collecting, analyzing, and presenting geographical data, including both qualitative and quantitative techniques. The course emphasizes hands-on experience in applying these research methods, and also critically examines their utilities and limitations. The topics include archival research, survey design, intensive nterview, preliminary statistical analysis and an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Satisfies college requirement for quantitative reasoning. Ms. Zhou.

Alternate years: not offered in 2000/01.

225b. Geographic Information Systems (1)

An introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which use computers to organize, store, and map spatial data. The course introduces various databases and programs for analysis, along with the visual display of environmental, urban and social data. Mr. Ngoy.

Two 75minute periods; two-hour laboratory.

230a. Africa: Regional Geographic Perspectives (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 230) A geographic analysis of Africa, south of the Sahara. The diversity of the African continent is stressed by examining its physical environment, resources, and its social, cultural, economic, and political systems. Specific attention is given to current problems and potentials associated with environmental and regional differences as they affect traditional livelihood patterns, economic development projects, urbanization, inter- and intraregional cooperation, territorial and boundary conflicts, and social and ethnic spatial patterns. Mr. Ngoy.

Alternate years: offered in 2000/01.

[235a. East Asia: People, Culture and Economic Development] (1)

An examination of the common and contrasting experiences of East Asian countries since the late nineteenth century. It emphasizes the regional contexts in which various environmental, cultural, social, political and economic forces overlay and interact, constituting the unique path of each country. Major themes include Japanese industrial organization, economic development in newly industrialized countries, transformation of the Chinese economy after 1978, and regional integration of East Asia. Ms. Zhou.

Alternate years: not offered in 2000/01.

[240b. Latin America: Population, Development, and Environment] (1)

A study of developmental disparities and environmental modifications in the making of Latin America's contemporary regional geography. Special attention is paid to development theory, the impact of European colonial expansion upon native societies, land tenure and modernization of the rural sector, the growth of cities, natural resource use, and the contemporary development schemes in the Amazon Basin. The course focuses upon the links between Latin American landscape change and the region's dependent development within the larger world system. Mr. Godfrey.

Alternate years: not offered in 2000/01.

[242b. Brazil: Continuity and Change in Portuguese America] (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 242) An historical geography of Brazil, by far the largest and the most populous country in Latin America and a leader in the problems and promise of Third-World development. The course emphasizes three interrelated themes: the political-economic linkages between Brazil and the outside world, the distinctive cultural characteristics of Portuguese America, and the evolution of Brazilian society in time and space. Specific topics for study include the legacies of colonial Brazil, race relations and Afro-Brazilian culture, contemporary urban-industrial growth, regional differentiation versus national integration, and Brazil's prospects of becoming a world power. Mr. Godfrey.

Alternate years: not offered in 2000/01.

[245b. The American Landscape: An Historical Geography (1)
of the United States and Canada]

The cultural landscape of the United States and Canada is examined through studies in historical, physical, regional, and social geography. The natural environment of North America, as perceived in early descriptions and as a formative basis for resource and economic development, is studied with relation to historical settlement patterns, agriculture, urbanization, and transportation. Regional diversity is shown both through physical habitat differentiation and cultural-ethnic patterns. Attitudes towards the North American environment evolve through a study of the history of conservation as well as current regional environmental issues. Mr. Flad.

Alternate years: not offered in 2000/01.

250b. Urban Geography: Spatial Structure of the Metropolis (1)

A geographical exploration of the modern American metropolis, focusing on the development and transformation of urban space. Emphasis is given to analysis of the changing geographies of production and consumption, transportation, residence, community, and the built environment. Topics for study include: the historical geography of American urbanization; contemporary changes in urban form and land-use patterns; social space and mental mapping; suburbs, edge cities, and urban decentralization; urban renewal and gentrification; urban segregation by race, ethnicity, and gender; discrimination in urban design; ecological and sustainable communities; and current issues in urban planning and social policy. Mr. Godfrey

[255a. Environmental Perception and Conservation History] (1)

The complex interrelationships and interpretations of nature and society are explored through literary, philosophical, and scientific works on conservation, wilderness, preservation, ethics, and aesthetics. The history of the United States and international conservation and environmental movements, including legislation and NGO's, is examined. In addition, studies of environmental perception focus on the meanings of space and place. Mr. Flad.

Alternate years: not offered in 2000/01.

[265b. Population, Environment, and Sustainable Development] (1)

Complex philosophical and ethical issues surrounding population, economic development, and their interaction are considered. Geographical perspectives emphasize the spatial and temporal diversity of demographic experience in the context of a global network of production and distribution. Women's role in production and reproduction is investigated in diverse cultural, political, and economic environments. Themes include: historical and contemporary demographic patterns; Malthusian-Marxist debate; the population/resource problem; governments as family planners; domestic and international migration; and concepts and practices of sustainable development. Ms. Zhou.

Not offered in 2000/01.

[275a. Economic Geography: Globalization and Regional Development] (1)

The spatial patterns and dynamics of the world economy are examined in diverse industrial and regional settings. The focus is on the spatial distribution of economic activities, the use of resources, and development of regional economies. Topics may include the global shift of manufacturing activities, the spatial organization of post-Fordist production, the spread and impact of agribusiness, globalization of services, foreign direct investment and multi-national corporations, and the interdependency between developed and developing economies. Ms. Zhou.

Alternate years: not offered in 2000/01.

280a. Eastern Europe: A Region of Transitions

This regional geography course introduces the students to the political-economic dynamics shaping what has been called Eastern Europe. The cultural diversity of Eastern European peoples are examined in connection with pivotal historical events from the earliest viable evidence available to the present. Special attention is devoted to Jewish and Romany histories in the region. The primary chronological emphasis is on the series of drastic shifts that have deeply affected and differentiated this region during the twentieth century. These include the impacts of World War I and the failed socialist revolutions, the eviscerating effects of World War II and the Holocaust, the succession of different forms of state-socialism, and the variegated results of recent systemic change.

282a. Cities and Urbanization in Latin America

(Same as Latin American Studies, Sociology and Urban Studies 282)

285b. Conservation of Natural Resources (1)

Sustainable development requires an understanding of ecosystem complexity and new ways of managing existing resources. This course provides a geographic perspective on global ecology and resource management. Emphasis is placed on global and regional environmental issues, including population growth, soil conservation, sustainable agriculture, pollution of water and air, and forest and rangeland management. Mr. Ngoy.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

The department.

Reading Courses

297.01a or b. Geography in the Elementary and (1/2)

Secondary School Curriculum
An introduction to the study of geography in both elementary and secondary schools as part of the social studies curriculum, stressing world regional differentiation, and in the earth sciences curriculum with a focus on the field of environmental education. Mr. Flad.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

297.02a or b. Geography, Ecology, Culture (1/2)

A geographic perspective on the environment and man, examining primitive and peasant subsistence patterns, their processes of resource utilization, and the resulting modification of the landscape. Mr. Flad.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Open to qualified students in other disciplines who wish to pursue related inde-pendent work in geography. The department.

III. Advanced

300b. Senior Thesis (1)

The department.

301a. Senior Seminar: Issues in Geographic Theory and Method (1)

A review of the theory, method, and practice of geographical inquiry. The seminar traces the history of geographic thought from early episodes of global exploration to modern scientific transformations. The works and biographies of major contemporary theorists are critically examined in terms of the changing philosophies of geographic research. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches are discussed, along with scientific, humanist, radical, feminist, and other critiques in human geography. Overall, alternative conceptions of geography are related to the evolution of society and the dominant intellectual currents of the day. The student is left to choose which approaches best suits his or her own research. The seminar culminates in the presentation of student research proposals. The department.

One 2-hour period.

340a. Advanced Regional Studies (1)

(Same as Geography 384a and American Culture 384a.) This seminar examines a selected world region, regions, or global regional interactions. Topics may vary from year to year. Previous seminar themes include: culture clash in Latin America, Central Asia in transition, imaging Asia, and the Asian diaspora. May be repeated for credit if the region or topic has changed.

340b. Advanced Regional Studies (1)

This seminar examines a selected world region, regions, or global regional interactions. Topics may vary from year to year. Previous seminar themes include: culture clash in Latin America, Central Asia in transition, imaging Asia, and the Asian diaspora. May be repeated for credit if the region or topic has changed.

Topic for 2000/01b: Inequality, Land, Technology, and Food: The Political Ecology of Agriculture. Mr. Engel-DiMauro.

350a. New York City as a Social Laboratory] (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 350) In a classic essay on urban studies, sociologist Robert Park once called the city "a laboratory or clinic in which human nature and social processes may be conveniently and profitably studied." The scale, dynamism, and complexity of New York City make it a social laboratory without equal. This seminar provides a multidisciplinary inquiry into New York City as a case study in selected urban issues. Classroom meetings are combined with the fieldbased investigations that are a hallmark of Urban Studies. Site visits in New York City allow meetings with scholars, officials, developers, community leaders and others actively involved in urban affairs. Mr. Godfrey.

Prerequisite. Geography 250 or permission of instructor.

One 3hour session; field trips to N.Y.C.

Alternate years: not offered in 2000/01.

355a. Environment and Land-Use Planning (1)

(Same as Geology 355) This seminar focuses on such land-use issues as social and environmental impact studies, open-space planning, conservation and resource management, agriculture, housing, and recreation and tourism. Case studies may be drawn from either North America or the Third World; local examples will include analysis of state and federal regulations and field work. Topics for study may include the changing rural American landscape, including farmland preservation; local and state environmental review in locational conflicts, such as water quality or the siting of landfills; or sustainable development and ecotourism.

Topic for 2000/01: Environmental impact assessment. This seminar analyzes principles of environmental impact assessment in the context of land-use changes in both the developing and developed worlds. In the U.S., the seminar focuses on forest management in the Pacific Northwest and on the environmental impacts of urban sprawl in the Hudson Valley of New York. Developing-world issues concentrate on Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in terms of irrigation schemes, sustainable agriculture, forestry, and other resource uses as they relate to the needs of human populations. Mr. Ngoy.

Prerequisite: Geography 245, 255, 265 or permission of instructor.

One 2-hour period.

Alternate years: offered in 2000/01.

370b. Topics in Social and Urban Geography (1)

An inquiry into the spatial expressions of social relations in modern urban societies. The seminar focuses on the socio-spatial interrelationships of such phenomena as class, race, ethnicity, gender, and politics. The specific topic of study varies from year to year. Previous seminar themes include the urban-industrial transition, the urban frontier, urban poverty, cities of the Americas, segregation in the city, and global migration. May be repeated for credit if the topic changes.

(same as Urban Studies 370) Topic for 2000/01: Cyber-Cities: The Internet, New Media, and Urban Geography: The internet and its associated "new Media" operations in finance, retail, and entertainment are now reshaping urban centers around the world. Not only are high-technology applications changing the way we do things, they are also beginning to transform the very social fabrics and geographical settings of our lives and where and with whom we work, live, consume, and recreate. This seminar focuses on the emergence of cyber-cities: the impacts of high-tech applications and internet activities on contemporary urban settlements. Topics for study include: urban life in the "space of flows"; e-commerce and new consumption patterns; "dot-com" gentrification in central-office-parks, congestion, and planning for suburban growth; and local community resistance to internet-led growth and displacement. Mr. Godfrey.

Prerequistie: either Urban Studies 100, Geography 105, or Geography 250.

One 2-hour period.

Alternate years: offered in 2000/01

384a. Interpreting American Landscapes: Representations of (1)

Nature and Culture
(Same as American Culture 384a and Geography 340a) This seminar examines some of the most distinctive cultural landscapes of America from the eighteenth century to the present, including the "wilderness", New England villages, the West, southern plantations and African-American home-yards, the metropolis, suburbia, tourist sites and other spaces of production and consumption. Using prints, drawings and photographs in the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Gallery as a primary source for understanding nineteenth century conceptions of landscape depiction, we also incorporate films, maps, city plans, urban views, and literature of the twentieth century. The class includes field trips to representative sites in the Hudson Valley as well as participation in an exhibit of landscape prints and drawings from the Magoon collection. Mr. Flad, Ms. Lucic

Prerequisite: permission of director.

One 2-hour seminar

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

The department.


Faculty: see geology-geography.

Requirements for Concentration: 10 units including 151, 152, 201, 2 units of graded work at the 300-level, and not more than 1 additional unit at the 100-level. With consent of advisor, one 200-level course may be substituted for by 200- or 300-level work in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics. After declaration of the major, required courses in geology may not be taken NRO.

Senior-Year Requirement: One graded 300-level course.

Recommendations: Students interested in graduate study in geology or environmental science should also take one year of laboratory biology, chemistry and/or physics. In addition, calculus is highly recommended. Appropriate courses include: Biology 151, 152; Chemistry 108/109, 110/111; Math 101, 102; Physics 113, 114. Analysis of spatial data using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in becoming increasingly important so Geography 225 is strongly recommended. All geology majors are urged to attend a six-week geology summer field camp. The choices of locations, times, and university sponsors of such field work are numerous, and geology department faculty will help select an appropriate summer field experience.

Independent Research: The geology department encourages students to engage in ungraded independent research with faculty advisers and offers 198 (for freshmen and sophomores), 298 (for juniors), and 399 (for seniors). Geology majors are encouraged to engage in senior-year research, and the department offers 300-301, an ungraded research-based senior thesis experience. Only those who complete 300-301 are eligible for departmental honors upon graduation.

Because there are many applications of geology to a variety of different careers, we urge potential majors to consult with a faculty member in the geology department as soon as possible upon arrival at Vassar in order to decide on the most appropriate sequence of required and recommended courses. Also, each year the geology department offers courses at the 100-level designed for students who may not intend to pursue geology at more advanced levels. These courses are appropriate for students curious about the earth and its life. They are especially relevant for students with concerns about environmental degradation and its impact on people living in both urban and rural settings.

Advisers: Mr. McAdoo, Ms. Menking, Mr. Pflueger, Ms. Schneiderman, Mr. Walker.

Correlate Sequence in Geology: Geology offers a correlate sequence which can complement the curricula of students majoring in other departmental, interdepartmental, and multidisciplinary programs. Students pursuing a correlate sequence in geology are required to complete a minimum of five courses in the department including 151, 152, and at least one 300-level course. Students should carefully note the prerequisites required for enrollment in some of the courses within the correlate sequence.

I. Introductory

100a. The Earth Around Us (1/2)

(Same as Environmental Studies 100)

101a. The Nature of Science (1)

This course explores the question, "what is science?" by looking at examples from the history of natural sciences and questions such as: How is science portrayed by the press? Do biased results "count" as science? Is the history of science a history of mistakes? Is bad science different from biased science? Where are the women and minority scientists? Topics include views of geologic time, the formation of the earth, development of plate tectonic theory, the size and morphology of organisms, creationism, craniometry, and the geography of research laboratories. Ms. Schneiderman.

Open to freshmen only: satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Course.

[102a. Landscape and History of the Hudson Valley] (1)

Geology controls the landscape, and Landscape has a profound influence on history. Through readings drawn from history, literature, science, and contemporary observers, supplemented by writing, discussions, and field trips, this course explores the relationships between geology, landscape, and cultural history in the midHudson Valley region. Topics to be explored include: changing patterns of settlement; changing vegetation patterns in response to climate change; land use and resource exploitation; and current environmental issues such as power generation and disposal of municipal and toxic wastes. Mr. Walker.

Open to freshmen only: satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Course.

Not offered in 2000/01.

103b. Earth System Science and Environmental Justice (1)

(Same as Environmental Studies 103) Exploration of the roles that race, gender, and class play in contemporary environmental issues and the geology that underlies them. Examination of the power of governments, corporations and science to influence the physical and human environment. We critique the traditional environmental movement, study cases of environmental racism, and appreciate how basic geological knowledge can assist communities in creating healthful surroundings. Examples come from urban and rural settings in the United States and abroad and are informed by feminist analysis. Ms. Schneiderman.

Two 75-minute periods.

[104b. Oceanography] (1)

The world's oceans make life on Earth possible. By studying the interactions among atmosphere, water, sediment, and the deep inner-workings of the earth, we gain an understanding of where the earth has been, where it is now, and where it is likely to go. Topics include: historical perspectives on the revolutionary discoveries in marine exploration; seafloor and ocean physiochemical structure; air-sea interactions from daily and seasonal weather patterns to climate change and El Niño cycles; earthquakes and tsunamis; waves and coastal processes; and critical biologic communities unique to the marine environment. Mandatory field trip to the beach. Mr. McAdoo.

Not offered in 2000/01

151a and b. Earth, Environment, and Humanity (1)

(Same as Environmental Studies 151) An introductory level course covering basic physical processes of the earth including plate tectonics, atmospheric and oceanic circulation, and biogeochemical cycles, geologic hazards such as earthquakes, floods, and volcanic eruptions, human impacts on the environment including ozone depletion and acid rain, and sustainability. Ms. Menking, Mr. Walker.

Two 75-minute periods; one 3-hour laboratory. Several laboratory sessions are devoted to off-campus field trips.

152b. The Evolution of Earth and its Life (1)

An examination of the origin of the earth and the evolution of life on this planet particularly in relation to global environmental change today. Topics include systematic paleontology, evolution and creationism, the profound depth of geologic time and its ramifications for life on earth, and mass extinctions of dinosaurs and other organisms. Mr. Pflueger.

Two 75-minute periods; one 3-hour laboratory. Several laboratory sessions are devoted to off-campus field trips.

182a. A Place Like No Other (1)

A journey in time and space introducing planet earth: how it formed, and which processes and events are responsible for its dynamic history. This investigation includes the origin and evolution of life, revolutions, catastrophes and extinctions, how they relate to environmental change.

This course fulfills the Freshman Course Requirement.

198a or b. Special Projects in Geology (1/2 or 1)

Execution and analysis of a laboratory or field study. Project to be arranged with individual instructor. The department.

Open to first-year students and sophomores only.

II. Intermediate

Geology 151 and 152 are prerequisites for entry into 200-level courses unless otherwise stated.

201b. Earth Materials: Minerals, Rocks, and Soils (1)

The earth is made up of many different materials, including minerals, rocks, soils, and ions in solution, all of which represent the same atoms recycled continually by geological and biogeochemical cycles. This course takes a wholistic view of the earth in terms of the processes which lead to the formation of different materials. The class will involve study in the field as well as in the laboratory using hand specimen identification along with the optical microscope, X-ray diffractometer, and electron microscope. Mr. Walker.

Two 75-minute periods; one 3hour laboratory, field trips.

[230. Soils and Terrestrial Ecosystems] (1)

Soils form an important interface between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. As such, they are critical to understanding terrestrial ecosystems. This course studies soil formation, and the physical and chemical properties of soils especially as related to natural and altered ecosystems. One important topic of discussion is the relationship between soils and agriculture with emphasis on the possibilities and limitations implied by the notion of "sustainable agriculture." Field trips and laboratory work focus on the description and interpretation of local soils. Mr. Walker.

Prerequisite: one introductory course in Geology, Biology, or Chemistry.

Two 75-minute periods; one 3hour laboratory/field session.

Alternate years: not offered in 2000/01.

240b. Global Geophysics and Tectonics (1)

What can physics and simple math tell us about the earth? By utilizing an array of techniques, geophysicists gain an understanding of the processes that shape our planet. Reflection and earthquake seismology give us insight into deep earth structure, plate tectonic mechanisms, mountain building, basin formation, and hazard mitigation. Variations in the earth's gravitational field yield information on density contrasts beneath the surface, from the scale of mountain ranges to buried artifacts. Heat flow variations are useful in determining regional subsurface thermal structure, fluid advection, and climate variation. Laboratories are designed to use the skills required in most geology related fields. They involve the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) software, and construction of simple computer models. Mr. McAdoo.

Two 75minute periods; one 3hour laboratory.

250a. Sediments, Strata, and the Environment (1)

Detailed study of modern sedimentary environments and their use in interpreting ancient sedimentary rocks. The chemical and physical processes leading to weathering, erosion, transport, deposition, and lithification of sediments are considered. Field interpretation of local Paleozoic, Pleistocene, and Holocene sediments are carried out through field study. Laboratories include the study of sediments in hand sample and using the petrographic microscope. Mr. Pflueger.

Prerequisite: Geology 201.

Two 75-minute periods; one 3-hour laboratory/field session, one weekend field trip.

260a. Geomorphology: Surface Processes and Evolution of Landforms (1)

Quantitative study of the geological processes and factors which influence the origin and development of Earth's many landforms. Topics include hillslope and channel processes, sediment transport, physical and chemical weathering and erosion, role of regional and local tectonics in the construction of marine terraces, mountain ranges and basins, and the role of climate in landscape modification. Ms. Menking.

Two 75-minute periods; one 3-hour laboratory/field session.

[270b. Structural Geology and Tectonics] (1)

The study of the processes and products of crustal deformation and study of the plate tectonic paradigm. Topics include the mechanics of deformation, earthquakes, mountain-building, geophysical principles, and neotectonics. Ms. Menking.

Two 75-minute periods; one 3-hour laboratory/field session.

280b. Oil (1)

As we enter the twenty-first century, our society is firmly rooted both culturally and economically, in oil. For the hydraulic civilizations of Mesopotamia, it was water. For the Native Americans of the Great Plains, it was buffalo. This class looks into almost every aspect of oil. Starting at the source with kerogen generation, we follow the hydrocarbons along migration pathways to a reservoir with a suitable trap. We look at the techniques geologists and geophysicists use to find an oil field, and how engineers and economists get the product from the field to refineries, paying particular attention to environmental concerns. What is involved in the negotiations between multinational corporations and developing countries over production issues? What are the stages in refining oil from the crude that comes from the ground to the myriad of uses it sees today, including plastics, pharmaceuticals, and fertilizers, not to mention gasoline? We also discuss the future of this rapidly dwindling, non-renewable resource, and discuss options for an oil-less future. Mr. McAdoo.

Prerequisite: Any introductory physical science course.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Execution and analysis of a field, laboratory or library study. The project, to be arranged with an individual instructor, is expected to have a substantial paper as its final product. The department.

Permission of instructor is required.

III. Advanced

Prerequisite: 2 units of 200-level geology; see specific additions or exceptions for each course.

300-301. Senior Research and Thesis (1/2)

Critical analysis, usually through observation or experimentation, of a specific research problem in geology. A student electing this course must first gain, by submission of a written research proposal, the support of a member of the geology faculty with whom to work out details of a research protocol. The formal research proposal and a final paper and presentation of results are required parts of the course. A second faculty member participates in the final evaluation. The department.

Permission of instructor is required.

[320. Advanced Topics in Environmental Geology] (1)

Selected topics in environmental geology such as quaternary geology, climate change, water in environmental planning, contaminant transport in aqueous systems, and the geology of natural resources. Mr. Walker.

One 3-hour classroom/laboratory session.

Not offered in 2000/01.

340a. Field Geophysics (1)

This project-based course examines one field area throughout the course of the semester, collecting data in the beginning, compiling and analyzing the data in a Geographic Information System (GIS) framework, and synthesizing towards the end, culminating in a presentation of the results. Using an array of geophysical tools including an electrical resistivity meter, a Cesium-vapor magnetometer, and a simple heat flow probe, we survey various anthropogenic and natural structures. Possible field locales include archaeological sites (living structures, burial grounds), both historical and pre-European, and sites of environmental concern to both citizens and developers, such as leaking underground storage tanks. Mr. McAdoo.

Prerequisite Geology 240 or permission of instructor.

One 3-hour classroom and laboratory session.

350a. Advanced Sedimentology (1)

This course focuses on the petrographic and geochemical aspects of a current environmental problem that can be approached sedimentologically. We use the primary literature to discover the wide range of tools available to the modern sedimentologist and their application to one of many significant problems in the field. Laboratory gives hands-on practice with the collection and evaluation of sedimentologic and geochemical data.

Topic for 2000/01: Organism-Sediment Interaction. Life is a fundamental force in sedimentary processes. Using sediments as their habitat or food source, living organisms physically and chemically alter their environment. After death, an array of different processes may lead to the preservation of fossil hard and/or soft parts in the rock record. Field studies and laboratories teach an understanding of the biology, paleontology, and sedimentology with examples reaching from modern to Precambrian times. Mr. Pflueger

Prerequisite: Geology 201 and 250 or permission of instructor.

Two 75-minute periods; one 3-hour laboratory or field session.

355b. Environment and Land Use Planning (1)

(Same as Geography 355b)

[360b. Paleoclimatology: Earth's History of Climate Change] (1)

This course discusses how Earth's climate system operates and what natural processes have led to climate change in the past. We examine the structure and properties of the oceans and atmosphere and how the general circulation of these systems redistributes heat throughout the globe. In addition, we study how cycles in Earth's orbital parameters, plate tectonics, and the evolution of plants have affected climate. Weekly laboratory projects introduce students to paleoclimatic methods and to real records of climate change. Ms. Menking.

Prerequisite: Geology 201, 250, and 260 or permission of instructor.

One 3-hour classroom/laboratory session.

Not offered in 2000/01.

380b. Computer Methods and Modeling in Geology (1)

Computer models have become powerful tools in helping us to understand complex natural systems. They are in wide use in geology in climatic change research, prediction of groundwater and contaminant flow paths in sediments, and seismic hazard prediction, among other applications. This course introduces students to conceptual modeling with the use of the Stella box-modeling software package. Taking readings from the geological literature, we create and then perform experiments with simple computer models. Students also learn how to code their conceptual models in the programming language Fortran, the most widely used language in geology today. Ms. Menking.

One 3-hour classroom/laboratory session

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Execution and analysis of a field, laboratory, or library study. The project, to be arranged with an individual instructor, is expected to have a substantial paper as its final product. The department.

Permission of instructor is required.