Courses in Geological Sciences (Division 377)

A. Introductory Courses and Courses for Non-concentrators

G.S. 101-113 are short (half-term) courses. They consist of detailed examinations of restricted geologic topics. The department lists the specific courses from this series in the Time Schedule for the terms they are offered (fall and winter terms only). Each course, when offered, meets twice weekly for half of the term (first half or second half), and the specific dates for each course are printed in the Time Schedule. These courses are designed primarily for students with no prior geologic training and they are open to all interested persons. G.S. 101-113 are offered on the graded pattern (optional pass/fail).

101. Waves and Beaches. (1). (NS).

This course focuses on various coastal environments and the degree to which man has modified these natural systems. For example, the State of Louisiana is 40 square miles smaller this year than last, and erosion along Michigan shores results in annual losses estimated at millions of dollars. These and other processes are directly or indirectly related to man's activities. (Wilkinson)

102. Energy from the Earth. (1). (NS).

A survey of the principal energy sources of the earth: oil (petroleum), natural gas, coal, tar sands, oil shale, nuclear (uranium). Includes discussions of the geology of these materials, their composition, and/or mineralogy, types of deposits, recovery, utilization and technology, and ecological problems. No prerequisites, except that a course in elementary chemistry (high-school or university) is highly desirable. Lectures only profusely illustrated with slides. Grade based solely on final examination. Text: Ruedisili & Firebaugh (Eds.), Perspectives on Energy (2nd ed.) published by Oxford University Press, 1978. (Wilson, Heinrich)

103. Dinosaurs and Other Failures. (1). (NS).

The course is intended for undergraduates with a potential interest in geology, paleontology, or evolution. The method of instruction consists of two lectures each week. The course objective is to acquaint students with the evolutionary record of the major groups of reptiles which have undergone successful radiation and dominance but which have eventually become extinct. The course theme is the interaction between evolutionary success and extinction and the environment with special emphasis on the question of whether or not there are current analogs. (Kesling)

104. Ice Ages, Past and Future. (1). (NS).

This course looks at the effects of past glaciations on the landscape and on life in general and on man in particular. The causes of the ice ages that have dominated the Earth for the past three million years and predictions of future ice ages based on current geological research are examined. An optional field trip will examine features of glaciation in Southeastern Michigan. (Farrand)

106. Fossils, Primates, and Human Evolution. (1). (NS).

Anatomical and behavioral characteristics of living primates are reviewed, and the fossil record is used to document the course of human evolution through the past 60 million years. No special background is required. Students seeking a more detailed course with laboratory exercises may follow this with Geology 438 (Evolution of the Primates). Course consists of 12 lectures, and a one-hour final examination. (Gingerich)

107. Volcanoes and Earthquakes. (1). (NS).

The course is a study of the earth in action and includes the following topics: geography of earthquakes and volcanoes; catastrophic events in historic times; size and frequency of occurrence of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions; the products of volcanism; volcanic rocks; volcanic activity through geologic time; volcanic exhalations and the evolution of the earth's atmosphere and oceans; relationship of earthquakes and volcanoes to plate tectonics and the internal dynamics of the earth; volcanism on other planets; volcanism and geothermal energy; manmade earthquakes; and earthquake prediction and control. Instruction by lecture, evaluation on basis of final exam. (Pollack)

108. Minerals in the Modern World. (1). (NS).

Lectures provide insights into the character, distribution, utilization, economics, politics, and deleterious side effects of mineral resources. The geology, including how a resource occurs, how it originates, and how much exists receive the most emphasis. The course centers around metals, such as iron, aluminum, and copper, essential to modern industrial society, fertilizers, and water, rather than energy, which is covered in G.S. 102. Current events related to minerals and national or international affairs are always incorporated as they arise. Grading will be based on one half hour exam and a one hour final. Texts: Kesler, Our Finite Material Resources, McGraw-Hill, 1976; G.S. Course Pack, Dollar Bill Copying. (Cloke)

109. Fossils of Michigan. (1). (NS).

This course includes an introduction to (1) the geologic time scale and to the zoological-paleontological system of animal classification, (2) parts of the geologic time scale (periods) represented in Michigan strata, (3) animal faunas found in various geologic periods within the boundaries of Michigan, and (4) interpretation of past environments from the fossil and rock record. This course should enable students to become familiar with the kinds of animals preserved as fossils in the state, to become acquainted with the general evolution portrayed by such animals, and to develop an appreciation of the information conveyed by Michigan fossils in deciphering conditions of the environments of the geologic past. The course format is a combination of lecture and demonstration. A field trip is required. The textbook is Rhodes, Zim, and Shaffer, Fossils. (Kesling)

110. Meteorites and Moon Rocks. (1). (NS).

This course examines what we have learned from extra-terrestrial samples of moon rocks, meteorites, and tektites as well as other planetary materials. Actual samples of moon rocks, meteorites and tektites are examined. Their makeup is studied as a means of understanding the origin of the solar system. (Essene)

Geological Sciences 117, 119, 121, and 122.

These courses introduce the subject of geology in different ways. G.S. 117 and 119 emphasize the development of the earth through time; the physical and chemical processes themselves are touched on only to the extent necessary for the student to be able to see their effect in historical context. G.S. 121 and 122, on the other hand, approaches the subject from the standpoint of the physical and chemical processes which continually act to shape the earth or on the variation in intensity of the processes discussed through time.

117. Introduction to Geology. Credit is not granted for G.S. 117 to those with credit for an introductory course in geology. (5). (NS).

This course provides a one term, introductory level survey of the field of geology. No previous science background is assumed. The general themes of Geology 117 are the evolution of the earth, and life on earth, and the processes responsible for the observed changes. Emphasis is on historical geology, but physical geology is introduced briefly early in the course. The course provides the essential educational background for a greater appreciation of the geological world. There are three lectures and one discussion session each week and an auto tutorial laboratory. The laboratory is open about 25 hours per week, and students may come in at any time it is open. Approximately three to four hours each week are required to complete the laboratory work. Course evaluation is based on two lecture examinations, discussion section quizzes on reading assignments, a final examination, and several short laboratory quizzes, and graded assignments. This course may be elected, without the laboratory, as GS 119. (Dorr)

119. Introductory Geology Lectures. Credit is not granted for G.S. 119 to those with credit for an introductory course in geology. (4). (NS).

This course consists of Geology 117 without the laboratory. There are three lectures and one discussion per week. Course evaluation is based upon two lecture examinations, a final examination, and short weekly quizzes in discussion sections. See Geology 117 for the description. (Dorr)

121(111). Physical Geology. Credit is not granted for G.S. 121 to those with credit for an introductory course in geology. (4). (NS).

This course emphasizes the physical and chemical processes that affect the earth. It first considers the minerals and rocks which make up the planet and the many processes which break them down and through erosion, transportation, and deposition both continually change the earth's surface and create new rocks. Then the major processes that act internally to form mountain chains and new ocean basins and to move the relatively few large plates which comprise the earth's surface are brought together through the hypothesis of plate tectonics. The course ends with a short survey of the mineral and energy resources of the earth. The format consists of three illustrated lectures, a three-hour laboratory session utilizing exercises designed to supplement the information from the lectures and text, and a one-hour discussion section each week. An optional field trip is held in the middle of the term. Evaluation is based on class examinations and laboratory performance. The course presumes no prior knowledge of the geological sciences. (Kesler, Eschman)

122. Introduction to Physical Geology. Credit is not granted for G.S. 122 to those with credit for an introductory course in geology. (3). (NS).

This course consists of the three weekly lectures associated with Geology 121 plus a one-hour discussion each week designed to help the student integrate and clarify the material covered in the lectures and text. See the Geology 121 description for further details about the material covered. There will be one optional field trip about midway through the course. Evaluation of the student will be primarily based on the individual's exam grades participation in the discussion section. The course presumes no prior knowledge of the geological sciences. (Kesler, Eschman)

201/Geography 201. Introductory Geography: Water, Climate, and Man. (4). (NS).

This course is a basic introduction to the field of physical geography and emphasizes various topics including maps, seasons, time, the atmosphere, radiation and heat balance, circulation, moisture and precipitation, air masses (fronts), and water supply. Students also study ground and surface water, climate classification, hot climates, transitional climates, cold climates, permafrost and changes in climate (glaciers). Students in this lecture-laboratory course are evaluated by midterm and final examinations with satisfactory completion of the laboratory work a prerequisite to this final course evaluation. The text is Strahler, Introduction to Physical Geography while the laboratory workbook is Strahler, Exercises in Physical Geography. (Outcalt)

281/Environ. Studies 350. Environmental Geology. (4). (NS).

Because of the absence of course prerequisites, an effort is made to introduce essential geologic material either through lectures or text readings or both before the course moves on to a consideration of environmental concerns. A special effort is made to limit the coverage of geology to those elements which are of particular significance in a discussion of man's physical environment. Since the general course emphasis is on environmental geologic topics, discussion of other environmental issues is generally avoided unless these issues are at least peripherally related to geology. Course topics include rocks and minerals of economic importance; surface and ground water; the origin, distribution, and nature of soils; metallic and nonmetallic ore deposits; the environmental aspects of the action of streams, winds, rivers, glaciers, and shoreline processes; mass movement such as landslides and similar processes; and construction problems involving geological subjects. Although questions are encouraged, the course is not intended to provide an opportunity for extensive, seminar-type discussion. Attendance and participation in lectures and examinations are required. There are three hours of lecture each week. Two term exams and a final examination are required. The examinations are noncumulative. The text is Keller's Environmental Geology. The discussion sections meet for one hour each week, but an additional hour of work each week may be required during the latter half of the term. The discussion sections are devoted to group project work leading to a final oral presentation focusing on geologic environmental problems of towns and adjacent areas in the vicinity of Ann Arbor. This course cannot be used as part of a concentration plan in geology and mineralogy. (Dorr)

282/Environ. Studies 349. Environmental Geology. (3). (NS).

This course consists of the lecture portion only of Geology 281/Environmental Studies 350. (See description for Geology 281.) Students who elect this course do not complete the group project study of the environmental geology of an area. Lecture, reading, and examinations are the same. (Dorr)

B. Primarily for Concentrators

231. Elements of Mineralogy. Prior or concurrent enrollment in the first term of elementary inorganic chemistry. (4). (NS).

This course is a comprehensive introduction to the nature, properties, structures, and modes of occurrence of minerals. The first three-fourths of the course (three lectures per week) considers the general features of minerals and includes topics such as introductory crystallography, crystal chemistry, and introductory phase equilibria. During the last portion of the course, the principle rock-forming minerals such as feldspars, proxenes, and olivines are individually reviewed with respect to properties, structures, genesis, and other characteristics. The laboratory (one three-hour laboratory each week) is divided into three sections: (1)three weeks of morphological crystallography plus x-ray diffraction, (2)six weeks of systematic mineralogy during which students become familiar with the properties and associations of approximately seventy-five significant minerals, and (3)four weeks of introduction to the use of the polarizing microscope as applied to both crushed mineral fragments and rock thin sections. There is one required field trip. Optical mineralogy is covered in a separate recitation. Geology 231 is a prerequisite to the professional concentration program in the Dept. of Geological Sciences. (Peacor)

305. Sedimentary Geology. An introductory geological sciences laboratory course; or permission of the instructor. (4). (NS).

Geological Sciences 305 is one of several geology core courses, required of all concentrators in the Department of Geological Sciences. The rigorous course format consists of three lectures and one scheduled two-hour laboratory session each week, in addition to 4-6 hours of evening laboratory work each week that can be carried out individually at the student's own pace. In addition, four one-day field trips are required, and are scheduled from September to November during the Fall Term. The laboratory portion of the course material consists of in-depth familiarization with terrigenous clastic and non-clastic rocks, both in hand-sample and in thin-section, their fabrics, compositions, and classifications. The lecture portion of the course deals with the principles and processes of sedimentation, a survey of modern sedimentary environments, diagenesis of sedimentary rocks, and the general tectono-sedimentological evolution of the phanerozoic North American continent. Evaluation of students is based on three lecture exams, a final exam, laboratory quizzes and assignments, and field trip projects. Sedimentary Geology is intended only for the serious student of the earth sciences. (Wilkinson)

415. Introductory Economic Geology (Metals). G.S. 310, 351, or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This is a survey economic geology course whose main emphasis is on gaining an understanding of how we study and describe ore deposits as well as studying specific examples of each major type. Fossil fuels and most non-metallic ore deposits are left to other courses in the department. Such a study of the processes, controls on and extent of different kinds of ore deposits will allow the student to better understand the problems in locating concentrations of natural resources as well as the technical, practical, environmental and monetary considerations that decide whether or not an elemental concentration is an ore. The course is directed toward the senior/first-year graduate student who has completed the core courses in geology and as such is an elective outside the required departmental sequence. The method of teaching will combine lecture and discussion with a one hour per week lab session which will be devoted to problem solving the first half of the term and small lab exercises the second half. There will be a midterm and final as well as a term paper on a subject of the students' choosing. No text books are required but Ore Petrology by Stanton is recommended. (Kesler, Kelly)

418. Paleontology. G.S. 117 (or the equivalent), or Biol. 105 or 114. (3). (Excl).

This course is an introduction to the principles, methods of analysis, and major controversies within paleontology. It will familiarize the student with the fossil record (primarily, but not exclusively, of invertebrates) and its use in dealing with problems in evolutionary biology, paleoecology, and general earth history. Three lectures weekly and one field trip; midterm, final examination, and term paper. Required text: Raup and Stanley, Principles of Paleontology (2nd edition). (Fisher)

419. Paleontology Laboratory. Prior or concurrent enrollment in G.S. 418. (1). (Excl).

This course is an introductory laboratory in paleontology. It will involve observation, analysis, and interpretation of fossil specimens (primarily invertebrates) and relevant material of living organisms. Its goal is to give the student experience in dealing with paleontological problems and to develop a familiarity with the systematics and morphology of important groups of fossil organisms. Students should be registered concurrently or previously in GS 418. One three-hour lab weekly; lab quizzes, exercises, midterm, and final examination. Required text: Moore, Lalicker, and Fischer, Invertebrate Fossils. (Fisher)

420. Introductory Earth Physics. Math. 116. (3). (Excl).

A comprehensive introduction to the physics of the solid earth. Topics included are: seismology and structure of the earth's interior; geodynamics; gravity and the figure of the earth; isostasy; geomagnetism and paleomagnetism and its implications for plate tectonics; geothermics and the thermal history of the earth. Instruction by lecture; student evaluation on the basis of weekly problem sets and two hour exams. (Pollack)

448. Pleistocene Geology. An introductory geological sciences laboratory course or permission of instructor. (4). (NS).

This course begins with the study of glaciers, their origin and mechanics of movement, as a background to investigation of the depositional and erosional effects of glaciers on the landscape, with Michigan as a prime example. Moraines and outwash landforms and the sediments that compose them are studied in some detail. Glacial-lake shorelines and deposits and the history of the Great Lakes around Michigan are also given much emphasis. Next, phenomena characteristic of periglacial regions such as permafrost, loess and river systems are discussed, and then broad-scale phenomena such as fluctuations of sea level during glaciations and wet periods ("pluvials") in now dry parts of the Earth are reviewed. Finally the still enigmatic causes of ice ages are considered. Geology 448 is intended for students who will utilize its subject matter in their professional activities, primarily in geology, archaeology, life sciences, engineering and natural resources. It is an intensive course requiring at least one introductory course in physical geology as background including the basic skills of rock identification and topographic map reading. The first half of the course is strongly field oriented; there are 3 or 4 required field trips, including one weekend trip. The course format includes three lectures per week and several exercises to be done outside of class. In addition to the text there are a number of other readings, as well as a term paper relating Pleistocene geology to the student's field of specialization. (Farrand)

478/A&OS 478. Chemical Oceanography. Chem. 365 or the equivalent. (3). (Excl).

This course will review present knowledge concerning the chemistry of the oceans, identify the areas where this knowledge is limited, and examine conditions and processes that have a significant bearing on the ocean and man's activities. The course begins with a brief synopsis of the chemical composition of seawater. This is followed by a discussion of the physical factors and chemical principles which govern the system and therefore form the theoretical framework of marine chemistry. Finally, important aspects of marine chemistry are examined in detail. These include dissolved gases, carbon dioxide/carbonate equilibria, nutrient cycling, organic materials, primary and secondary productivity, sediments and sedimentary processes, and geochemical models of the oceans. Selected topics of general interest such as marine pollution and chemical resources are also discussed. The interaction of the atmosphere, the biosphere, and sediments with the hydrosphere is stressed throughout the course. Course requirements include a midterm, the final examination and a term paper. Study guides consisting of problems and discussion questions are issued for each major topic in the course. Text: Broecker, Chemical Oceanography. (Meyers)

482. Mechanics of Rock Structures. G.S. 351 or equivalent; or permission of instructor. Lectures: 3 credits; lectures and laboratory: 4 credits; laboratory: 1 credit. (NS).

Mechanics of rock structures is intended as a second course in structural geology concentrating on the quantitative aspects of rock deformation. The first third of the course deals with folding theory, from beam theory through an exact treatment of slow viscous flow. The basic equations of equilibrium, compatibility and simple rheologies are developed in order to consider the biharmonic equation and simple geologically interesting solutions to it. The second third of the course uses these ideas to look at the initiation and motion of large crustal sheets (thrust sheets, nappes, etc.). The last third is composed of special topics of interest to the student participants. Topics that have been considered in the past are: plasticity, motion of glaciers, solution to the biharmonic equation in polar coordinates, lithospheric flexure. Grading is on the basis of problem sets. An optional one credit lab explores laboratory modeling and analysis techniques (photoelasticity, calcite twin analysis, rock mechanics, clay and gelatin models). A first course in structural geology or engineering mechanics and mathematics through differential equations are desirable. (Wiltschko)

484. Geophysics: Physical Fields of the Earth. Prior or concurrent election of Math. 216 and Phys. 240, or permission of instructor. Lectures: 3 credits; lectures and laboratory: 4 credits; laboratory: 1 credit. (NS).

A mathematical and physical description of the gravitational, magnetic and thermal fields of the Earth forms the core of this lecture course with optional laboratory. Implications for plate tectonics and earth dynamics will be highlighted. Weekly problem sets form the basis for evaluation. (Vander Voo)


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