Courses in Geological Sciences (Division 377)

A. Introductory Courses and Courses for Non-concentrators

G.S. 100-115 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. 100-115 are offered on the graded pattern (optional pass/fail).

100. Coral Reefs. (1). (NS).

Coral Reefs will be an in-depth tour of the biological and physical processes active in modern reef systems to provide a detailed understanding of the ecology of the individual organisms and the complex nature of their interactions within the reef community. Evolution of the reef community will be examined, ranging from the crude framework structures formed over one billion years ago by primitive algae to the luxuriant and diversified reefs of the modern-day oceans, to define the evolutionary strategies of reef building organisms. By tracking these evolutionary strategies through geologic time, the implications of man's intervention with the Earth's hydrosphere and atmosphere on the character of future reef communities will be considered. (Lohmann and Algeo)

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 non-nuclear energy resources of the earth: oil (petroleum), natural gas, coal, tar sands, oil shale. 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: H.B. Hunt and S.M. Hunt: How to Beat the Energy Shortage, (Oklahoma City Univ., 1981, Miller-Hunt Enterprises). (Wilson)

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

This course will provide an introduction to our current understanding of dinosaurs and certain other reptilian groups of the Mesozoic Era. It is intended for students with an interest in geology, paleontology, or evolution, but does not require prior training in these fields. The course will deal with broad features of the evolutionary history of dinosaurs, methods of reconstructing dinosaur behavior and ecology, new developments in our interpretation of the biology of dinosaurs, and possible causes for the extinction of dinosaurs. There will be two lectures each week and a single exam at the end of the course. (Cox)

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

This course looks at the effects of past glaciations on the landscape and on life, man in particular. Concurrent climatic and paleogeographic changes, both in continental and oceanic realms, are also reviewed. The causes of the ice ages that have dominated the Earth for the past two million years and predictions of future ice ages based on current geological research are examined. The course consists of lectures and one (final) exam. (Farrand)

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 Geological Sciences 102. Current events related to minerals and national or international affairs are always incorporated as they arise. Grading will be based on a one hour final only. Texts: Brookins, Earth Resources, Energy and the Environment, Merrill, 1981; G.S. course pack, Dollar Bill Copying. (Kettler)

114. Ecological Context of Human Evolution. (1). (NS).

In the last twenty years, new discoveries of hominoid fossils have altered our views on the origin of the human family, Hominidae. These fossils have been the basis of controversy among paleoanthropologists over taxonomic diversity, behavior, and ecology of our early ancestors. But hominoid fossils themselves do not give the whole story. The sediments and faunas associated with hominoids are evidence of the ecological context in which pre-hominids and early hominids diversified in the last 15 million years. This course reviews the geological and biological setting of several key sites from East Africa and South Asia, in order to examine the relationship of hominoids to a backdrop of changing climate, habitats, and faunas. Readings will be given in a course pack. (Badgley)

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

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. (Badgley)

121. 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 and Farrand)

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 and participation in the discussion section. The course presumes no prior knowledge of the geological sciences. (Kesler and Farrand)

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)

280. Mineral Resources, Politics, and the Environment. May not be included in a concentration plan in geology. (3). (NS).

The fluctuating cost of oil and gold has focused the world's attention on mineral resources. We are now more aware that our high standard of living depends critically on adequate supplies of energy, metals, fertilizers, construction materials and water, most of which come from a finite supply of mineral deposits that appears to be dwindling rapidly. In the face of these developments, newscasters, politicians and the rest of us have had to form opinions on an apparent mineral resource crisis with little or no information on the topic. It is the purpose of Geology 280 to provide the information necessary to contribute to the solution of mineral resource-related problems in a complex society. The course concerns the origin, distribution and remaining supplies of mineral resources such as oil, coal, uranium, iron, copper, gold, diamonds, potash, sulfur, gravel and water. These and other important mineral resources are discussed in terms of the economic, engineering, political and environmental factors that govern their recovery, processing and use. Among topics considered are the origin of oil, mineral exploration methods, discovery rates, strip mining, recycling, smelting methods, money and gold, nuclear waste disposal, and taxation vs. corporate profits. The course meets for three lectures per week. Student evaluation is by means of two quizzes, a research paper, and a final exam. One text is suggested for the course, and additional reading is recommended from sources such as Scientific American. No previous background in geology or related sciences is necessary for this course. This course cannot be used as part of a concentration plan in Geology and Mineralogy. (Kesler)

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 principal 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. 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. (4). (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. (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; 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 exercises, midterm, and final examination. (Fisher)

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

An 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. (Ruff and Lay)

437. Evolution of Vertebrates. A course in general biology or historical geology. (4). (NS).

The course will cover the fossil evidence of the evolutionary history of the vertebrates. Lectures will describe the diversification, adaptation, and paleoecology of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, and birds from the Cambrian to the recent. Laboratories, one three hour session per week, will be devoted to the study and identification of fossils and characteristics of the vertebrate groups. The grading system will be based on two exams and a term paper. (Smith)

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. (Meyers)

484. Geophysics: Physical Fields of the Earth. Prior or concurrent election of Math. 216 and Phys. 240, or permission of instructor. (4). (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. (Van der Voo)


lsa logo

University of Michigan | College of LS&A | Student Academic Affairs | LS&A Bulletin Index

This page maintained by LS&A Academic Information and Publications, 1228 Angell Hall

The Regents of the University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA +1 734 764-1817

Trademarks of the University of Michigan may not be electronically or otherwise altered or separated from this document or used for any non-University purpose.