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).

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. Cost:1 WL:3 or 4 (Cox)

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

This course looks at the effects of present and past glaciations on the landscape and on life, humans in particular. Glaciers are examined as dynamic, climatically controlled systems of moving ice. Climatic and environmental changes concurrent with glaciation, in both continental and oceanic realms, are reviewed. The causes of the ice ages that have dominated the Earth for the past two million years and predictions of future ice ages are examined in the light of current geological and climatic research. The course consists of lectures, one hour exam, and one final exam. Cost: WL:4 (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 and geothermal energy; manmade earthquakes; and earthquake prediction and control. Instruction by lecture, evaluation on basis of final exam. WL:NA (Pollack)

110. The History of the Oceans. (1). (NS).

The history of past oceanic inhabitants, events, and environments is recorded in the sediments which have accumulated on the ocean bottom throughout geological time. Fossils of marine plants and animals are a major part of the historical record; they give evidence of past oceanic living conditions and the evolution of life forms in the sea. Sediment particles eroded from land and carried to the oceans by rivers and winds provide insights into past climates on continents. Changes in ocean currents and in seawater chemistry have left their mark on the sediment record; the possible causes of these changes are explored. Plate tectonics and seafloor spreading have rearranged the shapes of ocean basins and repositioned continents over time. These processes are reflected in the record in marine sediments still present on the ocean floor and also in those now uplifted to form part of the continents. These topics are presented in lectures held twice weekly for a half term. A single exam at the end of the course will determine the course grade. Cost:1 WL:4 (Rea)

111. Climate and Mankind. (1). (NS).

The intent of GS 111 is to give a heightened awareness to students of the nature and fragility of the Earth's climate, and how changes in climate have affected past civilizations and may affect our future. Course topics will include: a description of the climate systems of the Earth, the atmosphere, oceans and polar ice caps; the information we gather to understand the history of those systems; how changes in climate have affected past civilizations, and what may happen to the planet if the predicted "Greenhouse Effect Global Warming" finally arrives. Cost:1 WL:4 (O'Neil)

113. Planets and Moons. No credit granted to those with credit for GS 278. (1). (NS).

"Planets and Moons" is a survey of the geology of the "solid" bodies of the solar system as revealed by both the manned exploration of our own moon and unmanned, "robotic," exploration of the inner planets and moons of the outer planets. The course will not only provide qualitative description of planetary surfaces as revealed by photographic reconnaissance, but will also provide physical explanations of what we see in terms of external cratering processing and internal dynamic processes. Exploration of the planets reveals that impact cratering is the single most pervasive process in the solar system. Particular emphasis will be placed on why the various bodies have such different morphologies, especially why they are so different from the Earth. Nevertheless, planetary exploration does provide the framework to understand our own Earth better, especially the first billion years of terrestrial evolution. Instruction by lecture; evaluation by means of final exam. Cost:2 WL:NA (Section 001: Pollack; Section 002: Gurnis)

115. Geologic Time. (1). (NS).

Until the middle of the 18th century the Earth was generally thought to be less than 10,000 years old, and according to many, close to its apocolyptic end. We now know that the Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago and that the entire history of mankind is nothing but the latest tiny fraction of Earth history. This course explains the formation of rocks, continental drift, volcanoes and earthquakes. It will discuss the discovery of time from the Renaissance to the latest high tech developments in radioactive dating. Finally, the history of planet Earth will be described including its accretion out of dust and giant impacts, the origin of the Moon, the formation of the atmosphere and oceans, the development of life and the building of continents. The course will draw upon examples meaningful to the student to illustrate the principles. Lectures twice weekly for half the term. Course pack provides most of the diagrams. A final one hour examination. Cost:1 WL:3/4 (Mukasa)

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

A basic single-term course in introductory geology concentrating on the Evolution of the Earth in physical and chemical terms with particular reference to modern plate tectonic theory. Reference to the interaction of the external biosphere-atmosphere-hydrosphere with the Earth's interior is an essential component of the course. The laboratory provides a practical study of minerals, rocks and geologic maps. One hour each week is scheduled for review and discussion of topics covered in class. Lectures, laboratory and discussion. Cost:2 WL:4 (Kesler and Lohmann)

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 lectures shared with Geology 117 but does not include the laboratory section. A separate discussion section is also scheduled to insure continuity with class material and student-teacher contact. Students interested in ONE-TERM laboratory introductory science course should elect Geology 117. Lectures and discussion. Cost:2 WL:4 (Kesler and Lohmann)

135. History of the Earth. High school chemistry, physics and mathematics recommended. (3). (NS).

This course provides a broad and fundamental introduction to the earth and explains the formation of rocks and the major geological features, as well as the changes that have occurred over the 4.5 billion years of earth history. The course is intended for students considering a Geological Sciences concentration, as well as for students interested in studying earth sciences as part of their general educational background. Topics include minerals and the formation of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, fossils and the evolution of life, the interior of the earth, the measurement of time, continental drift, and the effect of the earth's atmosphere, climate, oceans and rivers on shaping the surface of the earth. The history of the planet will be followed from earth's accretion from dust, origin of life, through building of the current continents and ocean basins, to the origin of humankind. Lectures three times a week for the full term. Textbook required: Earth: Then and Now by C.W. Montgomery and D. Dathe, (W.C. Brown, publ). Evaluation will be based on two exams. Cost:2 WL:3/4 (Halliday)

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

This course is a basic introduction to the field of physical geography and emphasizes many topics including maps, seasons, time, the atmosphere, greenhouse gasses, radiation and heat balance, the dangers of global warming, circulation, moisture and precipitation, air masses (fronts), and water supply. Students also study climate classification, and historical changes in global climate. Students in this lecture-lab course are evaluated by midterm and final examinations with satisfactory completion of the lab work a prerequisite to the final course evaluation. Cost:4 WL:3 (Zachos)

205. How the Earth Works: the Dynamic Planet. (2). (NS).

The dynamic Earth has given us oceans, continents and an atmosphere. Its continuing activity is manifested today by the destructive powers of such natural phenomena as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and mountain building. The unifying concept of plate tectonics contains the clue to the shape and changes in the physical environment of the Earth from its initial formation to today. Our goal is to present a fully integrated approach to the evolving Earth's unique features in our solar system and explain its physical and chemical principles using conceptual and factual material. Extensive use is made of videos, slides and classroom demonstrations. Two lectures/week; evaluation based on midterm and final exam. No special background required. Course reading: Earth's Dynamic Systems by W.K. Hamblin and a course pack. This course can be taken singly or concurrently with its companion course (GS 206); together they constitute a balanced introduction to modern earth sciences. Cost:2 WL:1 (van der Pluijm and Lange)

206. How the Earth Works: the Water Cycle and Environment. (2). (NS).

This course describes behavior of earth materials in the surficial environment. Water is the main transport agent in the geological cycle; it's unique properties and exchange rates among oceans, lakes, rivers, and groundwater are one focus. Interaction between water reservoirs and physical and chemical weathering of soils, sediments and rocks also are discussed. Impact of humans on the surficial environment is a unifying theme because we can affect hydrologic and geochemical cycles. No special background required. Two lectures and one optional discussion session per week. Several field sessions are planned to collect water and sediment samples for follow-up lab analyses. Evaluation based on three exams and participation. Readings include The Global Water Cycle: Geochemistry and Environment (Berner and Berner) and a course pack. This course, and its companion course (GS 205), may be taken singly or concurrently and together constitute a balanced introduction to modern earth science. Cost:2 WL:2 (L. Walter)

222. Introductory Oceanography. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in AOSS 203. (3). (NS).

This course introduces students to the scientific study of the oceans. Contents include the shape, structure, and origin of the ocean basins; the sedimentary record of oceanic life and conditions in the past; the composition of seawater and its influence on life and climate; waves and currents; the life of the oceans and how it depends upon the marine environment; the resources of the ocean and their wise use by society. The course format consists of lectures and readings from an assigned textbook. The course grade will be based on three one-hour exams and a two-hour final exam. Cost:2 WL:4 (Meyers)

223. Introductory Oceanography, Laboratory. Concurrent enrollment in G.S. 222. (1). (NS).

This course is an optional laboratory intended to provide students with opportunities to explore further various oceanography topics presented in the G.S. 222 lectures. Laboratory sessions will include sampling procedures, use of equipment, discussions, and demonstrations of how data are generated. The course grade will be based on written laboratory exercises and a final exam. Cost:1 WL:4 (Meyers)

275. The Ice Ages: Past and Present. (3). (NS).

Characteristics of the Earth's climate system and how various components of that system operate to produce times when extensive ice sheets covered large parts of the Earth's surface. The role in climate change of the oceans, the atmosphere, the ice sheets themselves, orbital variations, and the movement of the continental and ocean boundaries are presented and discussed. Cost:1 WL:1 (Moore)

276. Coastal Systems and Human Settlements. (3). (NS).
Coastal Systems and Human Settlements
is a freshman-level, seminar-format course directed toward an introduction to the importance of natural processes in and consequences of human development along various coastal settings. Study of the ramifications of short-term settlement in areas of long-term subsidence and/or coastal erosion will be used as a means to better comprehend the various repercussions of human interaction with natural systems. In a small class setting the course will introduce students to those geologic processes which have given rise to coastlines of the world, will establish a basis for understanding why these regions have been in a state of rapid change for thousands of years, will examine the reasons why human modification of coasts and adjacent rivers has commonly exacerbated this situation, and will explore the ramifications of anticipated global warming and attendant global sea level rise in the coming decades. WL:NA (Wilkinson)

280/Environ. Stud. 360. Mineral Resources, Politics, and the Environment. May not be included in a concentration plan in geology. (3). (NS).

Geology 280 deals with mineral resource-related problems in a complex society. The course discusses the origin, distribution and remaining supplies of oil, coal, uranium, iron, copper, gold, diamonds, potash, sulfur, gravel, water, and other important mineral resources 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, strip mining, recycling, smelting methods, transport of oil, money and gold, nuclear waste disposal, and taxation vs. corporate profits. Three lectures per week. Evaluation by means of quizzes, exercises, and a final exam. 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 Geological Sciences. Cost:2 WL:4 (Kesler)

B. Primarily for Concentrators

231. Elements of Mineralogy. Prior or concurrent enrollment in Chemistry 125/130 or 210/211. (4). (Excl).

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. Cost:3 WL:3 (Peacor)

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

Sedimentary Geology is one of several geology core courses required of all concentrators. The course format consists of two lectures (T, Th), one evening discussion session (W), and one scheduled two-hour laboratory each week. In addition, three one-day field trips, scheduled from September to November, are required. The lectures will examine the principles and processes of sedimentation, and survey modern surficial environments, aspects of sediment diagenesis, and the tectono-sedimentological evolution of the Phanerozoic North American continent. The laboratory will provide an in-depth familiarization with terrigenous clastic and non-clastic rocks, in hand sample and thin section, and focus on identification of constituent grains, their fabric and classification. Evaluation is based on two lecture examinations, laboratory quizzes and assignments, and field trip projects. Cost:3 WL:3 (Wilkinson and Lohmann)

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 ed.). Cost:2 WL:4 (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. Cost:2 WL:4 (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 a final problem set. Cost:2 WL:3 (Ruff)

430. Depositional Environments. Permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This is an upper division course dealing with advanced concepts in the deposition of sedimentary rocks. It is intended for seniors and entering graduate students in the geological sciences with some background training in depositional processes, such as a previous course in sedimentary geology or stratigraphy. Course material includes examination of important processes and products of sediment accumulation in the major terrigenous clastic, carbonate, and evaporite depositional systems, including both continental and oceanic settings, where appropriate. Graded evaluation based on results of two (midterm and final) examinations and one term paper, and participation in one two-day field trip. WL:NA (Wilkinson and Lohmann)

466. Computational Models of Geochemical Processes. Ability to program computers in the BASIC language and introductory course in a natural science. (3). (Excl).

Computational models allow us to test ideas concerning the processes that control the chemical and physical properties of the global environment, to predict possible future changes in these properties, and to reconstruct the history of the evolutionary changes that have led to the world we inhabit. Simple computational models will be developed, concentrating on the composition of atmosphere and ocean. These models will be used to explore controlling processes and the response of the global chemical system to perturbations such as those introduced by human activities as well as those caused in the course of earth history by biological evolution and tectonic activity. Students will develop these computational models themselves, run them on microcomputers to test ideas developed in class, and interpret the results in terms of evidence from the sedimentary rock record to develop new ideas and to design new computational experiments. Cost:1 WL:3 (J. Walker)

479. Marine Geochemistry. Chem. 125/130 or the equivalent. (3). (Excl).

There are three major questions addressed in this course: (1) What are the geochemical processes which control the composition of the ocean? (2) To what extent do these processes leave their imprint on the composition of marine sediments? and, (3) What are the possibilities, problems and constraints that we face in our attempts to reconstruct the history of the oceans through the analysis of ancient marine sediments. Specific topics covered include the distribution and composition of marine sediments, marine cycles and budgets of major and trace elements, conceptual and quantitative models of ocean composition, thermodynamic and kinetic controls on composition, paleochemistry of seawater, seafloor hydrothermal systems, geochemical tracers, and current research topics of interest. There is no required text; class readings are selected from the current literature. The course is presented in a lecture format, although extensive discussion of each topic is encouraged. Final course grades are determined on the basis of two written examinations, a term paper, and class participation. Cost:1 WL:3 (Owen)

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

Newtonian attraction; the potential function, spherical harmonics; attraction of special distributions, gravity exploration techniques; isostasy, the figure of the earth; earth tides, the magnetic field of the earth, spatial and temporal variations, theories of origin; rock magnetism, paleomagnetism, contributions to earth dynamics and global tectonics; magnetic field of special distributions, magnetic exploration techniques; temperatures and heat transport in the earth, geothermal measurements, implications for tectonic processes. Lectures and laboratory. WL:NA (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.