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. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 273. (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. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 275. (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:1 WL:4 (Farrand)

106. Fossils, Primates, and Human Evolution. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 125. (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. Cost:1 WL:4 (Gingerich)

107. Volcanoes and Earthquakes. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 205, 270, or 271. (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. Cost:1 WL:3 (Lange)

110. The History of the Oceans. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 222. (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. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 201 or 275. (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)

114. The Elements. High School math, physics, and chemistry. (1). (NS).

This lecture course introduces the origin, abundance and distribution of the elements in the solar system. It is intended for students with an interest in science. The topics include: a review of the periodic table of the elements; stellar evolution and synthesis of the elements; nuclear properties and their relation to the abundance of the elements and their isotopes; chemical properties and their relation to the distribution of the elements in planets and in different reservoirs of a planet. Great pictures of the planets; formation and evolution of planetary atmospheres. Prerequisites: high school math, physics and chemistry. Evaluation on the basis of a final exam. Cost:2 WL:4 (Zhang)

115. Geologic Time. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 135. (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. The formation of rocks, continental drift, volcanoes and earthquakes is evaluated in the framework of geologic time and plate tectonics. The discovery of time from the Renaissance to the latest high tech developments in radioactive dating is reviewed. 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 (Section 001: Mukasa; Section 002: Essene)

117. Introduction to Geology. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 116, 119 or 120. Those with credit for GS 205 may only elect GS 117 for 4 credits. (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 (Lohmann)

118. Introductory Geology Laboratory. Credit is not granted for GS 118 to those with credit for an introductory course in geology (GS 116, 117, 119, 121, 122, or 218). (2). (NS).

The laboratory provides hands-on experience with minerals, rocks and maps. Participants will learn to identify common minerals and rocks, use topographic and geologic maps, and draw and interpret geologic cross sections. Examples will be drawn from areas of recent glaciation, volcanism and earthquakes to show how these features are depicted in maps. Cost:2 WL:4

119. Introductory Geology Lectures. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 116, 117, 120. No credit granted to those who have completed both 205 and 206. Those with credit for GS 205 may only elect GS 119 for 3 credits. (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 (Lohmann)

201/Geography 201. Introductory Geography: Water, Climate, and Mankind. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 268. Those with credit for GS 111 may only elect GS 201 for 3 credits. (4). (NS).

This course is a basic introduction to physical geography which emphasizes many topics including maps, seasons, the atmosphere, greenhouse gasses, radiation and heat balance, the dangers of global warming, circulation, moisture and precipitation, air masses, and water supply. Students also study climate classification, and geologic and historical climate changes, and landforms and their formation. Students in this lecture-lab course are evaluated by hourly and final examinations with satisfactory completion of the lab work a prerequisite to the final course evaluation. Cost:2 WL:3 (Stearns)

204/AOSS 204/Astronomy 204. The Planets: Their Geology and Climates. High school mathematics through plane geometry and trigonometry. Those with credit for GS 113 may only elect GS 204 for 2 credits. (3). (NS).

This course will present current perspectives on the evolution of the solar system in both an historical context and in light of the extraordinary scientific advances resulting from recent space exploration. The principal focus will be on the structure, composition and evolutionary history of the surfaces and atmospheres of the planets and their satellites. Special emphasis will be given to comparative aspects of geology, meteorology and climatology as developed on the various bodies of the solar system. Concepts of space exploration techniques will also be presented. The course is intended for non-science concentrators and other students with typical high school science and math backgrounds. Cost:1-2 WL:4 (Atreya and Pollock)

205. How the Earth Works: the Dynamic Planet. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 117, 119, or 270. No credit granted to those who have completed both GS 105 and 107. Those with credit for one of GS 105 and 107 may only elect GS 205 for 1 credit. (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. The 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 Science and the Environment by Thompson and Turk. 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)

206. How the Earth Works: the Water Cycle and Environment. Those with credit for GS 109 may only elect GS 206 for 1 credit. (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 per week. Several field sessions are planned to collect water and sediment samples for follow-up lab analyses. Evaluation based on exams and participation. 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 (Walter)

222. Introductory Oceanography. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in AOSS 203. (3). (NS). (QR/2).

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). (QR/2).

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

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, pyroxenes, 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, (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. Introductory optical mineralogy is covered in five of the recitation classes. Geology 231 is a prerequisite to the professional concentration program in the Dept of Geological Sciences. Cost:3 WL:3 (Peacor)

269. Evolution of the Earth. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 135. Those with credit for GS 115 may only elect GS 269 for 2 credits. (3). (NS).

This seminar course is intended for first and second year students with no previous knowledge of, or experience in, the earth sciences. The material will introduce students to the history of the earth from its formation in the solar nebula, through the development of the continents, oceans, atmosphere and life to its present state as an active planet. The course will explain how various features of the earth "work", including continental drift, volcanoes and the formation of most rocks, how theories are developed in geology and how the magnitude of time has been determined. The course will be divided into two halves. In the first half the basic concepts will be explained. In the second half students will each make a presentation covering a relevant subject which will be followed by discussion. Assessment will be by two one-hour examinations and an oral presentation that will form the basis for a term paper. (Halliday)

270. Plate Tectonics. No credit granted to those who have completed three of GS 105, 107 and 205. Those with credit for one of GS 105 and 107 may only elect GS 270 for two credits. Those with credit for GS 205, or both GS 105 and 107, may only elect GS 270 for one credit. (3). (NS).

The theory of plate tectonics, called dogma by some and paradigm by others, describes the mobility of continental and oceanic domains of the Earth's crust, as they are in constant motion along plate boundaries with respect to each other. The theory explains earthquakes and volcanoes, the topography of the Earth and the faunal and floral diversity of its living and fossil inhabitants. Lectures about the evidence also explore alternative explanations. The course involves three hours of weekly meeting time, a textbook and selected reading material. No background in Earth science is necessary. Evaluation is based on two exams, a series of student presentations on selected topics and written essays on the same subject. Cost:2 WL:1 (Stamatakos)

274. Dinosaur Extinction and Other Controversies. (3). (NS).

In 1980 physicist Luis Alvarez proposed that the mass extinction which eliminated the dinosaurs was caused by a meteor impact, rather than by long-term climate changes. The course examines the philosophical issues raised by the Alvarez hypothesis, especially: 1) What constitutes evidence for a scientific theory? 2) How do we distinguish science from non-science? 3) What are the roles of social and historical factors in the construction of scientific theories and the fixing of belief? Other controversies examined include the proposed 26-million year periodicity of mass extinctions, creationism's perennial challenge to evolution, the health effects of dietary cholesterol, and global warming. Readings will be drawn from the great 20th century works in the philosophy of science as well as from classic scientific works. Requirements: reading, discussion, one-page weekly writing assignments, and two term papers (five pages and ten pages). Cost:3 WL:4 (McShea)

275. The Ice Ages: Past and Present. Those with credit for GS 104 may only elect GS 275 for 2 credits. (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. Those with credit for GS 101 may only elect GS 276 for 2 credits. (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. Cost:1 WL:4 (Wilkinson)

280/Environ. Stud. 360. Mineral Resources, Economics and the Environment. May not be included in a concentration plan in geology. (4). (NS). (QR/2).

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 and one discussion per week. Evaluation by means of quizzes, exercises, and a final exam. Required text: Mineral Resources, Economics and the Environment. (S.E. Kesler). No previous background in geology is necessary for this course. This course cannot be used as part of a concentration plan in Geological Sciences. Cost:2 WL:4 (Kesler)

284. Environmental Geology. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 272. Those with credit for GS 271 may only elect GS 284 for 3 credits. (4). (NS).
Environmental Geology
deals with interactions between people and Earth. It begins with an introduction to geologic materials and processes and goes on to specific topics such as soil, surface and ground water, natural hazards (volcanism, landslides, earthquakes, floods, coastal processes), geomedicine, and waste disposal. Previous experience in geology is not required. The course includes three lectures and one discussion period (in which homework exercises are explained and discussed) per week. Evaluation is by means of quizzes, exercises and a final exam. A book and exercise pack are required. Cost:2 WL:4 (Kesler)

B. Primarily for Concentrators

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)

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

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

An introduction to the physics of the solid earth. Topics include: plate tectonics; geomagnetism and reconstruction of past plate motions; the Earth's interior and earthquake source process; gravity; geochronology; geothermics. No geological background is required, but introductory physics and mathematics are required. Evaluation on the basis of homework, presentation, and final problem set. Textbook: The Solid Earth: an Introduction to Global Geophysics, C.M.R. Fowler, Cambridge Univ. Press. Lectures. Cost:2 WL:3 (Satake)

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. Cost:2 WL:4 (Lohmann)

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

This course provides students with a detailed interaction with the facts and hypotheses regarding the origin and evolution of all the groups of vertebrate animals (except mammals see Geol. Sci. 438). Lectures and labs explore the fossil record and history through time of sharks, bony fishes, ancient armored fishes, amphibians, turtles, dinosaurs, pterodactyls, crocodilians, lizards, and birds. Adaptations and extinctions are studied in the context of earth history, paleoecology, and evolution. Three lectures and one lab per week; prerequisites: introductory biology or geology. Graded on the basis of two exams and one term paper. (Smith)

442. Geomorphology I: Non-Glacial and Soils. Junior/senior standing; an introductory course in physical geology is recommended but not required. (4). (Excl).

The origin of landforms is examined in terms of description, classification, and process. Beginning with a review of minerals, rocks, and geological structures, and a consideration of weathering and soils in mobilizing/stabilizing land surfaces, the course proceeds to slope wasting, rivers, waves, and wind as agents in landform formation. The course concludes with consideration of morphogenesis under various climatic regimes. (Glaciation and periglacial geomorphology are treated separately in GS 448, in alternate Fall terms.) GS 442 is intended for a wide, but professional audience: geologists, archaeologists, ecologists, resource managers, civil engineers, at a level appropriate for seniors and first-year graduate students. A previous course in geology is not required, but would be helpful. Lectures, map exercises, and two or three field trips. Grading: a midterm and a final exam, exercises, and a term paper. Cost:2 WL:4 (Farrand)

469. Experimental Microclimatology. Math. 116 and Physics 140/141. (3). (Excl).

Topics to be covered include the surface energy budget, topoclimatology, and climatic change. Students will design an experiment, collect data and prepare a term paper on a topic of their choice. There will be no text but xeroxed materials will be made available. Students will be evaluated on their test results and a term paper. Class size limited to five. Taught in my office. (Outcalt)

477. Hydrogeology. Math 116, Phys. 140/141, and Chem. 125/130. (3) (Excl).

This course provides an introduction to physical and chemical hydrogeology. Emphasis is on process and direct application to geological settings. The hydrologic cycle, physical rock framework, and properties of aquifer systems will be described and quantified. We will develop and apply transport equations and examples of fluid, energy and chemical transport in porous and fractured geologic media. In addition to stated prerequisites, Math 216 is also strongly recommended. Evaluation is based on weekly practicum/problem sets. Cost:2 WL:2 (Pollack and Walter)

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. Cost:1 WL:3 (Van der Voo)

486. Geodynamics. G.S. 420 and prior or concurrent election of Math. 215 and Physics 240 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This course introduces the student to the analysis of dynamic problems in geology and to the mathematical and physical tools by which they are solved. The basic principles of continuum and thermal physics are derived and applied to both small and large scale geological processes with principal emphasis on global processes. Four major topics in continuum physics will be considered in geological context: stress, strain, and elasticity; heat conduction, fluid flow, and advection of heat. The results of simple physical models allow us to explain a range of geophysical observations, including oceanic bathymetry and heat flow, plate kinematics, and the stress within plates. The student should take from the class an understanding of the physical causes of plate tectonics.


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