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). (BS).

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. Cost:1 WL:4 (Lohmann)

105. Continents Adrift. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 205 or 270. (1). (NS). (BS).

In this one-credit course we will explore the mobility of the continents and oceans in present and past times. The goals of this course are to present the most exciting recent developments in the earth sciences, a unifying concept that explains ocean evolution, mountain building, earthquakes and volcanoes. Conceptual and factual material will be used to explain the principles of plate tectonics and the dynamics of the solid earth. No special background is needed. Evaluation is based on final exams. Cost:2 WL:1 (Ruff)

107. Volcanoes and Earthquakes. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 205, 270, or 271. (1). (NS). (BS).

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 (Section 001:Pollack; Section 002:Lange)

110. The History of the Oceans. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 222. (1). (NS). (BS).

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. Selected topics include: the origin and destruction of oceans and mountains, El Ni o events, the Eocene greenhouse, and the origin of life. 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 (Owen)

111. Climate and Mankind. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 201 or 275. (1). (NS). (BS).

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 who have completed or are enrolled in GS 204 or 278. (1). (NS). (BS).

This lecture course provides a current survey of the geology and climates of the various bodies of the solar system in light of the extraordinary advances in planetary exploration during the past two decades. Topics treated include historical development of geological ideas about the solar system, planetary evolution, variability of geological processes throughout the solar system, and individual portraits of the principal members of the solar system family. No previous geological background is required. Course grade will be determined from a single objective-type final examination. Cost:2 WL:3 (Van Keken)

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). (BS).

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, and to the interaction of the external biosphere-atmosphere-hydrosphere with the Earth's interior. 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. Prior or concurrent enrollment in GS 119, or 205 and 206, or 135. Credit is not granted for GS 118 to those with credit for an introductory course in geology (GS 116, 117, 121, 122, or 218). (1). (NS). (BS).

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 (Lohmann)

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). (BS).

This course consists of lectures shared with Geology 117 but does not include the laboratory section. A separate discussion section is also scheduled to ensure 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). (BS).

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). (BS).

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 Pollack)

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). (BS).

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 principles using conceptual and factual material. Extensive use is made of videos, animations, 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). (BS).

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:1 WL:4 (Walter)

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

This course is designed to teach introductory-level science students about the dominant environmental feature of our planet, its oceans. Topics covered include the nature of the ocean basins and their formation by sea-floor spreading; the currents of the surface and deep ocean and why they flow the way they do; tides, tsunamis and wind waves; ocean nutrients and life in the sea; the sediments and their record of ocean and climate history; and mankind's use (and abuse) of the sea and its resources. The format of the course will be lectures and readings in the textbook. Grades are based on three hourly examinations and a final exam. Cost:2 WL:3 or 4 (Rea)

223. Introductory Oceanography, Laboratory. Concurrent enrollment in G.S. 222. (1). (NS). (BS). (QR/2).

This class is an optional laboratory class designed to provided students with the opportunity to explore the topics presented in GS 222 in greater depth. Laboratory topics include methods of ocean exploration, sampling of seawater and the sea floor, volcanos and earthquakes, waves and beaches, and marine biology. Lecture topics are reviewed in the laboratory sessions as needed. GS 223 fall term students usually have the opportunity to participate in a one-day oceanographic research demonstration cruise to Lake Michigan on board the University's research ship the Laurentian. Cost: 1 WL:4

231. Elements of Mineralogy. Prior or concurrent enrollment in Chem. 125/130 or 210/211. Those with credit for GS 232 may elect GS 231 for only 2 credits. (4). (Excl). (BS).

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)

268. Climate Change: Peril or Pork. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 201. Those with credit for GS 111 may only elect GS 268 for 2 credits. (3). (NS). (BS).

Students will be led in a discussion of climate change as a political and scientific topic. Topics will include (1) Observational Data, (2) Timescale of the human response to the many aspects of atmospheric and water pollution, (3) Signal and Noise, the Scale of Natural Fluctuations, (4) Land Use Effects, (5) The political implications of the Club of Rome Report, (6) Global Development. (Outcalt)

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). (BS).

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. Course pack and textbook, Earth, Then and Now by Montgomery and Dathe. (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). (BS).

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:1 WL:4 (Van der Voo)

272. Seminar: Environmental Geology. High school math and science. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 284. Those with credit for GS 109 may only elect GS 272 for 2 credits. (3). (NS). (BS).

This seminar will focus on a wide spectrum of possible interactions between people and their physical environment and could be described as a course in applied geology. Fundamental principles important to the study of environmental geology will be presented followed by readings of case histories and discussions of selected environmental problems including natural hazards (flooding, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions), water resources, global warming, nuclear waste disposal, and geological aspects of environmental health. Students can study this subject without any previous exposure to the geological sciences. The goal of the seminar is to provide a scientific basis for making informed decisions on the myriad of environmental problems that challenge a modern technocratic society. Student will be evaluated on the basis of midterm and final examinations as well as a short term paper and oral presentation. Cost:2 WL:1 (O'Neil)

273. Contemporary Dinosaurs. Those with credit for GS 103 may only elect GS 273 for 2 credits. (3). (NS). (BS).

This course will examine a current understanding of dinosaurs and other fossil reptiles, and the history and philosophy of their study. (Cox)

276. Coastal Systems and Human Settlements. Those with credit for GS 101 may only elect GS 276 for 2 credits. (3). (NS). (BS).
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)

278. Earthlike Planets. High school science and math recommended. Those with credit for GS 113 may only elect GS 278 for 2 credits. (3). (NS). (BS).

In a small class room setting, Earthlike Planets introduces the undergraduate to the terrestrial planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, moon, and Mars. Studies of solid planets will be used as a vehicle to better understand our own world and the methodology and limitations of science in the presence of conflicting hypotheses and ambiguous data. Since western society has made a significant commitment of resources toward the exploration of the planets, we must consider not only the scientific merits of the endeavor but also its historical origins. Grades will be based upon class participation, a midterm exam, and a final project. The final project will provide the basis for a written report and an in-class oral presentation. Cost:2 WL:3 (Van Keken)

280/Environ. Stud. 360. Mineral Resources, Economics and the Environment. May not be included in a concentration plan in geology. (4). (NS). (BS). (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). (BS).
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 & Nolen-Hoeksema)

B. Primarily for Concentrators

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

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. GS 117 (or the equivalent), or Biol. 154 or 195. (3). (Excl). (BS).

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). (BS).

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). (BS).

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 (Ruff)

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

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)

448. Geomorphology II: Glacial and Periglacial. An introductory physical geology course or permission of instructor. (4). (Excl). (BS).

Geomorphology II focuses on glaciers, glacial effects on the landscape, and the causes of ice ages. Specific topics are the growth, movement, and climatic controls of glaciers, sedimentation and erosion related to glaciers, periglacial phenomena such as permafrost, eolian dunes and loess, and glacial lakes, as well as short- and long-term climatic change. Evidence of glaciation in Michigan and around the Great Lakes is examined in the course of 3 or 4 required Saturday field trips. Intended for professionally oriented students in geology, ecology, archaeology, natural resources, civil engineering, etc.; a previous course in physical geology is a prerequisite. Alternates with GS 442, Geomorphology I, offered in alternate years. GS 448 will satisfy the Geological Sciences concentration requirement for an advanced elective. Grading based on a midterm, map exercises, a term project, and a final exam. Cost:2 WL:3 (Farrand)

465/AOSS 467/Chem. 467. Biogeochemical Cycles. Math. 116, Chem. 210, and Phys. 240. (3). (Excl). (BS).

See Chemistry 467. (Carroll)

467. Stratigraphy. G.S. 305, 310, and 351. (3). (Excl). (BS).

Stratigraphy is an intermediate level course which evaluates the framework for determining the time-space-rock relationship present within the sedimentary record of Earth history. It will provide an understanding of the principles and terminology of stratigraphy (including lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, seismic stratigraphy, and chronostratigraphy). These principles will be applied directly to real geological sequences through problem oriented exercises, including exercises in seismic stratigraphic and seismic facies interpretation. Synthesis of tectonic, sedimentologic and paleontologic data within this context will provide the basis for resolving the environmental and physical evolution of the Earth as a dynamic, interactive system. Prerequisites: an introductory geology course and Sedimentology (GS 305). Recommended background: Structural Geology (GS 351) and Paleontology. Evaluation of student performance will be based on two examinations and ongoing class projects and exercises. This course will fulfill the 400-level requirement. Cost:2 WL:3 (Moore)


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.