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).

101. Waves and Beaches. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 276. (1). (NS). (BS).

This short course approaches the subject of "waves and beaches" by combining relevant topics in both oceanography and geology, although no previous background in these subjects is required. We shall attempt to understand this dynamic place where land and sea interact by emphasizing the processes responsible for the major types of coastlines and the geologic/oceanographic phenomena associated with them. Some of the topics which will be considered include: fundamentals of wave and tide theory; the impact of waves and tides upon beaches; coastal geology; coastal processes on a short- and long-term time scale; estuaries; and, the impact of plate tectonics upon coasts. Instruction will be by lecture. Grades will be based on one exam which shall be given at the end of the course. Cost:1 WL:1 (Wilkinson)

103. Dinosaurs and Other Failures. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 273. (1). (NS). (BS).

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)

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:4 (Van Keken)

115. Geologic Time. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 135. (1). (NS). (BS).

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 (Mukasa)

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)

123/AOSS 123/Environ. Stud. 123. Life and the Global Environment. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 277. (2). (NS). (BS).

See Environmental Studies 123.

124/AOSS 124/Environ. Stud. 124. Environment, People, Resources. (2). (NS). (BS).

See Environmental Studies 124. (Walker)

125. Evolution and Extinction. Those with credit for GS 106 may only elect GS 125 for 2 credits. May not be included in a concentration plan in geological sciences. (3). (NS). (BS).

The course will survey the history of life and the processes of evolution and extinction. Discussions will focus on implications of evolutionary history and processes for philosophy, medicine, conservation, and human behavior. Requirements include lectures, discussion sections, readings, exams, and short papers. Readings will be taken from a text and from classic and current research papers. Cost:1 WL:4 (Smith)

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 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)

207. How the Earth Works: A Hands-On Experience. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 116, 117, 118, or 120. (2). (NS). (BS).

This course involves a one-hour lecture followed by a two-hour hands-on 'practicum.' It is intended for students interested in environmental issues, in particular the relationship between earth sciences and short-term (on the order of years) human concerns. We will examine a wide range of environmental issues, such as earthquake risks, volcanic hazards, slope stability and mass movement, minerals, fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas and coal), surface and groundwater pollution, solid toxic and radioactive waste disposal. The class is aimed at all who are interested in everyday environmental concerns and want to have an introductory, hands-on approach to understanding and solving these problems. It is intended for non-science students and there are no prerequisites, except for an interest in the near future of our planet. Because you will get a solid understanding of major environmental issues, the class can serve as a pre-concentration requirement in environmental geology. Reading: "Laboratory Exercises in Environmental Geology" by H. Blatt (1994). (van der Pluijm and 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 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). (BS). (QR/2).

This course is an optional laboratory intended to provide students with opportunities to explore further various oceanography topics presented in the GS222 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 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)

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

This course is a required part of the Environmental Geology concentration program. It comprises an introduction to the inorganic materials, and processes involving materials, which occur at or near the earth's surface and which therefore are fundamental to processes of environmental significance. The order of major subjects is (1) fluids and their properties, (2) crystal structural and crystal chemical properties of crystalline solid phases, (3) general chemical relationships among phases, (4) systematics of significant mineral groups, especially clay minerals, and (5) minerals and processes among minerals in weathering, diagenetic, sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic systems. There is a laboratory in which students learn the characteristics and properties of the principal mineral and rock systems. There are two hour exams, a final exam, and occasional quizzes. (Peacor)

266. From Stars to Stones. High school math and science. Those with credit for GS 114 may only elect GS 266 for 2 credits. (3). (NS). (BS).
From Stars to Stones
starts from stellar evolution and the formation of the elements in stars, and ends at the formation of terrestrial planets (especially our Earth) from these elements and the early evolution of these planets. Students will learn cosmochemical and geochemical concepts and methods, and apply them to study several theme topics. The theme topics may include: origin of the elements, lifetime of the sun, abundance of the elements, age of the Earth and solar system, origin of the Earth, internal structure of the Earth, planetary atmospheres, and meteorites. Though factual knowledge is an important part of the course, emphasis is on how scientists study and solve problems and how science progresses using historical examples. (Quantitative reasoning will be an important part of the course.) (Zhang)

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. (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)

271. Natural Hazards. Those with credit for GS 107 or 205 may only elect GS 271 for 2 credits. Those who have credit for both GS 107 and 205 may only elect 271 for 1 credit. (3). (NS). (BS).

This freshman/sophomore seminar examines various types of natural hazard such as earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes and tornadoes. We make case studies, explore geological and geophysical background, and discuss the social aspects of natural hazards. Each student is given a project, which will be presented in a class and reported as an essay. Evaluation is based on an exam, the presentation and essay. No science background is required, but active participation of students is expected. Cost:1 WL:4 (Lange)

275. The Ice Ages: Past and Present. Those with credit for GS 104 may only elect GS 275 for 2 credits. (3). (NS). (BS).

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)

277/Environ. Stud. 361. Humans and the Natural World. Those with credit for GS 123 may only elect GS 277 for 1 credit. (3). (NS). (BS).

See Environmental Studies 361.

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:4 (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 and 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 multicellular organisms) 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: Gould, The Book of Life 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. Recommended text: Clarkson, Invertebrate Paleontology and Evolution (3rd ed.). Cost:2 WL:4

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

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). (BS).

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)

442. Earth Surface Processes and Soils. Junior/senior standing; an introductory course in physical geology is recommended but not required. (4). (Excl). (BS).

Study of processes resulting in landforms on the Earth's solid surface and the formation of soils on these landforms. Emphasis includes present-day processes as well as the evolution of landforms over geologic time. 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 several required field trips to examine landforms and processes in southern Michigan. Grading: a midterm and a final exam, exercises, and a term paper. Cost:2 WL:4 (Farrand)

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

See Chemistry 467. (Carroll)

477. Hydrogeology. Phys. 140/141, Chem. 125/130, and Math 116; Math 215 and 216 are recommended. (4). (Excl). (BS).

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)

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

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)


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