Courses in Geological Sciences (Division 377)

A. Introductory Courses and Courses for Non-concentrators

G.S. 100-115 are short (half-term) courses. They consist of detailed examinations of restricted geologic topics. The department lists the specific courses from this series in the Time Schedule for the terms they are offered (fall and winter terms only). Each course, when offered, meets twice weekly for half of the term (first half or second half), and the specific dates for each course are printed in the Time Schedule. These courses are designed primarily for students with no prior geologic training and they are open to all interested persons. G.S. 100-115 are offered on the graded pattern (optional pass/fail).

100. Coral Reefs. (1). (NS). Coral Reefs will be an in-depth tour of the biological and physical processes active in modern reef systems to provide a detailed understanding of the ecology of the individual organisms and the complex nature of their interactions within the reef community. Evolution of the reef community will be examined, ranging from the crude framework structures formed over one billion years ago by primitive algae to the luxuriant and diversified reefs of the modern-day oceans, to define the evolutionary strategies of reef building organisms. By tracking these evolutionary strategies through geologic time, the implications of man's intervention with the Earth's hydrosphere and atmosphere on the character of future reef communities will be considered. (Lohmann)

101. Waves and Beaches. (1). (NS).

This course focuses on various coastal environments and the degree to which man has modified these natural systems. For example, the State of Louisiana is 40 square miles smaller this year than last, and erosion along Michigan shores results in annual losses estimated at millions of dollars. These and other processes are directly or indirectly related to man's activities. (Wilkinson)

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. (Fisher)

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

This course looks at the effects of past glaciations on the landscape and on life in general and on man in particular. The causes of the ice ages that have dominated the Earth for the past two million years and predictions of future ice ages based on current geological research are examined. (Farrand)

107. Volcanoes and Earthquakes. (1). (NS).

The course is a study of the earth in action and includes the following topics: geography of earthquakes and volcanoes; catastrophic events in historic times; size and frequency of occurrence of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions; the products of volcanism; volcanic rocks; volcanic activity through geologic time; volcanic exhalations and the evolution of the earth's atmosphere and oceans; relationship of earthquakes and volcanoes to plate tectonics and the internal dynamics of the earth; volcanism on other planets; volcanism and geothermal energy; manmade earthquakes; and earthquake prediction and control. Instruction by lecture, evaluation on basis of final exam. (Arculus)

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

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

115. Introduction to Minerals. High school chemistry or equivalent. (1). (NS).

This course will introduce non-specialists to the world of minerals per se, and to the principles underlying their properties, crystal structure, mechanisms of growth, and their stability relations in various geological environments, past and present. The course will be scientifically rigorous, but at the same time draw upon examples meaningful to the student to illustrate the principles. Lectures twice weekly for half the term. A final examination. (Kelly)

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

This course provides a one term, introductory level survey of the field of geology. No previous science background is assumed. The general themes of Geology 117 are the evolution of the earth, and life on earth, and the processes responsible for the observed changes. Emphasis is on historical geology, but physical geology is introduced briefly early in the course. The course provides the essential educational background for a greater appreciation of the geological world. There are three lectures and one discussion session each week and an auto tutorial laboratory. The laboratory is open about 25 hours per week, and students may come in at any time it is open. Approximately three to four hours each week are required to complete the laboratory work. Course evaluation is based on two lecture examinations, discussion section quizzes on reading assignments, a final examination, and several short laboratory quizzes, and graded assignments. This course may be elected, without the laboratory, as G.S. 119. (Dorr)

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 Geology 117 without the laboratory. There are three lectures and one discussion per week. Course evaluation is based upon two lecture examinations, a final examination, and short weekly quizzes in discussion sections. See Geology 117 for the description. (Dorr)

120. Geology of National Parks and Monuments. Credit is not granted for G.S. 120 to those with credit for an introductory course in geology. (4). (NS).

Geology of National Parks and Monuments approaches earth history by examining the geology of places rather than by taking a process approach. It is designed for all interested undergraduates at The University of Michigan. The course format consists of three lectures each week and one two-hour demonstration-laboratory period, for four hours credit. Lecture material deals with the geologic history of selected National Parks and Monuments, which are chosen (largely by enrolled students) and scheduled so that those in which the oldest rocks are exposed (thus relating to the earliest portions of earth history) are covered first. In so doing, we cover earth history in a temporal progression, but do so by discussing different geographic areas. The demonstration-laboratory portion of the course will give you first-hand experience with rocks, minerals, and fossils; and an opportunity to discuss these in small groups. (Wilkinson)

125(265). Introduction to the Evolution of Life. May not be included in a concentration plan in geological sciences. (3). (NS).

This course reviews the origin and development of animal life with special emphasis on the fossil record. Other sources of data in support of the evolutionary concept, some of the general principles and procedures for the interpretation of such data, and the historical and philosophical impacts of the concept of evolution are also considered. The three weekly lectures are extensively illustrated with slides which stress the fossil record and the history of life. Required readings complement the lectures and increase the scope of material covered, expanding upon the philosophical significance of the concept and its impact on western thought. A term paper investigating the impact of the evolutionary concept on a field of intellectual interest to the student is optional. There are three objective, noncumulative examinations. Texts are Racle's Introduction to Evolution which introduces the general facts of the evolutionary concept; Simpson's The Meaning of Evolution which provides a materialistic interpretation of the facts; and Green's The Death of Adam which provides the history of the concept and its impact on western thought. No special background is required. Upperclasspersons in zoology, biology, botany, or natural resources will find the course both elementary and redundant, so should not elect it. (Dorr)

241. Gems and Gem Materials. (2). (NS).

This course comprises a comprehensive introduction to gemology, including: 1) general gem features including crystallography, properties, geology, synthesis, etc. (two-thirds of course), and 2) descriptions of specific properties, geologic and geographic distribution, etc. of the more significant species (diamond, ruby, quartz, etc.), making use of extensive collections of rough and faceted specimens as examples. Students may become competent at gem identification and become at least generally familiar with aspects of the marketplace. There are no prerequisites. Properties of gems as inorganic materials are considered from basic principles familiar to most university students. There is a weekly, optional laboratory. For approximately half the term students may fashion cabochons with the cutting and polishing equipment. Other labs are concerned with gem properties and their use in characterization and identification. Grades are determined through an hour exam and the final exam. There is a text but the lecture material is largely unique to this course. This course is not part of a departmental sequence. (Peacor)

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

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

B. Primarily for Concentrators

310. Petrology. G.S. 231 and either an introductory geological sciences course or G.S. 351 to be elected prior to or concurrently with G.S. 310. (4). (Excl).

Petrology is the study of the origins of rocks. Emphasis is placed on igneous and metamorphic rocks in this course. The evidence for the deep crustal and upper mantle sources for igneous rocks is traced using petrographic, geochemical, and phase diagrammatic observations. In metamorphic petrology the response of metamorphites to changes in pressure, temperature, and fluid composition will be evaluated, primarily using petrographic and phase equilibrium data. Plate tectonic processes will be tied in to the origin and evolution of many igneous and metamorphic rocks. The lectures are coordinated with microscopic laboratories using optical techniques to identify and evaluate mineral assemblages. (Essene, Arculus)

351. Structural Geology. G.S. 117 or 121 or the equivalent; or permission of instructor. (4). (Excl).

The description and origin of the structure of the earth's crust. Three lectures and one laboratory session weekly. Topics include basic structural geometry, stress and strain, the formation of microscopic and macroscopic rock structures, structural provinces and plate tectonics. This is a core course for concentrators but is open to all who require a basic knowledge of structural geology. Evaluation is based on one hour-long exam, a final exam and the laboratory exercises and exams. An Outline of Structural Geology by Hobbs, Means and Williams is the required text and additional readings will be assigned. (Bogen)

422. Principles of Geochemistry. G.S. 231, 305, 310 and Chem. 126. (3). (Excl).

Instruction is directed toward how geochemical methods, such as stable isotope and trace element analysis, radioactive age dating, and aqueous chemistry at low to high temperature and pressure can unravel and provide insight into the origin and chemical evolution of the Earth. Consideration of rates of transfer of elements from place to place, and perturbations caused by man (pollution), are included. The course is intended primarily for seniors concentrating in the geological sciences, but is also suitable for others who are well versed in chemistry and who have some knowledge of geology (e.g., Chem. 348 or 468 and Geol. Sci. 121). Texts: Stumm and Morgan, Aquatic Chemistry; Faure, Isotope Geology. (Cloke)

442. Geomorphology. G.S. 305 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

A study of the landforms of the earth's surface approached from the standpoint of the processes which shape them; by extrapolation the material covered aids in the understanding of ancient landscapes and in the interpretation of the conditions under which they formed. The course is designed both for the geology concentrator and the advanced student in other natural sciences and engineering. Instruction is by lecture, augmented by self-run open-laboratory exercises utilizing topographic maps and aerial photographs. The grading is based on laboratory exercises, examinations and a term paper. Text: Process Geomorphology by D.F. Ritter (W.C. Brown). (Eschman)

447. Archaeological Geology. One laboratory course in physical geology (G.S. 116, 117, or 121); and one course in archaeology (Anthro. 282, or 581, or Class. Arch. 323). (4). (NS).

Archaeological geology is part of a growing program of interdisciplinary study of archaeological sites and their settings, both here at the University and in general in the USA and Europe. Application of geological knowledge and techniques is now an expected part of any modern excavation project. Although pertinent geologic study is available in a number of other geology courses, the purpose of Geology 447 is to cover those aspects particularly useful to the archaeologist with as much depth as feasible in a single course, since it is realized that most students do not have time for more than one such course in their already full schedules. This course builds on the basic geologic knowledge that the students are expected to have acquired in their introductory geology course. For example, flint, obsidian, and construction stone, soil development and the recognition of paleosols, the study of cave sediments, and geochronological and paleoclimatological methods applicable to the Quaternary Period are emphasized. This information is integrated during the latter part of the course by means of discussions of case histories of important archaeological excavations, and the students are required to write a paper emphasizing the geological analysis of a couple of sites. Laboratory sessions provide the students with the opportunity to examine, manipulate, and process geological materials and to examine soils and landforms in the Ann Arbor area. Geology 447 is intended for upperclassmen and graduate students with a professional interest in either prehistoric or classical archaeology. Readings will be chosen from a variety of sources since a single, appropriate text does not exist. In addition to the term paper, a midterm and final examination will be given. (Farrand)

455. Determinative Methods in Mineralogical and Inorganic Materials. One term of elementary chemistry and physics. (4). (Excl).

Determinative methods is a lab course in analytical procedures of inorganic materials with lectures aimed at providing adequate theoretical background for understanding of the techniques. The major emphasis is placed on x-ray diffraction, electron microprobe, atomic absorption, and mass spectrometry. Although silicate and mineralogical analysis is applied, no special background in geology is required. Entrance to the course is by permission of the instructors. The grade is determined by laboratory grades, two midterms, and a final. (Essene, Peacor, Arculus, Owen, Lohmann)

456/Bot. 456. Paleobotany. An introductory course in botany or biology; or permission of instructor. (4). (NS).

See Botany 456. (Beck)

458. X-ray Analysis of Crystalline Materials. G.S. 455 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This course is an introduction to single-crystal diffraction (principally X-ray) theory and techniques through the basics of crystal structure analyses. In the first two weeks, symmetry theory is covered, emphasizing space groups. In the following six weeks the theory and techniques (rotating crystal, Weissenberg, precession) of X-ray diffraction are developed. In succeeding weeks general diffraction relations are developed into the techniques of crystal structure analyses. There is a laboratory. Students are encouraged to provide their own original research materials (or they are provided) to serve as a vehicle for learning the techniques of determination of unit cell and space group parameters. Single crystal X-ray equipment is used on an individual, self-paced schedule. In suitable cases, this may be expanded into a crystal structure analysis or refinement. (Peacor)

483. Geophysics: Seismology. Prior or concurrent election of Math. 215 and Phys. 240; or permission of instructor. Lectures: 3 credits; lectures and laboratory: 4 credits; laboratory: 1 credit. (NS).

The structure and composition of the earth, and the physics of earthquakes and their role in plate tectonics are the main topics covered in this course. As the interpretation of seismograms and seismic waves is of fundamental importance, relevant aspects of elastic wave propagation and seismic source are developed. The problems encountered in observational seismology will also be discussed. (Ruff)

485. Computer Utilization in the Earth Sciences. Calculus and experience in computer programming are recommended. (3). (NS).

This course will introduce students to the use of computers in the earth sciences. Students will use both micro and mainframe computers. Topics will include mapping, analysis of spatial data and simulation modeling. (Outcalt)

491/Bot. 491. Quaternary Paleoecology. A course in ecology or in Pleistocene geology. (2). (NS).

See Botany 491. (Benninghoff)


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.