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. (1). (NS).

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:2] [WL:4] (Opdyke)

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

This course looks at the effects of present and past glaciations on the landscape and on life, humans in particular. Glaciers are examined as dynamic, climatically controlled systems of moving ice. Climatic and environmental changes concurrent with glaciation, in both continental and oceanic realms, are reviewed. The causes of the ice ages that have dominated the Earth for the past two million years and predictions of future ice ages are examined in the light of current geological and climatic research. The course consists of lectures, one hour exam, and one final exam. [Cost:1] [WL:4] (Farrand)

105. Continents Adrift. (1). (NS).

This one-credit hour course will explore the mobility of the continents and oceans in geological times. Conceptual and factual material will be combined with the principles of plate tectonics and the processes that drive the plates. No special background is recommended, and evaluation will be based on a final exam (with a practice take-home exam midway). The goals of this short course are to familiarize students with one of the more exciting recent developments in earth sciences, a unifying concept that explains ocean evolution, mountain building, earthquakes and volcanoes. [Cost:2] [WL:4] (Van der Voo)

106. Fossils, Primates, and Human Evolution. (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)

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

The history of past oceanic inhabitants, events, and environments is recorded in the sediments which have accumulated on the ocean bottom throughout geological time. This course gives an introduction to the ways by which this record can be examined, and it discusses the information available about the history of the oceans. 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:1] (Meyers)

111. Climate and Man. (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 we think will happen to the planet when the long expected "Greenhouse Effect Global Warming" finally arrives. [Cost:1] [WL:1] (Rea)

113. Planets and Moons. (1). (NS).

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

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

This course will introduce non-specialists to the subject of the timespan over which the earth has developed, the processes that are involved in the formation of rocks and minerals, the determination of the rates at which these processes occur, and the ways in which we can use the current behavior of the earth to deduce how rocks formed in the past. The course will also include relevant aspects of the historical development of geologic theory. It will be scientifically rigorous but, at the same time, draw upon examples meaningful to the student to illustrate the principle. Lectures twice weekly for half the term. Course pack provides most of the diagrams. A final examination. [Cost:1] [WL:3] (Halliday)

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. [Cost:2] [WL:4] (Wilkinson)

123. Life and the Global Environment. (2). (NS).

The Gaia hypothesis of Lovelock and Margulis holds that the biota evolves and interacts in such a way as to regulate the chemical and physical environment in a manner that is beneficial to life. One possible implication is that Mother Earth will take care of pollution. This notion can be tested against current understanding of global biogeochemical cycles and the feedback processes that govern the compositions of ocean and atmosphere. The geological record of environmental evolution, preserved in sedimentary rocks, is a rich source of relevant information. No special background is needed for this course, which is not part of a departmental sequence. Grades are based on multiple-choice hour examinations. Instruction is by lectures, films, and assigned reading, with classroom discussion. [Cost:2] [WL:1] (Walker)

125. Evolution and Extinction. May not be included in a concentration plan in geological sciences. (3). (NS).

This course discusses contemporary views of the evolution of life. Emphasis is placed on theories of evolution, mass extinction, and diversification as evidenced by the fossil record. Controversies are highlighted. The first part of the course covers general topics in evolutionary study such as the Cambrian explosion of life, the evolution of sex and competing explanations of evolutionary change. The second part of the course discusses the anatomy of an extinction, the occurrence of extinctions throughout the history of life and competing explanations of the causes of extinctions. The last part of the course will cover the effect of evolutionary ideas on society. This will include an examination of "science" as a way of knowing about the universe as opposed to other ways of knowing. The course is designed for students with no background in paleontology or evolutionary biology. Readings available in a course pack will be assigned for discussion each week. [Cost:1-2] [WL:1] (Tabachnick)

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

This lecture course is intended for students with a strong high school background in math and science. It will serve as a broad introduction to the earth sciences for students considering a Geological Sciences concentration, as well as for students interested in studying the earth sciences as part of a general science background. Topics covered include methods of determining relative and absolute ages, the early history of the earth, its accretion and chemical differentiation, the development of continental and oceanic lithosphere, the evolution of plate tectonics, the history of the crust, sediments, oceans, atmosphere, and life. The unique aspects of earth history will be highlighted by viewing the development of the earth from the perspective of the evolution of the moon and the other terrestrial planets. Evaluation will be based on three examinations. [Cost:2] [WL:4] (Pollack)

222. Introductory Oceanography. No credit granted to those with credit for AOSS 203. (3). (NS).

This course introduces students to the scientific study of the oceans. Contents include the shape, structure, and origin of the ocean basins; the sedimentary record of oceanic life and conditions in the past; the composition of seawater and its influence on life and climate; waves and currents; the life of the oceans and how it depends upon the marine environment; the resources of the ocean and their wise use by society. The course format consists of lectures and readings from an assigned textbook. The course grade will be based on several hour exams. [Cost:1] [WL:4] (Owen)

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

This course is an optional laboratory intended to provide students with opportunities to explore further marine 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] (Owen)

256/Biol. 256. Ancient Plants and the World They Lived In. Biol. 152, 195 or 255. (2). (NS).

See Biology 256. (Beck)

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 of 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. Some comparisons with extra-terrestrial igneous petrology will be made. The lectures are coordinated with microscopic laboratories using optical techniques to identify and evaluate mineral assemblages. The grade is determined through a combination of midterms, laboratory exams and a final. [Cost:3] [WL:1] (Mukasa)

351. Structural Geology. G.S. 117 or 119 or the equivalent; or permission of instructor. (4). (Excl).

The description and analysis of geological structures in the earth's crust. Three lectures and one laboratory session weekly. The following topics will be covered: the description of geological structures; the kinematics and dynamics of folding and faulting; stress, strain, deformation and rheology; principles of plate tectonics; selected orogenic systems of the world; introduction to dislocation theory; micro-structural analysis. This is a core course for concentrators, but is open to all who want to have a basic knowledge of geology. Evaluation is based on graded lab assignments, a lab test, a midterm and a final exam. Textbooks: STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY, AN INTRODUCTION, by J.G. Dennis (lectures) and BASIC METHODS OF STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY, by S. Marshak and G. Mitra (labs). In addition, hand-outs (text and figures) will be used throughout the course. [Cost:4] [WL:2] (van der Pluijm)

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

The course is designed to provide a quantitative introduction to geochemical aspects of the rock cycle. Topics which will be covered include: thermodynamic and kinetic controls on the distribution of the elements, trace element and isotope geochemistry, geochemistry of the oceans and atmosphere, environmental geochemistry, and geochemical cycles. Instruction will consist of lectures and discussion of homework problems. The course is intended primarily for seniors concentrating in the geological sciences, but is also open to graduate students with advisor approval. Evaluation will be based on homework problems, a short term paper, a midterm examination and a final comprehensive examination. Required text: Richardson and McSween, GEOCHEMISTRY, PATHWAYS AND PROCESSES. [Cost:3] [WL:1] (O'Neil)

446(486)/Geog. 499. Permafrost, Snow, and Ice. Math. 116 or the equivalent. (3). (Excl).

This course is designed to give students of natural sciences and engineering an introduction to the environmental conditions in high altitudes and latitudes. Students should have a basic background in introductory physics and calculus. Additional background in a natural science is helpful. Topics covered in lectures include: general climatology and geography of arctic-alpine regions; physical properties of ice; the ground thermal regime; geomorphic processes resulting from ice and the ground thermal regime; snow metamorphosis - melt, etc.; glaciers and heat and energy budgets; lake, river and sea ice; economic development and environmental protection in cold regions. There will be no assigned text. A final examination and midterm test will determine grades in the course. [Cost:1] [WL:4] (Outcalt)

447. Archaeological Geology. G.S. 442 or 448, or equivalent, or permission of instructor; and one 300-level (or higher) course in anthropology or classical archaeology. (3). (Excl).

This course will concentrate on selected geologic topics that are especially pertinent to archaeological studies, such as geological raw materials (flint, obsidian, building stone, clay), soils and paleosols, cave sediments, stratigraphy, dating methods, and paleoclimatology. Lectures will be in-depth treatments assuming some prior geologic and archaeologic knowledge and will commonly be based on case histories of actual archaeological studies. The emphasis will be on answering questions of an archaeological nature by means of geologic studies. Prerequisites: Geological Sciences 442 or 448 or equivalent, or permission of the instructor, PLUS one 300-level (or higher) course in Anthropological or Classical Archaeology. Course will consist of lectures and discussions, and will be graded on the basis of one or two hour exams and a term project. [Cost:1] [WL:4] (Farrand)

449. Marine Geology. G.S. 222/223 or introductory physical geology. (3). (Excl).

This course is an examination of the geology of the ocean basins and the adjacent continental margins. Topics covered include methods of marine data collection, geologic structure of the ocean floor and margins, sea-floor spreading and plate tectonics, the processes of terrigenous, biogenous and chemical sedimentation, and the interpretation of the sedimentary record in terms of past ocean circulation and global climate history. Grades are based on a midterm and final examination and a term project designed to reveal the geologic history of one of the major ocean basins to be selected each year by the class. The class is given in a lecture format, class discussions are encouraged. The textbook is MARINE GEOLOGY by J.P. Kennett. Prerequisites are an introductory course in geology or oceanography (G.S. 222; AOSS 203 prior to Winter, 1989). [Cost:2] [WL:2] (Rea)

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

Determinative methods is a course in techniques of analysis of inorganic materials with lectures aimed at providing theoretical background for understanding of the techniques as practiced in laboratory exercises. The major emphasis is placed on x-ray diffraction, electron microprobe analysis, x-ray fluorescence, atomic absorption, and mass spectrometry. Although silicate and mineralogical analysis is emphasized, no background in geology is required. Entrance to the course is by permission of the instructors. The grade is determined by laboratory grades, three midterms, and a final. (Peacor)

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)

478. Aqueous Geochemistry. Chem. 365 or the equivalent. (3). (Excl).

Course to focus on solution-mineral-gas equilibrium and mass transfer in geochemical environments ranging from near surface to deeper crustal temperature/pressure regimes. Topics covered include models for ion activity/concentration relations, reaction path for rock/water interactions, mineral dissolution and precipitation mechanisms and reaction kinetics, adsorption and incorporation of ions, mass transfer mechanisms, and geochemical trends in natural waters. Geochemical links between atmosphere, ocean and crustal reservoirs will be quantified in light of equilibrium and kinetic constraints on key reactions. Examples will focus on surface waters, oceans and crustal fluids. Approach involves integrated lecture, laboratory and problem solving to gain facility in relating chemical concepts to actual field and laboratory measurement of natural water chemistries. Computer modeling of activity-concentration and mineral equilibria. Two hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory per week. Evaluation based on weekly problem sets, two examinations and a focused research project. [Cost:2] [WL:4] (Walter)

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.