Current Earth and Environmental Geoscience Courses

Spring 2022

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Earth Lab

GEOL 105B - Knapp, Elizabeth P.

Preference given to first-years and sophomores. The emphasis and location of the study area differs from year to year. Most course activity involves outside field work with a series of multi-day to multi-week field trips. The primary goal of this course is an in-depth introduction to a particular region or field of geological study for introductory level science students. Information about the course is made available prior to the end of the fall term. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different but only four credits may be used toward major requirements.

Spring 2022, GEOL 105B-01: Earth Lab: FYS: Hawaii (4).  An introductory study of earth science and the geology of the Hawaiian Islands for first-years. Its purpose is to provide an unparalleled opportunity to observe a wide variety of geologic processes in action, including rock forming processes, volcanism, and island biogeography. Hawaiian culture will also be a topic of study. This course entails close interaction with the faculty and intensive study amongst the students during the term. Two weeks will be spent on the Big Island in Hawaii. (SL) Knapp . 

Earth Lab

GEOL 105C - Lyon, Eva C.

Preference given to first-years and sophomores. The emphasis and location of the study area differs from year to year. Most course activity involves outside field work with a series of multi-day to multi-week field trips. The primary goal of this course is an in-depth introduction to a particular region or field of geological study for introductory level science students. Information about the course is made available prior to the end of the fall term. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different but only four credits may be used toward major requirements.

Spring 2022, GEOL 105C-01: Earth Lab: Geology of National Parks (4).  A study of the processes that formed and are continuing to shape this continent through examples from some of our most scenic and special places: the national parks. With examples from throughout the national park system, we examine how different rock types form, the scale of geologic time, and earth-surface processes. Each park tells a story: some stories go back billions of years, but most of these stories are still being written, particularly as we consider the idea that we are "loving our parks to death". Thus, we also think about how the parks are likely to respond to changing climate and other human impacts. The course includes day trips, an overnight field trip, and a week-long trip out west during the final week of class. (SL) Lyon . 

Selected Topics

GEOL 197A - Harbor, David J.

Selected topical coverage of various timely or general interest subject areas in geology. The topic selected varies from year to year and is announced in advance of the registration period. Topics have included impact and extinction of the dinosaurs; volcanoes and tectonics; geologic consideration in land-use planning; and the geology of national parks. May be repeated for a maximum of four credits if the topic is different.

 

Field Methods in the Appalachians

GEOL 230 - Connors, Christopher D. (Chris)

An introduction to the study of geology in the field with special attention to the methods used by geologists to make, record, and interpret field observations. The course includes study of and field trips in the central Appalachian region.

Regional Geology

GEOL 373 - Greer, Mary L. (Lisa)

The emphasis and location of the study area differs from year to year. Most course activity involves outside fieldwork with a series of multi-day to multi-week field trips. Information about the course is available prior to the end of the fall term. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different but only four credits may be used toward major requirements

Spring 2022: GEOL 373-01: Regional Geology (4). A study of the regional geology of the Colorado Plateau and the Grand Canyon. The American Southwest is home to some of the most spectacular and diverse geology on the planet and the Grand Canyon lays open one of our greatest geological stories. In this course, students study a record of deep time preserved in the canyon walls and the plateau above the rim of one of our greatest geological wonders. We travel from modern sediments in the Great Salt Lake and current erosional processes in Arches National Monument, to the approximately 2 billion year old Vishnu metamorphics deep in the Grand Canyon. Along the way, we investigate aspects of sedimentology, stratigraphy, structural geology, geomorphology, tectonics, and hydrology. Two weeks out West. (SL) Greer, Bush.

Winter 2022

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Dynamic Earth: Introductory Geology

GEOL 101 - Rahl, Jeffrey M.

Preference given to first-years and sophomores. Not open to students with credit for GEOL 100 or 102. Involves moderate hiking and other physical activities outside in all types of weather. The study of Earth systems, our physical environment, and the processes shaping our planet. Topics include: plate tectonics; the materials and structure of the Earth's crust; natural hazards including earthquakes and volcanoes; the origin of landforms; and the concept of deep time. Additional topics, with emphasis varying by instructor, include: climate change; weathering and erosion; water quality and movement; energy resources; geospatial and quantitative data analysis; and the relationship between humans and the environment. Laboratory course. 

Sustainable Earth: Introductory Environmental Geology

GEOL 102 - Lyon, Eva C.

Not open to students with credit for GEOL 100 or 101. Involves moderate hiking and other physical activities outside in all types of weather.  The study of Earth systems, our physical environment, and the processes shaping our planet with special emphasis on environmental science and sustainability. There is special emphasis on field study of the region near Lexington. Depending on the instructor, various topics include: plate tectonics; the materials and structure of the Earth's crust; climate change; the nature of the Earth's interior; the origin of landforms; weathering and erosion; water quality and movement; natural hazards including earthquakes and volcanoes; energy resources; the concept of deep time; geospatial and quantitative data analysis; and the relationship between humans and the environment. Laboratory course.

Global Climate Change

GEOL 141 - Greer, Mary L. (Lisa)

A study of Earth's complex climate system and the impact of human activities on future climates. Through readings, discussions, data analyses and modeling exercises, the past and future changes in temperature, ocean circulation, rainfall, storminess, biogeochemistry, glacial ice extent and sea level are explored.

Are We Alone?

GEOL 152 - Rahl, Jeffrey M.

Although there are likely trillions of billions of stars in the Universe, Earth remains the only planetary body known to harbor life. We will explore current thinking about the potential for extraterrestrial life, with a focus on the concept of planetary habitability. We will study relevant aspects of the planet we know best, Earth, including its formation, composition, climate, and tectonics, and apply this knowledge to the search for other habitable bodies. We will also contemplate the ethical and philosophical implications of the possibility of life beyond our planet.

Oceanography

GEOL 155 - Lyon, Eva C.

Introduction to physical oceanography and marine geology; tides, waves, currents, and the interaction of oceans and atmosphere; submarine landscapes; and sedimentary, volcanic, and tectonic activity in the ocean basins.

GIS and Remote Sensing

GEOL 260 - Harbor, David J.

A laboratory course introducing the use of a Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing in geological/environmental analyses and decision making. Students use state-of-the-art software with a wide variety of spatial geologic, environmental, economic and topographic data derived from satellites; remote databases and published maps to evaluate geologic conditions; local landscape processes; environmental conditions; and hypothetical land-use cases.

Earth and Environmental Geochemistry

GEOL 311 - Hinkle, Margaret A.

A laboratory course emphasizing the principles and tools of the chemical composition of Earth materials to interpret petrogenesis. The course focuses on processes occurring below and at the Earth's surface. Topics include: crystal chemistry, magmatic and metamorphic processes, trace element and isotope geochemistry, oxidation and reduction, and water-rock interactions. The laboratory includes both a local field and laboratory component and focuses on using analytical techniques to evaluate chemical composition including electron microscopy, ion chromatography, X-ray diffraction, and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry.

Petroleum Geology and Geophysics

GEOL 335 - Connors, Christopher D. (Chris)

A survey of the theory and practice of petroleum geology and geophysics. Topics covered include the nature and origin of petroleum, a study of where oil and gas accumulate from the perspective of basin analysis, and the basic principles of reflection seismology and petrophysics. The key petroleum system elements of source, charge, seal, reservoir and trap are studied within the context of how a geologist or geophysicist goes about exploring for and developing petroleum accumulations. Emphasis is placed on the Geology use of industry software and data to analyze geologic features, deposits, and basins that are relevant to petroleum exploration and production. Laboratory course.

Directed Individual Study

GEOL 401 - Harbor, David J.

Advanced work and reading in topics selected by the instructor and meeting the special needs of advanced students. This course may be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Directed Individual Study

GEOL 401 - Connors, Christopher D. (Chris)

Advanced work and reading in topics selected by the instructor and meeting the special needs of advanced students. This course may be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Directed Independent Research

GEOL 421 - Hinkle, Margaret A.

Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only.  Directed research in geology. Specific research activities will depend upon the project, but may involve literature research, field work, laboratory work, data analysis, and written or oral presentations. May be repeated for degree credit with permission of the instructor. May be carried out during the summer.

Directed Independent Research

GEOL 421 - Harbor, David J.

Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only.  Directed research in geology. Specific research activities will depend upon the project, but may involve literature research, field work, laboratory work, data analysis, and written or oral presentations. May be repeated for degree credit with permission of the instructor. May be carried out during the summer.

Senior Research Thesis

GEOL 472 - Hinkle, Margaret A.

Candidates for the Bachelor of Science degree in geology are urged to undertake research on a field or laboratory problem which can lead to the presentation of a senior thesis. Work on this project should be started in the spring term of the junior year. Interested students should consult members of the faculty who will help define the problem and provide guidance during research.

Honors Thesis

GEOL 493 - Lyon, Eva C.

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

GEOL 493 - Hinkle, Margaret A.

Honors Thesis.

Fall 2021

We do not offer any courses this term.