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Geology Courses

Undergraduate Courses

 

GEOL 103 OUR DYNAMIC PLANET     3 Hours

Introduction to the spatial dimension of Earth’s dynamic systems and how they affect people. These include the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere. Equivalent to GEOG 103. Colonnade


GEOL 111 THE EARTH     3 Hours

The study of Earth including rocks, mineral resources, energy, soils, surface geologic processes, earthquakes and Earth’s interior, global tectonics, hydrology and environmental geology. Students electing to meet their general education laboratory requirement through GEOL 113 must simultaneously enroll in the GEOL 111 lecture course. Laboratory is required for Geology majors, minors and some prospective science teachers but is optional for most others. Colonnade


GEOL 112 EARTH HISTORY     3 Hours

Geologic study of the Earth’s history: major land, sea, and life patterns throughout geologic time. Topics include the development of geology as a science, nature and significance of the fossil record, basic stratigraphic relations, theories concerning the origin of Earth and the solar system, prehistoric life, paleogeography, and global tectonics. Students electing to meet their general education laboratory requirement through GEOL 114 must simultaneously enroll in the GEOL 112 lecture course. The associated laboratory is required for Geology majors, minors and some prospective science teachers, but is optional for most others. Colonnade


GEOL 113 THE EARTH LABORATORY    1 Hour

Prerequisites/corequisites: GEOL 111 or GEOG / GEOL 103. Laboratory work designed to accompany GEOL 111. Minerals, rocks, topographic maps, geologic maps, and aerial photographs are studied. This laboratory is required for Geology majors, minors and some prospective science teachers, but is optional for most others. Course Fee | Colonnade


GEOL 114 EARTH HISTORY LAB     1 Hour

Prerequisite or Corequisite: GEOL 112. Laboratory work designed to accompany GEOL 112. Sedimentary rocks, fossil specimens, stratigraphic concepts and geologic maps are studied. This laboratory is required for Geology majors and minors and some prospective science teachers, but is optional for most other students. Course Fee | Colonnade


GEOL 270 ANALYTICAL TECHNIQUES IN GEOLOGY     3 Hours

Prerequisites: GEOGEOL 111 and 112 or permission of instructor. Basic analytical techniques used to examine and analyze Earth materials. Topics include precision and accuracy, sample preparation, contamination, calibration techniques, analysis of data sets.


GEOL 305 EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE FOR TEACHERS     3 Hours

Prerequisites: GEOL 111 and 113, or GEOL 112 and GEOL 114. Collaborative, problem-based learning (PBL) experience, using real-world examples to enhance student understanding of earth system science, with a focus on relevance in science teaching grades K-12. Includes PFL-based lesson plan development. Applicable towards a major in geology on for those students seeking teacher certification.


GEOL 310 GLOBAL HYDROLOGY     3 Hours

Prerequisite: GEOL 111 or GEOG / GEOL 103. An introduction to descriptive and quantitative hydrology. The hydrologic cycle precipitation, evaporation, and transpiration are covered under descriptive hydrology. Hydrographs, runoff relations, groundwater, and storage routing are covered under quantitative hydrology. Equivalent to GEOG 310.


GEOL 311 GENERAL OCEANOGRAPHY     3 Hours

Prerequisite: GEOL 111 and GEOL 113, or permission of instructor. A course in basic fundamentals pertaining to the geological, chemical, physical and biological aspects of the marine environment. Topics for discussion include the topography, structure and history of the ocean basins and their margins, ocean waters and oceanic circulation, tides and waves, marine geochemistry, ocean sediments and sedimentation, near-shore geologic processes and the ocean as a biogeochemical system. The resources of the ocean and the influence of humans are also considered.


GEOL 315 ENERGY, CLIMATE, AND CARBON     3 Hours

Prerequisite: GEOL 111 or GEOL 112 or GEOL 103 or GEOG 103; 21 hours of Foundations and Explorations Courses, or junior status. Energy, Climate, and Carbon investigates our current reliance upon carbon-based sources of energy, the effect of fossil-fuel emissions and global climate change. The course is particularly focused on carbon-capture technologies, geological carbon sequestration and renewable energy resources. Colonnade


GEOL 325 INTRODUCTION TO MINERALS AND CRYSTALLINE ROCKS    3 Hours

Prerequisite: GEOG / GEOL 103 or GEOL 111; GEOL 113. The sight identification of minerals and crystalline rocks is stressed. The description, origin and classification, economic uses, and occurrences of the major mineral and crystalline rock groups are discussed. Appropriate rock and mineral specimens are examined in the laboratory.


GEOL 330 MINERALOGY     4 Hours

Prerequisites: GEOL 111 and 113 and one semester of college chemistry or permission of the instructor. The systematic study of minerals. Includes crystallography, crystal chemistry, mineral stability, the classification of minerals, and the origin, characteristics ad occurrences of the major mineral groups. Laboratory work includes crystal symmetry, mineral identification, and an introduction to the optical microscope. A field trip may be required.

 

GEOL 350 PETROLOGY     4 Hours

Prerequisite: GEOL 330. The study of the origin, characteristics, occurrence, and classification of igneous and metamorphic rocks, and of the processes that lead to their formation. Their occurrence in relation to plate tectonics is stressed. Laboratory work includes petrographic study of igneous and metamorphic rocks in hand specimen and in thin section. A field trip is required.


GEOL 360 SEDIMENTOLOGY AND STRATIGRAPHY    4 Hours

Prerequisite: GEOL 112 and GEOL 114. Introduces sedimentary processes, including sediment origins, erosion, transportation, deposition and diagenesis. Sedimentation patterns and stratigraphic architecture are studied in the context of depositional and tectonic settings.


GEOL 380 INTRODUCTORY FIELD TECHNIQUES     3 Hours

Prerequisites: GEOL 111 and 113; prerequisite or corequisite GEOL 112 and 114. Techniques of geological field work. Topics include sampling, rock identification and description, field notes and the transition from field to laboratory analysis. Field work is required.


GEOL 399 RESEARCH PROBLEMS IN GEOLOGY    (1-3) Hours

Prerequisites: Permission of research project director. Individual research projects are conducted under faculty supervision. May be repeated with a change of content, but only (3) will be counted toward the major. A written report is required.


GEOL 405 PALEONTOLOGY    4 Hours

Prerequisites: GEOL 112 and 114 and BIOL 122 and 123 or permission of instructor. A basic course in paleobiology including the nature of the fossil record, preservation, basic factors and theories relating to the origin and development of living systems and the process of evolution, the species concept, systematics, and paleoecology. Major invertebrate taxa with a significant fossil record are also studied. Laboratory work includes the examination, description, and classification of fossil specimens.


GEOL 408 STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY    4 Hours

Prerequisites: GEOL 111 and 113, and a prerequisite or corequisite of MATH 117 or higher. This course introduces the mechanics, characteristics, occurrences, and resultant structures associated with the major processes of deformation of the earth’s crust. Major structural regions of North America are discussed. The laboratory emphasizes graphical and mathematical solutions of structural problems. Field trip required.


GEOL 415 ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY    3 Hours

Prerequisite: GEOL 111-113 or permission of instructor. The interrelationships of geologic processes, earth materials, and human activities. Assessment of geologic factors with respect to site selection, energy production, land use, waste disposal, planning, water resources, engineering practices, and the recognition and control of geologic hazards. Class exercises stress the application of geologic knowledge to specific environmental situations.

 

GEOL 420 GEOMORPHOLOGY     4 Hours

Prerequisite: GEOL 111 or GEOG / GEOL 103. The study of the origin, history, and characteristics of landforms produced by fluvial, glacial, wind, and wave erosion and mass-wasting and ground water or by combination of these, acting upon the major types of earth materials and structures. Laboratory work includes the interpretation of topographic and geologic maps, air photos, and stereopairs. A field trip may be required. Equivalent to GEOG 420.


GEOL 440 HYDROGEOLOGY     3 Hours

Prerequisite: GEOG 310 or GEOL 310. Prerequisite or corequisite: MATH 136. Origin, occurrence, and movement of ground water; water wells and aquifer evaluations; exploratory investigations; quality of ground water supplies; legal aspects.


GEOL 445 AQUEOUS GEOCHEMISTRY   3 Hours

Prerequisites: CHEM 120 and 121. An introduction to geochemical processes of surface and ground water including concentrations of ions and organic compounds, chemical equilibria, and analytical techniques. Carbonate and clay minerals will be studied in detail.

 

GEOL 465 GEOPHYSICS    3 Hours

Prerequisites: GEOL 111 and one year of college physics or permission of instructor. The fundamentals of general and exploration geophysics. Topics include the origin of the earth and solar system, the earth’s interior, geochronology, gravity and isostasy, seismology, the earth’s heat, geomagnetism, upper atmosphere, continents and ocean basins, ridges and island arcs, and plate tectonics. The theory and applications of exploration geophysics are also covered, especially gravity, magnetic, and seismic methods.


GEOL 470 TECTONICS     3 Hours

A fascinating interdisciplinary course that not only motivates academia, but also draws governmental and private environmental and geological agencies who are interested in mineral, groundwater and petroleum resources, and mitigating natural hazards like landslide, tsunami, karst and sinkholes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes that affect global population on a daily basis. It is an interactive venue of various components of Earth’s systems as they evolve over time and space.  This course will provide you the robust understanding of global tectonics, directly or indirectly influencing all components of Earth’s systems, a plate tectonic paradigm to understand Earth’s evolution. You will be able to gather in-depth knowledge in active and past global tectonic activities and environments, recent advances in the field of tectonics, mantle plumes and processes, current plate motions, implication of tectonics for environmental changes and natural hazards, natural resources, large igneous provinces, rifted continental margins, oceanic ridges, geothermal energy, subduction and transform zones, past and present orogeny, North American tectonics, sedimentary basins, tectonic geomorphology, thermochronology and interplay between climate-tectonics and landforms.


GEOL 475 SPECIAL TOPICS IN GEOLOGY   (1-3) Hour

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. A lecture-discussion or supervised research course in which advanced or special topics in geology are considered in detail. Students may repeat the course when the topic changes for a maximum total of 12 credit hours. Special topics courses may not replace required courses in the geology major / minor but may be applied as elective credit.

 

GEOL 475 SEQUENCE STRATIGRAPHY    3 HOURS

Sequence stratigraphy deals with genetically-linked, hiatus-bounded strata in a chronostratigraphic framework. Broadly, in this course you will learn how to think and communicate like a sequence stratigrapher within the wider context of sedimentary geology. Specifically, this course will introduce you with various concepts and tools of sequence stratigraphy that will help you in your project research, and in your professional career to carry out your job successfully.


GEOL 485 GEOLOGY OF FOSSIL FUELS    3 Hours

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Formation of coal, petroleum and natural gas including depositional setting, source materials and processes of thermal maturation. Stratigraphic and structural relations, modes of occurrence, exploration techniques and resource evaluation are emphasized.

 

IMPERIAL BARREL AWARD    3 Hours

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. This is a specialized course for students (up to five team members) to participate in the popular Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) competition held by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) annually. Students are provided with real-world subsurface dataset of a petroleum play that include wireline logs, 3D seismic data, core, petrophysical data, and etc. Students analyze the dataset using a seismic workstation for determining petroleum prospect of the area. In showcasing their results, particularly suggesting future drilling locations, students collectively give several presentations, including one at Pittsburgh, PA in front of official judges.


GEOL 490 PETROLEUM GEOLOGY    3 Hours

Concepts of oil formation, source-rock evaluation, thermal maturation, and petroleum migration are reviewed. Emphasis is placed on characterization of petroleum reservoirs and traps and on the techniques employed by geologists in exploration for oil and gas accumulations.


GEOL 499 PROFESSIONAL PREPARATION IN GEOLOGY    2 Hours

Prerequisite: Senior standing. Professional career preparation in geology including senior assessment, resume writing, college-to-career transition, professional ethics and selected seminar topics. Outside speakers from industry and academia will be included. (Grading: Pass / Fail)

 

Graduate Courses

GEOS 500   Geoscience Research and Literacy    3 Hours

Development of geographic research skills with emphasis on posing of research problems, documentation, organization, and presentation.
Grade Mode: Pass/Fail

GEOS 502   Geoscience Research Methods    3 Hours

An introduction to research techniques and methodology appropriate to the thesis project.

GEOS 510   Sequence Stratigraphy    3 Hours

Introduces sedimentary processes, including sediment origins, erosion, transportation, deposition, and diagenesis. Sedimentation patterns and stratigraphic architecture are studied in the context of depositional and tectonic settings.
Grade Mode: Non-graded
Course Fee: $40

GEOS 511   The Dynamic Earth    3 Hours

This graduate course is specially designed for teachers of natural and earth science.

GEOS 515   Remote Sensing Applications    4 Hours

Applications of remote sensing, analysis of current systems in use globally, and use of data for research and policy. A research project that allows students to apply remote-sensing techniques to an area of investigation is required. Associated laboratory work includes RS techniques.

GEOS 520   Geoscience Statistical Methods    4 Hours

Multivariate statistical methods for analyzing and modeling spatial data and processes. Regression methods, including spatial autoregressive and spatial varying parameter models. Principal components, cluster analysis and other multivariate methods. Applications in an interactive computer-based environment.
Course Fee: $50

GEOS 521   Seminar in Geomorphology    3 Hours

A review of topics in advanced geomorphology, field and laboratory procedures, and an introduction to research in landform analysis. Research in instructor approved geomorphic topics.

GEOS 545   Aqueous Geochemistry    3 Hours

An introduction to geochemical processes of surface and ground water including concentrations of ions and organic compounds, chemical equilibria, and analytical techniques. Carbonate and clay minerals will be studied in detail.

GEOS 560   Environmental Geology    3 Hours

The interrelationships of geologic processes, earth materials, and human activities. Assessment of geologic factors with respect to site selection, energy production, land use, waste disposal, planning, water resources, engineering practices, and the recognition and control of geologic hazards. Class exercises stress the application of geologic knowledge to specific environmental situations.

GEOS 561   Hydrogeology    3 Hours

Origin, occurrence, and movement of ground water; water wells and aquifer evaluations; exploratory investigations; quality of ground water supplies; legal aspects.

GEOS 563   Geology of Fossil Fuels    3 Hours

Formation of coal, petroleum, and natural gas including depositional setting, source materials, and processes of thermal maturation. Stratigraphic and structural relations, modes of occurrence, exploration techniques, and resource evaluation are emphasized. Field trip required.

Imperial Barrel Award    3 Hours

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. This is a specialized course for students (up to five team members) to participate in the popular Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) competition held by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) annually. Students are provided with real-world subsurface dataset of a petroleum play that include wireline logs, 3D seismic data, core, petrophysical data, and etc. Students analyze the dataset using a seismic workstation for determining petroleum prospect of the area. In showcasing their results, particularly suggesting future drilling locations, students collectively give several presentations, including one at Pittsburgh, PA in front of official judges.

GEOS 565   Geophysics    3 Hours

The fundamentals of general and exploration geophysics. Topics include the origin of the earth and solar system, the earth's interior, geochronology, gravity and isostasy, seismology, the earth's heat, geomagnetism, upper atmosphere, continents and ocean basins, ridges and island arcs, and plate tectonics. The theory and applications of exploration geophysics are also covered, especially gravity, magnetic, and seismic methods.

GEOS 570   Tectonics    3 Hours

A fascinating interdisciplinary course that not only motivates academia, but also draws governmental and private environmental and geological agencies who are interested in mineral, groundwater and petroleum resources, and mitigating natural hazards like landslide, tsunami, karst and sinkholes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes that affect global population on a daily basis. It is an interactive venue of various components of Earth’s systems as they evolve over time and space.  This course will provide you the robust understanding of global tectonics, directly or indirectly influencing all components of Earth’s systems, a plate tectonic paradigm to understand Earth’s evolution. You will be able to gather in-depth knowledge in active and past global tectonic activities and environments, recent advances in the field of tectonics, mantle plumes and processes, current plate motions, implication of tectonics for environmental changes and natural hazards, natural resources, large igneous provinces, rifted continental margins, oceanic ridges, geothermal energy, subduction and transform zones, past and present orogeny, North American tectonics, sedimentary basins, tectonic geomorphology, thermochronology and interplay between climate-tectonics and landforms.

GEOS 510   Geoscience Research Topics    1-3 Hours (repeatable max of 6 hrs)

Supervised independent research in applied or basic geoscience topics.

GEOS 510 Sequence Stratigraphy  3 Hours

Sequence stratigraphy deals with genetically-linked, hiatus-bounded strata in a chronostratigraphic framework. Broadly, in this course you will learn how to think and communicate like a sequence stratigrapher within the wider context of sedimentary geology. Specifically, this course will introduce you with various concepts and tools of sequence stratigraphy that will help you in your project research, and in your professional career to carry out your job successfully.

GEOS 555   Global Climate Change    3 Hours

Explores the science behind climate change, including how models, observations, and proxies are used to understand and predict past and future climate, international perspectives on global climate change, and mitigation strategies put forth by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

GEOS 559   Hydrological Fluid Dynamics    3 Hours

Focus on how fluids respond to the application of forces and their impact on the movement of natural waters within the context of the hydrologic cycle. (Field trips required.)

GEOS 566   Karst Geoscience    3 Hours

Focus on the geological, geomorphological, and hydrological processes of karst landscapes, including human-environment interactions over time, with emphasis on the characterization, distribution, and function of various karst systems. Field trips and field-based exercises are required.

GEOS 575   GIS Analysis and Modeling    3 Hours

Develops expertise with a broad range of spatial analysis functions applied with a cartographic modeling framework.

GEOS 501   Geoscience and Development    3 Hours

Topical seminar examining current issues and trends of the discipline and related fields, recent research, and the role of science in society, technology and culture.

GEOS 576   GIS Programming    3 Hours

Planning and implementing GIS within an organization. Designing and developing GIS applications to support spatial decision making.

GEOS 595   Geoscience Practicum    3-6 Hours (repeatable max of 6 hrs)

Supervised geoscience practicum experience in a cooperating government or private agency, business, or community.

GEOS 599   Thesis Writing and Research    1-6 Hours (repeatable max of 6 hrs)

Thesis research and writing directed by faculty committee.
Grade Mode: Pass/Fail

GEOS 600   Maintain Matriculation    1-6 Hours (repeatable max of 6 hrs)

Continued enrollment for thesis completion.
Grade Mode: Non-graded

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 Last Modified 6/27/18