Geology

 
COURSE OFFERINGS
 
111j    Geology of National Parks    Introduces basic geologic processes including plate tectonics, geologic time, weathering and erosion, volcanism, earthquakes, caverns, shorelines, and the rock cycle. Explores the regional geology of the United States with a focus on each region's parks and monuments. Topics include physical and historical geology, regional geography, environmental issues, the beauty of nature, and the interactive processes that have shaped the United States. Lecture only. Does not earn laboratory science credit. Three credit hours.  N.    RUEGER

[112]    Exploring the Physical Earth    An exploration of the physical processes and composition of the Earth around us, with emphasis on the relevance of the earth sciences to real-world environments. Plate tectonics, rocks and minerals, hazards, resource creation, and surface processes will be covered. Examples will be drawn from environmental applications, hazards, and resource extraction issues. Student teams will be responsible for at least half of the presentations, constructed with faculty guidance. Labs will focus on real-life applications pertinent to educated citizens, including resource extraction and waste management. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing. Four credit hours.  N.    

[127]    Deep Time Africa    The African continent holds keys to unraveling paradoxes of Earth history upon which mankind has based itself and its cultural heritage. Aspects of Africa's four-billion-year history with concentrations in time, plate tectonic theory, diamonds, gold, evolution, extinctions, and the rise of humankind. Lecture only. Does not earn lab science credit. Four credit hours.  N.    

141fs    Earth and Environment    Environmental issues begin with Earth materials and processes. Provides the conceptual framework for understanding Earth systems and how these operate over the short term (generational lifespan) and long term (geological time frame). The importance of understanding geologic systems as they pertain to human endeavors will be a theme throughout, including geologic hazards, resource exploitation, land-use planning, waste management, and potential solutions to environmental problems. Lecture and laboratory. Gateway to geology major. Four credit hours.  N.    REYNOLDS, RUEGER, SULLIVAN

142s    Deciphering Earth History    Within the crustal rocks of planet Earth is the evidence that can be used to understand the patterns and processes that have shaped the world we know. Designed to investigate the physical and biological patterns and processes that can be deciphered from Earth's historical record, as well as the impact these have had on the evolution of the planet over the past 4.6 billion years. The focus is on North America, but global-scale Earth systems are included. Lecture and laboratory; laboratory includes a two-week project at the end of the semester. Prerequisite: Geology 131 or 141. Four credit hours.  N.    GASTALDO

[151]    Introduction to Volcanoes and Volcanology    An introduction to the scientific study of volcanoes and volcanic phenomena; includes an introduction to global plate tectonics, origins and chemistry of magmas and volcanic gases, reasons for differing eruptive styles and the resulting landforms, impacts of volcanic eruptions, distribution of volcanoes, and areas of high volcanic risk. Cannot be counted toward the geology major. Three credit hours.  N.    

153j    Meteorology    An introduction to the atmosphere and various meteorological phenomena. Through the use of lecture, text, applied exercises, and the Internet, students will gain an understanding of not only the basic principles of meteorology but how to forecast weather patterns using many of the same tools that are used by meteorologists today. Formerly offered as Geology 197. Does not earn laboratory science credit. Three credit hours.  N.    EPSTEIN

225s    Mineralogy    Physical properties and chemical structure of minerals leading to investigation of the chemical composition and optical properties of minerals. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: Geology 141, Chemistry 141 (may be taken concurrently). Four credit hours.    REYNOLDS

231f    Structural Geology    Processes and results of deformation of rocks, including stress and strain, faults, folds, joints, and rock fabrics. Formerly listed as Geology 331. Prerequisite: Geology 142. Four credit hours.    SULLIVAN

251f    The Record of Life on Earth    The biological record of Earth history encompasses unicellular to multicellular organisms that have inhabited non-analogue worlds. An examination of the processes responsible for preservation of marine and terrestrial biota, the application of the fossil record to solving problems in evolution and diversity, morphology and systematics, and ecology and climatology. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: Geology 142 or one year of biology. Four credit hours.    GASTALDO

254s    Principles of Geomorphology     The origin, history, and classification of landforms and the processes that shape the Earth's surface. Emphasis on study of physical processes. Lecture and laboratory; laboratory focus is on aerial-photograph and topographic-map interpretation, ability to recognize geologic significance of particular landforms. At least one all-day field trip required. Prerequisite: Geology 141. Four credit hours.    NELSON

[279]    Geology of Bermuda     An introduction to the geology of an island environment created solely from calcium carbonate remains of marine organisms; introduction to carbonate-secreting organisms, sedimentation, and reworking of carbonate grains into secondary geologic environments. Lecture and laboratory, with course work at Colby and an extended field excursion in Bermuda. Estimated cost: $2,000. Formerly listed as Geology 179. Prerequisite: Geology 131 or 141. Three credit hours.    

331s    Plate Tectonics    Primary-literature-synthesis course designed to guide students through the topic of plate tectonics from the development of the theory to some modern-day theories on crustal growth and plate-boundary interactions. By the end of the course students will be able to: (1) piece together a broad-scale interpretation of the evolution of an active or ancient plate boundary using data and interpretations gleaned from the primary scientific literature and (2) use basic thermochronologic, geophysical, geological, and geospatial data sets to interpret plate boundary interactions. Formerly offered as Geology 398. Prerequisite: Geology 231. Four credit hours.    SULLIVAN

[332]    Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology    A field-, lab-, and lecture-based investigation of the classification, compositional variation, occurrence, and origin of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: Geology 225. Four credit hours.    

[342]    Past Terrestrial Ecosystems     Ecosystems on Earth that we now take to be self-evident are a product of their very recent evolution in response to climate change, ecological perturbation, and changing geographies. Earth's terrestrial environment was dramatically different in the deep past, with an array of non-analogue assemblages distributed across landscapes within different continental configurations and climatic patterns. This project-based course is designed to investigate several of these states through geologic time using primary literature. Readings, presentations, and synthetic papers will provide for a comprehensive understanding of critical intervals of Earth history on the journey to our present world. Prerequisite: Geology 251 for geology majors; Biology 164 for biology majors. Four credit hours.    

[354]    Glacial and Quaternary Geology    The origin and development of glaciers and their influence on the landscape, both as erosive forces and as transporters of earth materials. Geological and biological evolution of the landscape during the Quaternary, the most recent of the geological periods. Lecture and laboratory with field trips (including two required all-day Saturday trips). Prerequisite: Geology 254, or Geology 142 with a grade of B or better. Four credit hours.    

356s    Sedimentation and Stratigraphy    The processes of sedimentation, methods of analysis of sediments, interpretation of depositional environments, classification and description of sedimentary rocks, and study of the relationships and correlation of sedimentary rocks. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: Geology 225. Four credit hours.    GASTALDO

[372]    Quaternary Paleoecology    Reconstruction of biological environments on land for the recent geologic past, based on the fossil remains of plants and animals preserved in sediments. Emphasis on the use of pollen in reconstructing past vegetation types, but other groups of organisms and what they can tell about past environments are included. Extrapolation of past climatic parameters from the biological data. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: Geology 142 and Chemistry 141; Geology 251 or Biology 271 is recommended. Four credit hours.    

391fs    Geology Seminar    Paper discussions and presentations from invited guest lecturers on topics of current interest in all areas of the geosciences. Majors must complete three seminars during their course of study. Nongraded. One credit hour.    GASTALDO

397f    Topics in Geochemistry     Uses lecture and primary literature to demonstrate how geochemistry has contributed to our knowledge of geological processes on Earth and other planets. Radiogenic isotopes, stable isotopes, and trace elements are used to unravel salient problems in geology such as the timing of Earth's differentiation into a core, mantle, and crust. Geological problems on Mars, Moon, and asteroids are also explored. Laboratory component incorporates data collection using the Scanning Electron Microscope and emphasizes data analysis for multiple geochemical systems. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: Geology 225. Four credit hours.    REYNOLDS

483f, 484s    Senior Honors Project    Research conducted under the guidance of a faculty member and focused on an approved topic leading to the writing of an honors thesis and an oral presentation of the research results. Prerequisite: Senior standing as a geology major and permission of the department chair. Three or four credit hours.    FACULTY

491f, 492s    Independent Study    Field and laboratory problems in geology or environmental geology, with final written report (see requirements for Honors in Geology option) and formal presentation in a professional context. Students should consult with major advisors in the spring of their junior year. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. One to four credit hours.    FACULTY

[493]    Problems in the Geosciences     Pre- and post-Colonial vegetation changes in central Maine. Are modern forests comparable in composition to those of 1,000 years ago? Investigation of the changes in vegetation from late pre-Colonial times through forest clearing, farming, and post-World War II farm abandonment and forest regeneration, based on pollen analysis of sediments from selected basins. Prerequisite: Geology 372. Four credit hours.