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|This page was last updated: 07/04/01 04:00:14 AM|
Chair, Professor Robert Gastaldo
Professors Donald Allen, Robert Nelson, and Gastaldo; Assistant Professor Jennifer Shosa; Senior Teaching Associate Bruce Rueger
If one is interested in Earthhow it developed its present characteristics and what may happen to it in the future, where life originated, and what supports us on the planet, the physical and hydrologic framework for the environment, and our resources and their usegeology is a central area of study.
The Department of Geology possesses extensive rock, mineral, and fossil collections as a basis from which to investigate Earth, a state-of-the-art powder x-ray diffractometer for determining mineral identities, various geophysical instruments, new sets of classroom stereo and petrographic microscopes, and one of the College's two scanning electron microscopes, as well as specialized equipment for student and faculty research. Additional research equipment, shared with the departments of Chemistry and Biology, includes a new C,H,N,O Analyzer. The setting of the College also provides an intriguing area for field study. Students are encouraged to work on independent projects and to develop ways of actively examining and interpreting observational data; majors are expected to undertake and complete independent research as part of their undergraduate training. Geology-environmental science majors usually complete this requirement through Geology 494.
Fieldwork is an integral part of many courses and introduces students to many aspects of local and regional geology. Multi-day off-campus trips also are scheduled regularly to localities and areas of particular geologic interest, such as the Hartford Basin of Connecticut, the Mohawk Valley or Catskill Mountains of New York, or Campobello Island in New Brunswick.
The department offers four major programs and a minor for students with different interests. The point scale for retention of the major applies to all courses taken in the major; no requirement may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.
Students should know that for most professional geological careers, graduate school training will be necessary. Those anticipating entering graduate school immediately upon graduation strongly should consider completing as many major course requirements as possible by the end of their junior year to be prepared to take the Graduate Record Exam in geology in the fall of their senior year; geology-biology and geology-environmental science majors may be underprepared for some parts of the exam.
Requirements for the Major in Geology
The Earth science option is offered for students planning to teach in the secondary schools; the requirements are: Geology 141, 142, 225, 226, 251, 351, 356, and at least three hours of 491 or 492; Chemistry 141; Science, Technology, and Society 215. (Students who elect this major option and then decide to enter graduate school in geology will need to complete the remainder of the courses required for the basic geology major to be prepared adequately.)
The environmental science option is designed to provide students with a core of geology courses supplemented by environmentally related courses from other departments; it is intended for those students who particularly are interested in the geological aspects of environmental science. The requirements are: Geology 141, 142, 225, 353, 356, and 494; Biology 161, 162, 271; Chemistry 141, 142, 217 (or any of the following: 241, 242, 331, 332); Mathematics 121, 231; Physics 141; Economics 133, 231.
Requirements for the Major in Geology-Biology, designed for those students whose interests bridge the two disciplines or who are interested particularly in paleontology. The requirements are: Geology 141, 142, 225, 251, 356, 372, and at least three hours of 491 or 492; Biology 161, 162, 271, and one other course chosen from 211, 212, 214, 216, 252, 279, 312, 352, 354, 357, 375; Chemistry 141, 142; Mathematics 121 and one course chosen from Mathematics 122, 231, 381. The point scale for retention of the major applies to all courses in geology and biology.
Students should consult one of the major advisors regarding election of languages and other required courses in the first and sophomore years.
Requirements for a Minor in Geology
 Introduction to Environmental Geology An examination of both the controls of human activities by geology and the impact of humans on natural geologic processes; a survey of fundamental geologic processes and associated hazards (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, etc.); the exploitation of geologic resources (energy, minerals, water, soils); and topics such as pollution, waste disposal, and land-use planning. An opportunity to discuss, from a geologic perspective, the ramifications of and potential solutions to problems associated with Earth's resources. Satisfies the non-laboratory science area distribution requirement. Cannot be counted toward the geology major. Not open to students who have already completed Geology 141. Three credit hours. N.
141fs Physical Processes of Planet Earth The study of the Earth as a physical environment. Includes study of the composition of earth materials and the processes that have produced and continue to modify the modern Earth, from plate tectonics and volcanoes to streams and glaciation. Lecture and laboratory; laboratories include mandatory field trips, including an all-day weekend trip to the Maine coast. Four credit hours. N. NELSON
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. The course is 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 141. Four credit hours. N. GASTALDO
 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.
 Paleontology for Non-majors An introduction to the principles of paleontology, the scientific study of fossils. Lecture and laboratory; laboratory work concentrates on environmental interpretation through the use of fossils. Cannot be counted toward the geology major. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Three credit hours. N.
 Oceanography A descriptive introduction to physical, geological, and biological oceanography. Topics include the structure and composition of the ocean and its floor; tides, currents, and other important dynamic features; the nature of ocean life. The value of the oceans for food and physical resources is discussed. Cannot be counted toward the geology major. Three credit hours. N.
 Wetlands and Wetland Science Wetlands are ecosystems that have come under intense scientific, social, economic, and political focus in recent years. The diversity of wetland types found in the world (while focusing on wetlands in the United States) and the role of wetlands in natural ecosystem function. Physical as well as organic-based processes examined with particular emphasis on a multi-disciplinary scope of investigation. The cause and effect of wetland destruction and degradation in the United States within social, economic, and regulatory frameworks. Prerequisite: One or more of the following: Biology 161, Chemistry 112 or 141, Geology 131 or 141. Two credit hours.
 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. Students must cover costs of travel to and accommodations in Bermuda. Estimated cost: $1750-1850 (dependent on number of participants.) Prerequisite: Geology 141. Three credit hours.
225f 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. ALLEN
226s Optical Mineralogy A continuation of the study of minerals utilizing their optical properties, as studied by petrographic microscope analysis of thin sections and x-ray powder diffraction techniques. Prerequisite: Geology 225. Four credit hours. ALLEN
251f The Record of Life on Earth The biological record of Earth history encompasses unicellular to multicellular organisms that have inhabited non-analogue worlds. The course examines 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
 Micropaleontology An independent study laboratory course covering one or more of the major microfossil groups. Emphasis on identification, age determination, and environmental interpretation. Prerequisite: Geology 251. Four credit hours.
 Advanced Invertebrate Paleontology An independent study laboratory course involving a detailed investigation of one or more invertebrate groups. Emphasis on identification, age determination, and environmental interpretation. Prerequisite: Geology 251. One to four credit hours.
 Field Geology A course of studies to be conducted off campus in a region whose climate permits field study of geologic features. Emphasis placed on development of fundamental concepts, analysis of field data, field identification of lithotypes, basic mapping techniques, and recognition of geomorphic features and their genetic significance. Grades are based on field notes, reports, and maps submitted following independent projects to be conducted periodically over the duration of the course. Prerequisite: Geology 141 and permission of the instructor. Two or three credit hours.
331f Structural Geology Processes and results of deformation of rocks, including stress and strain, faults, folds, joints, and rock fabrics. Prerequisite: Geology 142. Four credit hours. SHOSA
332s Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology Structured as a continuation of Geology 331. Hand-specimen and thin-section examination of igneous and metamorphic rocks to determine structure, composition, and origin. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: Geology 226. Four credit hours. ALLEN
351f 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, 142 or 331; students completing only Geology 141 with a grade of B or better will be admitted but should consult with instructor prior to registration. Four credit hours. NELSON
353s Groundwater Hydrology A survey of the hydrologic cycle, with specific attention to those components of the cycle related to the sources and occurrence of groundwater resources; the factors that govern the movement of groundwater through aquifers and the physical and chemical changes that result from passage through the hydrologic cycle. An introduction to techniques used in groundwater quantity and quality investigations. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: Geology 141, 142 and Mathematics 121 or 123. Four credit hours. SHOSA
354s 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). Normally offered in odd-numbered years. Prerequisite: Geology 142. Four credit hours. NELSON
356s Sedimentation and Stratigraphy A course covering 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
 Geological Field Study A spring recess field trip to a selected area. Students must cover expenses. Prerequisite: At least concurrent registration in Geology 142 and permission of the instructor. One credit hour.
 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 will be 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. Normally offered in even-numbered years. (Though this course is offered spring semester, it requires an all-day field trip the first Saturday of the preceding fall semester.) Prerequisite: Geology 142 and Chemistry 141; Geology 251 or Biology 271 is recommended. Four credit hours.
374f Ore Deposits An investigation of the genesis and localization of ore deposits. Topics may include the history of mineral deposits, materials, and formation of ore deposits, supergene sulfide enrichment, paragenesis and zoning, epigenetic versus syngenetic deposits, magmatic segregation deposits, and mineral deposits related to regional tectonic environments. Some Saturday field trips may be required. Prerequisite: Geology 225 and Chemistry 141. Four credit hours. ALLEN
491f, 492s Independent Study Field and laboratory problems in geology or environmental geology, with regular reports and a final written report. Students should consult with major advisors in the spring of their junior years. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. One to four credit hours. FACULTY
 Advanced Environmental Geology Selected topics dealing with environmental quality. Extensive individual investigation. Prerequisite: Geology 141 and 353. Three or four credit hours.
Every effort is made to ensure that this information is correct. If you received conflicting information, have questions, or would like clarification, please contact the Registrar's Office at 207-872-3000.
Colby is a four-year, residential, liberal arts college in Waterville, Maine. Colby offers undergraduate courses during fall and spring semesters and grants bachelors of arts degrees.