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Geology (GEO) Course Descriptions

Department of Geological Sciences, College of Sciences


NOTE: All prerequisites required for Geology (GEO) courses or courses counted toward major or minor requirements in geology must be completed with a grade of “C-” or better.

GEO 1013  The Third Planet [TCCN: GEOL 1301.]
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
Evolution of ideas concerning the earth’s origin, structure, and age; social impact of recognizing the antiquity of the planet and humankind’s brief presence; examination of how the distribution of planetary resources influenced the rise and clash of civilizations. May not be applied to a major in geology. May apply toward the Core Curriculum requirement in Life and Physical Sciences.

GEO 1103  Physical Geology [TCCN: GEOL 1303.]
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: Completion of or concurrent enrollment in MAT 1093 or higher, or satisfactory performance on placement exam. Completion of or concurrent enrollment in GEO 1111 required.
The earth as a dynamic planet; relation of the earth’s present processes to its resources, structure, and internal composition. Nature of minerals and rocks, the hydrosphere, tectonics, earthquakes, volcanism, and surface features of the earth. (Formerly titled “Introduction to Earth Systems.”)

GEO 1111  Physical Geology Laboratory [TCCN: GEOL 1103.]
(1-3) 1 hour credit. Prerequisite: Completion of or concurrent enrollment in GEO 1103.
Relation of the earth’s present processes to its resources, structure, and internal composition. Field and laboratory study of minerals, rocks, maps, and aerial and satellite photos. Field trips may be required. (Formerly titled “Introduction to Earth Systems Laboratory.”)

GEO 1123  Life Through Time [TCCN: GEOL 1304.]
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
The origin of Earth and the interaction of plate tectonics, mountain building, evolution of the oceans and climate, and the history and development of life from the Archean to the present. Concurrent enrollment in GEO 1131 recommended. May apply toward the Core Curriculum requirement in Life and Physical Sciences. (Formerly titled “Earth History.”)

GEO 1131  Life Through Time Laboratory [TCCN: GEOL 1104.]
(1-3) 1 hour credit. Prerequisite: Completion of or concurrent enrollment in GEO 1123.
Field and laboratory study of fossils and rock sequences; interpretation of earth history. Field trips may be required. (Formerly titled “Earth History Laboratory.”)

GEO 2003  Mineralogy
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: CHE 1103, CHE 1121, GEO 1103, GEO 1111, MAT 1093 or higher, or satisfactory performance on placement exam. Completion of or concurrent enrollment in GEO 2011.
Crystallography, crystal chemistry, and the physical and optical properties of minerals. Principles of optical mineralogy and the microscopic determination of nonopaque minerals. Field trips may be required.

GEO 2011  Mineralogy Laboratory
(1-4) 1 hour credit. Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in GEO 2003.
Laboratory study of crystal models, crystals, and minerals. Use of the petrographic microscope for mineral identification. Field trips may be required. (Formerly GEO 2012. Credit cannot be earned for both GEO 2011 and GEO 2012.)

GEO 2113  Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
(2-2) 3 hours credit. Prerequisite: CS 1173 or equivalent.
This course will serve as a basic introduction to the concepts and techniques of utilizing a Geographic Information System (GIS) to study and model environmental issues. In lecture and laboratory, students will study methods of querying, analyzing, creating and displaying GIS data utilizing industry standard software. Students will also be introduced to using the Global Positioning System (GPS) as a means for creating GIS data. (Formerly ES 2113 and ES 4043. Credit cannot be earned for more than one of the following: GEO 2113, ES 2113, or ES 4043.)

GEO 3004  Rocks, Fossils, and Global Tectonics
(2-4) 4 hours credit. Prerequisites: GEO 1103 and GEO 1111.
An investigation of the major rock forming minerals, petrogenesis of the major rock types, and their plate tectonic context. Study of major trends in fauna and flora through time and their application to interpreting plate tectonics, paleoenvironments, and paleoclimate. Credit may not be applied to a B.S. or B.A. major in Geology.

GEO 3043  Petrology
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: GEO 2003, GEO 2011, GEO 3112, MAT 1214, and concurrent enrollment in GEO 3051.
Description, classification, occurrence, and origin of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Field trips may be required.

GEO 3051  Petrology Laboratory
(1-4) 1 hour credit. Prerequisites: GEO 2003, GEO 2011, and concurrent enrollment in GEO 3043.
Laboratory study of igneous and metamorphic rocks in hand specimen and thin section. Field trips may be required. (Formerly GEO 3052. Credit cannot be earned for both GEO 3051 and GEO 3052.)

GEO 3063  Paleontology
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: GEO 1103, GEO 1111, GEO 1123, GEO 1131, GEO 3123, GEO 3131, or consent of instructor, and concurrent enrollment in GEO 3071.
Study of fossil animals and plants. Emphasis on invertebrate animals. Systematics, biostratigraphy, paleoecology, and evolution of fossil organisms. Field trips may be required.

GEO 3071  Paleontology Laboratory
(1-3) 1 hour credit. Prerequisites: GEO 1103, GEO 1111, GEO 1123, GEO 1131, GEO 3123, GEO 3131, and concurrent enrollment in GEO 3063.
Study of fossil specimens, collections, and preparation techniques. Field trips may be required.

GEO 3103  Structural Geology
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: GEO 3043, GEO 3051, and concurrent enrollment in GEO 3111.
Response of earth materials to natural stresses. Description and origin of geologic structures. Field trips may be required.

GEO 3111  Structural Geology Laboratory
(1-3) 1 hour credit. Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in GEO 3103.
Laboratory study of geologic structures using maps, cross-sections, photographs, and descriptive geometric and stereographic methods. Field trips may be required.

GEO 3112  Geologic Field Investigations
(1-4) 2 hours credit. Prerequisites: GEO 1111 and GEO 1131, or consent of instructor. Introduction to techniques for studying geologic features and processes in the field, including rock identification, construction of geological maps, orientation analysis, and report writing. Concurrent enrollment in GEO 4933 or GEO 4943 is not permitted. Some half-day and Saturday field trips may be required. (Formerly GEO 3113. Credit cannot be earned for both GEO 3112 and GEO 3113.)

GEO 3123  Sedimentation and Stratigraphy
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: GEO 1123, GEO 1131, GEO 2003, GEO 2011, GEO 3112, and concurrent enrollment in GEO 3131. Processes of erosion, transportation, and deposition that form bodies of sedimentary rock. Depositional systems and modeling are a significant area of study. Stratigraphic principles and temporal and spatial facies relationships at various scales. Field trips may be required. (Formerly titled “Sedimentary Geology.”)

GEO 3131  Sedimentation and Stratigraphy Laboratory
(1-3) 1 hour credit. Prerequisites: GEO 2003, GEO 2011, and concurrent enrollment in GEO 3123.
Laboratory studies of sedimentary processes and their products. Hand specimens, thin sections, sedimentary structures, and interpretation of depositional environments. Stratigraphic case studies, including surface, subsurface, and sequence stratigraphic analysis. Field trips may be required. (Formerly titled “Sedimentary Geology Laboratory.”)

GEO 3143  Economic Geology
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: GEO 2003, GEO 2011, and concurrent enrollment in GEO 3151.
Origin and occurrence of economic natural resources including metallic ore deposits, industrial minerals, and fossil fuels. Field trips may be required.

GEO 3151  Economic Geology Laboratory
(1-3) 1 hour credit. Prerequisites: GEO 2003, GEO 2011, and concurrent enrollment in GEO 3143.
Laboratory study of ore specimens and industrial minerals from important ore localities. Field trips may be required.

GEO 3163  Oceanography
(3-0) 3 hours credit.
General oceanography, with emphasis on marine geology and especially the continental margins. An optional field trip may be offered.

GEO 3374  Geochemistry
(2-4) 4 hours credit. Prerequisites: GEO 1103, GEO 1111, CHE 1103, CHE 1121, and MAT 1093.
A survey of geochemical processes and the distribution of elements in the earth. Application of geochemical methods and data to the solution of geologic problems. Includes geochemical laboratory experiments and use of analytical equipment. Incorporates use of standard computer software for analysis of geochemical data and graphing of results.

GEO 3383  General Geophysics
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisites or Corequisites: MAT 1224 and PHY 1623 or PHY 1963.
This course examines the interrelated geology and physics of the Earth’s interior as deduced from earthquake seismology, gravity and magnetic fields, and the application of geophysical methods to the exploration of near-surface cultural and natural resources. Topics in archeological, environmental, and engineering geophysics will be explored through the methods of refraction seismology, electrical resistivity, electromagnetic induction, microgravity, and ground penetrating radar. Field trips may be required.

GEO 3393  Introduction to Isotope Geochemistry
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: GEO 1103, GEO 1111, CHE 1103, CHE 1121, and MAT 1093; or GEO 3374.
The course includes a review of theories of nuclear structure, stability of nucleus, nucleosynthesis and origin of elements, and introduces both radiogenic and stable isotope geochemistry. Topics include radioactive decay schemes for tritium-helium, U-Pb, Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, K-Ar, and U-Th-Pb-He systems; isotopic fractionations of stable isotopes of C, H, O, N, and S; and application of radiogenic and stable isotopes to petrology, evolution of the crust and mantle, geochronology, geothermometry, archaeology, ecology, hydrology, and paleoclimatic interpretation.

GEO 4013  Volcanology
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisite: GEO 3043 or consent of instructor.
A survey of volcanoes and volcanic processes, including historically important volcanic eruptions and the prediction and mitigation of volcanic hazards. Field trips may be required.

GEO 4023  Engineering Geology
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: PHY 1923 (engineering majors only) or PHY 1603 or PHY 1943, and MAT 1214; or consent of instructor.
Geologic factors in construction. Geotechnical properties of minerals, rocks, and soils. Case studies. Field trips may be required. (Formerly GEO 3023. Credit cannot be earned for both GEO 4023 and GEO 3023.)

GEO 4063  Environmental Geology
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: GEO 1103 and GEO 1111.
An analysis of human interaction with geologic systems; the risks and effects of natural geologic hazards such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and floods. Topics will include the effects of human activity on natural systems such as groundwater quality and recharge, river systems, and coasts. The meaning of “geologic repository” for human waste disposal and how the concept is applied will also be addressed.

GEO 4093  Principles of Remote Sensing
(2-2) 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: MAT 1073 or higher and PHY 1603 or PHY 1943.
This course will provide a thorough introduction to remote sensing theory, technology, and application. The emphasis in this course is on understanding the underlying principles of acquiring, interpreting, and applying data from imaging systems covering the electromagnetic spectrum from the ultraviolet through the microwave. (Formerly ES 4093. Credit cannot be earned for both GEO 4093 and ES 4093.)

GEO 4113  Geomorphology
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: GEO 1103 or GRG 2613, or consent of instructor, and junior or senior standing, and concurrent enrollment in GEO 4121.
Examination of landforms on the Earth’s surface and landscape-forming processes. Field trips may be required.

GEO 4121  Geomorphology Laboratory
(1-3) 1 hour credit. Prerequisites: GEO 1103 or GRG 2613, or consent of instructor, and junior or senior standing, and concurrent enrollment in GEO 4113.
Interpretation of landforms and their formative processes from maps, aerial photographs, and calculations. Field trips may be required.

GEO 4623  Ground-Water Hydrology
(3-0) 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: GEO 1103, GEO 1111, PHY 1603 or PHY 1943, and MAT 1214.
Hydrologic cycle and the theory of underground water. Recharge and discharge of aquifers; water quality; exploration and development of ground-water supplies. Field trips may be required.

GEO 4911-3  Independent Study
1 to 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: Permission in writing (form available) of the instructor, the student’s advisor, the Department Chair, and the Dean of the College in which the course is offered.
Independent reading, research, discussion, and/or writing under the direction of a faculty member. May be repeated for credit, but not more than 6 semester credit hours, regardless of discipline, will apply to a bachelor’s degree in geology.

GEO 4933  Field Geology Part I
(1-6) 3 hours credit. Prerequisites: GEO 3103 and GEO 3111, or consent of instructor.
Part I: Field mapping and measurements. Field trips are required. (Formerly GEO 4946. Credit cannot be earned for both GEO 4933 and GEO 4946.)

GEO 4943  Field Geology Part II
(1-6) 3 hours credit. Prerequisite: GEO 4933 or consent of instructor.
Part II: Field mapping and measurements. Field trips are required. (Formerly GEO 4946. Credit cannot be earned for both GEO 4943 and GEO 4946.)

GEO 4951-3  Special Studies in Geology
(1-0, 2-0, 3-0) 1 to 3 hours credit. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
An organized course offering the opportunity for specialized study not normally or not often available as part of the regular course offerings. Special Studies may be repeated for credit when the topics vary, but not more than 6 semester credit hours, regardless of discipline, will apply to a bachelor’s degree.

GEO 4993  Honors Research
3 hours credit. Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to candidates for College Honors during their last two semesters; approval by the College Honors Committee.
Supervised research and preparation of an honors thesis. May be repeated only once with approval.


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