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About the Major

Whether a student wants to be a geoscientist or pursue another career path, Hamilton’s geoscience program gives them the foundation to better understand our geologically active planet. Students work closely and collaboratively with professors and fellow students in the lab and field to study modern active geological processes and the archive of past Earth processes in the rock record. They gain experience in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting critical data, and in communicating essential ideas both to advance science and to make a difference for our future Earth.

Students Will Learn To:

  • Evaluate, using reliable sources, the current state of knowledge, major controversies, and unknowns about a geoscience topic
  • Collect appropriate data to solve geologic problems 
  • Defend arguments with evidence
  • Effectively communicate to a variety of audiences the geological ideas and data that inform decision-making involving geoscience issues 

A Sampling of Courses

waterville research

Advanced Hydrogeology and the Environment

Advanced topics in hydrogeology, including geochemical principles, an introduction to contaminant transport, computer modeling of groundwater flow and studies of landfills, hazardous waste sites and other environmental problems. Three hours of class and two hour lab/discussion with field trips.

Explore these select courses:

A study of Earth’s mineral deposits and energy resources, their distribution, origin, economic significance, and the environmental impact of their extraction and consumption. Not open to students who have taken any other course in Principles of Geology. Maximum enrollment 24. Bailey

This course focused on how the fundamentals of sedimentology and stratigraphy can be used to reconstruct past environments and study how they change through time. This will include a study of the classification of siliciclastic and carbonate rocks, how the energy of systems controls the type of rocks deposited, and the paleoclimatic/tectonic significance of depositional sequences. Three hours of class and three hours of laboratory with field trips.

Digital data collection using UAVs and smart phones has become an important tool for geologists to develop high resolution images and 3-D models of field terrains and outcrops. In this seminar, students will have a hands-on, in-depth experience with the methods, uses, and limitations of Structure from Motion photogrammetry in geoscience field work and research.

A study of the atmospheric environment. Topics include the Earth’s atmosphere, temperature, humidity, condensation, cloud development, precipitation, winds, air masses, storms and climate. Three hours of class and three hours (TBA) of laboratory/discussion.

A field study of the geology of southern and central Arizona. Emphasis will be placed on examining evidence of large-scale geologic processes and how humans interact with, are influenced by, and modify the natural environment. A 10-day, intensive field course emphasizing experiential learning. Course will involve moderate hiking in remote areas. January 2020; extra cost; one-half credit. Prerequisite; any 100-level Geoscience course and permission of instructors.

Meet Our Faculty

Catherine Beck

Chair and Associate Professor of Geosciences

ccbeck@hamilton.edu

sedimentology, stratigraphy, paleolimnology, paleoenvironmental reconstruction

David Bailey

Winslow Chair of Modern Science and Professor of Geosciences

dbailey@hamilton.edu

geochemistry and petrogenesis of Miocene volcanic rocks in the Powder River Volcanic Field; history of igneous and tectonic activity in the northeastern United States; the mineralogy of New York State

Kris Kusnerik

Visiting Assistant Professor of Geosciences

kkusneri@hamilton.edu

conservation paleobiology, invertebrate paleontology, taphonomy, and quantitative paleoecology

Todd Rayne

Joel W. Johnson Family Professor of Environmental Science, Director of Environmental Studies

trayne@hamilton.edu

hydrogeology and environmental geology

Nicolas Roberts

Assistant Professor of Geosciences

nmrobert@hamilton.edu

Barbara Tewksbury

Upson Chair of Public Discourse, Professor of Geosciences

btewksbu@hamilton.edu

structural geology and geoscience education

Explore Hamilton Stories

Claire Williams Florida Freshwater Rivers Research - Manatee in the water

Improving Conservation for Florida's Rivers and Their Inhabitants

Communications and Marketing Office student intern Claire Williams ’25 conducted research earlier this summer on “Conservation Paleobiology in Florida Freshwater Rivers” with Visiting Assistant Professor of Geosciences Kris Kusnerik and Andrew Fredericks ’25.

XRF lab

XRF Lab Puts Hamilton on the Map

The X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) lab has put Hamilton on the map in the world of geochemical analysis. The lab uses x-rays, a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, to determine the chemical composition of rocks, minerals, and soils.

Catherine Beck

Beck Co-Authors Papers on HSPDP Work

Associate Professor of Geosciences Cat Beck recently co-authored two papers stemming from her work with the Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP), which she has been involved in since drilling these cores began in 2013.

Careers After Hamilton

Hamilton graduates who concentrated in geosciences are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:

  • Professional Geologist, Geosyntec Consultants
  • Geohazards Program Manager, Colorado Department of Transportation
  • Science Curriculum Development for Visiting K-12 Field Trips, Moab Museum, Utah
  • Water and Natural Resources Attorney, Somach, Simmons, and Dunn
  • Post-doctoral Researcher, USGS Hawaii Volcano Observatory
  • Field Instructor, Voyageur Outward Bound School
  • Rockies Geologic Operations Manager, Occidental Petroleum
  • Agricultural Science Teacher, Madison Central Schools
  • Mineral Commodity Specialist, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, pursuing an Md.
  • Principal Resource Geologist, Newmont Australia
  • Professor of Marine Geology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Senior Associate for Acquisitions, Prime Group, San Francisco
  • Captain, U.S. Marine Corps

Contact

Department Name

Geosciences Department

Office Location
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

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