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Geosciences

A concentration in Geosciences consists of 9.5 units of credit in Geosciences and a two-course sequence in a supporting science, including one course in Principles of Geoscience (101 to 122), 209, 211 or 222, 220, 230, 290, 510-511 and two other courses in Geosciences numbered 200 or higher. The sequence of two courses in one of the supporting sciences consists of Chemistry 120 and a second chemistry course numbered 190 or above, Physics 100 and 105 or 190 and 195, Math 113 and 114, Computer Science 110 and 111, or Biology 101 and 102. The supporting science requirement must be discussed with the departmental supporting science advisor at time of declaration of concentration and should be completed before the start of senior year. A Senior Project is required (510-511) for the concentration, and a complete description of the program is available from the chair. All concentrators, especially those planning a career in the earth and environmental sciences, should take additional courses in chemistry, mathematics, physics, computer science and biology according to the student’s interests. Departmental honors will be awarded on the basis of excellence in coursework, a superior Senior Project and completion of two additional courses in the supporting sciences as listed above.

A minor consists of a course in Principles of Geoscience and four units of credit in other courses at the 200 level or above that are approved by the department.

Students interested in careers in oceanography should consider concentrations in chemistry or mathematics with supporting courses in geology including 112, 210, 211, 220, 222, 241, 320 and 370 and Biology 213. Students interested in careers in meteorology should consider concentrations in physics or mathematics with supporting courses in geology including 112, 210, 222, 240 and 285 and Chemistry 265.

A small number of seats for juniors and seniors are reserved in some of our 100-level courses.

[101S] Principles of Geosciences: Earth Resources and the Environment.
A study of Earth’s mineral deposits and energy resources, their distribution, origin, economic significance, and the environmental impact of their extraction and consumption. Field trip. Not open to students who have taken any other course in Principles of Geology. Maximum enrollment 24. Bailey (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Maximum enrollment, 24.

103F Principles of Geoscience: Geology and Human Events in North Africa and the Middle East.
An interdisciplinary study exploring the influence of environment, water resources, climate change and bedrock geology of North Africa and the Middle East on prehistory, history, international relations and prospects for the future. Special emphasis on developing GIS skills. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) (Proseminar.) Three two-hour class sessions per week. Required field trip to the Adirondack region. Not open to students who have taken any other course in Principles of Geoscience. (Same as Africana Studies 103.) Maximum enrollment, 16. Tewksbury.

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105F Principles of Geoscience: Wilderness, Globalization, and Environmental Change.
An introduction to Earth systems with an emphasis on those processes of global change that are most easily detected over wilderness areas. Topics include recognition of the effects of global warming, ozone depletion and over-utilization of resources in areas such as Amazonia, Patagonia, Antarctica, Greenland, Australia, Alaska, Tibet and several oceanic islands. Also considers the role of wilderness in society. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Three hours of class and two hours of laboratory with required Saturday field trip. Not open to students who have taken any other course in Principles of Geoscience. E Domack.

110S Principles of Geoscience: Geology and the Environment.
An introduction to the principles of geology as applied to current environmental issues such as solid waste disposal, consumption of conventional and alternate energy resources, and utilization of our natural resources. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Three hours of class and one hour of laboratory or field trip. Not open to students who have taken any other course in Principles of Geoscience. Maximum enrollment, 24. Rayne.

112S Principles of Geoscience: Ocean Science.
An introduction to the physical, chemical and biological nature of the marine environment. Topics include marine geology, seawater composition, atmosphere/climate, ocean circulation, waves, tides, coastal processes, life in the sea, ocean resources and marine pollution. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Three hours of class and two hours of laboratory. Not open to students who have taken any other course in Principles of Geoscience. Maximum enrollment, 24. C Domack.

[116S] Principles of Geoscience: Introduction to Forensic & Medical Geology.
The history and development of the emerging disciplines of forensic and medical geology. Emphasis on understanding the properties of Earth materials (rocks, minerals, soils, fluids, etc.) and learning what happens when humans interact with these materials. Students will examine real case studies in forensic geology and will learn some of the analytical techniques used in these investigations. Also examines public health issues related to human exposure to materials in the natural environment (e.g. asbestos, lead, radon). (Three hours of class and two hours of laboratory). (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) (Oral Presentations.) Not open to students who have taken any other course in Principles of Geoscience. Maximum enrollment, 24.

[117F] Principles of Geoscience: Sea Level and Environmental Change.
An investigation into the evolution of our oceans highlighting tectonic and climatic controls on global and local sea levels; topics include time frames of change, sea-level proxies and geologic dating methods. Not open to students who have taken any other course in Principles of Geoscience. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Maximum enrollment, 24.

[120S] Principles of Geoscience: Geohazards: Our Violent Earth.
This course explores the range of physical processes responsible for generating environmental hazards (earthquakes, volcanoes, severe weather, etc.), investigating controls on their occurrence and the degree to which human-landscape interactions influence their environmental impact. Not open to students who have taken any other course in Principles of Geoscience. Maximum enrollment, 24. Mattheus. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Maximum enrollment, 24.

121S Principles of Geoscience: The Geology of New York: Beyond the Blue Lines.
The geologic history of New York is almost as diverse and interesting as the people who live there. The lands within the Adirondack and Catskill parks (delineated by blue lines on maps), beautifully illustrate the rich geologic history of eastern North America. This course is an introduction to the dynamic systems that shape the Earth, emphasizing how various processes have interacted through time to sculpt the Earth, using the modern landscape of New York as a primary example. Three hours of class and one hour of laboratory. Field trips. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Not open to students who have taken any other course in Principles of Geoscience. Maximum enrollment, 24. Hough.

[122] Principles of Geoscience: Geology in the Field.
A field-intensive introduction to scientific inquiry with an emphasis on the relevance and importance of geology to society. Students will examine relationships between the geologic and physiographic features of Central New York and patterns of historical settlement and development. Not open to juniors or seniors. Maximum enrollment, 22.

200F Field Study in Antarctica.
A marine geologic survey along the Antarctic Peninsula that involves a research-oriented learning environment with oceanographic and bottom sediment sampling. Prerequisite, consent of instructor. One-half credit. Limited to those participating in NSF-funded research expedition to Antarctica. E Domack.

[201S] Seminar on Iceland.
An interdisciplinary study of Iceland focusing on geologic features, history and literature of Iceland, and connections between human events and the natural environment of Iceland. One-and-one-half hours per week. One-half credit. Prerequisite, Principles of Geoscience. Only open to students also taking 202. Maximum enrollment, 20.

[202S] Iceland Field Study.
A field study of the volcanic, glacial and tectonic features of Iceland with emphasis on the interaction of volcanic, glacial and tectonic processes. Three-week intensive field study in Iceland. Prerequisite, Principles of Geology. Concurrent registration in 201 required. Extra cost. One-half credit. Maximum enrollment, 20.

[204Su] Northern Rocky Mountains Field Study.
A two-week intensive field study of the volcanic, tectonic, and glacial features of southwest Montana, northwest Wyoming, and eastern Idaho. Field work will emphasize regional geology, environmental issues, and natural history. Prerequisite, Principles of Geology. Extra cost. One-half credit. Maximum enrollment, 16. Prerequisite, Principles of Geology. Maximum enrollment, 16.

206F Seminar on the Geology of Egypt.
A multi-institution seminar course to prepare American and Egyptian students and faculty for NSF-funded geologic field research in Egypt in December 2013 and January 2014. Seminar will include bedrock geologic mapping using satellite imagery, background work to prepare for field geophysical studies, and, for the Americans, practice in traveler’s Arabic. One credit. Open to those participating in NSF-funded research expedition to Egypt or by permission of the instructor. Topics vary; may be repeated for credit. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Tewksbury.

209S Hydrogeology.
The study of surface water and groundwater, with emphasis on groundwater. The influence of geologic materials on groundwater flow, an introduction to groundwater hydraulics and groundwater/surface water interactions. Basic hydrogeologic field methods introduced in the laboratory section. Three hours of class and three hours of laboratory with field trips. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Principles of Geoscience. Maximum enrollment, 24. Rayne.

[210S] Glacial Geology.
A survey of the distribution and dynamics of the Earth’s cryosphere, theories of global climate change, and processes and products of glacial erosion and deposition. Marine record of glacial events and glacial periods throughout Earth's history. Three hours of class and two hours of laboratory with field trips. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Principles of Geoscience. Maximum enrollment, 24.

[211] Sedimentary Geology.
A study of the genesis and diagenesis of clastic, carbonate, evaporite and other important sediments and rocks. Emphasis on fluid dynamics of grain transport, facies architecture, seismic stratigraphy and paleoclimatic/ tectonic significance of depositional sequences. Three hours of class and three hours of laboratory with field trips. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Principles of Geoscience. Maximum enrollment, 24.

212S Global Warming: Is the Day After Tomorrow Sooner than We Think?.
Investigates the historical/political/geographic context for our hydrocarbon economy, the scientific and economic debate behind global warming, the social and ecological consequences of action or inaction regarding greenhouse gas emissions and the role of public policy and international relations in global invironmental change. Prerequisite, One semester of science. Not open to students who have taken Environmental Studies/Geoscience 221. May count toward a concentration in environmental studies. (Same as Government 212 and Environmental Studies 212.) Maximum enrollment, 25. P Cannavo.

[218F] Industrial Ecology.
The science of sustainability. Using a variety of tools students will assess the total environmental impact associated with the manufacturing, use and disposal of a variety of common consumer goods. Key concepts to be introduced include life-cycle analysis, eco-design, product stewardship, product dematerialization, industrial metabolism and industrial symbiosis. Popular strategies for reducing the environmental burden of industrial activities will also be examined. (Proseminar.) Prerequisite, any 100-level course in science, government or economics. May not be counted toward the concentration or the minor in biology. (Same as Environmental Studies 218 and Biology 218.) Maximum enrollment, 24.

220F Mineralogy.
An introduction to crystallography, crystal chemistry and optical mineralogy. Identification of minerals by physical, optical and X-ray diffraction techniques. Six hours of class/laboratory with field trip. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Principles of Geoscience. Maximum enrollment, 24. D Bailey.

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222F Earth's Climate: Past and Future.
Introduction to the science of paleoclimatology through the examination of climate dynamics and the stratigraphy of past climate changes across various time scales. Use of geochemical, biological and physical proxies for changes in the Earth's ice, ocean, atmospheric and lithospheric systems. One required weekend field trip. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Principles of Geoscience. Maximum enrollment, 22. E Domack.

230S Structural Geology.
A study of the origin, development and study of macroscopic and microscopic structures in deformed rocks. Field, graphical, laboratory and GIS techniques used in mapping and studying deformed rocks. Six hours of class/laboratory with field trip. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Principles of Geoscience. Maximum enrollment, 22. Tewksbury.

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[236F] Soils and the Environment.
A study of the formation, classification, utilization and environmental significance of soils. Frequent local field trips. Three hours of class and two hours of laboratory. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Principles of Geoscience. Maximum enrollment, 24.

[240F] Meteorology.
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 of laboratory/discussion. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Principles of Geoscience. Maximum enrollment, 24.

[241S] Plate Tectonics.
Study of modern plate interactions, tectonic evolution of the Earth’s crust, deep earth structure and regional tectonic analysis, with an emphasis on the contributions of geophysics to an understanding of plate tectonics. (Writing-intensive.) (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Principles of Geoscience. Four hours of class. Maximum enrollment, 20.

[243S] Rivers: Connecting Landscapes.
Rivers are the primary link between continents, the coast, and the deep sea. This course looks at how climate, sea level, and humans influence river morphology, sediment transport, and deposition. Three hours of class and two hours of laboratory/discussion. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Principles of Geoscience.

260S Geomicrobiology.
Interaction of microbes and minerals from early in Earth's history to the present day. Emphasis on the diverse habitats of bacteria and archaea, mineral biogenesis and dissolution, and the roles that microorganisms play in geochemical cycles. Special topics will include geochemical influences on microbial evolution and community structure, life in extreme environments and the role of geomicrobiology in restoration of contaminated environments. Three hours of class and two hours of laboratory/discussion. Required weekend field trip. Prerequisite, Biology 102 or 115, or Principles of Geoscience or consent of instructor. (Same as Biology 260.) The Department.

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[262S] Geomicrobiology of Antarctica.
The habitats of bacteria and archaea in Antarctica and the roles that these microorganisms play in geochemical cycles. Particular emphasis on the adaptations of microbes to the extreme environmental conditions of Antarctica. Special topics will include geochemical influences on microbial evolution and community structure, biogeography of microbes and life in extreme environments Prerequisite, Either an introductory course in Biology (101, 102 or 115) or Principles of Geoscience. One semester of chemistry is desirable but not required. 0.5 credit (Same as Biology 262.)

[275] Origins of Natural Systems.
An overview of the origin of the universe, solar system, Earth and Earth systems. Particular emphasis on the application of geochemistry and isotope systematics to understanding the origin of matter, the formation and differentiation of the Earth, the development of plate tectonics and the origin of the oceans, atmosphere and life. (Writing-intensive.) (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) (Oral Presentations.) Prerequisite, Principles of Geosciences. Maximum enrollment, 20.

285F Antarctica and Global Change.
Review of the geology, meteorology, oceanography, marine biology and glaciology of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean and their influence on global environmental processes and change. Emphasis on remote sensing technology. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Principles of Geoscience. One course credit. E Domack.

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[286F] Hydrocarbon Geology and Economics.
This half credit course will examine aspects of hydrocarbon occurrence including the characteristics of source rocks, maturation, migration, and reservoir properties. Aspects of exploration, development, production and marketing will be integrated within the economic framework of the petroleum industry, government regulation, and environmental costs. International frontier basin plays will also be examined. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, any Principles of Geoscience course. Offered every other year. Half credit. Maximum enrollment, 24.

290F Paleontology.
A study of the origin of life, evolution and the fossil record. Topics include the general principles of paleontology, nomenclature, taxonomy, identification techniques, fossilization processes, plants, microfossils, invertebrates and vertebrates. Three hours of class and three hours of laboratory with field trips. Prerequisite, Principles of Geoscience. (Same as Biology 290.) Maximum enrollment, 24. C Domack.

295Su Geology of Tasmania.
A three-week field excursion to the island state of Australia with a focus on the geology, botany and natural history of the region. Field work will emphasize geology of the southern continents, economic resources and wilderness conservation. Includes a one week trip to the Great Barrier Reef. Extra cost. One credit. Prerequisite, Principles of Geoscience. Offered as part of Hamilton’s participation in the International Antarctic Institute. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, any Principles of Geoscience course. Registration by permission of instructor only. Maximum enrollment, 10. E Domack.

297S Planetary Geology and Remote Sensing.
The geology of the planetary bodies of our solar system, including the history and future of solar system exploration and the applications of planetary studies to understanding the geology of the Earth. Emphasizes work with planetary images and planetary GIS. Three hours of class and one hour of laboratory/discussion. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Principles of Geoscience. Maximum enrollment, 15.

[309F] 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. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, 209. Maximum enrollment, 24.

[310S] Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology.
A study of the mineralogy, chemistry, origin and evolution of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Emphasis on the physical and chemical processes involved in their formation. Six hours of class/laboratory with field trip. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, 220. Maximum enrollment, 24.

312S Volcanology.
An examination of active volcanic processes on Earth through focused case studies and laboratory based projects. Emphasis placed on the physical and chemical processes involved in the origin and evolution of volcanic systems. Three hours of class and three hours of laboratory. Field trip. Prerequisite, Geosciences 220. Maximum enrollment, 24. David Bailey.

[320F] Micropaleontology.
Advanced study of microscopic fossils including radiolaria, diatoms, foraminifera, ostracodes, calcareous nannoplankton, silicoflagellates, dinoflagellates, spores and pollen. Emphasis on morphology, preservation and paleoenvironmental applications. Three hours of class and two hours of laboratory. Prerequisite, 290.

[344] Environmental Remote Sensing.
Course allows students to examine the remote measurement of the earth’s surface, cryosphere, and ocean processes via case studies of key environmental monitoring and observation platforms. Students will gain practical skills and theoretical knowledge of : GRACE, RADARSAT, SEAWIFS, continuous Ground Positioning Stations (cGPS), and Automated Weather Stations (AWS), as well as Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV), Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), multibeam, and other platforms. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Two courses in Geosciences at the 200 level or above. next offered Spring 2011 Maximum enrollment, 24.

352F Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis.
Theory, practice and application of the scanning electron microscope and energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis to selected research projects. Prerequisite, Two laboratory courses in science. (Same as Biology 352). Open to juniors and seniors with consent of instructor. Bart.

[360S] Quaternary Geochronology.
Examines the development and application of dating techniques that are appropriate over the last five million years, including dendrochronology 210 Pb, radiocarbon, Uranium-series, paleomagnetic, thermoluminescence and cosmogenic surface exposure dating. Examples drawn from geologic and archaeological contexts that are important to climate change and hominid evolution. Field trips. Prerequisite, 211, 222 or consent of instructor. One-half credit.

[370F] Coastal Geology and Environmental Oceanography.
Advanced study of coastal marine processes with an emphasis on environmental issues and case studies. (Writing-intensive.) (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in geosciences. Four hours of class. Maximum enrollment, 20.

[375S] Origins of Natural Systems.
An overview of the origin and evolution of the universe, solar system, Earth and Earth systems. Particular emphasis will be placed on the application of geochemistry and isotope systematics to understanding the origin of matter, the formation and differentiation of the Earth, the development of plate tectonics and the origin of the oceans, atmosphere and life. (Writing-intensive.) (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, four hours of class, two 200-level courses in geosciences or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20.

[380S] GIS for Geoscientists.
Introduction to basic concepts in computer-based GIS emphasizing hands-on practice in portraying and analyzing spatially referenced data sets to produce a variety of types of digital products and to solve geologic problems. Practice using data from multiple sources, including data downloaded from online sources, field-collected data and published map data. Emphasis on mastery of basic skills and techniques using ESRI ArcGIS software. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, any course in geoscience that addresses GIS or permission of the instructor. During junior and senior class pre-registration, open only to geoscience concentrators. Maximum enrollment, 13.

510-511F,S Senior Project.
A two-term course during which concentrators pursue an independent project and present the results to the department. Proposals must be accepted in the spring semester of the student’s junior year. 511 may not be taken as a separate course. One course credit for 510 and one-half credit for 511. The Department.

(from the Hamilton Course Catalogue)

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