Geology Courses

A modest lab fee may be charged in some courses.

101 Introductory Geology (1)
A survey course designed for liberal arts students covering many aspects of physical geology, the study of active earth processes. Labs illustrate lecture materials and the techniques used by geologists. One field trip. Complements the material covered in Geology 103; either course can serve as an introductory course in geology. Staff.

103 Introduction to Earth History (1)
A survey course designed for liberal arts students and covering many aspects of historical geology, the study of evolving environments and life forms on earth. Labs utilize fossils, rock samples, maps and field trips to illustrate techniques used by historical geologists. Complements the material covered in Geology 101; either course can serve as an introductory course in geology. Staff.

104 Earth Resources and the Environment (1)
Without earth resources, civilization would not exist. Gold, diamonds, water, oil, building materials--all of our material resources ultimately are derived from the earth. This course examines the origin and geologic occurrence of these materials and the environmental implications of their utilization. No laboratory. Staff.

106 Natural Disasters (1)
A review of the natural disasters that affect humans and the environment. Emphasizes the causes and prediction of natural hazards, assessment of hazard vulnerability, and disaster mitigation and recovery through case studies of historical and recent natural disasters. Topics include earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, extreme weather, climate change and floods. No laboratory. Staff.

111 Geography and Geographic Information Systems (1)
An introduction to the elementary principles, techniques and utility of geographic information systems (GIS) toward the study of world geography, as well as related concepts and techniques involved in creating and using digital maps. Shows how maps (particularly computer-generated maps) can help in displaying and analyzing geographic and other spatial data, and the use of these analyses in modeling cultural and natural systems. Lecture and laboratory. Some prior computer experience is helpful, but is not required. Van de Ven.

115 Oceans and Atmosphere (1)
Describes the world's oceans and atmosphere and considers how they interact with one another, and with humans. Topics include the geological evolution of the ocean basins, ocean-atmosphere circulation patterns, ocean currents, climate and weather patterns, storms and weather fronts, paleo-oceanography and the history of climate, and the chemical composition of the oceans. Emphasizes the role of the oceans in mediating global climate, global change, global dispersal of pollution and other environmental concerns. No laboratory. Offered in alternate years. T. Lincoln.

187, 188, 189 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

201 Structural Geology (1)
Prerequisite: Geology 101 or 103.
Study of stress-strain relationships and behavior of materials, with particular reference to recognition and interpretation of rock structures. Laboratory work includes methods of solving structural problems and the use of geologic maps and cross-sections to interpret sequences of events in complex structural regions. Offered in alternate years. B. Lincoln.

202 Ground Water (1)
Prerequisite: Geology 101 or 103.
The geophysical and geochemical aspects of ground water, with an emphasis on the consequences of human intervention. Offered in alternate years. T. Lincoln.

203 Mineralogy (1)
Prerequisite: Geology 101 or 103.
Crystallography, crystal chemistry, optical and physical properties, and the occurrence of rock-forming minerals, with particular emphasis on the silicate minerals. Laboratory emphasizes hand-specimen and optical identification of minerals using petrologic microscopes. Offered in alternate years. Menold.

204 Introductory Petrology (1)
Prerequisite: Geology 203.
Hand-specimen and microscopic identification of minerals and rocks. Recognition and classification of all varieties of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, with emphasis on rock-forming processes. Laboratory emphasizes hand-specimen and optical identification of rocks using petrologic microscopes. Offered in alternate years. Menold.

205 Sedimentation and Stratigraphy (1)
Prerequisite: Geology 101 or 103.
An examination of the processes and principles that control the accumulation and lithification of sediments, based on examples of recent environments and ancient rock sections in many parts of the world. Laboratory emphasizes map-reading skills and methods for studying recent and ancient sediments and rocks. Offered in alternate years. Bartels.

208 Geomorphology (1)
Prerequisite: Geology 101 or 103.
Geologic processes operating at the earth's surface and the landforms they produce. Includes the study of soil formation, river processes, glaciers, wave action, wind, groundwater and their related landforms. Field trips. Laboratory includes analysis of aerial photographs, topographic maps and experiments with flume and wave tank. Offered in alternate years. Wilch.

209 Geochronology and Paleontology (1)
Prerequisite: Geology 101 or 103, or Biology 195.
A comprehensive examination of invertebrate fossils and measurements of time in geology. Emphasizes study of fossils and their identification, biology, evolutionary history and use in geology. Includes magnetostratigraphy, global event stratigraphy, and radiometric dating methods. Laboratory emphasizes fossil identification, morphology, and functional morphology, and geochronologic exercises using fossils and other geologic data. Two field trips. Offered in alternate years. Bartels.

210 Regional Field Geology (1/2)
Prerequisite: Geology 101 or 103, or permission of instructor.
A field study of the structure and stratigraphy of selected geologic provinces. During the second half of the spring semester the class will meet once a week to discuss readings related to the geology of the field study. The field study itself will last for eight to ten days typically beginning the day after commencement in May. Staff.

211 Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (1)
Prerequisite: Geology 111 recommended.
An introduction to the elementary principles, techniques and utility of remotely sensed imagery and image interpretation, especially when used in conjunction with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Shows how digital maps created from, or utilizing, digital imagery from airplanes, space shuttles and satellites can help in displaying and analyzing spatial data, modeling processes and making decisions. Laboratory emphasizes the use of remote sensing and GIS in a variety of environmental applications. Lecture and laboratory. Offered in alternate years. Van de Ven.

212 Volcanology (1)
Prerequisite: Geology 101 or 103, or permission of instructor.
Study of volcanic processes, eruptive products and their mechanism of formation, monitoring of active volcanoes, volcanic hazards, and the environmental impact of volcanism. Focuses on historical and modern case studies. Lecture and laboratory. Offered in alternate years. Wilch.

216 Environmental and Engineering Geology (1)
Prerequisite: Geology 101 or 103, or permission of instructor.
Study of selected environmental hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic activity, flooding, avalanches, water depletion and pollution. Includes land use planning and case histories involving environmental law. Laboratory uses maps, aerial photos and geologic data in the analysis and control of environmental hazards and in land use planning. Laboratory and field trips. Offered in alternate years. Van de Ven.

287, 288, 289 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

306 Glaciers and Climate Change (1)
Prerequisite: Geology 101 or 103.
Covers the dynamics of glacier flow, origin of glacial features, events of the Pleistocene Epoch with emphasis on the Great Lakes area, Earth's climate history, causes of ice ages, recent and future climate change. Lecture, laboratory and field trips. Offered in alternate years. Wilch.

307 Geochemistry (1)
Prerequisite: Geology 203 or Chemistry 121.
The application of chemical principles to the study of the earth with emphasis on environmental geochemistry. Topics include the distribution of chemical elements within the earth, rock weathering, the chemistry of natural solutions, surface chemistry and the behavior of contaminants in the environment. Laboratories involve both field and laboratory techniques and rely heavily on state-of-the-art instrumentation, including optical emission and x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and ion chromatography. Offered as needed. T. Lincoln.

309 Vertebrate Paleontology (1)
Prerequisite: Geology 103 or Biology 195.
The fossil record, evolution, morphology, adaptation and paleobiogeography of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. The interactions of vertebrates with ancient floras, climates and plate configurations will be emphasized. Lecture and laboratory. Offered in alternate years.  Same as Biology 309. Bartels.

310 Igneous and Metamorphic Geochemistry (1)
Prerequisite: Geology 204 or permission of instructor.
Petrogenesis and occurrence of igneous and metamorphic rocks with emphasis on using geochemical tools to understand the behavior of magmas, origin of crystalline rock and the physiochemical theories of metamorphism. Includes interpretation of phase diagrams, use and interpretation of geochemical data and modeling, and isotope geochemistry. Offered in alternate years. Menold.

311 Advanced Geographic Information Systems (1)
Prerequisite: Geology 111 or permission of instructor.
The study of the more advanced capabilities of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Emphasizes spatial modeling and analysis using GIS software such as ArcView GIS. Topics include map algebra, point pattern analysis, network analysis, grid analysis and 3-D surface analysis. Students learn how to use these and other GIS tools for decision-making, model building and the effective use of maps. Lecture and laboratory. Offered in alternate years. Van de Ven.

387, 388, 389 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

391, 392 Internship (1/2, 1)
Offered on a credit/no credit basis. Staff.

401, 402 Seminar (1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Geology 101 or permission of instructor.
Critical evaluation of current topics in geology as determined by student and staff interest. Recent topics have been regional geology, engineering geology, paleoecology and volcanology. Staff.

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1)
Staff.

Summer Session
The following courses are offered in the summer session in South Dakota and Wyoming.

314 Field Methods (2)
Prerequisites: Geology 201, 204, 205 (or their equivalents) or permission of instructors.
Summer field camp course focused on geologic mapping in the northern Rocky Mountains. Field work is done in sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks. Offered in summer session, in alternate years. Staff.