Geology Courses

Geology Courses

107 Physical Geology (4 credits, 3 one-hour lectures weekly plus one 1 two-hour lab weekly, one weekend day field trip) This course examines the origin, composition, and structure of Earth. It also covers the basics of plate tectonics, the rock cycle, identification of common minerals and rocks, formation of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks, determination of rock ages, local geology, earth resources, and climate change. (LAB)

109 The Global Environment (4 credits, 3 one-hour lectures, 1 two-hour lab weekly) This course focuses on the whole environment, from the center of the Earth’s core to the top of its atmosphere. We examine the scientific aspects of processes thought to be responsible for global change, with emphasis on interactions between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. Topics include the history of global change from the formation of the Earth to the present, the magnitude and rate of change, the processes of plate tectonics and the physical environment as driving mechanisms for change, global catastrophes as catalysts for change, and human intervention and how it affects the rate and magnitude of change. (LAB)

110 Environmental Geology (3 credits, 3 one-hour lectures) This course is a general survey of the role geology plays in the environmental sciences. The course examines: 1) the fundamentals of geology, 2) major geologic hazards (earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, erosion, etc.), 3) natural resource extraction, use and impact on society (including water), as well as 4) the science behind global change.

200 Oceanography (3 credits, 5 two-hour lectures weekly, January Term). This non-lab course is intended for both introductory-level science students and science majors. The course covers the complex physical, chemical, and biological interactions involving Earth’s oceans using an “Earth Systems” approach. Topics will be covered through a mixture of lecture, in-class exercises, and student presentations. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to: 1) develop simple models of Earth systems; 2) evaluate the relationships between physical, chemical, and biological components of the Ocean System; 3) predict how natural disturbances and human impact will affect the system; and 4) be able to evaluate and critique ocean-related news stories from a scientific perspective. No prerequisites.

202 Meteorology (4 credits, 3 one-hour lectures, 1 two-hour lab weekly) This course covers the structure and dynamics of the Earth’s atmosphere. Topics include the development and prediction of weather systems, thermodynamics of atmospheric stability, and dynamics of global climate change. Students will learn to use the Hartwick College weather station to collect and analyze atmospheric data and use these data along with forward atmospheric modeling programs (NCAR, NWS) to construct forecasts.

203 Planetology (3 credits, 3 one-hour classes weekly) This course covers the geology, chemistry, and physics of the sun, planets, meteorites, and moons of our solar system. The course focuses on the origin and evolution of the solar system and the geologic development of the planets and their moons. Hands-on lab activities (some of them outdoors) explore the size of the solar system, the role of plate tectonics and volcanism in the development of moons and planets, and the possibility of discovering life on other worlds. Offered during January Term.

205 Paleontology (4 credits, 3 one-hour lectures, 1 two-hour lab weekly) This course examines the history of life on Earth. In this course students will examine the preservation of fossils, skeletal morphology, and evolution of fossil organisms with emphasis on invertebrates. (LAB)

208 Historical Geology (4 credits, 3 one-hour lectures, 1 two-hour lab weekly) A history of Earth since its origin. Topics include the origin and development of the continents, the origin and evolution of life, the appearance of evolution of man, and major climate changes and their effects on man. (LAB)

220 GIS Digital Geologic Mapping (2 credits, 2 one-hour classes weekly).This course is a practical treatment of the application of Geographic Information Science (GIS) to geologic mapping using a variety of software platforms. Students will learn to collect field data and translate that data into the GIS environment. Students will learn to manipulate USGS digital elevation data files to create base maps and overlay geologic data onto these maps. Permission of instructor required.

227 Experiential Field Studies (1 credit, 1 one-hour weekly during pre-trip period, plus one 4-8 day field trip excursion). This course is for majors, who attend a yearly department field excursion. Students will be evaluated on their participation in pre-trip research exercises, a brief group presentation, and the quality/content of field journal entries. Permission of instructor/excursion leader required.

230 Forensic Geology (3 credits, 3 one-hour classes weekly) This non-lab course will cover scientific investigative techniques involving trace evidence collection and analyses of Earth materials. During the duration of the course students will be trained on how to analyze geologic evidence (soil samples, rock fragments, and paint pigments) and maintain a chain of custody in an effort to solve hypothetical criminal cases. Students in this course will use petrographic microscopic, X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence analyses, along with Ground Penetrating Radar to collect evidence and then present this evidence in a courtroom setting. In addition to the hands-on analyses, students will study case files where geologic evidence was used to solve real crimes to learn how these data were applied and the forensic tools used to obtain this evidence. Permission of instructor required.

274 Off-Campus Field Studies Orientation (1 credit, Fall Term or Spring Term*) This is a required course for all those students planning to take GEOL 275-Off-Campus Field Studies in the following January Term or *June Term. This course will: 1) introduce all students to the basic scientific concepts to be encountered/used during the GEOL 275 course trip, 2) give students a basic understand of human culture and history as it relates to the region explored, and 3) prepare students for the logistics of course travel and day-to-day life.(Requires permission from the instructor)

275 Off-Campus Field Studies (4 credits, January Term) This course is centered around a two- to three-week field excursion that studies the physical geography, geology, and natural history of destinations such as the Bahamas, Caribbean, Hawaii, West Texas, and Hungary. A specific destination is slated for each year. All aspects of Earth Science may be covered during these trips including climatology, environmental geology, geochemistry, geomorphology, hydrology, oceanography, petrology, meteorology, mineralogy, sedimentology, structural geology, and surficial geology. These trips offer exceptional opportunities to practice field techniques in all areas of geology. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor and GEOL 274. Physical Geology (107) is strongly recommended. Separate course trip fees apply. Read more about these unique courses.

302 Surficial Geology (4 credits, 2 two-hour classes weekly) This course focuses on the modern environmental science of the Earth’s surface. Many of the environmental problems faced by a technological society involve surface geological materials. The course addresses the needs of the geology student preparing for a career in the environmental sciences. The course emphasizes major elements of glacial geology and soils science. In addition, there is considerable discussion of geological engineering problems associated with erosion and unstable slopes.

305 Groundwater Hydrology (4 credits, 3 one-hour lectures weekly. One three-hour lab weekly) The course covers the geological and physical aspects of hydrology. Study of the hydrologic budget, hydraulics, and material properties of geologic materials are integrated to develop the concepts of groundwater formation and movement. Groundwater contaminant transport and treatment are introduced. Use of practical problem solving techniques with quantitative methods is stressed. Offered alternate years. Prerequisites: Math 233 or permission of instructor. (LAB)

306 Mineralogy (4 credits, 3 one-hour lectures plus one 3 hour lab weekly, one weekend field trip). This course covers the physical properties, chemical properties, crystal structures, and geological occurrences of minerals. Introduction to optical properties of minerals and modern techniques of identifying and analyzing mineral chemistry, structure, and surface properties. Offered alternate years. Prerequisites: Introductory geology course and Chem 107 or permission of instructor.

307 Petrology (4 credits, 3 one-hour lectures, 1 three-hour lab weekly, weekend field trip) This course examines the origin, classification, and interpretation of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Emphasis on tectonic settings and processes by which various rock types form, and the study of origins and evolution of rock suites through observation, chemical analysis, basic thermodynamics, and phase diagrams. Laboratory emphasizes thin section and hand sample petrography. Offered alternate years. Prerequisites: Geol 206, Chem 108 or 109. Math 121 recommended. (LAB)

309 Stratigraphy and Sedimentation (W) (4 credits, 3 one-hour lectures, 1 four-hour lab/field trip each week) Study of sediments, sedimentary rocks, and their use in correlation and analysis of sedimentary processes. (LAB)

311 Field Geology (4 credits, 1 three-hour lecture, 1 four-hour lab weekly, 1 four-day field trip) This course teaches field techniques for collecting geologic data using Brunton compass, GPS, and surveying equipment. It also introduces field data handling using stereographic projections, rose diagrams, and GIS. Many lectures and labs will be held outdoors. A complete geologic map and written report are required. (LAB)

408 Structural Geology (4 credits, 3 one-hour lectures, 1 three-hour lab weekly, 1 three day field trip) Covers the dynamics and deformation of the Earth with emphasis on Tectonic processes responsible for mountain building. Students learn techniques used to study and interpret deformed rocks both in the field and in the laboratory. Prerequisite: Geol. 107, Math 121 (LAB).

416 Geochemistry and 416L (4 credits, 3 one-hour lectures weekly. 1 three-hour lab weekly) This course samples many aspects of geochemistry including biogeochemical cycles, aqueous geochemistry, carbonate systems (such as surface waters and caves), oxidation-reduction equilibria (such as acid mine drainage), weathering, and isotope geochemistry. Emphasis will be placed on the application of thermodynamic principles. Offered alternate years. Prerequisites: Math 121, Chem 107, 108, or Chem 109, or permission of instructor. Geol 107 and Math 233 recommended.

450 Topics in Geology (3 credits) Seminars or tutorials in geological topics selected according to the interests and needs of students.

489 Pre-Thesis Research (1 credit, 1 one-hour meeting weekly) This course is intended for Geology majors in the process of organizing and beginning their senior (thesis research) projects. This course requires independent guided research with one one-hour meeting per week or the equivalent. Student achievement will be evaluated by: 1) weekly progress on the research and by 2) the quality/content of a draft of the project introduction (featuring the problem and purpose of study, geologic background, previous study and methods sections), as well as an initial project bibliography. Permission from the faculty project advisor required.

490 Senior Project (4 credits) Required research project arranged individually for all majors. This project centers around a research collaboration between a faculty mentor and the student. Since each research project is unique, course/research goals/outcomes will be defined individually by each faculty mentor-student pair. Each student is required to present the results of this research at the campus-wide Student Showcase event (typically in early May) and in a written (senior thesis) document for course evaluation.