Course Descriptions 2014-2015
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GEOL 101 Physical Geology 3 credits
An introductory class that emphasizes the environmental aspects of geology. The course covers the basic principles of physical geology, such as minerals, rocks, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, and origin of landscapes by mass wasting, rivers, glaciers, ground water, and nearshore processes. Throughout this course, focus is on the effect of geology on human society through the study of geologic hazards, energy resources, and mineral resources.
GEOL 105 Physical Geology Laboratory 1 credit
An introduction to identification of minerals and rocks and a discussion of their genesis followed by a study of landscapes formed by mass wasting, rivers, glaciers, ground water, and nearshore processes. Many of these principles are observed on local field trips. Prerequisite or corequisite: GEOL 101.
GEOL 197 Special Topics 1-6 credits
GEOL 201 Historical Geology (with laboratory) 4 credits
A study of the interpretation of the geologic history, structure, and evolution of the Earth with emphasis on methods and concepts rather than factual information. Colorado geologic history and various principles are observed during three or four field trips. Topics and concepts such as geophysics, continental drift, and plate tectonics are integrated into discussions of Earth history. Prerequisites: GEOL 101 and GEOL 105.
GEOL 220 Field Geology of Western North America 1 credit
An illustration of basic geologic principles using field trips to classic localities throughout western North America. Field trips change each year depending on student interest. Past field trips have gone to the Grand Canyon as well as other locales. A student may earn a maximum of two credits under this course number. Prerequisite: GEOL 201 or instructor permission.
GEOL 240 Introduction to Petroleum and Mining Geology 3 credits
A survey of the physical and chemical processes responsible for the distribution of hydrocarbon and mineral resources in the Earth’s crust and techniques for hydrocarbon and mineral resource exploration, assessment, and development. Includes field trips to oil and gas and mining operations in Colorado and Utah. Prerequisites: GEOL 101 and GEOL 105.
GEOL 297 Special Topics 1-6 credits
GEOL 300 Geology Field Trip 1-6 credits
Provides students exposure to varied geologic terranes and settings. The course normally consists of preparatory lectures and the actual field trip, followed by a paper, talk, or examination. Students may earn a maximum of six credits under this course title. Prerequisite: GEOL 201.
GEOL 302 Geoscience Writing 2 credits
An introduction to the proper methods and accepted formats of written, graphical, and oral communication in the geological sciences. These skills are addressed through critical evaluation and discussion of the geological literature, by writing reports, review papers and research proposals, and giving oral presentations. Prerequisites: ENG 102 with a grade of “C-” or above and GEOL 201. Corequisite: GEOL 310.
GEOL 305 Mineralogy (with laboratory) 4 credits
An introduction to the study of minerals. Important topics include the crystallography, crystal chemistry, and optics of important rock and ore forming minerals. Emphasis is placed on the crystal chemistry and stability of major silicate mineral groups. The laboratory emphasizes the field identification of minerals and the application of optics to the identification of minerals in thin section. Prerequisites: GEOL 101, GEOL 105, MATH 141. Prerequisite or corequisite: CHEM 111 and CHEM 112.
GEOL 310 Stratigraphy and Sedimentation (with laboratory) 4 credits
A study of the basic principles and origins of sedimentary rock units. Topics studied include sub-division of the geologic column and geologic time, depositional systems, stratigraphic nomenclature and rules, principles of correlation—including a review of modern geophysical, geochemical, and chronostratigraphic methods, biostratigraphy, and event stratigraphy. Laboratory includes measurement of sections, examination of depositional systems in the field, and surface and subsurface stratigraphic techniques, including geophysical-log interpretation and computer mapping. Prerequisites: GEOL 201 and ENG 102 with a minimum grade of "C-".
GEOL 311 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology (with laboratory) 4 credits
A study of igneous and metamorphic rocks, including their classification, field relations, tectonic setting, phase petrology, mineralogy, and geochemistry. The laboratory emphasizes both field identification of rocks and the use of petrographic microscopes. Several field trips are included. Prerequisite or corequisite: CHEM 113 and CHEM 114.
GEOL 320 Geomorphology (with laboratory) 4 credits
A study of the processes that create the landforms we see at the Earth’s surface. In particular, processes associated with modern and ice-age climate are studied including erosion and weathering, soil formation, flooding, glaciation, and mass wasting. The laboratory emphasizes field-observation and data-collection techniques, and the interpretation of aerial photographs. Prerequisites: GEOL 101 and GEOL 105; CHEM 101 or CHEM 111.
GEOL 345 Structural Geology (with laboratory) 4 credits
A study of the deformation of the Earth’s crust. The course begins with a study of the forces and movements within the crust which cause folding and faulting of rocks and a description of the resulting structures. These topics are followed by an analysis of the regional tectonic patterns of the Earth’s surface and theories for their origin. Prerequisite: GEOL 201 with a minimum grade of "C-" and MATH 141.
GEOL 346 Subsurface Geology (with laboratory) 4 credits
An advanced undergraduate course in subsurface structural and stratigraphic methods pertinent to petroleum, groundwater, environmental, and tectonics investigations. The course applies traditional and computer-assisted techniques to subsurface problems. Students gain experience in integrating surface geology with subsurface well and geophysical data. Prerequisite: GEOL 310. Prerequisite or corequisite: GEOL 345.
GEOL 352 Applied Geophysics (with laboratory) 4 credits
An advanced undergraduate course in the theoretical and practical application of physics to geology. Lectures cover seismic, gravity, and magnetic theory. Laboratory exercises and lecture problem sets emphasize the interpretation of real-world data, with application to problems in stratigraphy, structure, hydrology, environmental geology, mining, and oil and gas. Students gain proficiency in the use of several advanced analysis and modeling software packages. Prerequisite: GEOL 310. Prerequisites or corequisites: GEOL 345 and PHYS 170.
GEOL 362 Environmental Geochemistry
An advanced geology course covering the low-temperature chemistry of the near surface geologic environment. Topics include equilibrium thermodynamics, natural-water geochemistry, the carbonate system, mineral weathering, basic organic geochemistry and the evolution of Earth’s atmosphere. Students gain quantitative problem solving skills through comprehensive problem sets and the collection and analysis of real-world geochemical data. Prerequisite: GEOL 305 with a “C-” or better and CHEM 113 and 114.
GEOL 411 Research in Volcanology and Petrology (with laboratory) 3 credits
An examination of the physical volcanology, petrology, and petrogenesis of volcanic rocks. A strong emphasis is placed on fieldwork and the description of the volcanic rocks of the Gunnison Basin and adjacent regions. The course is topical in nature and emphasizes individual and/or group research projects through study of the geologic literature, the collection of geologic data, and the presentation of results. Prerequisite: GEOL 311.
GEOL 420 Research in Quaternary Geology (with laboratory) 3 credits
A study of the geology and climate of Quaternary Period, a time commonly referred to as the ice ages. Topics include glacier dynamics, glacial landforms and soils, methods of dating Quaternary deposits, and paleoclimate modeling. The laboratory emphasizes individual or group research projects that explore the Quaternary geology of the Gunnison and Crested Butte area. Projects are presented at the standard expected for a professional presentation. Prerequisites: GEOL 310, GEOL 320, and CHEM 111.
GEOL 430 Hydrogeology (with laboratory) 3 credits
A study of the occurrence, movement, and chemical properties of groundwater. Topics include the hydrologic cycle, surface-water hydrology, principles of ground water flow, and natural water chemistry. Class assignments focus on quantitative analysis and modeling of groundwater data. Prerequisites: GEOL 310, CHEM 111, and MATH 151. Prerequisite or corequisite: PHYS 170 or PHYS 200.
GEOL 450 Field Geology 4 credits
An emphasis on field observation, proper geologic mapping techniques—on both maps and aerial photos—and interpretation and synthesis of field data into a report. Different geologic terrains in Colorado or other states are examined. Ideally, this course should be taken during the Summer semester, immediately prior to the senior year. Prerequisites: GEOL 310 and GEOL 345; or instructor permission.
GEOL 455 Petroleum Geology (with laboratory) 4 credits
A study of the physical and chemical processes responsible for the distribution of hydrocarbons and associated fluids in the Earth’s crust and techniques for hydrocarbon exploration and resource assessment. Topics include the principle components of Petroleum Systems Analysis, including: the maturation, expulsion, and migration of hydrocarbons; hydrocarbon reservoirs; hydrocarbon seals; and structural, stratigraphic, and unconventional hydrocarbon traps. Laboratories include geochemical modeling of source rocks, geophysical log analysis and correlation, seismic interpretation, computer mapping, and a regional field trip. Prerequisites: GEOL 310 and GEOL 345.
GEOL 465 Research in Basin Analysis (with laboratory) 3 credits
A study of sedimentary processes and environments, including the tectonic origin of sedimentary basins. This includes the most common terrestrial and marine depositional systems and their relationships. A strong emphasis is placed on field relations and research on the sedimentary rocks of Western Colorado and the Colorado Plateau. The course is topical in nature and requires individual and/or group research projects through the study of the geologic literature, the collection of geologic data in the field, and the presentation of results. Prerequisites: GEOL 310 and CHEM 113.
GEOL 493 Independent Study in Geology 1-4 credits
Advanced undergraduates can engage in independent research projects under the direction of a faculty member. Topics may include any research specialty in geology or geophysics depending on the mutual interests of the student and faculty.
GEOL 495 Research Seminar in Geology 1 credit
A seminar where advanced undergraduate students can engage in and report on independent or group research projects. Topics are chosen from the current research literature. A student may earn a maximum of four credits under this course title. Prerequisite: GEOL 310, GEOL 320, or GEOL 345.
GEOL 497 Special Topics 1-6 credits