• GEOL 110: Introduction to Geology and Lab

    An introduction to the fundamental and wondrous processes that shape the Earth. We approach learning through outdoor and laboratory problems, which are often complicated and messy, like the planet itself. Topics may include the formation of rocks, minerals, and mountains, the water cycle, plate tectonics, climate change, volcanoes, and earthquakes. One all-day weekend field trip is typically required. No previous outdoor experience or gear is needed.

    Prerequisites: Not open to students who have taken another 100-level Geology course 6 credits; Science with Lab; offered Fall 2022, Spring 2023 · Bereket Haileab, Cameron Davidson, Dan Maxbauer
  • GEOL 115: Climate Change in Geology and Lab

    This course is designed to introduce the study of paleoclimatology broadly, and is based on investigating local deposits that span a broad range of geologic time. We will perform research projects on topics of local interest, which may include: analyzing fossils in 450 million year old rock, scrutinizing reported Cretaceous dinosaur gizzard-stones, researching post-Ice Age climate change using cave or lake deposits, and using dendrochronology (tree rings) and seismic surveys to study disruption of the prairie-big woods landscape by European settlers. Participants should be prepared for outdoor laboratories and one Saturday field trip.

    Prerequisites: Not open to students who have taken another Geology 100-level course. 6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; not offered 2022–2023
  • GEOL 120: Introduction to Environmental Geology & Lab

    An introduction to geology emphasizing the physical basis of systems of interest to environmentalists, ecologists, and policy makers. Field trips and laboratories included.

    Prerequisites: Not open to students who have taken another Geology 100-level course 6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Writing Requirement; not offered 2022–2023
  • GEOL 125: Introduction to Field Geology and Lab

    This course introduces fundamental principles of geology and geological reasoning using the geology of southern Minnesota as a guide. Weather permitting, much of the classroom and lab time will be spent outdoors at nearby sites of geological interest. Using field observations, descriptions, data-gathering and interpretation, supplemented by lab work and critical reading, students will piece together the most important elements of the long and complex geologic history of southern Minnesota. Field trips, including one or two all-day weekend trips, and laboratories included.

    Prerequisites: Not open to students who have taken another 100-level Geology course 6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Fall 2022 · Clint Cowan
  • GEOL 130: Geology of National Parks

    This course introduces fundamental principles of geology and geologic reasoning with natural examples from the National Park system. Topics may range from volcanic hazards of Yellowstone to the geologic history recorded in the walls of the Grand Canyon to the effects of climate change on the Everglades. A multiday field trip over mid-term break is required; no camping experience or equipment is required but students should be prepared to spend time outdoors. The field trip may include some strenuous hiking.

    Prerequisites: Not open to students who have taken another 100-level Geology course 6 credits; Science with Lab; offered Winter 2023 · Chloé Fandel
  • GEOL 135: Introduction to Climate Science

    This course aims to provide a survey of topics relevant to understanding Earth’s climate past, present, and future. Topics of interest will include the Earth’s climate system, rates and magnitude of change, methods for reconstructing and understanding Earth’s climate history, and researching local climate archives including cave deposits, tree rings, lake sediments, and soils. Outdoor laboratories included.

    6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; not offered 2022–2023
  • GEOL 200: Selected Field Topics in Geology

    This seminar course will investigate a variety of topics relevant to a specific field site. Participants will conduct fieldwork, which may involve recording observations, documenting field relationships, collecting samples, analyzing and taking in situ measurements, and collecting material for laboratory analysis. Coursework will also include group and independent study into the underlying geology of the region, as well as use of the primary literature to research topics of specific interest.

    Prerequisites: Instructor’s Permission required. Students should waitlist 2 credits; not offered 2022–2023
  • GEOL 205: Selected Topics in Geology

    This seminar course will focus on a specific topic in the Earth Sciences. Coursework will include group and independent study, as well as use of the primary literature to research topics of specific interest. Some sections of this course may involve laboratory or field work. 

    Prerequisites: Instructor Consent 3 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2022–2023
  • GEOL 210: Geomorphology and Lab

    A lab and field-focused introduction to water resources – the processes driving the water cycle, the methods used to quantify and understand the flow of water, and the relationship between humans and water. Weekly field trips to nearby locations such as streams, wellfields, caves, and water infrastructure to develop skills including streamflow measurements, water quality monitoring, pump tests, and measuring soil properties. No previous outdoor experience required.

    Prerequisites: 100 level Geology course or instructor permission 6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Fall 2022 · Chloé Fandel
  • GEOL 220: Tectonics and Lab

    This course focuses on understanding the plate tectonics paradigm and its application to all types of plate boundaries. We will explore the historical development of the paradigm, geophysical tools used for imaging the structure of the Earth and determining plate motions, and possible driving mechanisms of this global system. Students will independently explore a particular tectonic plate in detail throughout the term. Laboratories included.

    Prerequisites: One introductory (100-level) Geology course. 6 credits; Science with Lab, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2022 · Sarah Titus
  • GEOL 230: Paleobiology and Lab

    Fossils: their anatomy and classification, evolution, and ecology. Special emphasis on the paleobiology of marine invertebrates. Field trips and laboratories included.

    Prerequisites: 100-level Geology course or an introductory Biology course, or instructor permission 6 credits; Science with Lab, Writing Requirement; offered Spring 2023 · Clint Cowan
  • GEOL 240: Geophysics and Lab

    This applied geophysics course focuses on understanding the near-surface structure of the Earth using a hand-on approach. Students will collect, process, model, and interpret geophysical data using gravitational, magnetic, and seismic methods. Weekly laboratories and one weekend field trip will be required.

    Prerequisites: One introductory 100-level Geology course and one Physics introductory course or instructor consent 6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; not offered 2022–2023
  • GEOL 250: Mineralogy and Lab

    The study of the chemical and physical properties of minerals, their geologic occurrence and associations. Topics include crystallography, crystal chemistry, x-ray analysis, phase equilibria, classification, optical mineralogy, and environments of formation. Laboratories are included.

    Prerequisites: One introductory (100-level) Geology course, or Chemistry 123 or 128. 6 credits; Science with Lab; offered Winter 2023 · Bereket Haileab
  • GEOL 255: Petrology and Lab

    An introduction to the fundamental physical, chemical and tectonic principles that are relevant to the formation of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Labs emphasize description and interpretation of the origin of rocks based on hand specimen and thin section study. Field trips and laboratories are included.

    Prerequisites: Geology 250 6 credits; Science with Lab; offered Spring 2023 · Bereket Haileab
  • GEOL 258: Geology of Soils and Lab

    The study of soil formation, and physical and chemical properties of soils especially as related to geomorphology and land use. Laboratories and field trips will emphasize how to describe and interpret soils.

    Prerequisites: One introductory (100-level) geology course 6 credits; Science with Lab, Writing Requirement; not offered 2022–2023
  • GEOL 260: Coastal Marine Ecology

    Modern (and ancient) coastal marine benthic communities and their ecology. Topics include: structure of coastal communities, organisms’ interactions with each other and their environment, inshore physical oceanography, intertidal rocky shorelines, kelp forests, mangrove and coral reefs. Readings focus on landmark papers in nearshore marine ecology. Students explore research topics related to modern or ancient crises in marine ecosystems. Some years, an optional, multiday field trip over mid-term break may be provided; no experience or equipment is required, but participants must be prepared to spend time in the water and be competent swimmers.

    Prerequisites: One 200-level course from either Geology or Biology or permission of the instructor 6 credits; Science with Lab; offered Winter 2023 · Clint Cowan
  • GEOL 285: Geology in New Zealand: North Island

    In this course, participants will study modern and ancient geologic systems in the North Island with a view to understanding the tectonic, volcanic, and sedimentary history of New Zealand. The course will include projects in a wide range of geological settings. Prerequisites: Enrollment in OCS Program 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2023 · Sarah Titus, Cameron Davidson
  • GEOL 286: Geology in New Zealand: Topics in North Island Geology

    This course is tied to the North Island half of the program. Readings and discussions will cover a broad range of topics appropriate to North Island geology.

    Prerequisites: Enrollment in OCS program 2 credits; S/CR/NC; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2023 · Sarah Titus, Cameron Davidson
  • GEOL 287: Geology in New Zealand: South Island

    In this course, students will study the tectonic evolution of the South Island. Participants will work in small teams to hone their field observation skills, make structural measurements, and develop their mapping skills in several field sites across the South Island. Visits to additional field sites such as glaciers, fjords, and the Alpine fault are possible. Prerequisites: Enrollment in OCS program 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2023 · Cameron Davidson, Sarah Titus
  • GEOL 288: Geology in New Zealand: Topics in South Island Geology

    This course is tied to the South Island half of the program. Readings and discussions will cover a broad range of topics appropriate to South Island geology. Prerequisites: Enrollment in OCS program 2 credits; S/CR/NC; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2023 · Cameron Davidson, Sarah Titus
  • GEOL 289: Geology in New Zealand: Basic Field Drawing

    Formal and informal instruction and opportunity to improve field drawing skills. This course will include an independent field drawing assignment during midterm break in New Zealand.

    Prerequisites: Enrollment in OCS program 2 credits; S/CR/NC; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2023 · Sarah Titus, Cameron Davidson
  • GEOL 315: Paleoclimate

    The main objective of paleoclimatology is to reconstruct past climates in order to improve our understanding of the processes involved in controlling Earth’s climate at various timescales. This course will focus on climate reconstructions from local climate archives. Lab and some class time will be dedicated to group research projects. Reading and discussing primary literature is expected along with presentations and writing assignments related to research topics. Laboratories and one weekend field trip included.

    Prerequisites: Two 200 level geology courses, or instructor consent 6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; not offered 2022–2023
  • GEOL 340: Hydrogeology: Groundwater

    The principles of groundwater flow through the subsurface, and the functioning of aquifers. Topics include the properties of porous media, hydraulic head gradients, contaminant transport, and fractured and karstified aquifers. Labs will include working with physical sandbox models and soil columns, as well as an outdoor pumping well test (weather permitting). We will simulate groundwater flow using simple numerical modeling, beginning with an introduction to Python coding, and develop an increasingly complex groundwater model over the course of the term. No previous programming experience required.

    Prerequisites: Geology 210 recommended 6 credits; Science with Lab, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Spring 2023 · Chloé Fandel
  • GEOL 360: Sedimentology and Stratigraphy and Lab

    This course is based on field examination of outcrops of Lower Paleozoic sedimentary rock. We will interpret the processes involved in the creation, movement, and deposition of these ancient sediments, and try to determine their paleoenvironments. Also of interest are the transformation of these sediments into rock and the analysis and correlation of strata. Weekly laboratories, one overnight trip, and one Saturday trip are required. Please note the late laboratory times. Both paleobiology and geomorphology prepare students for work in sedimentology. This course is intended for upperclass Geology majors, and much of the work is done in teams.

    Prerequisites: Three 200-level Geology courses 6 credits; Science with Lab, Writing Requirement; not offered 2022–2023
  • GEOL 365: Structural Geology and Lab

    This course focuses on rock deformation at scales ranging from the collision of continents to the movement of individual atoms within crystals. We will examine structures that develop within different layers of the Earth’s lithosphere and discuss how and why these structures form. Reading, discussion, and presentation of scientific literature is expected throughout the term as we focus on deformation and tectonics in a single region. Laboratories and one weekend field trip are included.

    Prerequisites: Two 200-level Geology courses or instructor consent 6 credits; Science with Lab; not offered 2022–2023
  • GEOL 370: Geochemistry of Natural Waters

    The main goal of this course is to introduce and tie together the several diverse disciplines that must be brought to bear on hydrogeochemical problems today. This course will explore: principles of geochemistry, applications of chemical thermodynamics to geologic problems, mineral solubility, stability diagrams, chemical aspects of sedimentary rocks, geochemical tracers, radiogenic isotopes and principles of stable isotope fractionation. Laboratories included.

    Prerequisites: Chemistry 123 or permission of the instructor 6 credits; Science with Lab, Writing Requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; not offered 2022–2023
  • GEOL 400: Integrative Exercise

    Each senior geology major must take a total of six credits of Geology 400. One of the credits will be awarded in the spring term for the preparation and delivery of a formal talk and attendance at the talks or other seniors. The other five credits must be taken in the fall and/or winter terms. Credits can be divided between those two terms or all five credits may be taken in the same term. All seniors must attend the Geology 400 seminars which will meet weekly fall and winter term. Geology 400 is a continuing course, and the grade will not be awarded until the end of spring term. 1 credit; S/NC; offered Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023