Please note: The information displayed here is current as of Thursday, July 18, 2019, but the official Course Catalog should be used for all official planning.

2017-2018 Course Catalog

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This catalog was created on Thursday, July 18, 2019.


Geology

If “geology” makes you think of dusty collections of rocks, minerals and old bones, visit the Lawrence geology department. You will discover a thriving group of faculty members and students who consider geology to be a way of seeing the Earth, a lens through which the planet’s past and present come simultaneously into focus.

Lawrence geology students have an exceptional range of research experiences, comparable to what students from larger universities would first encounter at graduate school. In a single academic term, you could find yourself sampling ice-age lake sediments with the department’s portable drill rig, mapping the roots of an ancient mountain belt in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, instrumenting a watershed in eastern Wisconsin, examining microscopic rock structures with image-analysis software, and conducting geochemical and crystallographic studies with research equipment shared with the chemistry and physics departments. All geology majors complete a research project as part of their Senior Experience, and many present results of their research at professional meetings.

Field-based studies are at the heart of the Lawrence geology program. Recent destinations for the annual all-department field trip have included Hawaii, the Adirondacks, Wyoming, Ontario, Scotland and Puerto Rico. Shorter trips are integrated into academic-year courses, and there also are opportunities for summer field courses, internships, and research projects. Appleton is within a few hours’ drive of classical geological localities, including iron ore deposits and ancient volcanoes in northern Wisconsin and Michigan, a fossil forest preserved in glacial sediments on the shores of Lake Michigan, and the world-renowned glacial landscape of the Kettle Moraine. Local environmental issues related to surface and groundwater protection also provide the basis for student field projects.

In many ways, geology is the ideal liberal arts degree. It is a discipline that draws not only upon one’s observational and analytical abilities but also upon one’s aesthetic and creative instincts.

Required for the geology major

  1. Required core courses
    1. GEOL 110: Introductory Geology
    2. GEOL 210: History of Earth and Life
    3. GEOL 240: Chemistry of the Earth: Low-Temperature Environments
    4. GEOL 245: Mineralogical Analysis
    5. GEOL 250: Chemistry of the Earth: High-Temperature Environments
    6. GEOL 360: Physics of the Earth: Surface Processes
    7. GEOL 370: Physics of the Earth: Subsurface Processes
    8. GEOL 580: Junior Seminar
    9. GEOL 620: Senior Capstone
  2. An additional twelve units in geology courses numbered 200 or higher
  3. Courses in other sciences and mathematics
    • CHEM 116 (may be waived by placement exam)
    • MATH 107 or 117 or 120 or 140 or 207
    • PHYS 141 or 151

Required for the geology minor

  1. Required core courses
    1. GEOL 110: Introductory Geology
    2. GEOL 210: History of Earth and Life
    3. Any two of the following:
      • GEOL 240: Chemistry of the Earth: Low-Temperature Environments
      • GEOL 250: Chemistry of the Earth: High-Temperature Environments
      • GEOL 360: Physics of the Earth: Surface Processes
      • GEOL 370: Physics of the Earth: Subsurface Processes
  2. An additional twelve units in geology courses numbered 200 or higher
  3. C average in the minor

Required for the interdisciplinary major in the natural sciences in geology and a secondary discipline

  1. GEOL 110 and GEOL 210
  2. PHYS 150 and 160 or, with the permission of the secondary department, PHYS 120 and 130.
  3. Either:
    • BIOL 110 and 120 or BIOL 110 and 140, or
    • CHEM 115 and 116 or equivalent chosen to include the secondary interest
  4. At least 10 additional six-unit courses in the sciences (biology, chemistry, geology, and physics) numbered 200 or above, with at least five in geology and at least three in the secondary discipline
  5. GEOL 580 and 620

Teacher certification in geology/earth science or broad-field science

Students can seek teacher certification to teach geology/earth science at the secondary level. Certification requires a major in geology with courses in astronomy and oceanography and other science subjects. Students also have the option of seeking broad-field science certification by completing a minimum of two courses in each of two other science disciplines and at least one course in each of the remaining sciences. Students who plan to seek teacher certification should review the requirements in the Education section of the catalog and meet with the director of teacher education, preferably before the end of the sophomore year.

Senior Experience in Geology

The Senior Experience in geology comprises two 3-unit courses (GEOL 580 and 620), typically offered in the in spring term of the junior year and the winter term of the senior year respectively.

The junior seminar (GEOL 580) helps students begin to acquire an “insider's view” of the geosciences. In the first part of the course, students explore the philosophical and historical underpinnings of the discipline and develop strategies for finding and reading technical literature. Then, working with at least one member of the geology faculty, each student identifies a substantive research question and designs a plan by which to investigate that question.

In the senior capstone (GEOL 620), students work with faculty mentors to carry out these research plans (sometimes building upon work that they conducted during summer study on campus, in the field, or through programs at other universities as well as Independent Study work). By the end of GEOL 620, each student presents his or her research results and analyses to the department as a whole. Some students opt to continue their capstone research throughout their senior year as senior thesis or honors thesis projects.