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2020-2021 Course Catalog

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This catalog was created on Sunday, June 20, 2021.


Geosciences

Professors:M. Bjornerud (Walter Schober Professor of Environmental Studies), J. Clark (chair term III) (on leave term(s) III), A. Knudsen (chair terms I and II)
Assistant professor:R. Ribbons

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

Lawrence geosciences 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 geosciences 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 geosciences 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, a major in geosciences is ideal for a liberal arts degree. The discipline draws not only upon one’s observational and analytical abilities but also upon one’s aesthetic and creative instincts.

Required for the major in geosciences

Students who major in geosciences will learn to visualize earth processes over temporal and spatial scales, conduct research from hypothesis testing to data analysis and interpretation, and communicate scientific information proficiently in both written and spoken form.

The major in geosciences requires the following:

  1. Required foundational courses
    1. One of the following introductory geosciences courses:
      1. GEOS 110 Introduction to the Geosciences
      2. GEOS 125 Natural Hazards
      3. GEOS 150 Introduction to Environmental Science
    2. GEOS 210 History of Earth and Life
    3. GEOS 240 The Material World: Geochemistry of Minerals, Rocks, and Water
    4. One of the following:
      1. GEOS 360 Earth Surface Processes
      2. GEOS 370 Tectonophysics
  2. Three courses from the following:
    1. GEOS 214 Climate and Climate Change
    2. GEOS 250 Hot Rocks: Magmatism and Metamorphism
    3. GEOS 265 Biogeochemistry
    4. GEOS 314 Soil Science
    5. GEOS 340 Advanced Geochemistry
    6. GEOS 360 Earth Surface Processes
    7. GEOS 370 Tectonophysics
    8. GEOS 430 Watershed Hydrology
  3. Nine additional units in the geosciences in courses numbered 200 or higher. The following courses may also be used to meet this requirement: CHEM 212, ANTH 220, BIOL 235, or BIOL 420.
  4. Courses in other sciences and mathematics
    1. Introductory lab courses from two of the other natural sciences:
      1. CHEM 115 or 116
      2. PHYS 141 or 151
      3. BIOL 130 or 150 or 230
    2. One course from mathematics or focused on statistics:
      1. MATH 107 or 117 or 120 or 140 or 207, or BIOL 170
  5. Courses for the Senior Experience:
    1. GEOS 580 Junior Seminar (3 units)
    2. GEOS 620 Senior Capstone (3 units)

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

Geosciences students who have strong secondary interests in physics, chemistry, or biology may construct a major involving geosciences and one of these sciences using the interdisciplinary major in the natural sciences.

The requirements for the interdisciplinary major with geosciences as the primary field are:

  1. One of the following introductory geosciences courses:
    1. GEOS 110: Introduction to the Geosciences,
    2. GEOS 125: Natural Hazards, or
    3. GEOS 150: Introduction to Environmental Science
  2. GEOS 210: History of Earth and Life
  3. PHYS 141: Principles of Classical, Relativistic, and Quantum Mechanics and 151: Principles of Classical Physics
  4. Either of the following:
    1. BIOL 130: Integrative Biology: Cells to Organisms, 150: Integrative Biology: Organisms to Ecosystems, and 170: Integrative Biology: Experimental Design and Statistics
    2. CHEM 115: Principles of Chemistry: Structure and Reactivity and 116: Principles of Chemistry: Energetics and Dynamics
  5. At least 10 additional six-unit courses in the sciences (biology, chemistry, geosciences, and physics) numbered 200 or above, with at least five in the geosciences and at least three in the secondary discipline
  6. Courses for the Senior Experience:
    1. GEOS 580 Junior Seminar (3 units)
    2. GEOS 620 Senior Capstone (3 units)

Senior Experience in geosciences

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

The junior seminar (GEOS 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 geosciences faculty, each student identifies a substantive research question and designs a plan by which to investigate that question.

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

Required for the minor in geosciences

  1. One of the following introductory geosciences courses:
    1. GEOS 110: Introduction to the Geosciences
    2. GEOS 125: Natural Hazards
    3. GEOS 150: Introduction to Environmental Science
  2. GEOS 210: History of Earth and Life
  3. Any two of the following:
    1. GEOS 214: Climate and Climate Change
    2. GEOS 240: The Material World: Geochemistry of Minerals, Rocks, and Water
    3. GEOS 250: Hot Rocks: Magmatism and Metamorphism
    4. GEOS 265: Biogeochemistry
    5. GEOS 314: Soil Science
    6. GEOS 340: Advanced Geochemistry
    7. GEOS 360: Earth Surface Processes
    8. GEOS 370: Tectonophysics
    9. GEOS 430: Watershed Hydrology
  4. An additional twelve units in geosciences courses numbered 200 or higher

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

Students can seek teacher certification to teach geosciences/earth science at the secondary level. Certification requires a major in geosciences 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.


Courses - Geosciences

GEOS 110: Introduction to the Geosciences

An introduction to the study of the Earth, examining the interdependent global systems (atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, tectosphere) that set Earth apart from its planetary neighbors. Emphasis is also placed on human participation in and perturbation of these systems. One lab per week. This course may not be taken on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis.
Units: 6.

GEOS 125: Natural Hazards

Natural disasters are commonplace and are becoming increasingly costly in terms of economic impact and loss of human life. Through readings, lectures, and interactive labs we examine the root causes of natural hazards such as landslides, flooding, earthquakes, and tsunamis. We consider also the role humans have in elevating common hazards into humanitarian disasters, including the potential impact of global climate change on future events.
Units: 6.

GEOS 150: Environmental Science

Presents principles of biology, chemistry, geology, and physics that relate to such environmental issues as resource limitation, pollution, and environmental degradation. Designed to foster understanding of scientific measures of environmental quality. One laboratory per week. This course may not be taken on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis.
Units: 6.
Also listed as Environmental Studies 150
Prerequisite: Freshman or sophomore standing; consent of instructor required for juniors and seniors

GEOS 191: Directed Study in Geosciences

Directed study follows a syllabus set primarily by the instructor to meet the needs or interests of an individual student or small group of students. The main goal of directed study is knowledge or skill acquisition, not research or creative work.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required.

GEOS 195: Internship in Geosciences

An opportunity for students to gain work experience in industry, government, or the non-profit sector. The academic component, supervised by a Lawrence instructor, includes readings, discussion with the instructor, and a formal presentation and written report, which can be used to satisfy the geoscience department’s senior seminar requirement. (Grades are based on this academic work.) Intended to be used for research that is later developed into an honors project. Applications for an internship must be submitted by the fifth week of the term preceding the proposed internship.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required.

GEOS 210: History of the Earth and Life

A study of the physical, chemical, and organic evolution of the Earth since its origin 4.5 billion years ago, with emphasis on times of change and crisis. The course also examines the evolution of ideas about Earth’s history, illustrating how science and culture are inherently entangled.
Units: 6.
Also listed as Environmental Studies 230
Prerequisite: GEOL/GEOS 110, or GEOL/GEOS 125, or GEOL/GEOS 150

GEOS 213: Geology and Health

NEED FROM DEPT (no longer lab course)
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: GEOL/GEOS 110, ENST 150, or CHEM 116

GEOS 214: Climate and Climate Change

In this class we will cover the fundamental scientific knowledge about climate, and the long-term patterns and variation in climates over Earth’s history. Students will be able to evaluate and explain major climate drivers in the past, and how past and future human activities are altering climates at both local and global scales.
Units: 6.
Also listed as Environmental Studies 235
Prerequisite: GEOL 110 or GEOS 110 or GEOL 150 or GEOS 150

GEOL 220: Environmental Remote Sensing and GIS Applications

Fundamentals of electromagnetic radiation and the interaction of radiation with matter are introduced as the basis of remote sensing. Interpretation and manipulation of remotely sensed images are used to demonstrate the wealth of information remote sensing provides. Applications and case studies from geology, environmental science, ecology, agronomy, and urban planning will be explored. High school physics recommended. Lecture and laboratory.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: GEOL 110; high school physics recommended

GEOS 220: Environmental Remote Sensing and GIS Applications

Fundamentals of electromagnetic radiation and the interaction of radiation with matter are introduced as the basis of remote sensing. Interpretation and manipulation of remotely sensed images are used to demonstrate the wealth of information remote sensing provides. Applications and case studies from geology, environmental science, ecology, agronomy, and urban planning will be explored. High school physics recommended. Lecture and laboratory.
Units: 6.
Also listed as Environmental Studies 237
Prerequisite: GEOS 110; high school physics recommended

GEOS 240: The Material World: Geochemistry of Minerals, Rocks and Waters

Low-temperature geochemical processes drive the formation, weathering, and alteration of rocks and minerals and govern the composition of waters at the Earth’s surface. In studying these principles, we will investigate questions about the Earth’s environment from both modern systems and deep geological time. Course includes a three-day field trip to northern Wisconsin in the middle of the term. One lab per week.
Units: 6.
Also listed as Environmental Studies 240
Prerequisite: GEOL/GEOS 110 or GEOL/GEOS 125, or GEOL/GEOS 150, and CHEM 115

GEOL 245: Mineralogical Analysis

This course serves as an introduction to mineralogical analyses. Students will utilize a variety of analytical techniques including Polarized Light Microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and Scanning Electron Microscopy to study crystallography and mineral chemistry. Students will use these tools to analyze a variety of geological samples including rocks, soils, and sediments. Intended to be taken simultaneously with GEOL 240.
Units: 3.
Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in GEOL 240/ENST 240

GEOS 250: Hot Rocks

Introduction to the chemical processes that form igneous and metamorphic rocks, with emphasis on how mineralogical, chemical, and isotopic clues can be used to gather information about Earth’s early history and its inaccessible interior. One lab per week.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: GEOL/GEOS 110 and CHEM 116; GEOL/GEOS 240 and GEOL/GEOS 245

GEOL 260: Introduction to Paleobiology

An organismal and systems approach to the study of the marine and terrestrial fossil record. The course will focus on diversification and extinction of biotas in the context of the environmental history of Earth. Lecture and laboratory.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: GEOL 110 or BIOL 110

GEOL 265: Biogeochemistry

This course explores fundamental cycles between earth's major reservoirs of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon and water. Through lecture and group presentations, students will gain a solid understanding of the fundamentals of biogeochemical cycles and the mechanism underlying the biological transformations of those elements. Lecture and laboratory.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: BIOL 130 or GEOL 110

GEOS 265: Biogeochemistry

This course explores fundamental cycles between earth's major reservoirs of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon and water. Through lecture and group presentations, students will gain a solid understanding of the fundamentals of biogeochemical cycles and the mechanism underlying the biological transformations of those elements. Lecture and laboratory
Units: 6.
Also listed as Environmental Studies 265, Biology 265
Prerequisite: BIOL 130 or GEOL/GEOS 110

GEOS 314: Soil Science

Taking a deeper look at the world beneath our feet, this class focuses on soil formation and development over time and the interactions between soils and other components of the Earth system. We explore the linkages between above-ground and below-ground biotic communities and how they biotic and physical worlds interact with geology to provide the fruitful resource of soil. Exams and laboratory providing hands-on experience with soils.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: GEOS 110, or ENST 150, or instructor approval

GEOL 340: Advanced Geochemistry

A more detailed investigation of geochemical principles and processes through the investigation of important geochemical issues. Readings come heavily from the primary literature.
Units: 6.
Also listed as Geosciences 340, Environmental Studies 330
Prerequisite: GEOL 240 and CHEM 115, or consent of instructor; CHEM 116 recommended

GEOS 340: Advanced Geochemistry

A more detailed investigation of geochemical principles and processes through the investigation of important geochemical issues. Readings come heavily from the primary literature.
Units: 6.
Also listed as Geology 340, Environmental Studies 330
Prerequisite: GEOL 240 and CHEM 115, or consent of instructor; CHEM 116 recommended

GEOS 360: Earth Surface Processes

This course studies the movement of water, solute, and sediment through the landscape and the resulting properties and distribution of surficial earth materials and landforms. Topics include weathering; soil development; runoff; mass movement; river, glacial, and coastal processes; and deposition in sedimentary environments. One lab per week.
Units: 6.
Also listed as Environmental Studies 335
Prerequisite: GEOL/GEOS 110 and 240 or consent of instructor; PHYS 141 or 151 recommended.

GEOS 370: Tectonophysics

Introduction to the study of the mechanics of Earth’s crust and mantle, including mountain-building processes, seismicity and faulting, mantle convection, interpretation of deformed rocks. Four-day field trip late in term. One lab per week.
Units: 6.
Prerequisite: GEOL/GEOS 240 or consent of instructor

GEOS 390: Tutorial in Geoscience

Advanced work, arranged and carried out in consultation with an instructor.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required.

GEOS 391: Directed Study in Geosciences

Directed study follows a syllabus set primarily by the instructor to meet the needs or interests of an individual student or small group of students. The main goal of directed study is knowledge or skill acquisition, not research or creative work.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required.

GEOS 395: Internship in Geosciences

An opportunity for students to gain work experience in industry, government, or the non-profit sector. The academic component, supervised by a Lawrence instructor, includes readings, discussion with the instructor, and a formal presentation and written report, which can be used to satisfy the geoscience department’s senior seminar requirement. (Grades are based on this academic work.) Intended to be used for research that is later developed into an honors project. Applications for an internship must be submitted by the fifth week of the term preceding the proposed internship.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required.

GEOS 399: Independent Study in Geoscience

Advanced research, arranged in consultation with the department. Students considering an honors project should register for this course, for one or more terms.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required.

GEOL 430: Watershed Hydrology

An introduction to the basic components of the hydrologic cycle, focusing on surface water and groundwater systems. Measurement and analysis of hydrologic data are emphasized. Application to contemporary issues such as flooding, watershed development, and groundwater contamination will be discussed.
Units: 6.
Also listed as Geosciences 430, Environmental Studies 430
Prerequisite: GEOL 110; PHYS 141 or 151 recommended

GEOS 430: Watershed Hydrology

An introduction to the basic components of the hydrologic cycle, focusing on surface water and groundwater systems. Measurement and analysis of hydrologic data are emphasized. Application to contemporary issues such as flooding, watershed development, and groundwater contamination will be discussed.
Units: 6.
Also listed as Geology 430, Environmental Studies 430
Prerequisite: GEOL 110; PHYS 141 or 151 recommended

GEOL 520: Seminar in Selected Topics in Geology

An opportunity for students to read and analyze primary literature on significant topics in geology.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Open to students with a declared major in the natural sciences

GEOS 520: Seminar in Selected Topics in Geoscience

An opportunity for students to read and analyze primary literature on significant topics in geology.

Topic for Winter 2021: History of the Geosciences
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Biogeochemistry or permission of the instructor

GEOS 550: Seminar in Field Geoscience

During spring break, winter break, or prior to Term I, students conduct field investigations at an area of geological complexity, such as the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, the Lake Superior Region, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico. May be repeated for credit when topic is different.

Topic for:Fall 2020: Geol of the Lake Superior Region
A one-week field course (1-8 Sept) followed by a Fall term seminar on the rich geologic history of the Lake Superior region, spanning nearly three billion years, from Archean time through the present.
Units: 3.
Prerequisite: GEOL/GEOS 110, or GEOL/GEOS 125, or GEOL/GEOS 150, and consent of instructor

GEOS 580: Junior Seminar in Geoscience

The goal of the Junior Seminar is to engage geosciences majors in the scientific process. The course begins with consideration of the history of the geosciences as a discipline. We discuss modes of thinking that are shared with other scientific disciplines as well as those unique to the geosciences, and we read seminal papers that shaped the development of the field. With the guidance of a faculty member, each student identifies a topic to investigate in depth. Students lead discussions, prepare literature reviews and give final presentations on their topics. The topic a student explores in the junior seminar may be (but is not required to be) the same as the one studied intensively in the Senior Capstone course (GEOS 620). For some students, the junior seminar topic may also be linked to a research project to be continued over the summer and/or through the student's senior year as an independent study or honors project.
Units: 3.
Prerequisite: Declared geology or geosciences major or minor and junior standing, or consent of instructor.

GEOS 590: Tutorial in Geoscience

Advanced work, arranged and carried out in consultation with an instructor.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required.

GEOS 591: Directed Study in Geosciences

Directed study follows a syllabus set primarily by the instructor to meet the needs or interests of an individual student or small group of students. The main goal of directed study is knowledge or skill acquisition, not research or creative work.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required.

GEOS 595: Internship in Geosciences

An opportunity for students to gain work experience in industry, government, or the non-profit sector. The academic component, supervised by a Lawrence instructor, includes readings, discussion with the instructor, and a formal presentation and written report, which can be used to satisfy the geoscience department’s senior seminar requirement. (Grades are based on this academic work.) Intended to be used for research that is later developed into an honors project. Applications for an internship must be submitted by the fifth week of the term preceding the proposed internship.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required.

GEOS 599: Independent Study in Geoscience

Units: 1 TO 98.

GEOL 620: Senior Capstone in Geology

The goal of this course is to assist geology majors in becoming scientific practitioners. The course places emphasis on framing testable hypotheses, collecting and analyzing meaningful datasets, and developing models of geologic phenomena. Each student applies these skills to a particular project or problem in the earth sciences.
Units: 3.
Prerequisite: GEOL 580, declared geology major or minor and senior standing, or consent of instructor.

GEOS 620: Senior Capstone in Geoscience

The goal of this course is to assist geology majors in becoming scientific practitioners. The course places emphasis on framing testable hypotheses, collecting and analyzing meaningful datasets, and developing models of geologic phenomena. Each student applies these skills to a particular project or problem in the earth sciences.
Units: 3.
Prerequisite: GEOS 580, declared geology major or minor and senior standing, or consent of instructor.

GEOS 690: Tutorial in Geoscience

Advanced work, arranged and carried out in consultation with an instructor.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required.

GEOS 691: Directed Study in Geosciences

Directed study follows a syllabus set primarily by the instructor to meet the needs or interests of an individual student or small group of students. The main goal of directed study is knowledge or skill acquisition, not research or creative work.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required.

GEOS 695: Internship in Geoscience

An opportunity for students to gain work experience in industry, government, or the non-profit sector. The academic component, supervised by a Lawrence instructor, includes readings, discussion with the instructor, and a formal presentation and written report, which can be used to satisfy the geoscience department’s senior seminar requirement. (Grades are based on this academic work.) Intended to be used for research that is later developed into an honors project. Applications for an internship must be submitted by the fifth week of the term preceding the proposed internship.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required.

GEOS 699: Independent Study in Geoscience

Advanced research, arranged in consultation with the department. Students considering an honors project should register for this course, for one or more terms.
Units: 1 TO 98.
Prerequisite: Counter Registration Required.