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DEPARTMENT OF GEOSCIENCES

SPRING 2019 COURSES


Undergraduate

CEE 311/CHM 311/GEO 311/ENE 311Global Air PollutionStudents will study the chemical and physical processes involved in the sources, transformation, transport, and sinks of air pollutants on local to global scales. Societal problems such as photochemical smog, particulate matter, greenhouse gases, and stratospheric ozone depletion will be investigated using fundamental concepts in chemistry, physics, and engineering. For the class project, students will select a trace gas species or family of gases and analyze recent field and remote sensing data based upon material covered in the course. Environments to be studied include very clean, remote portions of the globe to urban air quality.Mark A. Zondlo
ENV 353/CEE 353/GEO 353Chemistry of the Environment(STN)This course provides the chemical background to understand many of today's most important environmental issues. Topics include atmospheric pollution, the ozone hole, ocean acidification, acid mine drainage, and coastal dead zones. Overall, the course focuses on a quantitative understanding of the chemistry of the atmosphere and natural waters. Students will use the chemical equilibrium model Minteq to study specific examples related to water quality issues.Anne M. Morel-Kraepiel
ENV 354/GEO 368Climate and Weather: Order in the Chaos(STN)This course focuses on the relationship between climate and weather events: each weather event is unique and not predictable more than a few days in advance, large-scale factors constrain the statistics of weather events, those statistics are climate. Various climatic aspects will be explored, such as the geographic constraints, energy and water cycling, and oceanic and atmospheric circulation, solar heating, the El Niño phenomenon, ice ages, and greenhouse gases. These climate features will be used to interpret the statistics of a number of weather events, including heat waves, tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons) and floods.Gabriel A. Vecchi
GEO 103Natural Disasters(STL)An introduction to natural (and some society-induced) hazards and the importance of public understanding of the issues related to them. Emphasis is on the geological processes that underlie the hazards, with discussion of relevant policy issues tied to reading recent newspaper/popular science articles. Principal topics: Earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, tsunami, hurricanes, floods, meteorite impacts, global warming. Intended primarily for non-science majors.Allan M. Rubin
GEO 202Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate(STL)The ocean and the atmosphere control Earth's climate, and in turn climate and atmospheric changes influence the ocean. We explore what sets the temperature of Earth's atmosphere and the connections between oceanic and atmospheric circulation's including exchanges of heat and carbon. We then investigate how these circulation's control marine ecosystems and the cycling of chemicals in the ocean. The final part of the course focuses on human impacts, including changes in coastal environments and the acidification resulting from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. One three-hour laboratory complements lectures.Laure Resplandy
GEO 360/ENV 356Geochemistry of the Human Environment(STL)Humans have profoundly altered the chemistry of Earth's air, water, and soil. This course explores these changes with an emphasis on the analytical techniques used to measure the human impact. Topics include the accumulation of greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4) in Earth's atmosphere and the contamination of drinking water at the tap and in the ground. Students will get hands on training in mass spectrometry and spectroscopy to determine the chemical composition of air, water, and soil and will participate in an outreach project aimed at providing chemical analyses of urban tap waters to residents of Trenton, NJ.John A. Higgins
GEO 366/ENV 339/WWS 451/ENE 366Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation, Policy(STN)An exploration of the potential consequences of human-induced climate change and their implications for policy responses, focusing on risks to people, societies, and ecosystems. As one example: we examine the risk to coastal cities from sea level rise, and measures being planned and implemented to enable adaptation. In addition, we explore local, national and international policy initiatives to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The course assumes students have a basic background in the causes of human-induced climate change and the physical science of the climate system.Michael Oppenheimer
GEO 372Rocks(STL)This course serves as an introduction to the processes that govern the distribution of different rocks in the Earth. We learn to make observations from the microscopic to continental scale and relate these to theoretical and empirical thermodynamics. The goal is to understand the chemical, structural, and thermal influences on rock formation and how this in turn influences the plate tectonic evolution of our plant.Blair Schoene
GEO 417/CEE 417/EEB 419Environmental MicrobiologyThe study of microbial biogeochemistry and microbial ecology. Beginning with the physical/chemical characteristics and constraints of microbial metabolism, we will investigate the role of bacteria in elemental cycles, in soil, sediment and marine and freshwater communities, in bioremediation and chemical transformations.Bess Ward
GEO 424/CEE 424/ENE 425Introductory Seismology(STN)Fundamentals of seismology and seismic wave propagation. Introduction to acoustic and elastic wave propagation concepts, observational methods, and inferences that can be drawn from seismic data about the deep planetary structure of the Earth, as well as about the occurrence of oil and gas deposits in the crust. Offered every other year.Jeroen Tromp
GEO 470/CHM 470Environmental Chemistry of SoilsFocuses on the inorganic and organic constituents of aqueous, solid, and gaseous phases of soils, and fundamental chemical principles and processes governing the reactions between different constituents. The role of soil chemical processes in the major and trace element cycles, and the biogeochemical transformation of different soil contaminants will be discussed in the later parts of the course.Satish C. Myneni

Undergraduates are able to take graduate courses (500+) with permission from course professor.

Graduate Studies

AOS 537/GEO 537Atmospheric ChemistryNatural gas phase and heterogeneous chemistry in the troposphere and stratosphere, with a focus on elementary chemical kinetics; photolysis processes; oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen chemistry; transport of atmospheric trace species; tropospheric hydrocarbon chemistry and stratospheric halogen chemistry; stratospheric ozone destruction; local and regional air pollution, and chemistry-climate interactions are studied.Larry W. Horowitz
GEO 503/AOS 503Responsible Conduct of Research in Geosciences (Half-Term)Course educates Geosciences and AOS students in the responsible conduct of research using case studies appropriate to these disciplines. This discussion-based course focuses on issues related to the use of scientific data, publication practices and responsible authorship, peer review, research misconduct, conflicts of interest, the role of mentors & mentees, issues encountered in collaborative research and the role of scientists in society. Successful completion is based on attendance, reading, and active participation in class discussions. Course satisfies University requirement for RCR training.Tullis C. Onstott
GEO 505Fundamentals of the GeosciencesA yearlong survey, in sequence, of fundamental papers in the geosciences. Topics in 505 (Spring) include the origin and interior of the Earth, plate tectonics, geodynamics, the history of life on Earth, the composition of the Earth, its oceans and atmospheres, past climate. Topics in 506 (Fall) include present and future climate, biogeochemical processes in the ocean, geochemical cycles, orogenies, thermochronology, rock fracture and seismicity. A core course for all beginning graduate students in the geosciences.Tullis C. Onstott
GEO 507/MSE 547Topics in Mineralogy and Mineral Physics: Multidisciplinary Studies of the Deep EarthThe course will survey the structure and properties of the deep earth including the lower mantle and core. Seismology, mineral physics, and geodynamics will be used to explore different facets of the deep earth and the interiors of other planets with an emphasis on fundamental and cutting-edge literature.Thomas S. DuffyJessica C. Irving
GEO 520Stable Isotope Geochemistry With An Environmental FocusExamines the use of stable isotope measurements to investigate important biogeochemical, environmental, and geologic processes, today and over Earth history. Introduction to terminology, basic underlying principles, measurement techniques, commonly used analytical and computational approaches for analyzing data, followed by a review of typical applications of the isotope systems of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and other elements. Lectures by the instructor, problem sets, numerical modeling assignments, student presentations and a final student paper based on readings from the scientific literature.Daniel M. Sigman
GEO 539Topics in Paleoecology, Paleoclimatology, and Paleoceanography: New Developments in Volcanism and Mass ExtinctionsThis course surveys new developments in volcanism, mercury as index of LIPs and Continental flood basalt's, rates of eruptions, rapid climate changes, ocean acidification and the environmental and biological effects leading to mass extinction's and delayed recovers. Examples include Deccan volcanism (India) at the KT, as well as the end-Triassic and Permo-Triassic extinction events.Gerta Keller