Skip over navigation

DEPARTMENT OF GEOSCIENCES

FALL 2017 COURSES

PRINT VERSION
 FALL 2017  SPRING 2017  FALL 2016 

Undergraduate

CEE 305/GEO 375/ENE 305Environmental Fluid Mechanics(STN)The course starts by introducing the conservation principles and related concepts used to describe fluids and their behavior. Mass conservation is addressed first, with a focus on its application to pollutant transport problems in environmental media. Momentum conservation, including the effects of buoyancy and earth's rotation, is then presented. Fundamentals of heat transfer are then combined with the first law of thermodynamics to understand the coupling between heat and momentum transport. We then proceed to apply these laws to study air and water flows in various environmental systems, with a focus on the atmospheric boundary layer.Elie R. Bou-Zeid
ENV 367/GEO 367Modeling the Earth System: Assessing Strategies for Mitigating Climate Change(QR)This course is an introduction to earth system modeling for students interested in global environmental issues. Students will use a "compact" or "reduced" earth system model, including the ocean, the land and the atmosphere, to examine how the system responds to human activities and natural climate variations. In small groups, they will design mitigation and geo-engineering scenarii (reforestation, carbon capture, emission limitation etc.), test their impact using the model and analyze and discuss their results. This course is designed to give students a critical thinking about climate models, their strengths and their limitations.Laure Resplandy
GEO 102A/ENV 102A/STC 102AClimate: Past, Present, and Future(STN)Which human activities are changing our climate, and does climate change constitute a significant problem? We will investigate these questions through an introduction to climate processes and an exploration of climate from the distant past to today. We will also consider the implications of climate change for the global environment and humans. Intended to be accessible to students not concentrating in science or engineering.Daniel M. Sigman
GEO 102B/ENV 102B/STC 102BClimate: Past, Present, and Future(STL)Which human activities are changing our climate, and does climate change constitute a significant problem? We will investigate these questions through an introduction to climate processes and an exploration of climate from the distant past to today. We will also consider the implications of climate change for the global environment and humans. Intended to be accessible to students not concentrating in science or engineering.Daniel M. SigmanDanielle M. Schmitt
GEO 203/ENE 203Fundamentals of Solid Earth Science(QR)A quantitative introduction to Solid Earth system science, focusing on the underlying physical and chemical processes and their geological and geophysical expression. Through the course we investigate the Earth starting from its basic constituents and continue though its accretion, differentiation and evolution and discuss how these processes create and sustain habitable conditions on Earth's surface. Topics include nucleosynthesis, planetary thermodynamics, plate tectonics, seismology, geomagnetism, petrology, sedimentology and the global carbon cycle. Two field trips included.Jessica C. Irving
GEO 255A/AST 255A/EEB 255A/CHM 255ALife in the Universe(STN)This course introduces students to a new field, Astrobiology, where scientists trained in biology, chemistry, astronomy and geology combine their skills to discover life's origins and to seek extraterrestrial life. Topics include: the origin of life on Earth; the prospects of life on Mars, Europa, Enceladus and extra-solar planets. Students will also compete in class to select landing sites and payloads for the next robotic missions to Mars and Europa. 255A is the core course for the Planets and Life certificate.Edwin L. TurnerTullis C. OnstottMichael H. HechtChristopher F. Chyba
GEO 361/ENV 361/CEE 360Earth's Atmosphere(STN)This course discusses the processes that control Earth's climate - and as such the habitability of Earth - with a focus on the atmosphere and the global hydrological cycle. The course balances overview lectures (also covering topics that have high media coverage like the 'Ozone hole' and 'Global warming', and the impact of volcanoes on climate) with selected in-depth analyses. The lectures are complemented with homework based on real data, demonstrating basic data analysis techniques employed in climate sciences.Stephan A. Fueglistaler
GEO 363/CHM 331/ENV 331Environmental Geochemistry: Chemistry of the Natural Systems(STN)Covers topics including origin of elements; formation of the Earth; evolution of the atmosphere and oceans; atomic theory and chemical bonding; crystal chemistry and ionic substitution in crystals; reaction equilibria and kinetics in aqueous and biological systems; chemistry of high-temperature melts and crystallization process; and chemistry of the atmosphere, soil, marine and riverine environments. The biogeochemistry of contaminants and their influence on the environment will also be discussed.Satish C. Myneni
GEO 365Evolution and Catastrophes(STN)This course introduces students to the evolution of life and mass extinction's based on a broad survey of major events in Earth history as revealed by the fossil record. Concepts and techniques of paleontology are applied to all aspects, including colonization of the oceans, invasion of land, mass extinction's and evolutionary radiation's. The roles of major catastrophes in the history of life are evaluated, including meteorite impacts, volcanism, climate change, and oceanic anoxia.Gerta Keller
GEO 373Structural Geology(STL)An introduction to the physics and geometry of brittle and ductile deformation in Earth's crust. Deformation is considered at scales from atomic to continental, in the context of mountain building, rifting, and the origin of topography.Blair Schoene
GEO 418/CHM 418Environmental Aqueous GeochemistryApplication of quantitative chemical principles to the study of natural waters. Includes equilibrium computations, carbonate system, gas exchange, precipitation/dissolution of minerals, coordination of trace metals, redox reactions in water and sediments.Anne M. Morel-Kraepiel
GEO 422Data, Models, and Uncertainty in the Natural Sciences(QR)No more being puzzled by dots on a graph! This course is for those who want to turn observations into models and subsequently evaluate their uniqueness and uncertainty. Three main topics are elementary inferential statistics, heuristic time series analysis, and model parameter estimation via matrix inverse methods. While the instructor's and textbook examples will be derived mostly from the physical sciences, students are encouraged to bring their own data sets for classroom discussion. Problem sets and MATLAB computer programming exercises form integral parts of the course. Prior programming experience is helpful but not requiredFrederik J. Simons
GEO 425/MAE 425Introduction to Ocean Physics for ClimateThe study of the oceans as a major influence on the atmosphere and the world environment. The contrasts between the properties of the upper and deep oceans; the effects of stratification; the effect of rotation; the wind-driven gyres; the thermohaline circulation.Gabriel A. Vecchi
GEO 427/CEE 427/ENV 427Fundamentals of the Earth's Climate SystemThe goal of the course is to provide students with an introductory overview of the broad factors that determine our current climate, as well as past and future climates. We first build a foundation for understanding the principal features of today's climate. This includes examining the Earth's energy and water cycles, the processes determining the principal atmospheric and ocean circulation features, climate feedback processes, and dominant modes of variability. We then use this framework to interpret observational records of past climates, including ice age cycles, and to examine projections of future climate change.Thomas L. DelworthStephan A. Fueglistaler

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

Graduate Studies

AOS 527/GEO 527Atmospheric Radiative TransferStructure and composition of terrestrial atmospheres. Fundamental aspects of electromagnetic radiation. Absorption and emission by atmospheric gases. Optical extinction of particles. Roles of atmospheric species in Earth's radiative energy balance. Perturbation of climate due to natural and antropogenic causes. Satellite observations of climate system.Venkatachalam RamaswamyYi Ming
GEO 506Fundamentals of the Geosciences IIA survey of fundamental papers in the Geosciences. Topics include present and future climate, biogeochemical processes in the ocean, geochemical cycles, orogenies, thermochronology, rock fracture and seismicity. This is the core geosciences graduate course.Tullis C. Onstott
GEO 507/MSE 547Topics in Mineralogy and Mineral Physics: Current Research in Mineral Physics and Materials ScienceThe course critically examines current literature and recent developments in the study of materials under extreme conditions of pressure and temperature. Both static and dynamic compression techniques are covered. The course focuses on technique developments as well as forefront scientific applications and results. An emphasis is placed on materials of geological interest including ceramics, minerals, and iron alloys.Thomas S. Duffy
GEO 534Geological Constraints on the Global Carbon CycleThis course explores global geochemical cycles through the use of simple numerical models. Topics covered range from box models of the geologic carbon and oxygen cycles, planetary thermostats, and atmospheric oxygenation, to box models of Cenozoic seawater chemistry (Mg and Ca), to 1D diffusion-reaction modes of the dynamics of carbon and oxygen in sedimentary systems. Previous coursework in differential equations and MATLAB are highly desirable but not absolutely necessary.John A. Higgins
GEO 543Rock FractureApplication of fracture mechanics to a wide range of geologic processes, including dike and hydrofracture propagation, fault and joint growth and earthquake rupture. Topics include engineering fracture mechanics, analytic solutions for cracks in elastic media, numerical boundary element methods, and applications to geologic examples including observed fracture paths and patterns, small-scale structures associated with faults and dikes, and interpretation of geodetic data and seismological data.Allan M. Rubin
GEO 557Theoretical GeophysicsGeophysical applications of the principles of continuum mechanics; conservation laws and constitutive relations and tensor analysis; acoustic, elastic, and gravity wave propagation are studied.Jeroen Tromp
GEO 561Earth's AtmosphereThis course discusses the processes that control Earth's climate - and as such the habitability of Earth - with a focus on the atmosphere and the global hydrological cycle. The course balances overview lectures (also covering topics that have high media coverage like the "Ozone hole" and "Global warming," and the impact of volcanoes on climate) with selected in-depth analyses. The lectures are complemented with homework based on real data, demonstrating basic data analysis techniques employed in climate sciences.Stephan A. Fueglistaler