Skip over navigation

Department of Geosciences

Chair

Bess B. Ward

Associate Chair

Thomas S. Duffy

Departmental Representative

Satish C. B. Myneni

Director of Graduate Studies

Michael L. Bender

Professor

Michael L. Bender*

Thomas S. Duffy

Lincoln S. Hollister

Gerta Keller

François Morel

Tullis C. Onstott

Michael Oppenheimer, also Woodrow Wilson School*

S. George H. Philander*

Allan M. Rubin

Jorge L. Sarmiento*

Daniel M. Sigman

Jeroen Tromp, also Applied and Computational Mathematics

Bess B. Ward

Associate Professor

Satish C. B. Myneni

Assistant Professor

Stephan A. Fueglistaler*

Adam C. Maloof

Nadine McQuarrie

David M. Medvigy*

Blair Schoene

Frederik J. Simons

Visiting Lecturer

Gregory E. van der Vink

Associated Faculty

Michael A. Celia, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Peter R. Jaffé, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Denise L. Mauzerall, Woodrow Wilson School

Catherine A. Peters, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Ignacio Rodríguez-Iturbe, Civil and Environmental Engineering

James A. Smith, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Eric F. Wood, Civil and Environmental Engineering


Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences


Director

Jorge L. Sarmiento

Lecturer with Rank of Professor

Isaac M. Held

Ngar-Cheung Lau

Venkatachalam Ramaswamy

Geoffrey K. Vallis

Lecturer

Leo Donner

Stephen T. Garner

Anand Gnanadesikan

Robert W. Hallberg

Larry W. Horowitz

Sonya A. Legg

Associated Faculty

Denise L. Mauzerall, Woodrow Wilson School, Civil and Environmental Engineering*

Stephen W. Pacala, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology*

James A. Smith, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Mark Zondlo, Civil and Environmental Engineering


*Member of Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences


Information and Departmental Plan of Study

The intellectual excitement of modern geosciences is fueled by our exploration of the dynamic forces and delicate balances that mold our planet and have rendered it conducive to life for much of its history. Our landscape is continually reshaped by the movement of cold continents atop the hot, viscous mantle, and our lives are shattered by the earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that attend their collision. Rocks that cover the Earth's surface sink to great depths and fundamentally transform under enormous temperatures and pressures, perhaps some day to be uplifted as mountains and exposed to future generations by the inexorable forces of erosion. The ocean and atmosphere engage in a continuous and complex dialogue that controls the Earth's climate. Chemical reactions operating within microorganisms and on a variety of mineral and other natural surfaces are integrated into large geochemical fluxes, which distribute the resources needed for life, and life in turn alters these fluxes. This process operates within the framework of biological evolution, in which diverse organisms appear, evolve, and vanish, sometimes leaving a transfigured world in their wake. All of these processes influence our daily lives in surprising and compelling ways.

Many of the great challenges to humanity, today and in the future, involve processes that are studied by Earth scientists, leading to a rapidly increasing role for the field in issues of environmental regulation and public policy. A background in the Earth sciences is an essential component of contemporary education. Practicing geoscientists study nature both in the field and in the lab; and, to an ever-increasing degree, they must quantify observations with the aim not only of describing the past but of predicting the future of our planet, often with the aid of rigorous laboratory and field experiments, and intensive computation and modeling. The diversity of processes that characterize the Earth as a whole requires geosciences to be an extraordinarily interdisciplinary field with direct connections to mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. As a result of these connections, the geosciences frequently draw students from many backgrounds; many of our most successful graduates begin their undergraduate careers in subjects ranging from physics to English. The Department of Geosciences welcomes this intellectual variety, and our undergraduate program allows flexibility while stressing the importance of an understanding of the natural sciences.

Prerequisites

Majors are normally required to have taken at least one 200-level geosciences course (202, 203) or a geosciences freshman seminar by spring of their sophomore year. Introductory geosciences courses, GEO102 and GEO103, are intended primarily for non-science majors and are not ideal for students anticipating in majoring in geosciences.

General Requirements

The following courses (or their AP equivalents) are required for graduation.

Mathematics: MAT 104 or higher. MAT 201, 202, and 303 are recommended but not required.

Biology, Chemistry, and Physics: Two introductory or one advanced course from two of the three natural science departments. These introductory courses include PHY 103 and 104; CHM 201 and 202 (or 207); EEB 210 and 211, 214 and 215, or 308 and 309. Examples of advanced courses include PHY 203, 205, 207; CHM 215. Students are encouraged to take as many of these courses as possible.

Students interested in going to graduate school are encouraged to take more than these minimum basic science requirements.

Departmental Requirements

Majors are required to take eight upper-level geosciences courses (300-level or higher) with a breadth requirement of one course from at least two tracks.

Two upper-level courses (300 level or higher) in CEE, CHE, CHM, COS, EEB, MAE, MAT, MOL, PHY, or WWS may be substituted for two of the eight required geosciences courses.

If the student takes more than one 200-level GEO course and a freshman seminar in geosciences and would like to count one of these courses toward their 300-level requirements, the student should consult with the departmental representative. Students are urged to consult with the departmental representative or their junior or senior adviser before choosing departmental courses outside geosciences. In general, the department is flexible with course selections and requirements; however, we like to ensure a degree of coherency in the curriculum of each student.

Junior Colloquium. This is a weekly luncheon meeting, convened during the fall term, to acquaint juniors with research and career opportunities. This is mandatory for all geosciences majors (including those in the geological engineering program).

Program of Study

A set of informal programs (tracks) of study is designed to help students interested in different areas of geosciences, and to provide basic course plans that allow students to develop a strong foundation in those areas. These areas of focus include:

Geology and Geophysics (GPG). Focuses on the structure and evolution of the Earth as a physical system, by theory, experiment, field work, and numerical simulation. The emphasis is on geological processes of global relevance. The quantitative concepts and techniques covered in class are also relevant to applied sciences and industry.

Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate (OAC). This track specializes in the study of the coupled ocean and atmosphere system as it interacts with life to set the physical and chemical conditions of the Earth's surface.

Environmental Biogeochemistry (EBG). This track focuses on the understanding of chemical and biological processes modifying the Earth's surface (atmosphere, soils, sediments, oceans), and how their interactions alter the behavior of elements or molecules responsible for different environmental processes, such as global climate change, and transport and bioaccumulation of anthropogenic contaminants.

Certificate Programs.The department offers a certificate program in geological engineering in collaboration with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, which is described in the entry for the Program in Geological Engineering. There is also a geosciences concentration certificate program in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. The admission process for the certificate students is the same as for other potential Woodrow Wilson School concentrators. The department also cooperates in the certificate programs in environmental studies, materials science and engineering, and teacher preparation. Several geosciences courses fulfill the requirements of these certificate programs.

All students considering a major in the department should see the departmental representative. They are encouraged to consult as soon as possible, even as first-year students, to aid in the design of a course of study. The department offers an open house in both the fall and spring terms to introduce prospective students to departmental courses, faculty, students, and research interests.

For full details, see the department's website.

Independent Work

Junior Independent Work. Students conduct independent research, and write and orally present their results in both the fall and spring semesters. In the fall semester, the independent work often takes the form of a synthesis of library research on a topic that is chosen by the student in consultation with one of the faculty members, whereas in the spring students are expected to collect and/or conduct data analysis. Examples of research topics in different areas of geosciences can be accessed on the department Web pages, and can also be obtained from the department office. Many opportunities for collecting data are available, either through the student's own efforts (including geological field work, experiments conducted in any of the several laboratories in the department, and computer simulations), or by accessing databases made available by and for the scientific community at large. The department and the faculty adviser can provide the necessary funding to conduct this independent research. The oral presentations of independent work take place during the reading period. The final grade for both fall and spring independent research is decided based on the quality of the research, written report, and the oral presentation of the student.

Senior Independent Work. All students write a thesis and give an oral presentation on a subject chosen by the student with the advice of the department. Many students select their projects in consultation with a faculty adviser, and begin the research during the summer preceding the senior year. The department and the faculty adviser usually provide the necessary funds to conduct the independent research. The grade for the thesis is decided based on the quality of the research, written report, and the oral presentation.

Senior Departmental Examination

The comprehensive examination in the department consists of an oral examination based on the senior thesis and related topics.

Preparation for Graduate Study

Specialization in any one of the Earth sciences today requires graduate study. Students interested in pursuing graduate studies in any of the tracks are encouraged to take advanced chemistry, physics, mathematics, and biology courses. More specific information on graduate education can be obtained from the departmental representative or other faculty members.

Field Programs. Since experience in field geology is an important aspect of professional training, students are encouraged to take a course in field methods in geology and oceanography.

Geological Field Camp.  Many of our students take the YBRA (Yellowstone-Bighorn Research Association) field course in Red Lodge, Montana, after their sophomore or junior year. Other students choose to work with a faculty member (e.g., Maloof, McQuarrie, Onstott, and Hollister) or a graduate student in the field, and may conduct independent research for junior or senior independent research as part of this opportunity. Geosciences facilitates student enrollment in these field opportunities by providing financial aid.

Experience at Sea. Students interested in ocean studies can participate in ongoing studies at sea or at the Bermuda Biological Station. The department tries to make available opportunities to interested undergraduates, particularly to those electing the OAC and EBG tracks, to participate in an oceanographic cruise at some time during their undergraduate years.

Information on other opportunities for field experience is made available annually. The student should consult the departmental representative if they are interested in participating in field programs.

Financial Assistance. Grants for field work in geology are available through the Tony Conway '36 Memorial Scholarship Fund. Grants for field and museum studies and research in natural history during the summer are available to students of high scholastic standing from the John Boyd '43 Memorial Fund and the Glenn L. Jepsen '27 Fund. Grants are available from the Erling Dorf '33 Fund for field work and the field course. In 1977 the Howard T. Vaum Jr. '78 Fund was established as a memorial to this student in geological engineering; proceeds are used to support students of high academic standing in a field study program. Students wishing assistance from any of these funds should present a proposal (two pages of research description) by February 15 to the departmental representative.

Funds are available from time to time for qualified undergraduates to serve as research assistants to faculty members during the regular academic session as well as during the summer months.

In some instances summer employment for qualified students can be arranged with governmental, commercial, or academic field parties.


Courses


GEO 102A Climate: Past, Present, and Future (also ENV 102A)   Fall

An introduction to the processes and conditions that control Earth's climate; an overview of past climate evolution from the time of Earth's origin to the period of human history; and an investigation of ongoing climate changes and those predicted for the future, including the capacity of human activities to alter climate and the impacts of climate change on environment and society. Intended primarily for students not concentrating in science or engineering. Three lectures. M. Bender, D. Sigman, G. Vallis

GEO 102B Climate: Past, Present, and Future (also ENV 102B)   Fall ST

An introduction to the processes and conditions that control Earth's climate; an overview of past climate evolution from the time of Earth's origin to the period of human history; and an investigation of ongoing climate changes and those predicted for the future, including the capacity of human activities to alter climate and the impacts of climate change on environment and society. Intended primarily for students not concentrating in science or engineering. Three lectures, one three-hour laboratory. M. Bender, D. Sigman, G. Vallis

GEO 103 Natural Disasters   Spring ST

Natural hazards and the importance of public understanding of the issues related to them. Emphasis on the processes which underlie these hazards with some discussion of the policy issues involved. Principal topics: earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, landslides, impacts, limits to growth of population and its use of natural resources. Three lectures, one three-hour laboratory. A. Rubin

GEO 202 Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate   Spring ST

An introduction to the ocean, atmosphere, and climate from the perspective of oceanography. Covers coastal processes including waves, beaches, tides, and ecosystems; open ocean processes including atmospheric circulation and its impact on the surface ocean, the wind-driven circulation, and surface ocean ecosystems; and the abyssal ocean including circulation, the cycling of chemicals, and ocean sediments and what they tell us about the climate history of the Earth. The final part of the course will cover humans and the Earth system, including a discussion of ocean resources and climate change. Three lectures, one three-hour laboratory. J. Sarmiento

GEO 203 Geology (also CEE 235)   Fall ST

An introduction to geology and geological processes. Topics include the physical processes occurring within the Earth, including plate tectonics, formation of minerals and rocks, Earth structure, earthquakes, faults, and mountain building, as well as the physical processes that transform the Earth's surface, including weathering and erosion, flooding, landslides and the development of landscape. Recommended for students considering geosciences as a concentration. Two 90-minute lectures, one three-hour laboratory. N. McQuarrie

GEO 207 A Guided Tour of the Solar System (also AST 207)   Fall QR

Examines the major bodies of our solar system, emphasizing their surface features, internal structures, and atmospheres. Topics include the origin of the solar system, habitability of planets, and the role of impacts in planetary evolution. Terrestrial and giant planets will be studied as well as satellites, comets, and asteroids. Recent discoveries from planetary missions are emphasized. This course is aimed primarily at non-science majors. Three lectures, one preceptorial. T. Duffy

GEO 208 Human Evolution (see ANT 206)

GEO 255 Life in the Universe (also AST 255/EEB 255/CHM 255)   Fall QR

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 seek extraterrestrial life. Topics include: discoveries of microbes in extreme environments on Earth that raise the prospect of life on Mars and Europa, a moon of Jupiter; and extra-solar planets that offer targets for NASA telescopes searching for life. Prerequisites: at least one course in astrophysics, biology, chemistry, physics, or geology. For freshmen, an AP score of 4 or 5 in chemistry, biology, or physics is required. Two 90-minute lectures. T. Onstott, E. Turner, L. Landweber

GEO 297 Environmental Decision Making (also ENV 399)   Fall QR

Use of scientific data and arguments in formulating environmental policies, international development, poverty reduction, economic growth, conflict, and risk assessment. Class format consists of case studies for which students analyze the scientific arguments, evaluate the data upon which they are based, and determine the scientific credibility, political feasibility, and economic consequences of the various decisions. One three-hour seminar. G. van der Vink

GEO 300 Summer Course in Geologic Field Methods  

Introduction to modern geologic field methods. Local and regional problems studied from base camp at Red Lodge, Montana. Five weeks during summer usually following sophomore year. Prerequisite: one year of college geology and 312, 314, or 316. L. Goodell

GEO 308 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy   Fall ST

Examination of the nature and origin of sedimentary rocks and fossils that provide the basis for the interpretation of sedimentary environments. Focus on processes and environments involved in the origin, dispersal, deposition, and burial of sediments, and the use of fossils to determine age and stratigraphic correlation of sediments. A field work short course during break introduces the students to practical applications of geological principles and provides hands-on experience. Pre- or co-requisite: one 300-level geosciences course, or instructor's permission. Offered alternately with 305. G. Keller

GEO 312 Introduction to Mineralogy and Petrology   Spring ST

An examination of the materials that compose the Earth and the processes that govern their growth and transformation. Emphasis on the crystal chemistry of the rock-forming minerals. Laboratory devoted to hand samples and modern methods of mineral analysis. Three classes, one three-hour laboratory. Prerequisite: CHM 201 or 203, or instructor's permission. T. Onstott

GEO 314 Igneous and Metamorphic Geology   Fall ST

Interpretation of Earth history based on the rock record. Two 90-minute lectures, one three-hour laboratory. Several one-day field trips and an eight-day trip during fall break. Prerequisite: one course in geosciences (or geosciences freshman seminar). L. Hollister

GEO 322 Biogeochemical Cycles and Global Change (also ENV 322)   Not offered this year

An examination of the natural cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and other biologically active elements. Major themes include the physical processes and biological requirements that underlie biogeochemical cycles on Earth; the biogeochemistry of land-based, freshwater, and marine environments, and their integration into global cycles; changes in these cycles over Earth history and their recent alteration by human activities. Prerequisite: CHM 201 and 202 and MAT 101 and 102, or instructor's permission. Three one-hour classes. D. Sigman

GEO 361 Physics of the Ocean and Atmosphere (also ENV 361/CEE 360)   Fall

The habitability of our planet depends critically on the motion of the oceans and atmosphere, which determines our weather and climate. Associated phenomena include hurricanes, tornadoes, the Jet Streams, the Gulf Stream, El Nino, La Nina, and the recurrent Ice Ages of the past million years. The course includes the use of an idealized computer model to study how these phenomena depend on the Earth's rotation and sphericity, and to explore the predictability of weather and of long-term changes in climate, including future global warming. Prerequisites: MAT 201, PHY 104 or equivalent. Three lectures. S. Philander

GEO 362 Biogeochemistry of the Ocean and Atmosphere (also ENV 362)   Not offered this year ST

The chemical cycles of ocean and atmosphere and their interaction with Earth's biota. Topics include: the origin of the ocean's salt; the major and biologically active gases in the atmosphere and ocean; nutrients and ocean fertility; the global carbon cycle; the reactive chemistry of the atmosphere. Prerequisites: CHM 201/202 or higher; GEO 202 and/or GEO 361; or permission of the instructor. Three lectures, one laboratory. D. Sigman

GEO 363 Environmental Geochemistry: Chemistry of the Natural Systems (also CHM 331/ENV 331)   Fall

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. Two 90-minute lectures. Prerequisite: one term of college chemistry or instructor's permission. S. Myneni

GEO 364 Earth Chemistry: The Major Realms of the Planet (also CHM 364)   Spring

The chemical composition of the major realms of the planet: core, mantle, continents, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere. Topics include the synthesis of the chemical elements in stars, the origin of the solar system and Earth, and the chemical differentiation of Earth's core, mantle, crust, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere. Also explores the global cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and other biologically important elements, their interactions with the geosphere, and their evolution through time. Prerequisites: CHM 201, or equivalent; MAT 103, or equivalent. Three lectures. M. Bender, D. Sigman

GEO 365 Evolution and Catastrophes   Fall

Evolution of life and its fossil record with special emphasis on catastrophes resulting in mass extinctions. Evaluation of current theories on mass extinctions. Two 90-minute lectures. Prerequisite: 202; or EEB 211; or instructor's permission. Offered alternately with 308. G. Keller

GEO 366 Current and Future Climate (also ENV 339/WWS 335)   Not offered this year

An exploration of the causes and potential consequences of human-induced climate change, and their implications for policy responses. By studying the climate system and how it is influenced by human perturbation, the class will develop themes that should constrain public policy, including time-scales of change, irreversibility, lags, limits, uncertainty, and surprise. Prerequisites: MAT 101-102 and either CHM 201-202 or PHY 101-102; or permission of instructor. Two 90-minute lectures, one preceptorial. Offered alternate years. M. Oppenheimer

GEO 370 Sedimentology (also ENV 370/CEE 370)   Spring ST

A treatment of the physical and chemical processes that shape Earth's surface, such as solar radiation, i.e., deformation of the solid Earth, and the flow of water (vapor, liquid, and solid) under the influence of gravity. In particular, the generation, transport, and preservation of sediment in response to these processes are studied in order to better read stories of Earth history in the geologic record and to better understand processes involved in modern and ancient environmental change. Prerequisites: MAT 104, PHY 103, CHM 201, or equivalents. Two lectures, two laboratories. A. Maloof

GEO 371 Global Geophysics (also PHY 371)   Fall

An introduction to the fundamental principles of global geophysics. Taught in four parts, the material builds up to form a final coherent picture of (how we know) the structure and evolution of the solid Earth--gravity, magnetism, seismology, and geodynamics. The emphasis is on physical principles including the mathematical derivation and solution of the governing equations. Prerequisites: MAT 201 or 203, PHY 103/104 or PHY 105/106, or permission of the instructor. Two 90-minute lectures, one class. Offered alternately with 422. F. Simons

GEO 372 Earth Materials   Fall ST

This course serves as an introduction to the processes that govern the distribution of different rocks and minerals in the Earth. Students 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 and mineral formation and how this in turn influences the plate tectonic evolution of our planet. Prerequisite: GEO 203 or FRS 145. Two lectures, one laboratory. B. Schoene

GEO 373 Structural Geology   ST

The nature and origin of the deformed rocks composing the crust of Earth considered at scales ranging from atomic to continental. Tectonics and regional geology of North America. Three lectures, one three-hour laboratory, and two one-day and one three-day field trips in the Appalachians. Prerequisite: 235 or instructor's permission. N. McQuarrie

GEO 374 Planetary Systems: Their Diversity and Evolution (also AST 374)   Not offered this year

Examines the diversity of recently discovered planetary systems in terms of fundamental physical and chemical processes and what this diversity implies about the origin and evolution of our own planetary system. Topics include: the formation and dynamics of planets and satellites, planetary migration, the evolution of planetary interiors, surfaces and atmospheres, the occurrence of water and organics, and the habitability of planets and planetary systems. Recent discoveries from planetary missions and extrasolar planet observations are emphasized. Prerequisites: GEO 207, 255, or instructor's permission. Two 90-minute lectures. T. Onstott

GEO 375 Environmental Fluid Mechanics (see CEE 305)

GEO 416 Evolution of the Continents   Spring

Geology and geophysics as they relate to the origin and evolution of the continental crust. Prerequisite: one year of geology. One three-hour seminar; one seven-day field trip during spring break. Offered alternately with 308. L. Hollister

GEO 417 Environmental Microbiology (also CEE 417/EEB 419)   Spring

The 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. Prerequisites: One 300-level course in chemistry or biology, or instructor's permission. Two 90-minute classes. B. Ward

GEO 418 Environmental Aqueous Geochemistry (also CHM 418)   Fall

Application of quantitative chemical principles to the study of natural waters. Includes equilibrium computations, weathering and diagenetic processes, precipitation of chemical sediments, and pollution of natural waters. Two lectures. Prerequisite: one year of college chemistry. Previous or concurrent enrollment in CHM 306 recommended. Offered alternate years. F. Morel

GEO 419 The Earth as a Physical System (also PHY 419)   Spring

The Earth is a physical system whose past and present state can be studied within the framework of physics and chemistry. Topics include current concepts of geophysics and the physics and chemistry of Earth materials; origin and evolution of the Earth; and nature of dynamic processes in its interior. One emphasis is to relate geologic processes on a macroscopic scale to the fundamental materials properties of minerals and rocks. Three lectures. Prerequisites: one year of college-level chemistry or physics (preferably both) and calculus. Offered alternately with 424. T. Duffy

GEO 420 Topics in Earth Science   Fall

These courses cover one or more advanced topics in modern Earth science. They are offered only when there is an opportunity to present material not included in the established curriculum; the subjects vary from year to year. Three classes or a three-hour seminar. S. Philander

GEO 421 Topics in Earth Science  

These courses cover one or more advanced topics in modern Earth science. They are offered only when there is an opportunity to present material not included in the established curriculum; the subjects vary from year to year. Three classes or a three-hour seminar. L. Hollister

GEO 424 Introductory Seismology and Oil Exploration (also CEE 424)   Fall

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. Prerequisites: PHY 104 and MAE 305 (can be taken concurrently), or permission of the instructor. Two 90-minute classes. Staff

GEO 425 Introduction to Physical Oceanography (also MAE 425)   Fall

The study of the oceans as a major influence on the atmosphere and the world environment. Ocean circulation and the oceans' properties. The Coriolis-dominated equations of motion, the thermocline, wind-driven and thermohaline-driven circulation, and oceanic tracers. Three lectures. Prerequisite: MAT 201 or equivalent. A. Gnanadesikan

GEO 428 Biological Oceanography   Spring

Fundamentals of biological oceanography, with an emphasis on the ecosystem level. The course will examine organisms in the context of their chemical and physical environment; properties of seawater and atmosphere that affect life in the ocean; primary production and marine food webs; and global cycles of carbon and other elements. Students will read the current and classic literature of oceanography. Prerequisites: college-level chemistry, biology, and physics. Two 90-minute classes. B. Ward

GEO 440 Advanced Mineralogy (also MSE 440)   Spring

An advanced survey of the structure and crystal chemistry of major rock-forming minerals. Topics include: crystallography, physical properties of minerals, mineral thermodynamics, lattice dynamics, phase transformations, defects, and kinetics. Prerequisites: GEO 372 or MSE 301, or instructor's permission. Two 90-minute lectures. T. Duffy

GEO 441 Computational Geophysics (also APC 441)   Spring

An introduction to weak numerical methods used in computational geophysics. Finite- and spectral-elements, representation of fields, quadrature, assembly, local versus global meshes, domain decomposition, time marching and stability, parallel implementation and message-passing, and load-balancing. Parameter estimation and "imaging" using data assimilation techniques and related "adjoint" methods. Labs provide experience in meshing complicated surfaces and volumes as well as solving partial differential equations relevant to geophysics. Prerequisites: MAT 201; partial differential equations and basic programming skills. Two 90-minute lectures. J. Tromp

GEO 442 Geodynamics (also PHY 442)   Not offered this year

An advanced introduction to setting up and solving boundary value problems relevant to the solid Earth sciences. Topics include heat flow, fluid flow, elasticity and plate flexure, and rock rheology, with applications to mantle convection, magma transport, lithospheric deformation, structural geology, and fault mechanics. Prerequisites: MAT 201 or 202. Two 90-minute lectures. A. Rubin

GEO 464 Radiogenic Isotopes   Spring

Theory and methodology of radiogenic isotope geochemistry, as applied to topics in the geosciences, including the formation and differentiation of the Earth and solar system, thermal and temporal evolution of orogenic belts, and the rates and timing of important geochemical, biotic, and climatic events in earth history. Two 90-minute lectures. B. Schoene

GEO 470 Environmental Chemistry of Soils (also CHM 470)   Spring

Focuses 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. Prerequisites: 331, or any other basic chemistry course. Two 90-minute lectures. S. Myneni

GEO 471 Introduction to Water Pollution Technology (see CEE 471)

GEO 499 Environmental Change, Poverty, and Conflict (also ENV 499)   Fall

Evaluates our vulnerability to natural hazards and the future humanitarian, economic, and political impact of such events given changes in sea level, climate variations, and demographic trends. Students work in teams to assess risk and to develop economically realistic and scientifically sound policy recommendations. The results will be published and/or presented to policymakers. One three-hour seminar. G. van der Vink