GEO 102A / ENV 102 / STC 102

Climate: Past, Present, and Future

Professor/Instructor

Daniel Mikhail Sigman

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. Two 90-minute lectures per week.

GEO 102B / ENV 102 / STC 102

Climate: Past, Present, and Future

Professor/Instructor

Daniel Mikhail Sigman

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. Two 90-minute lectures, one three-hour laboratory per week.

GEO 103

Natural Disasters

Professor/Instructor

Allan Mattathias Rubin

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 some discussion of relevant policy issues. Principal topics: Earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, tsunami, hurricanes, floods, meteorite impacts, global warming. Intended primarily for non-science majors. Three lectures, one three-hour laboratory.

GEO 202

Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate

Professor/Instructor

Jorge Louis Sarmiento

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. Two lectures, one three-hour laboratory.

GEO 203 / ENE 203

Fundamentals of Solid Earth Science

Professor/Instructor

Jessica Claire Elizabeth Irving

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 through 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.

GEO 207 / AST 207

A Guided Tour of the Solar System

Professor/Instructor

Thomas S. Duffy

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, this course is normally taught in the fall.

GEO 255A / AST 255 / EEB 255 / CHM 255

Life in the Universe

Professor/Instructor

Tullis C. Onstott, Christopher F. Chyba, A. James Link

Introduces students to Astrobiology, a new field where scientists trained in biology, chemistry, astrophysics and geosciences combine their skills to unravel life's origins and to search for extraterrestrial life. Topics include: the astrophysical prerequisites for life, the RNA world, the evolution of metabolism and photosynthesis, microbes in extreme environments, and the search for life within our solar system and in nearby solar systems. Two 90 minute lectures. Track A will be required to take a mid-term exam during Fall break. Prerequisite: one geoscience, chemistry, biology or astronomy class or instructors' permission.

GEO 255B / AST 255 / EEB 255 / CHM 255

Life in the Universe

Professor/Instructor

Tullis C. Onstott, Christopher F. Chyba, A. James Link

Introduces students to Astrobiology, a new field where scientists trained in biology, chemistry, astrophysics and geosciences combine their skills to unravel life's origins and to search for extraterrestrial life. Topics include: the astrophysical prerequisites for life, the RNA world, the evolution of metabolism and photosynthesis, microbes in extreme environments, and the search for life within our solar system and in nearby solar systems. Two 90 minute lectures and field training in Yellowstone National Park over Fall break is required. Prerequisite: one geoscience, chemistry, biology or astronomy class or instructors' permission.

GEO 300

Summer Course in Geologic Field Methods

Professor/Instructor

Adam C. Maloof, Laurel Pringle Goodell

Introduction to modern geologic field methods, with local and regional problems studied from a residential base camp. One option is the five week University of Houston-Yellowstone Bighorn Research Association (YBRA) course based in Red Lodge, Montana, run by the University of Houston. Alternatively, students may attend field courses offered by other institutions after obtaining approval from the Undergraduate Work Committee of the Department of Geosciences. Financial aid is available through the Geosciences Department.

CEE 311 / CHM 311 / GEO 311 / ENE 311

Global Air Pollution

Professor/Instructor

Mark Andrew Zondlo

The chemical and physical processes involved in the transformation, transport, sources, and sinks of air pollutants on local to global scales. Topics include photochemical smog, particulate matter, greenhouse gases, and stratospheric ozone depletion. Students will have the unique opportunity to analyze chemical and physical data acquired in real-time from the NSF Gulfstream-V research aircraft as it probes the atmosphere from the Earth's surface to the lower stratosphere over a latitudinal range from the Arctic to the Antarctic. A wide range of environments will be studied, from very clean, remote portions of the globe to urban megacities.

CHM 333 / ENV 333 / GEO 333

Oil to Ozone: Chemistry of the Environment

Professor/Instructor

The chemistry behind environmental issues, including energy consumption, atmospheric change, water consumption and pollution, food production and toxic chemicals. The course includes discussion of questions and problems, guest lectures, and a group project to construct an informational Web page. Prerequisites: a 200-level chemistry course or permission of instructor.

GEO 361 / ENV 361 / CEE 360

Earth's Atmosphere

Professor/Instructor

Stephan Andreas Fueglistaler

This class discusses fundamental aspects of Earth's climate with a focus on the fundamental atmospheric processes that render Earth "habitable," and how they may respond to the forcing originating from natural (such as volcanoes) and anthropogenic (such as emission of carbon dioxide and ozone-depleting gases) processes.

GEO 362 / ENV 362

Earth's Climate History

Professor/Instructor

John Andrew Higgins

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.

GEO 363 / CHM 331 / ENV 331

Environmental Geochemistry: Chemistry of the Natural Systems

Professor/Instructor

Satish Chandra Babu Myneni

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.

GEO 364 / CHM 364

Earth Chemistry: The Major Realms of the Planet

Professor/Instructor

Daniel Mikhail Sigman

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.

GEO 365

Evolution and Catastrophes

Professor/Instructor

Gerta Keller

This course introduces students to the evolution of life and mass extinctions 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 extinctions and evolutionary radiations. The roles of major catastrophes in the history of life are evaluated, including meteorite impacts, volcanism, climate change, and oceanic anoxia. One three-hour lecture. Prerequisite: One 200 level or higher GEO course.

GEO 366 / ENV 339 / WWS 451 / ENE 366

Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation, Policy

Professor/Instructor

Michael Oppenheimer

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. Two 90-minute lectures, one preceptorial

GEO 370 / ENV 370 / CEE 370

Sedimentology

Professor/Instructor

Adam C. Maloof

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.

GEO 371 / PHY 371

Global Geophysics

Professor/Instructor

Frederik Jozef Simons

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.

GEO 372

Rocks

Professor/Instructor

Blair Schoene

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. This course has two lectures, one lab and a required Spring Break fieldtrip. Prerequisite: One introductory GEO course and GEO 378.

GEO 373

Structural Geology

Professor/Instructor

Blair Schoene

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. Two lectures, one lab and a required Fall Break fieldtrip.

GEO 374 / AST 374

Planetary Systems: Their Diversity and Evolution

Professor/Instructor

Tullis C. Onstott

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.

CEE 305 / GEO 375 / ENE 305

Environmental Fluid Mechanics

Professor/Instructor

Elie R. Bou-Zeid

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.

GEO 417 / CEE 417 / EEB 419

Environmental Microbiology

Professor/Instructor

Bess Ward

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, this course is normally offered in the Spring.

GEO 418 / CHM 418

Environmental Aqueous Geochemistry

Professor/Instructor

François Morel

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.