Geologically Relevant Courses Currently Offered
Environmental Geology (Geology 150)
Introduction to major geological processes that impact human activity. Emphasis on regional issues. Plate tectonics, loci of seismic and volcanic activity, distribution of mountain ranges, and sediment sources. Floods, landslides, mudflows, tsunamis. Assessment of anthropogenic shifts in landscape functioning. Consequences of standard logging practices, dams, channel modification. Chronic versus catastrophic environmentally significant events. Lecture and laboratory. Weekly laboratory includes two required daylong field trips, held on weekends.
Spatial Problems in Geology (Geology 240)
Recognition and interpretation of spatial patterns of geological phenomena. Firsthand analysis of a current research question with a strong spatial component. Familiarization with the background of the research question and its broader context. Hypothesis development about geological processes from remote data (e.g., topographic data, satellite imagery), articulation of appropriate field tests for hypotheses. Development of analytical skills and use of Geographic Information Systems software. Lecture and laboratory.
Fundamentals of Hydrology (Geology 280)
An analysis of the behavior and movement of water in natural and modified environments. Major components of the hydrologic cycle, including precipitation, interception, evaporation, evapotranspiration, runoff, and groundwater. Introduction to river channel behavior, flood hazard calculation, and water supply issues. Quantification, through measurements and calculations, of water fluxes through various pathways, with allusion to planning applications. Laboratory work focuses on field and modeling projects. Lecture and laboratory.
Exploration and Discovery, spring section (Core 107): Conceptions of Landscape and Landscape Change
Today we take for granted that physical landscapes are continuously evolving under the influence of climatic, tectonic, and biological forces. However, the emergence of this realization is a relatively recent phenomenon. Even into the late eighteenth century, there was argument about whether or not erosion actually occurred and whether landscapes in fact evolved. This course explores the historical dialogue through which what we would call a “scientific” conception of landscape change emerged. We will discuss particularly problematic physical, philosophical, and religious issues connected to this process and the sources of authority that have guided thinkers through those thickets. We will also consider ways in which diverse conceptions of landscape have been expressed in aesthetic contexts – e.g., in poetry, landscape painting, etc. – and we will explore the relationship of these representations to contemporaneous thinking about the mechanisms of landscape functioning.