Contacts | Program of Study | Program Requirements | Program Requirements for the BA in Geophysical Sciences | Program Requirements for the BS in Geophysical Sciences | Program Requirements for the BS in Environmental Science | Grading | Honors | Field Trips and Field Courses | Sample BS Programs | Lists of Courses A–F | Courses

Department Website: http://geosci.uchicago.edu

Program of Study

The Department of the Geophysical Sciences (GEOS) offers unique programs of study in the earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences. Topics include the physics, chemistry, and dynamics of the atmosphere, oceans, and ice sheets; past and present climate change; the origin and history of the Earth, moon, and meteorites; properties of the deep interior of the Earth and the dynamics of crustal movements; and the evolution and geography of life and the Earth's surface environments through geologic time. These multidisciplinary topics require an integrated approach founded on mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology.

Both the BA and BS programs prepare students for careers that draw upon the earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences. However, the BS degree provides a more focused and intensive program of study for students who intend to pursue graduate work in these disciplines. The BA degree also offers thorough study in the geophysical sciences, but it provides a wide opportunity for elective freedom to pursue interdisciplinary interests, such as environmental policy, law, medicine, business, and precollege education.

Program Requirements

The principal distinction between the BA and BS programs is the number of 20000-level courses required for the major and their distribution among subdisciplines. Students are advised, but not required, to complete GEOS courses at the 13000 level in their first or second year.

Program Requirements for the BA in Geophysical Sciences

Candidates for the BA in Geophysical Sciences begin their program of study with GEOS 13100 Physical Geology, GEOS 13200 Earth History, and GEOS 13300 The Atmosphere, which is the introductory sequence. Students are strongly encouraged to take these classes before their third year. With prior consent of the departmental counselor, students with the appropriate background may substitute a 20000-level course, which may be taken during or after the third year.

Students must also complete one year of chemistry (CHEM 11100-11200-11300 Comprehensive General Chemistry I-II-III or equivalent), one year of physics (PHYS 12100-12200-12300 General Physics I-II-III or higher), one year of calculus (MATH 13100-13200-13300 Elementary Functions and Calculus I-II-III or higher), and BIOS 20197 Evolution and Ecology and BIOS 20198 Biodiversity.

A minimum of six additional 20000-level science courses are required. At least four must be from the Earth Sciences (List A). Up to two may be chosen from Support Courses for the Earth Sciences (List C). Up to two may be chosen from Mathematics and Statistics Courses (List F). One may be a field course.

Summary of Requirements for the BA in Geophysical Sciences

GENERAL EDUCATION
CHEM 11100-11200Comprehensive General Chemistry I-II (or equivalent) *200
MATH 13100-13200Elementary Functions and Calculus I-II (or higher) *200
BIOS 20197Evolution and Ecology **100
BIOS 20198Biodiversity **100
Total Units600
MAJOR
CHEM 11300Comprehensive General Chemistry III (or equivalent) *100
PHYS 12100-12200-12300General Physics I-II-III (or higher) *300
GEOS 13100
  &  13200
  &  13300
Physical Geology
   and Earth History
   and The Atmosphere
300
MATH 13300Elementary Functions and Calculus III (or higher) *100
One Mathematics or Statistics course (List F)100
Six courses in 20000-level science 600
Total Units1500
*

Credit may be granted by examination.

**

 Geophysical Sciences majors can take these courses without the Biological Sciences prerequisites (BIOS 20150-20151) unless they pursue a double major in Biological Sciences. They are expected to show competency in mathematical modeling of biological phenomena covered in BIOS 20151.

 At least four courses must be from List A, and up to two courses may be from List C and/or List F.

Program Requirements for the BS in Geophysical Sciences

Candidates for the BS in Geophysical Sciences begin their program of study with GEOS 13100 Physical Geology, GEOS 13200 Earth History, and GEOS 13300 The Atmosphere, which is the introductory sequence. Students are strongly encouraged to take these classes before their third year. With prior consent of the departmental counselor, students with the appropriate background may substitute a 20000-level course, which may be taken during or after the third year.

Students must also complete one year of chemistry (CHEM 11100-11200-11300 Comprehensive General Chemistry I-II-III or equivalent), one year of physics (PHYS 12100-12200-12300 General Physics I-II-III or higher), at least one year of calculus (MATH 13100-13200-13300 Elementary Functions and Calculus I-II-III or higher), and BIOS 20197 Evolution and Ecology and BIOS 20198 Biodiversity.

A minimum of eight additional 20000-level science courses are required. At least three must be from the Geophysical Sciences (List A). Up to three may be chosen from Support Courses for the Geophysical Sciences (List C). Up to two may be from Mathematics and Statistics Courses (List F). One may be a field course. One may be GEOS 29700 Reading and Research in the Geophysical Sciences.

Summary of Requirements for the BS in Geophysical Sciences

GENERAL EDUCATION
CHEM 11100-11200Comprehensive General Chemistry I-II (or equivalent) *200
MATH 13100-13200Elementary Functions and Calculus I-II (or higher) *200
BIOS 20197Evolution and Ecology **100
BIOS 20198Biodiversity **100
Total Units600
MAJOR
CHEM 11300Comprehensive General Chemistry III (or equivalent) *100
PHYS 12100-12200-12300General Physics I-II-III (or higher) *300
GEOS 13100
  &  13200
  &  13300
Physical Geology
   and Earth History
   and The Atmosphere
300
MATH 13300Elementary Functions and Calculus III (or higher) *100
Two Mathematics or Statistics courses from List F200
Eight courses in 20000-level science 800
Total Units1800
*

Credit may be granted by examination.

**

Geophysical Sciences majors can take these courses without the Biological Sciences prerequisites (BIOS 20150-20151) unless they pursue a double major in Biological Sciences. They are expected to show competency in mathematical modeling of biological phenomena covered in BIOS 20151.

At least three courses must be from List A, up to three courses may be from List C, and up to two courses may be from List F.

Program Requirements for the BS in Environmental Science

For information about the BS in Environmental Science, see the Environmental Science page of this catalog.

Grading

Students majoring in geophysical sciences must receive quality grades in all courses taken to meet requirements in the major.

Honors

The BA or BS degree with honors is awarded to students who meet the following requirements: (1) a GPA of 3.25 or higher in the major and of 3.0 or higher overall; (2) completion of a paper based on original research, supervised and approved by a faculty member in geophysical sciences. GEOS 29700 Reading and Research in the Geophysical Sciences can be devoted to the preparation of the required paper; however, students using this course to meet a requirement in the major must take it for a quality grade. The research paper must be completed by eighth week of the quarter in which the student will graduate.

Students who wish to submit a single paper to meet the honors requirement in geophysical sciences and the BA paper requirement in another major should discuss their proposals with both program chairs no later than the end of third year. Certain requirements must be met. A consent form, to be signed by the chairs, is available from the College adviser. It must be completed and returned to the College adviser by the end of Autumn Quarter of the student's year of graduation.

Field Trips and Field Courses

The department typically sponsors several trips each year that range in length from one day to five weeks. Destinations of trips have included areas as far afield as Newfoundland; the Canadian Rockies; Baja, California; the Caribbean; Italy; and Iceland. The longer trips are designed as undergraduate field courses:

GEOS 29001Field Course in Geology100
GEOS 29002Field Course in Modern and Ancient Environments100
GEOS 29003Field Course in Oceanography100
GEOS 29004Field Course in Glaciology100
GEOS 29005Field Course in Environmental Science100

Most of the shorter trips are mostly scheduled in connection with undergraduate and graduate lecture courses. However, the trips are open to all students and faculty if space permits.

Sample BS Programs

Each student will design an individual plan of course work, choosing from a wide range of selections that take advantage of rich offerings from a variety of subdisciplines. The sample programs that appear below are merely for the purpose of illustration; many other variations would be possible. NOTE: Courses that meet general education requirements and are required for the major are not listed.

Chemistry of Atmosphere and Ocean
CHEM 26100-26200-26300Quantum Mechanics; Thermodynamics; Chemical Kinetics and Dynamics300
GEOS 23200Climate Dynamics of the Earth and Other Planets100
GEOS 23805Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry100
GEOS 23900Environmental Chemistry100
GEOS 24500The Atmosphere and Ocean in Motion100
GEOS 24600Laboratory Course on Weather and Climate100
MATH 20000-20100Mathematical Methods for Physical Sciences I-II200
Environmental Geochemistry
BIOS 20191Integrative Physiology100
CHEM 26200-26300Thermodynamics; Chemical Kinetics and Dynamics200
GEOS 21000Introduction to Mineralogy100
GEOS 23800Global Biogeochemical Cycles100
GEOS 23805Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry100
GEOS 23900Environmental Chemistry100
GEOS 28300Principles of Stratigraphy100
MATH 21100Basic Numerical Analysis100
STAT 23400Statistical Models and Methods100
Geochemistry
CHEM 26100-26200-26300Quantum Mechanics; Thermodynamics; Chemical Kinetics and Dynamics300
GEOS 21000Introduction to Mineralogy100
GEOS 21100Introduction to Petrology100
GEOS 21200Physics of the Earth100
GEOS 22000Origin and Evolution of the Solar System100
GEOS 23800Global Biogeochemical Cycles100
MATH 20000Mathematical Methods for Physical Sciences I100
STAT 23400Statistical Models and Methods100
Geophysics
GEOS 21000Introduction to Mineralogy100
GEOS 21200Physics of the Earth100
GEOS 22000Origin and Evolution of the Solar System100
GEOS 25400Introduction to Numerical Techniques for the Geophysical Sciences100
GEOS 28100Global Tectonics100
MATH 20000Mathematical Methods for Physical Sciences I100
PHYS 18500Intermediate Mechanics100
PHYS 22500Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism I100
PHYS 22700Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism II100
STAT 23400Statistical Models and Methods100
Paleontology
BIOS 22243Biomechanics of Organisms100
BIOS 23289Marine Ecology100
BIOS 23404Reconstructing the Tree of Life: An Introduction to Phylogenetics100
GEOS 21000Introduction to Mineralogy100
GEOS 26300Invertebrate Paleobiology and Evolution100
GEOS 28000Introduction to Structural Geology100
GEOS 28300Principles of Stratigraphy100
STAT 22400Applied Regression Analysis100
STAT 23400Statistical Models and Methods100
Physics of Climate
GEOS 23200Climate Dynamics of the Earth and Other Planets100
GEOS 23800Global Biogeochemical Cycles100
GEOS 23900Environmental Chemistry100
GEOS 24500The Atmosphere and Ocean in Motion100
GEOS 24600Laboratory Course on Weather and Climate100
MATH 20000-20100Mathematical Methods for Physical Sciences I-II200
MATH 21100Basic Numerical Analysis100
PHYS 18500Intermediate Mechanics100
PHYS 19700Statistical and Thermal Physics100
Structure/Tectonics
GEOS 21000Introduction to Mineralogy100
GEOS 21100Introduction to Petrology100
GEOS 21200Physics of the Earth100
GEOS 22000Origin and Evolution of the Solar System100
GEOS 28000Introduction to Structural Geology100
GEOS 28100Global Tectonics100
MATH 20000Mathematical Methods for Physical Sciences I100
PHYS 18500Intermediate Mechanics100
PHYS 22500Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism I100
STAT 23400Statistical Models and Methods100

Lists of Courses A–F

List A: Geophysical Sciences Courses

GEOS 21000Introduction to Mineralogy100
GEOS 21005Mineral Science100
GEOS 21100Introduction to Petrology100
GEOS 21200Physics of the Earth100
GEOS 21205Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes, and Near-Surface Earth Seismicity100
GEOS 21400Thermodynamics and Phase Change100
GEOS 22000Origin and Evolution of the Solar System100
GEOS 22040Formation of Planetary Systems in Our Galaxy: From Dust to Planetesimals100
GEOS 22050Formation of Planetary Systems in our Galaxy: From Planetesimals to Planets100
GEOS 22060What Makes a Planet Habitable?100
GEOS 22200Geochronology100
GEOS 23200Climate Dynamics of the Earth and Other Planets100
GEOS 23205Introductory Glaciology100
GEOS 23400Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast100
GEOS 23800Global Biogeochemical Cycles100
GEOS 23805Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry100
GEOS 23900Environmental Chemistry100
GEOS 24200Fundamentals of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics100
GEOS 24500The Atmosphere and Ocean in Motion100
GEOS 24600Laboratory Course on Weather and Climate100
GEOS 24705Energy: Science, Technology, and Human Usage100
GEOS 25400Introduction to Numerical Techniques for the Geophysical Sciences100
GEOS 26300Invertebrate Paleobiology and Evolution100
GEOS 26600Geobiology100
GEOS 27000Evolutionary History of Terrestrial Ecosystems100
GEOS 28000Introduction to Structural Geology100
GEOS 28100Global Tectonics100
GEOS 28300Principles of Stratigraphy100
GEOS 29700Reading and Research in the Geophysical Sciences100
Field Courses in Geophysical Sciences
GEOS 29001Field Course in Geology100
GEOS 29002Field Course in Modern and Ancient Environments100
GEOS 29003Field Course in Oceanography100

List B: Environmental Sciences Courses

Geophysical Sciences
GEOS 21000Introduction to Mineralogy100
GEOS 23200Climate Dynamics of the Earth and Other Planets100
GEOS 23205Introductory Glaciology100
GEOS 23400Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast100
GEOS 23800Global Biogeochemical Cycles100
GEOS 23805Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry100
GEOS 23900Environmental Chemistry100
GEOS 24200Fundamentals of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics100
GEOS 24500The Atmosphere and Ocean in Motion100
GEOS 24600Laboratory Course on Weather and Climate100
GEOS 24705Energy: Science, Technology, and Human Usage100
GEOS 26600Geobiology100
GEOS 28000Introduction to Structural Geology100
GEOS 29700Reading and Research in the Geophysical Sciences100
Biological Sciences*
BIOS 20196Ecology and Conservation100
BIOS 22244Introduction to Invertebrate Biology100
BIOS 23232Ecology and Evolution in the Southwest100
BIOS 23266Evolutionary Adaptation100
BIOS 23289Marine Ecology100
BIOS 23406Biogeography100
BIOS 25206Fundamentals of Bacterial Physiology100
BIOS 23280 Genetically Modified Organisms
Field Courses in Environmental Sciences
GEOS 29005Field Course in Environmental Science100
*

 GeoSci majors can take these courses without the BIOS prerequisites (20150-20151) unless they pursue a double major in biology. They are expected to show competency in mathematical modeling of biological phenomena covered in BIOS 20151.

List C: Support Courses for the Geophysical Sciences

Biological Sciences*
BIOS 20191Integrative Physiology100
BIOS 20194Developmental Biology100
BIOS 20196Ecology and Conservation100
BIOS 20200Introduction to Biochemistry100
BIOS 21208Fundamentals of Molecular Biology100
BIOS 22243Biomechanics of Organisms100
BIOS 22244Introduction to Invertebrate Biology100
BIOS 23289Marine Ecology100
BIOS 23404Reconstructing the Tree of Life: An Introduction to Phylogenetics100
BIOS 23406Biogeography100
BIOS 25206Fundamentals of Bacterial Physiology100
*

 Excluding courses used to meet the general education requirement for the biological sciences

Chemistry
CHEM 20100-20200Inorganic Chemistry I-II200
CHEM 22000-22100-22200Organic Chemistry I-II-III300
CHEM 23000-23100-23200Honors Organic Chemistry I-II-III300
CHEM 26100-26200-26300Quantum Mechanics; Thermodynamics; Chemical Kinetics and Dynamics300
Physics
PHYS 18500Intermediate Mechanics100
PHYS 19700Statistical and Thermal Physics100
PHYS 22500Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism I100
PHYS 22700Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism II100
PHYS 22600Electronics100

List D: Support Courses for the Environmental Sciences

Chemistry
CHEM 20100-20200Inorganic Chemistry I-II200
CHEM 22000-22100-22200Organic Chemistry I-II-III300
CHEM 23000-23100-23200Honors Organic Chemistry I-II-III300
CHEM 26100-26200-26300Quantum Mechanics; Thermodynamics; Chemical Kinetics and Dynamics300
Biological Sciences
BIOS 2018x or 2019x series†
BIOS 20200Introduction to Biochemistry100
BIOS 20242Principles of Physiology100
BIOS 21208Fundamentals of Molecular Biology100
BIOS 25206Fundamentals of Bacterial Physiology100

 Excluding courses used to meet the general education requirement for the biological sciences.

Ecology and Evolution
BIOS 23252Field Ecology100
BIOS 23254Mammalian Ecology100
BIOS 23258Molecular Evolution I: Fundamentals and Principles100
BIOS 23289Marine Ecology100

List E: Support Courses for the Environmental Social Sciences

Environmental Studies
ENST 24102Environmental Politics100
ENST 29000Energy and Energy Policy100
Public Policy
PBPL 21800Economics and Environmental Policy100
PBPL 23100Environmental Law100
PBPL 24701U.S. Environmental Policy100
Economics
ECON 19800Introduction to Microeconomics100
ECON 19900Introduction to Macroeconomics100
ECON 26500Environmental Economics100
ECON 26510Advanced Topics in Environmental Economics100
Harris School of Public Policy Studies*
PPHA 38900Environmental Science and Policy100
PPHA 39901Policy Approaches to Mitigating Climate Change100
*

 These courses expect intermediate-level proficiency in microeconomics, statistics, and econometrics.

List F: Support Courses for Mathematics and Statistics

Geophysical Sciences
GEOS 25400Introduction to Numerical Techniques for the Geophysical Sciences100
Mathematics
MATH 19620Linear Algebra100
MATH 20000-20100Mathematical Methods for Physical Sciences I-II200
MATH 20300Analysis in Rn I100
MATH 20400Analysis in Rn II100
MATH 20500Analysis in Rn III100
MATH 21100Basic Numerical Analysis100
MATH 22000Introduction to Mathematical Methods in Physics100
MATH 27000Basic Complex Variables100
MATH 27300Basic Theory of Ordinary Differential Equations100
MATH 27500Basic Theory of Partial Differential Equations100
MATH 38300Numerical Solutions to Partial Differential Equations100
Physics
PHYS 22100Mathematical Methods in Physics100
Statistics
Any course in statistics at the 22000 level or higher. Some recommendations follow:
STAT 22000Statistical Methods and Applications100
or STAT 23400 Statistical Models and Methods
STAT 22400Applied Regression Analysis100
STAT 24400-24500Statistical Theory and Methods I-II200
STAT 26100Time Dependent Data100
Computing
CMSC 28510Introduction to Scientific Computing100
CMSC 34200Numerical Hydrodynamics100

Geophysical Sciences Courses

GEOS 13100. Physical Geology. 100 Units.

This course introduces plate tectonics; the geologic cycle; and the internal and surface processes that make minerals and rocks, as well as that shape the scenery. (L)

Instructor(s): A. Campbell     Terms Offered: Autumn

GEOS 13200. Earth History. 100 Units.

This course covers the paleogeographic, biotic, and climatic development of the Earth. (L)

Instructor(s): M. Foote     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): GEOS 13100 or consent of instructor

GEOS 13300. The Atmosphere. 100 Units.

This course introduces the physics, chemistry, and phenomenology of the Earth's atmosphere, with an emphasis on the fundamental science that underlies atmospheric behavior and climate. Topics include (1) atmospheric composition, evolution, and structure; (2) solar and terrestrial radiation in the atmospheric energy balance; (3) the role of water in determining atmospheric structure; and (4) wind systems, including the global circulation, and weather systems.

Instructor(s): D. Abbot     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): MATH 13200 or consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 13300

GEOS 13400. Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast. 100 Units.

This course presents the science behind the forecast of global warming to enable the student to evaluate the likelihood and potential severity of anthropogenic climate change in the coming centuries. It includes an overview of the physics of the greenhouse effect, including comparisons with Venus and Mars; an overview of the carbon cycle in its role as a global thermostat; predictions and reliability of climate model forecasts of the greenhouse world. (L)

Instructor(s): D. Archer, D. MacAyeal     Terms Offered: Autumn, Spring
Prerequisite(s): MATH 10500, or placement in MATH 13100 or higher, or consent of instructor required; some knowledge of chemistry or physics helpful.
Equivalent Course(s): PHSC 13400,ENST 12300

GEOS 21000. Introduction to Mineralogy. 100 Units.

This course covers structure, chemical composition, stability, and occurrence of major rock-forming minerals. Labs concentrate on mineral identification with the optical microscope. (L)

Instructor(s): L. Grossman      Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): CHEM 11100-11200-11300 or equivalent

GEOS 21005. Mineral Science. 100 Units.

This course examines the relationship between the structure of minerals, their chemistry, and their physical properties. Topics include crystallography, defect properties, phase transitions, and analytical tools, followed by detailed study of specific mineral groups.

Instructor(s): A. Campbell     Terms Offered: not offered 2014-2015
Prerequisite(s): GEOS 21000 or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 31005

GEOS 21100. Introduction to Petrology. 100 Units.

Students in this course learn how to interpret observable geological associations, structures, textures, and mineralogical and chemical compositions of rocks so as to develop concepts of how they form and evolve. Our theme is the origin of granitic continental crust on the only planet known to have oceans and life. Igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks; ores; and waste disposal sites are reviewed. (L)

Instructor(s): N. Dauphas      Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): GEOS 21000

GEOS 21200. Physics of the Earth. 100 Units.

This course considers geophysical evidence bearing on the internal makeup and dynamical behavior of the Earth, including seismology (i.e., properties of elastic waves and their interpretation, and internal structure of the Earth); mechanics of rock deformation (i.e., elastic properties, creep and flow of rocks, faulting, earthquakes); gravity (i.e., geoid, isostasy); geomagnetism (i.e., magnetic properties of rocks and history, origin of the magnetic field); heat flow (i.e., temperature within the Earth, sources of heat, thermal history of the Earth); and plate tectonics and the maintenance of plate motions. (L)

Instructor(s): A. Campbell, F. Richter     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Prior calculus and college-level physics courses, or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 31200

GEOS 21205. Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes, and Near-Surface Earth Seismicity. 100 Units.

This course introduces the mechanics and phenomenology of elastic waves in the Earth and in the fluids near the Earth's surface (e.g., S and P waves in the solid earth, acoustic waves in the ocean and atmosphere). Topics include stress and strain, constitutive equations, elasticity, seismic waves, acoustic waves, theory of refraction/reflection, surface waves, dispersion, and normal modes of the Earth. Phenomenology addressed includes exploration geophysics (refraction/reflection seismology), earthquakes and earthquake source characterization, seismograms as signals, seismometers and seismological networks, and digital seismogram analysis.

Instructor(s): D. MacAyeal     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 31205

GEOS 21400. Thermodynamics and Phase Change. 100 Units.

This course develops the mathematical structure of thermodynamics with emphasis on relations between thermodynamic variables and equations of state. These concepts are then applied to homogeneous and heterogeneous phase equilibrium, culminating in the construction of representative binary and ternary phase diagrams of petrological significance.

Instructor(s): A. Campbell     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): MATH 20000-20100-20200 and college-level chemistry and calculus, or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 31400

GEOS 22000. Origin and Evolution of the Solar System. 100 Units.

Representative topics include abundance and origin of the elements; formation, condensation, and age of the solar system; meteorites and the historical record of the solar system they preserve; comets and asteroids; the planets and their satellites; temperatures and atmospheres of the planets; and the origin of the Earth's lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. (L)

Instructor(s): L. Grossman      Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor required; knowledge of physical chemistry recommended
Note(s): This course is offered in alternate years.
Equivalent Course(s): ASTR 21300

GEOS 22040. Formation of Planetary Systems in Our Galaxy: From Dust to Planetesimals. 100 Units.

This course examines the physical and chemical processes that operate during the earliest stages of planet formation when dust in a protoplanetary disk aggregates into bodies 1 to 10 km in size. Topics include the physical and chemical evolution of protoplanetary disks, radial transport of dust particles, transient heating events, and the formation of planetesimals. We discuss the evidence of these processes found in meteorites and observed in disks around young stars. Chemical and physical models of dust evolution are introduced, including an overview of basic numerical modeling techniques.

Instructor(s): F. Ciesla     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): One year of college-level calculus and physics or chemistry, or consent of instructor.
Note(s): This course is offered in alternate years.
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 32040

GEOS 22050. Formation of Planetary Systems in our Galaxy: From Planetesimals to Planets. 100 Units.

This course explores the stage of planet formation during which 1 to 10 km planetesimals accrete to form planets. Topics include heating of planetesimals, models of giant planet formation, the delivery of water to terrestrial planets, and the impact that stellar mass and external environment have on planet formation. We also discuss what processes determine the properties (mass, composition, and orbital parameters) of a planet and its potential for habitability. Basic modeling techniques and current research papers in peer-reviewed journals are also discussed.

Instructor(s): F. Ciesla     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor
Note(s): This course is offered in alternate years.
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 32050

GEOS 22060. What Makes a Planet Habitable? 100 Units.

This course explores the factors that determine how habitable planets form and evolve. We will discuss a range of topics, from the formation of planets around stars and the delivery of water, to the formation of atmospheres, climate dynamics, and the conditions that allow for the development of life and the evolution of complex life. Students will be responsible for reading and discussing papers in peer-reviewed journals each meeting and for periodically preparing presentations and leading the discussion.

Instructor(s): D. Abbot, F. Ciesla     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 32060,ASTR 45900

GEOS 22200. Geochronology. 100 Units.

This course covers the duration of planetary differentiation and the age of the Earth (i.e., extinct and extant chronometers); timescales for building a habitable planet (i.e., the late heavy bombardment, the origin of the atmosphere, the emergence of life, and continent extraction); dating mountains (i.e., absolute ages, exposure ages, and thermochronology); the climate record (i.e., dating layers in sediments and ice cores); and dating recent artifacts (e.g., the Shroud of Turin).

Instructor(s): N. Dauphas     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Background in college-level geology, physics, and mathematics.
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 32200

GEOS 23200. Climate Dynamics of the Earth and Other Planets. 100 Units.

Prior programming experience helpful but not required. This course introduces the basic physics governing the climate of planets, the Earth in particular but with some consideration of other planets. Topics include atmospheric thermodynamics of wet and dry atmospheres, the hydrological cycle, blackbody radiation, molecular absorption in the atmosphere, the basic principles of radiation balance, and diurnal and seasonal cycles. Students solve problems of increasing complexity, moving from pencil-and-paper problems to programming exercises, to determine surface and atmospheric temperatures and how they evolve. An introduction to scientific programming is provided, but the fluid dynamics of planetary flows is not covered. (L)

Instructor(s): E. Moyer     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior physics course (preferably PHYS 13300 and 14300) and knowledge of calculus required; prior geophysical sciences course not required.
Note(s): Prior programming experience helpful but not required.
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 33200

GEOS 23205. Introductory Glaciology. 100 Units.

The fundamentals of glacier and ice-sheet dynamics and phenomenology will be covered in this introductory course (snow and sea ice will be excluded from this course, however may be taken up in the future).  Emphasis will be placed on developing the foundation of continuum mechanics and viscous fluid flow as a means of developing the basic equations of glacier deformation, ice-sheet and -shelf flow, basal processes, glacier hydrology, and unstable modes of flow. This course is intended for advanced undergraduate students in physics, math, geophysical sciences and related fields as well as graduate students considering research in glaciology and climate dynamics. (L)

Instructor(s): D. MacAyeal     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Knowledge of vector calculus, linear algebra, and computer programming.
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 33205

GEOS 23400. Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast. 100 Units.

This course presents the science behind the forecast of global warming to enable the student to evaluate the likelihood and potential severity of anthropogenic climate change in the coming centuries. It includes an overview of the physics of the greenhouse effect, including comparisons with Venus and Mars; an overview of the carbon cycle in its role as a global thermostat; predictions and reliability of climate model forecasts of the greenhouse world. Lectures are shared with PHSC 13400, but students enrolled in GEOS 23400 are required to write an individual research term paper. (L)

Instructor(s): D. Archer     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): MATH 10600, or placement in MATH 13100 or higher, or consent of instructor required.
Note(s): Some knowledge of chemistry or physics helpful.

GEOS 23800. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 100 Units.

This survey course covers the geochemistry of the surface of the Earth, with emphasis on biological and geological processes, their assembly into self-regulating systems, and their potential sensitivity to anthropogenic or other perturbations. Budgets and cycles of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, sulfur, and silicon are discussed, as well as fundamentals of the processes of weathering, sediment diagenesis, and isotopic fractionation. What is known about the biogeochemistry of the Earth through geologic time is also presented.

Instructor(s): D. Archer, J. Waldbauer     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): CHEM 11100-11200 or consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 33800

GEOS 23805. Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry. 100 Units.

Stable isotopes of H, C, O, N, and S are valuable tools for understanding the biological and geochemical processes that have shaped the composition of Earth's atmosphere and oceans throughout our planet's history. This course examines basic thermodynamic and kinetic theory to describe the behavior of isotopes in chemical and biological systems. We then examine the stable isotope systematics of localized environmental processes, and see how local processes contribute to global isotopic signals that are preserved in ice, sediment, rock, and fossils. Special emphasis is placed on the global carbon cycle, the history of atmospheric oxygen levels, and paleoclimate.

Instructor(s): A. Colman     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): CHEM 11100-11200-11300 or equivalent; 13100-13200-13300 or consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 33805

GEOS 23900. Environmental Chemistry. 100 Units.

The focus of this course is the fundamental science underlying issues of local and regional scale pollution. In particular, the lifetimes of important pollutants in the air, water, and soils are examined by considering the roles played by photochemistry, surface chemistry, biological processes, and dispersal into the surrounding environment. Specific topics include urban air quality, water quality, long-lived organic toxins, heavy metals, and indoor air pollution. Control measures are also considered. (L)

Instructor(s): A. Colman, D. Archer     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): CHEM 11101-11201 or equivalent, and prior calculus course
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 23900,GEOS 33900

GEOS 24200. Fundamentals of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics. 100 Units.

This course is an introduction to geophysical fluid dynamics for upper-level undergraduates and starting graduate students. The topics covered will be the equations of motion, the effects of rotation and stratification, shallow water systems and isentropic coordinates, vorticity and potential vorticity, and simplified equations for the ocean and atmosphere.

Instructor(s): D. Abbot     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Knowledge of vector calculus, linear algebra, or consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 34200

GEOS 24500. The Atmosphere and Ocean in Motion. 100 Units.

The motion of the atmosphere and ocean not only affects daily weather conditions but is also critical in maintaining the habitable climate of our planet. This course teaches: (1) observed patterns of large-scale circulation of the atmosphere and ocean; (2) physical principles that drive the observed circulation; (3) transport of heat, angular momentum, and other quantities; and (4) climate variability and predictability. The lectures are supplemented by problem sets and a computer lab project.

Instructor(s): N. Nakamura     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): GEOS 13300 or equivalent, and calculus
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 34500

GEOS 24600. Laboratory Course on Weather and Climate. 100 Units.

Working in groups, students gain hands-on experience in designing, implementing, and analyzing experiments concerning the principles of rotating fluids that underlie weather and climate.

Instructor(s): N. Nakamura     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 34600

GEOS 24705. Energy: Science, Technology, and Human Usage. 100 Units.

This course covers the technologies by which humans appropriate energy for industrial and societal use, from steam turbines to internal combustion engines to photovoltaics. We also discuss the physics and economics of the resulting human energy system: fuel sources and relationship to energy flows in the Earth system; and modeling and simulation of energy production and use. Our goal is to provide a technical foundation for students interested in careers in the energy industry or in energy policy. Field trips required to major energy converters (e.g., coal-fired and nuclear power plants, oil refinery, biogas digester) and users (e.g., steel, fertilizer production).

Instructor(s): E. Moyer     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Knowledge of physics or consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 24705,GEOS 34705

GEOS 25400. Introduction to Numerical Techniques for the Geophysical Sciences. 100 Units.

This class provides an introduction to different types of numerical techniques used in developing models used in geophysical science research. Topics will include how to interpolate and extrapolate functions, develop functional fits to data, integrate a function, or solve partial differential equations. Students are expected to have some familiarity with computers and programming—programming methods will not be discussed in detail. While techniques will be the focus of the class, we will also discuss the planning needed in developing a model as well as the limitations inherent in such models.

Instructor(s): F. Ciesla     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Familiarity with a computer programming language such as C, Fortran, or IDL, or a mathematical computing environment like Mathematica or Matlab. Spreadsheets such as Excel or Numbers can also be used for many problems.
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 35400

GEOS 26300. Invertebrate Paleobiology and Evolution. 100 Units.

This course provides a detailed overview of the morphology, paleobiology, evolutionary history, and practical uses of the invertebrate and microfossil groups commonly found in the fossil record. Emphasis is placed on understanding key anatomical and ecological innovations within each group and interactions among groups responsible for producing the observed changes in diversity, dominance, and ecological community structure through evolutionary time. Labs supplement lecture material with specimen-based and practical application sections. An optional field trip offers experience in the collection of specimens and raw paleontological data. Several "Hot Topics" lectures introduce important, exciting, and often controversial aspects of current paleontological research linked to particular invertebrate groups. (L)

Instructor(s): M. Webster     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): GEOS 13100 and 13200, or equivalent. Students majoring in biological sciences only; Completion of the general education requirement in the biological sciences, or consent of instructor.
Note(s): Not offered 2014-2015
Equivalent Course(s): BIOS 23261,EVOL 32400,GEOS 36300

GEOS 26600. Geobiology. 100 Units.

Geobiology seeks to elucidate the interactions between life and its environments that have shaped the coevolution of the Earth and the biosphere. The course will explore the ways in which biological processes affect the environment and how the evolutionary trajectories of organisms have in turn been influenced by environmental change. In order to reconstruct the history of these processes, we will examine the imprints they leave on both the rock record and on the genomic makeup of living organisms. The metabolism and evolution of microorganisms, and the biogeochemistry they drive, will be a major emphasis.

Instructor(s): M. Coleman, J. Waldbauer     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): GEOS 13100-13200-13300 or college-level cell & molecular biology
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 36600

GEOS 27000. Evolutionary History of Terrestrial Ecosystems. 100 Units.

This seminar course covers the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems from their Paleozoic assembly through to the modern world. The fossil history of plant, vertebrate, invertebrate, and fungal lineages are covered, as well as the diversification of their ecological interactions. The influence of extinction events and important extrinsic factors (e.g., geography, climate, atmospheric composition) also are considered.

Instructor(s): C. K. Boyce     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 37000,EVOL 32500

GEOS 28000. Introduction to Structural Geology. 100 Units.

This course explores the deformation of the Earth materials primarily as observed in the crust. We emphasize stress and strain and their relationship to incremental and finite deformation in crustal rocks, as well as techniques for inferring paleostress and strain in deformed crustal rocks. We also look at mesoscale to macroscale structures and basic techniques of field geology in deformed regions.

Instructor(s): D. Rowley     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): GEOS 13100
Note(s): This course is offered in alternate years.
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 38000

GEOS 28100. Global Tectonics. 100 Units.

This course reviews the spatial and temporal development of tectonic and plate tectonic activity of the globe. We focus on the style of activity at compressive, extensional, and shear margins, as well as on the types of basin evolution associated with each. (L)

Instructor(s): D. Rowley      Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): GEOS 13100 or consent of instructor
Note(s): This course is offered in alternate years.
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 38100

GEOS 28300. Principles of Stratigraphy. 100 Units.

This course introduces principles and methods of stratigraphy. Topics include facies analysis, physical and biostratigraphic correlation, and development and calibration of the geologic time scale. We also discuss controversies concerning the completeness of the stratigraphic record; origin of sedimentary cycles; and interactions between global sea level, tectonics, and sediment supply. (L)

Instructor(s): S. Kidwell      Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): GEOS 13100-13200 or equivalent required; GEOS 23500 and/or 28200 recommended
Note(s): This course is offered in alternate years.
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 38300

GEOS 29001. Field Course in Geology. 100 Units.

Students in this course visit classic locations to examine a wide variety of geological environments and processes, including active tectonics, ancient and modern sedimentary environments, and geomorphology.

Terms Offered: Summer, Autumn
Prerequisite(s): GEOS 13100-13200 and consent of instructor
Note(s): Interested students should contact the departmental counselor.

GEOS 29002. Field Course in Modern and Ancient Environments. 100 Units.

This course uses weekly seminars during Winter Quarter to prepare for a one-week field trip over spring break, where students acquire experience with sedimentary rocks and the modern processes responsible for them. Destinations vary; past trips have examined tropical carbonate systems of Jamaica and the Bahamas and subtropical coastal Gulf of California. We usually consider biological, as well as physical, processes of sediment production, dispersal, accumulation, and post-depositional modification.

Instructor(s): S. Kidwell, M. LaBarbera     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Organizational meeting and deposit usually required in Autumn Quarter; interested students should contact an instructor in advance.
Equivalent Course(s): GEOS 39002

GEOS 29003. Field Course in Oceanography. 100 Units.

Students in this course spend roughly a week sailing a tall ship from the SEA education program, learning oceanographic sampling techniques and data interpretation as well as principles of navigation and seamanship.

Terms Offered: not offered 2014-2015
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor
Note(s): Interested students should contact the departmental counselor.

GEOS 29004. Field Course in Glaciology. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): D. MacAyeal     Terms Offered: not offered 2014-2015
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor
Note(s): Interested students should contact the departmental counselor.

GEOS 29005. Field Course in Environmental Science. 100 Units.

Terms Offered: not offered 2014-2015
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor
Note(s): Interested students should contact the departmental counselor.

GEOS 29700. Reading and Research in the Geophysical Sciences. 100 Units.

Terms Offered: Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor and departmental counselor
Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. Available to nonmajors for P/F grading. Must be taken for a quality grade when used to meet a requirement in the major.


Contacts

Undergraduate Primary Contact

Departmental Counselor
Lawrence Grossman
HGS 389
702.8153
Email

Administrative Contact

Departmental Office

HGS 161
702.8101