Geology Course Descriptions
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GEL 132 Geologic Hazards and Resources. [GEOL 1305]
An introduction to the interrelationship between humans and the geologic environment.
This includes the potential hazards posed by geologic processes, and the planning
that needs to be done to lessen their impact. Earth materials and their uses by
humans are also emphasized. No prerequisite. Fall, Spring, Summer. Credit 3.
GEL 112 Geologic Hazards and Resources. [GEOL 1105]
This course must be taken concurrently with GEL 132, Geologic Resources and
Hazards. Laboratory experiences include map and air photo interpretation, analysis
of remote sensing data, and study of economically important earth materials. Field
trips and take-home computer exercises are also required. Credit 1.
GEL 133 Physical Geology. [GEOL 1303]
An introduction to the materials, processes, and structure of the earth. Topics include
earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, mountain building, weathering and erosion,
glaciation, oceans, and mineral resources. No prerequisite. Fall, Spring, Summer.
GEL 113 Physical Geology Laboratory. [GEOL 1103]
This course must be taken concurrently with GEL 133, Physical Geology. These
laboratory experiences involve the study of rocks, minerals, and map interpretations.
GEL 134 Historical Geology. [GEOL 1304]
An introduction to the history of the earth and its past inhabitants, including a section
on the dinosaurs and their extinction. This course gives a broad overview of the
tectonic evolution of the planet, indicated by various major mountain-building events;
ancient environments and changing sea levels recorded in sedimentary deposits;
and the evolution of life represented by the fossil record. No prerequisite. Fall, Spring,
Summer. Credit 3.
GEL 114 Historical Geology Laboratory. [GEOL 1104]
This course must be taken concurrently with GEL 134, Historical Geology. Laboratory
experiences include the study of common animal and plant fossils and problems which
illustrate practical applications of geological principles. No prerequisite. Credit 1.
Oceanography. A survey of the general principles of oceanography
is made. The geology of ocean basins, tide-water processes and the
chemistry of sea water are studied. Biophysics of the sea and environmental
problems are considered. Prerequisites: GEL 133/113 or 132/112.
Spring, Summer I. Credit 3.
Geochemistry. A general introduction to all types of geochemistry
that includes a discussion of the underlying chemical concepts,
with an emphasis on the applications to geological environments.
The chemical concepts include isotopic chemistry, thermodynamics,
crystal chemistry, and aqueous solutions. The geological metasomatism,
geothermobarometry, and environmental geochemistry. Prerequisites:
GEL 132/112 or GEL 133/113 plus CHM 138/118, 139/119, and MTH 163.
Even year Fall. Credit 3.
GEL 335 Energy and Environmental Impact.
This course focuses on geologic energy resources, use, and their environmental
impact. The case will be made for the link between population growth, industrialization,
and the critical need for developing existing energy resources as well as developing
strategies for new energy sources and energy conservation. The impact of
energy development and exploitation on the health of the ecosphere will be stressed
throughout. Alternative and renewable energy sources are evaluated. The course
format will rely heavily on a case study approach. Specific topics will include such
things as plate tectonics and energy resources, fossil fuels, nuclear energy, renewable
energy resources, and our energy future. Writing Enhanced. Prerequisites: GEL
132/112 or 133/113. Credit 3.
Mineralogy. This course covers crystallography, genesis
of minerals, identification and classification of minerals, and
optical mineralogy. Prerequisites: GEL 133/113or 132/112 and CHM
138/118, 139/119, MTH 163. Includes lab work. Writing Enhanced.
Odd year Fall. Credit 5.
GEL 345 Petrology.
The classification, origin, occurrence and associations of igneous, sedimentary, and
metamorphic rocks. Includes optical petrology using thin sections. Writing Enhanced.
Prerequisite: GEL 344. Even year Spring. Credit 5.
Environmental Geology. This course offers an introduction
to geological processes and materials, and how they affect people
and the environment. Specific topics include earthquakes, volcanism,
mass wasting, floods, coastal hazards, and climatic change. Optional
topics may include such items as energy and water resources, subsidence,
and waste disposal. Writing Enhanced. Prerequisites: GEL 133/113
or 132/112. Even year Fall. Credit 3.
Geology of North America. A study of the geologic history
of the continent of North America. Topics include paleogeography,
major depositional areas and stratigraphic units, and paleotectonics.
Writing Enhanced. Prerequisites: GEL 133/113 or 132/112, and 134/114.
Even year Spring. Credit 3.
Economic Geology.This course is concerned with the origin
and occurrence of economically important minerals. A portion of
the course is devoted to petroleum. Writing Enhanced. Prerequisites:
GEL 133/113 or 132/112. Odd year Spring. Credit 3.
Plate Tectonics. An introduction to the movement of lithospheric
plates. Topics to be covered include earthquakes, volcanism, seismic
tomography, the evolution of continents and ocean basins, and the
influence of the earth’s interior on these processes. Lecture
only. Writing Enhanced. Prerequisites: GEL 133/113 or 132/112, with
GEL 134/114 highly recommended. Odd year Fall. Credit 3.
Stratigraphy and Sedimentation. A study of the principles
and methods used in describing, classifying and correlating strata.
Includes studies of modern and ancient depositional environments.
Lab/field work included. Writing Enhanced. Prerequisites: GEL 133/113
or 132/112 and GEL 134/114. Odd year Spring. Credit 4.
Structural Geology. This course covers the principles of
deformation of the Earth’s lithosphere, with emphasis on mechanical
principles, identification and interpretation of structures from
the microscopic scale to the scale of mountain belts. Other topics
include regional tectonics and application in petroleum exploration.
Lab work will focus on graphical and quantitative techniques of
analyzing geologic structures. Writing Enhanced. Prerequisites:
GEL 133/113 or 132/112, PHY 138/119, MTH 163. Odd year Spring. Credit
GEL 446 Hydrogeology.
An introduction to the study of groundwater and its role in the hydrologic cycle. Topics
include properties and distribution of water on the surface, in the vadose zone and
in aquifers; behavior, modeling, and geology of groundwater aquifers; human use
and abuse of water resources, including groundwater contamination and extraction;
and water law economics, and aquatic ecology. A lab with field trips will focus on
measurement and modeling of groundwater. Writing Enhanced. Prerequisites: GEL
133/113, MTH 163. Credit 4.
GEL 460, GEL 461 Field Geology.
These courses will consist of on-site studies in structure, stratigraphy, petrology and
paleontology. Field trips will be taken to appropriate areas in Texas and/or surrounding
states. Writing Enhanced. Prerequisite: Senior standing. Credit 3 hours for each
GEL 495 Special Topics in Geology.
Individual study in special areas of geology. Topic content will usually be selected and
agreed upon by the student and a member of the Geology faculty. Sometimes special
topics courses will be offered by the Geology faculty. This course may be taken
for Academic Distinction credit. See Academic Distinction Program in this catalog.
Prerequisites and credit will be determined by the faculty member. May be repeated
for credit. Writing Enhanced. Fall, Spring, Summer. Credit 1, 2, or 3.
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