Sam Houston State University Undergraduate Catalog 2006-2008
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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. Credit 3.

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. Credit 1.

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.

GEL 330 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.

GEL 334 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.

GEL 344 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.

GEL 360 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.

GEL 431 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.

GEL 432 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.

GEL 437 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.

GEL 440 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.

GEL 442 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 4.

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 course.

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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