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Course Descriptions

Geology Course Listings - Spring 2013

GEOLOGY 110B – Introduction to Geology
4 credits
Bladh, Kenneth

Open to all students, except those who have previously taken a 100-level geology course.  A math placement score of 22 or above is recommended.
This course provides students with a survey of physical geology and how geologic knowledge can influence the decisions we face as citizens.  Students will gain an understanding of the nature and findings of the scientific study of earth materials, selected geologic processes and “deep time”. Content areas will probably include minerals and rocks, geologic time, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, streams, shorelines and glaciers.  Students will have input into the final selection of topics.
A Math Placement score of 22 or above is strongly recommended, as some lab exercises incorporate basic math skills and quantitative reasoning.

GEOLOGY 110B - Introductory Geology
4 credits
Miller, David

Open to all students, except those who have previously taken a 100-level geology course.  A math placement score of 22 or above is recommended.
This course provides students with a topical view of Physical Geology and how it relates to the human race.  Students will gain an understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry, geological processes, and geological issues.  Much of the material we will treat consists of items covered by the media and is intended to give students practical knowledge that they can apply to everyday life and to other disciplines.  A Math Placement score of 22 or above is strongly recommended, as many lab exercises incorporate basic math skills.  This course has both lecture and lab periods that each student must attend.  Note the required Saturday field trip to Ohio Caverns and Cedar Bog April 16 for section 01.

GEOLOGY 111B – Volcanoes and Earthquakes
4 credits
Bladh, Katherine

Open to all students, except those who have previously taken a 100-level geology course. 
This course focuses on the geology of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.  A geologic understanding of these hazards, by means of class study of such topics as volcanic eruption products and how the type of ground beneath buildings affects the severity of earthquake shaking, allows educated citizens to make informed decisions that can lessen damage and loss of life caused by these geologic hazards.  A score of 22 of the Math Placement Exam is strongly recommended.  Every year.  Students may complete an additional project, using foreign language skills, for one-credit CLAC credit.  See Language Department course descriptions.

GEOLOGY 116N – Time Earth
4 credits
Zaleha, Michael

Open to all students, except those who have previously taken a 100-level geology course.
The objectives of this General Education course are to provide non-science majors with a contemporary view of the Earth sciences by exploring some of the most fascinating processes and events in Earth's history, including plate tectonics, the origins of the planet and life, mass extinctions, and glaciations.  Two main themes that underlie and permeate the course are seeking answers to the questions, "From where do we come?" and "Why is the world the way it is?"  In order to understand these significant events, many fundamentals of geology, in general, also will be covered.  However, the course format is flexible to allow for more in-depth exploration of topics that are of most interest to students.  Classes will include lecture, demonstrations, discussions, online research, and hands-on activities.

GEOLOGY 160B – Environmental Geology
5 credits
Ritter, John

Open to all students, except those who have previously taken a 100-level geology course.  A math placement score of 22 or above is recommended.
Environmental Geology is an introduction to applied geology for both science and non-science students.  The primary objective of the course is to understand human interaction with the physical environment.  We will study natural hazards, such as flooding, mass wasting, and coastal erosion, natural resources, such as groundwater and wetlands, and the impact humans have on them.  Labs will focus on techniques used by geologists to study natural hazards and resources and to develop mitigation strategies when our impact on them is excessive.  Geology 160 counts as an introductory course for the geology major and minor, the environmental science major and environmental studies minor, and the marine science minor.

GEOLOGY 260 - Sedimentology
5 credits
Zaleha, Michael

Prerequisite:  Geology 150B or 160B or one course from the Geology 110B-116N Series in combination with Geology 151.
This course is a process-based approach to the study of sediments and sedimentary rocks.  The first part of the course will investigate the physical processes of sediment erosion, transport, and deposition.  These principles will then be applied to the study of modern depositional environments and processes as they relate to the interpretation of ancient deposits.  Emphasis will be on siliciclastic and carbonate depositional environments and rocks.  The course will conclude with brief treatments of stratigraphy, basin analysis, and sedimentological/tectonic/eustatic/ climatic interactions.  Labs include flume work, identification of important sedimentary structures, lab and field methods, and field trips.

GEOLOGY 291 – Spatial Analysis in the Natural Sciences
2 credits
Ritter, John

Prerequisites:  A 100-level course in Biology, Environmental Studies, Geology, or Physical Geography
This course focuses on raster datasets and their use in GIS-based spatial analysis and modeling in the natural sciences.  Raster datasets, including digital elevation models and satellite imagery, and their derivatives, such as slope or aspect models and land cover interpretations, are a critical part of studies in the natural sciences.  This course is intended to introduce students to the utility and availability to raster data and the methods for incorporating it into research problems.

GEOLOGY 392 – Junior Seminar
1 credit
Fortner, Sarah

Prerequisites: Open only to Geology majors with junior standing.
Required of all Geology majors during the spring semester of their junior year.  The purpose of this course is to prepare students in the skills necessary for them to conduct their senior research and to produce a written proposal for that research.  Every year.

GEOLOGY 411 – Sedimentary Petrography
3 credits
Zaleha, Michael

Prerequisites:  GEOLOGY 230 (or concurrent enrollment) and GEOLOGY 260 (or concurrent enrollment). 
Detailed microscopic and hand sample study of sedimentary rocks.  Emphasis on the identification and origin of features in siliciclastic and carbonate rocks.  Alternate years.

GEOLOGY 460 – Geology Seminar:  Wetland Biogeochemical Cycling
4 credits
Fortner, Sarah

Prerequisites: Chemistry 121 or permission.
Wetlands are considered the kidneys of a watershed, filtering out excess nutrients and toxic chemicals delivered downstream.  Created wetlands are often proposed to mitigate nutrient excess from agricultural and municipal discharge. Low cost wetland restoration (e.g. rerouting water to create a wetland without importing and planting wetland vegetation) may effectively cleanse watersheds without a high economic cost. This will help ascertain whether a recently created low-cost wetland near Wittenberg is efficiently removing nutrient excess from Buck Creek.  In addition to examining nitrate and phosphorus (both associated with fertilizers), we will seek to understand how chemical weathering processes are altered in the presence of wetlands.  Chemical weathering (or the breakdown of minerals in the presence of water and acid) affects the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through geologic time. This class will include field and laboratory work, especially the use of an ion chromatograph capable of measuring nutrients and major products of chemical weathering. The Gulf of Mexico teeters dangerously close to a nutrient imbalance and human-accelerated climate change threatens the earth. Are created wetlands a possible mitigation solution for a world with an increased reliance on fertilizers for food and biofuel?

GEOLOGY 492 - Senior Seminar
1 credit                                                                                           
Zaleha, Michael

Prerequisites:  Open only to senior geology or earth science majors.
Required of all Geology majors during their senior year.  Each student works on a research project under the supervision of a faculty member.  The project culminates in a written thesis, a public poster presentation, and public oral presentation.  Each student registers for this course during both semesters, 0 credits in the fall and 1 credit in the spring.  Prerequisite:  Senior standing and completion of Junior Seminar.  Every year.

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