COVID-19: Essential Information

Courses

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

GEOL 0111 - Natural Hazards      

Natural Hazards
Despite increasing technological sophistication, modern civilization remains vulnerable to natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, flooding, landslides, extraterrestrial impacts, and other events. In this course we will consider the geologic mechanisms behind these hazards, the societal implications of these hazards, and approaches to reducing risk. Case studies will be combined with exploration of fundamental geologic concepts to provide students a foundation for understanding risk exposure and evaluating approaches to hazard management. (Not open to students who have taken GEOL 0112 or 0170) 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. SCI

Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

More Information »

GEOL 0112 - Environmental Geology      

Environmental Geology
Geological processes form the physical framework on which ecosystems operate. We require an understanding of the geological environment in order to minimize disruption of natural systems by human development and to avoid hazards such as floods and landslides. This course is an overview of basic tectonic, volcanic, and landscape-forming processes and systems, including earthquakes, rivers, soils, and groundwater. Environmental effects of energy, mineral, and water resource use, and waste disposal are also examined. Weekly field labs after spring break. Registration priority for first and second-year students. 3 hrs. lect./disc., 3 hrs. lab/field trips SCI

Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

More Information »

GEOL 0120 - How to Build Habitable Planet      

How to Build a Habitable Planet
In this course we will examine how Earth came to be the planet we know today: a uniquely habitable world, home to a diverse array of organisms and interconnected systems. We will begin our journey through deep time with the Big Bang and the coalescence of the first stardust, and conclude by examining how humans have become integral drivers of planetary evolution, transforming Earth’s surface and atmosphere at largely unprecedented rates. Students will engage with cutting edge scientific research via readings, discussion, and synthesis of the primary and secondary scientific literature. 3 hrs. lect./1hr. disc SCI

Spring 2021, Fall 2021

More Information »

GEOL 0142 - The Ocean Floor      

The Ocean Floor
Have you wanted to view the ocean floor from a submersible? It is a dark but dynamic place. The constant interchange between water and sediments has created sedimentary drifts and mudwaves over 500 feet high! Earthquakes cause underwater mud avalanches that travel over 60 m.p.h. Hydrothermal vents along the ocean ridges host a variety of unusual plant and animal life. This course will explore the ocean depths via the classroom and will introduce the development of ocean basins, their evolution, and processes occurring within them (Not open to students who have taken GOEL 0170) 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. SCI

Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

More Information »

GEOL 0161 - Earth's Oceans and Coastlines      

Earth’s Oceans and Coastlines
In this course we explore our planet’s oceans and coastlines through the interdisciplinary study of marine geology, physics, biology, and chemistry. We use these fields as lenses through which we examine our reliance on the oceans for climate stability, food, economic resources, and waste dispersal, among a host of other ecosystem services. In parallel, we explore how humans are fundamentally altering coastal and marine ecosystems, posing unequally distributed, but increasingly severe threats to ocean and human health. In labs, we make use of the college’s research vessel, the R/V Folger, and learn quantitative data visualization and analysis techniques. 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab/field trips DED SCI

Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

More Information »

GEOL 0170 - The Dynamic Earth      

The Dynamic Earth
Sea-floor spreading and continental drift, earthquakes and volcanoes, origin and evolution of mountain systems, and concepts of plate tectonics are viewed in light of the geology of ocean basins and continents. Modern processes such as river, coastal, wind, and glaciers will be studied and their effect on shaping the geologic landscape. Laboratory: field problems in Vermont geology; interpretation of geologic maps, regional tectonic synthesis. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab/field trips SCI

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

More Information »

GEOL 0201 - Bedrock Geology of Vermont      

Bedrock Geology of Vermont
This course explores the fascinating geology of Vermont. Students learn the geology through six field problems, involving extended trips around western Vermont. Lectures on the meaning of rocks support the fieldwork. The last few indoor labs are devoted to understanding the geologic map of Vermont. Emphasis is on descriptive writing and on use of data to interpret origin of rocks. Culminates in a written report on the geologic and plate tectonic evolution of Vermont. (One geology course) 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab/field trips CW SCI

Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019

More Information »

GEOL 0202 - Climate and Earth's History      

Climate and Earth's History
In this course we will discuss how external forces and internal feedbacks within the Earth system govern climate. Specific topics will include orbital variability, changes in ocean circulation, CO2 uptake in terrestrial ecosystems, and molecular vibrational controls on infrared absorption and Earth's heat budget. We will then examine climate change through Earth's history as evidenced by a number of geologic proxies including the sedimentary record, ice cores, isotopic records, glaciers, soils, and tree rings. Ultimately our improved understanding of past climates will provide a context within which to discuss future changes to come. (one Geology course) SCI

Spring 2022

More Information »

GEOL 0211 - Mineralogy      

Mineralogy
This course covers the nature, identification, composition, and meaning of minerals and mineral assemblages. Introduction to crystallography, hand-specimen identification, optical mineralogy, x-ray analysis, and electron microbeam analysis. Laboratory: study of minerals in hand-specimen and under the polarizing microscope; use of x-ray diffraction and electron microscopy in mineral analysis. (One geology course) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab SCI

Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021

More Information »

GEOL 0221 - Geology of Climate Change      

The Geology of Climate Change
In this course we will discuss how external forces and internal feedbacks within the Earth system govern climate. Specific topics will include orbital variability, changes in ocean circulation, CO2 uptake in terrestrial ecosystems, and molecular vibrational controls on infrared absorption and Earth's heat budget. We will then examine climate change through Earth's history as evidenced by a number of geologic proxies including the sedimentary record, ice cores, isotopic records, glaciers, soils, and tree rings. Ultimately our improved understanding of past climates will provide a context within which to discuss future changes to come. (one Geology course) (open to Juniors and Seniors by waiver) SCI

Spring 2019

More Information »

GEOL 0222 - Remote Sensing in Geoscience      

Remote Sensing in Environmental Science
In this course we will discuss fundamentals of air- and space-based remote sensing applied to geological and environmental problems. The core goal is to understand how different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation interact with Earth's surface, and how images collected in these different wavelengths can be used to address questions in the Earth sciences. Lectures will present theory and basics of data collection as well as applications in hydrology, vegetation analysis, glaciology, tectonics, meteorology, oceanography, planetary exploration, and resource exploration. Labs will focus on commonly-used imagery and software to learn techniques for digital image processing, analysis and interpretation in Earth science. (A geology course or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs lab SCI

Fall 2018

More Information »

GEOL 0251 - Landscape Evolution      

Landscape Evolution
In this course we will investigate processes that shape the Earth's surface, including weathering, mass movements, and the effects of water, wind, and ice. Students will examine how such processes govern the evolution of landforms in differing climatic, tectonic, and lithologic settings. Field and laboratory study will focus on the role of active surficial processes, as well as glaciation and other past events, in development of the landscape of west-central Vermont. We will also discuss implications for human activities and maintenance of natural systems. (Any 0100-level geology course, or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab DED SCI

Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

More Information »

GEOL 0255 - Water Resources Hydrogeology      

Surface and Ground Water
Fresh water is the most fundamental resource sustaining life on the continents. This course is an introduction to the study of water and its interactions with the geologic environment. Basic hydrological processes such as precipitation, stream flow, and the subsurface flow of ground water are analyzed by quantitative methods. Climatic and human-induced changes in the hydrological cycle are examined, and current issues and policies are discussed in light of the increasing demands and impacts of a technological society on water resources and associated natural systems. (ENVS 0112 or any 0100-level Geology course) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab DED SCI

Spring 2018, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

More Information »

GEOL 0281 - Structural Geology      

Structural Geology
Plate tectonics and mountain building processes result in deformation of the Earth's crust. Structural geology is the study of this deformation, and this course will examine the many types of structures found in crustal rocks (folds, faults, etc.) and explore the forces responsible for their formation. Laboratory exercises will emphasize the hands-on description and analysis of structures in the field, as well as the practical aspects of map interpretation and computer analysis of structural data. (GEOL 0112, or GEOL 0161, or GEOL 0170 or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab/field trips CW SCI

Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

More Information »

GEOL 0300 - Introduction to Petrology      

Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
An introduction to processes involved in the formation of igneous and metamorphic rocks. The first half of the course includes inquiry into the classification, plate tectonic setting, and evolution of volcanic and plutonic igneous rocks. The second half includes study of progressive metamorphism, the pressure-temperature- time history of metamorphic rocks, and the relation between metamorphism and plate tectonics. Labs will include thin section studies of igneous and metamorphic rocks, as well as field trips in Vermont and the Adirondacks. (GEOL 0211) 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab/field trips

Spring 2019

More Information »

GEOL 0301 - Act Tectonics-Earthquake Haz      

Active Tectonics and Earthquake Hazards
In this class we will explore what drives Earth’s system of tectonic plates and why plate motion causes earthquakes. We will learn about modern techniques used to document plate motion and predict the size, style, and timing of earthquakes. Students will also explore the numerous hazards associated with earthquakes and how the threat they pose to humans can be mitigated. Learning goals will focus on reading primary scientific literature, identifying unanswered questions, and developing ideas for original research. (One introductory course in GEOL, or instructor’s permission) 3 hrs. lect. CW SCI

Fall 2017, Spring 2020, Fall 2021

More Information »

GEOL 0302 - Climate and Earth's History      

Climate and Earth’s History
In this course we will discuss how external forces and internal feedbacks within the Earth system govern climate. Specific topics will include orbital variability, changes in ocean circulation, CO2 uptake in terrestrial ecosystems, and molecular vibrational controls on infrared absorption and Earth's heat budget. We will then examine climate change through Earth's history as evidenced by a number of geologic proxies including the sedimentary record, ice cores, isotopic records, glaciers, soils, and tree rings. Ultimately, our improved understanding of past climates will provide a context within which to discuss future changes to come. (Formally GEOL 0221) (one GEOL course, or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect. SCI

Spring 2021

More Information »

GEOL 0322 - Remote Sensing in Geoscience      

Remote Sensing in Environmental Science
In this course we will discuss fundamentals of air- and space-based remote sensing applied to geological and environmental problems. The core goal is to understand how different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation interact with Earth's surface, and how images collected in these different wavelengths can be used to address questions in the Earth sciences. Lectures will present theory and basics of data collection as well as applications in hydrology, vegetation analysis, glaciology, tectonics, meteorology, oceanography, planetary exploration, and resource exploration. Labs will focus on commonly-used imagery and software to learn techniques for digital image processing, analysis and interpretation in Earth science. (Formerly GEOL 0222) (one GEOL course, or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs lab SCI

Fall 2020

More Information »

GEOL 0323 - Environmental Geochemistry      

Environmental Geochemistry
This course examines the chemical composition of natural and human-influenced environments, with a focus on predicting the behavior (“fate and transport”) of major ions, trace elements, nutrients and organic compounds (natural and synthetic) in soil, water, rock and air. Topics include aqueous geochemistry, chemical weathering, elemental cycles, isotopic tracers, atmospheric processes, climate impact of energy resources, and remediation of environmental contamination. Students will do chemical and mineralogical analysis using a variety of analytical and instrumental techniques, including ICPMS, SEM-EDS, XRF, XRD, and synthesis experiments. This is a project oriented course. (One GEOL course and CHEM 0104 or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect. SCI

Spring 2018, Fall 2021

More Information »

GEOL 0340 - Sedimentary Process&Environ      

Sedimentary Processes and Environments
This course examines modern sedimentary processes and environments, with the goal of understanding the environmental conditions under which ancient sediments were deposited and preserved. Topics include the dynamics of weathering and sediment transport; the interpretation of depositional environments from sedimentary textures, structures and relationships; and stratigraphic techniques for interpreting Earth history. Field trips provide hands-on opportunities to apply course material and investigate Middlebury’s ancient history as a sandy, tropical paradise. (Any 0100-level geology course or by waiver) (formerly GEOL 0241) 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab/field trips SCI

Spring 2022

More Information »

GEOL 0342 - Marine Geology      

Marine Geology
The oceans cover over 70 percent of the Earth's surface, but only in the last few decades has extensive investigation of the geology of the Earth beneath the sea been possible. This course will present the results of these continuing investigations. Although the whole field of marine geology will be reviewed, the emphasis will be on marine sediments and sedimentary processes and paleoceangraphy. Laboratory: synthesis of geological and geophysical data concerning a selected region of the ocean, with special emphasis on the results of the Deep Sea Drilling Project. (GEOL 0161 or GEOL 0170) 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab

Fall 2018

More Information »

GEOL 0350 - Artic and Alpine Environments      

Past, Present, and Future of the Mountain Critical Zone
The Critical Zone is the name given to the thin slice of the Earth from the treetops to the base of the soil where geology, biology, hydrology and climate all come together. This course will focus on topics germane to the Critical Zone in mountain environments including glaciers and permafrost, cold-climate weathering and landforms, ecosystem adaptations to cold environments, snow and snowpack hydrogeology, responses to contemporary climate change and projections for the future. The goal is to provide a strong scientific grounding through which contemporary issues involving mountain regions can be understood. Laboratory exercises will include analysis of datasets from mountain environments. (Formerly GEOL 0250) (any 0100-level GEOL or GEOG course, or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab DED SCI

Spring 2021, Spring 2022

More Information »

GEOL 0355 - Water Resources & Hydrogeology      

Water Resources and Hydrogeology
Fresh water is the most fundamental resource sustaining life on the planet. In this course we examine all elements of the hydrologic cycle, focusing first on precipitation and surface water flow and then on subsurface flow. We study examples from across the globe to understand factors influencing water quality and availability, and apply mathematical approaches to quantify constraints on sustainable use. The consequences of climate change and other anthropogenic impacts to the hydrological cycle are examined, and current issues and policies are discussed in light of increasing demands on water resources and associated natural systems. (formerly GEOL 0255) (ENVS 0112 or any 0100-level Geology course) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab DED SCI

Spring 2022

More Information »

GEOL 0362 - Glaciology      

Glaciology
In this course we will detail the fundamental role of ice in Earth's climate system, integrating insights from observation, theory, and computer modelling to form a cohesive understanding of glaciers and ice sheets. We will study the unique physics that allow glaciers to flow and break, the power of ice in shaping the landscape, and the flow of water from atmosphere to glacier to ocean and back again. Discussions will treat recent developments in glaciology, as well as the role of glaciology in society. A final project will invite students to develop expertise on a glaciological question of their choosing. (MATH 0122 and two 200-level courses in GEOL/GEOG, or by instructor approval; MATH 0223 is recommended) SCI

Fall 2021

More Information »

GEOL 0370 - Geoscience for the Common Good      

Geoscience for the Common Good
Students will collaborate with community partners in applying Earth science approaches to real-world problems, learning firsthand how geologic information can improve decision-making affecting humans and the environment. Topics and partners will generally have a local or regional footprint, coupled with broader implications. The course will be jointly guided by a faculty member and the community partner. Student work will involve reading and discussion; the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; collaboration with community partners; and consultation with additional outside experts. The course will culminate in a public presentation, as well as the preparation of written reports or other outreach materials. (GEOL 0201 and 0202) 3 hrs. lect. 3 hrs. lab. SCI

Spring 2022

More Information »

GEOL 0400 - Senior Thesis Research Seminar      

Senior Thesis Research Seminar
This seminar will focus on methods and strategies for completing advanced geological research and provides a springboard for senior thesis research. Topics will include field and laboratory techniques, primary literature review, and scientific writing. Students taking this course are expected to be simultaneously working on the early stages of their senior thesis research. During the semester students will present a thesis proposal and the seminar will culminate with each student completing a draft of the first chapter of their senior thesis. GEOL 0400 is required of all geology majors. 3 hrs. disc. or lab

Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

More Information »

GEOL 0500 - Readings And Research      

Readings and Research
Individual or group independent study, laboratory or field research projects, readings and discussion of timely topics in earth and environmental science. (Approval only)

Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

More Information »

GEOL 0700 - Senior Thesis Research      

Upon completion of GEOL 0400, all senior geology majors will continue their independent senior thesis research by taking one unit of GEOL 0700. This research will culminate in a written thesis which must be orally defended. (Approval only)

Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

More Information »

GEOL 1006 - Energy Resources      

Energy Resources: Geological Origins and Environmental Impacts
In this course we will discuss how different types of energy resources are formed by geological processes, how they are extracted and used, and how these activities impact the Earth’s environment. We will discuss traditional fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas, as well as nuclear, wind, and solar power. A portion of the class will focus on major energy issues facing the northeastern United States, such as the role of nuclear power in Vermont, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for natural gas in New York and Pennsylvania, and the wide spread installation of wind turbines and solar farms. (Not open to students who have taken FYSE 1120) SCI WTR

Winter 2020

More Information »

GEOL 1009 - Geology of National Parks      

Geology of National Parks
The collision of continents, the passage of glaciers, and time itself have sculpted this country, creating landscapes that have captivated humankind's attention for generations. In this course we will develop the sequence of events that have led to the formation of many such natural wonders found in the country's national parks. We will proceed through lectures focused on basic geology and plate tectonic theory; textbook readings about specific parks; in-class and homework exercises that develop familiarity with important geologic materials and methods; and a number of virtual excursions to the parks. (not open to students who have taken FYSE 1244) SCI WTR

Winter 2020

More Information »

GEOL 1023 - Coastal Processes      

Coastal Processes
The coastline represents a highly variable and dynamic region between land and water, with periods of dynamic change from days (tides and storms) to hundreds of thousands of years (global sea level variations). In many parts of the world, mankind's present and/or desired use of these fragile and transitory boundaries often conflicts with how these regions should be managed. Though the use of various case studies, this course will focus on coastline structure, dynamic interaction between ocean and land, sea level rise, as well as past use and newer management practices. SCI WTR

Winter 2018, Winter 2019, Winter 2020

More Information »

GEOL 1035 - Field Geology Active Tectonics      

Field Geology in Active Tectonic Environments
In this off-campus course students will gain experience through field-based exercises designed to emphasize observation, sample and data collection, and interpretation of geologic phenomena. By carrying out field work in diverse tectonic environments, students will be exposed to geologic processes complementary to those found in New England. Students will gain a broader understanding of topics including tectonics, volcanism, stratigraphy, soil formation, hydrology, structural analyses, field mapping, geomorphology and hazard assessment. The four-week course consists of three weeks off-campus followed by one week on-campus, culminating with small group research projects and reports emphasizing integration of field observations with instrumental analysis in on-campus laboratories. Approval Only (any two 200-level courses in GEOL; priority to Juniors and Seniors) WTR

Winter 2018

More Information »

Department of Geology

McCardell Bicentennial Hall
276 Bicentennial Way
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753