Middlebury

 

Courses

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

GEOL 0104 - Earthquakes and Volcanoes      

Earthquakes and Volcanoes
Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, despite being labeled as "natural disasters," are normal, natural geologic processes that have been occurring for billions of years on this planet. Unfortunately, these processes claim tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars in property damage annually (on average). This course will focus on the fundamental causes of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and the wide range of secondary effects (e.g., landslides, tsunami, etc.) that accompany these natural disasters. (Students who have completed GEOL 0170 are not permitted to register for GEOL 0104) 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc.

SCI

Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015

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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

Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015

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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 (Students who have completed GEOL 0170 are not permitted to register for GEOL 0142.) 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc.

SCI

Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2015

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GEOL 0161 - Elements of Oceanography      

Elements of Oceanography
Oceanographic exploration is introduced through study of ocean basins and continental margins. The multidisciplinary nature of oceanography is emphasized by using principles of marine geology, geophysics, geochemistry, and biology to address contemporary problems. Techniques of data collection and analysis are taught aboard the College's research vessel, R/V Folger, located on Lake Champlain. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab/field trips

DED SCI

Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014

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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 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014

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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 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014

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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 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015

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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)

SCI

Spring 2012

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GEOL 0222 - Remote Sensing in Geoscience      

Remote Sensing in Geoscience
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

Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014

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GEOL 0241 - Sedimentary Rocks      

Sedimentary Rocks
This course will provide an overview of the tools used in determining depositional environments and tectonic settings of sedimentary rocks. Lectures will cover depositional systems and facies relationships, stratigraphic principles, origin of sedimentary structures and textures. Labs and field trips will include methods in sedimentary basin analysis, and sedimentary petrology. (formerly GEOL 0321) (Any 0100-level geology course or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab/field trips

SCI

Spring 2013, Spring 2015

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GEOL 0250 - Arctic and Alpine Environments      

Arctic and Alpine Environments
In this course we will focus on the physical processes and environmental issues unique to arctic and alpine environments. Topics will include cold-climate weathering and landforms, ecosystem adaptations to cold environments, and snow and snowpack hydrology. The goal is to provide a strong scientific grounding through which contemporary issues involving arctic and alpine regions can be understood. Laboratory exercises will include field trips to the surrounding mountains, as well as analysis of datasets from other alpine and high latitude environments. (Any 0100-level GEOL or GEOG course, or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab

DED SCI

Fall 2012

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GEOL 0251 - Geomorphology      

Geomorphology
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. (GEOL 0112 or GEOL 0161 or GEOL 0170 or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab

DED SCI

Fall 2012, Fall 2013

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GEOL 0255 - Surface & Ground Water      

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 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2014

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GEOL 0257 - Soils, Geology & Environment      

Soils, Geology, and the Environment
Soils constitute the fundamental link between atmosphere, water, biota, and rock. Knowledge of the physical, chemical, and biological processes operating in soils is essential when assessing natural cycles as well as anthropogenic alterations to those natural cycles. In this course, we will analyze a wide range of issues, including soil formation, soil mineralogy, soil fertility and nutrient cycling, sediment pollution, soil contamination, water pollution, sediment erosion and deposition, and implications for land-use planning. Labs will be project-oriented and will consist of a combination of fieldwork and instrumental analysis. (ENVS 0112, any GEOL course, or waiver)

SCI

Fall 2014

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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. (A geology course or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab/field trips

CW SCI

Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2014

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GEOL 0300 - Introduction to Petrology      

Introduction to 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

Fall 2012, Fall 2014

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GEOL 0301 - Plate Tectonics- World Geology      

Plate Tectonics and World Geology
Tectonics refers to the many processes associated with development of regional-scale geologic features. These features include the origin and evolution of mountain belts, the growth of continents and ocean basins, and the causes of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The challenge of tectonic analysis lies in the accumulation and synthesis of a wide range of geologic information in an attempt to reconstruct the tectonic history of a particular region. An overnight weekend field trip towards the end of the semester will introduce students firsthand to the tectonic elements of the Appalachians. 3 hrs. lect.

SCI

Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2015

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GEOL 0323 - Environmental Geochemistry      

Environmental Geochemistry
This course will address the origin, transport, fate, and analysis of chemicals in the environment. Topics will include aquatic chemistry, rock weathering, elemental cycles, atmospheric processes, and energy resources. Both naturally occurring and anthropogenic compounds/elements will be considered. The course will introduce students to a variety of analytical and instrumental techniques, including ultraviolet-visible-spectrophotometry, atomic absorption spectrometry, and high-performance liquid chromatography. The labs willbe project oriented. Major ions, nutrients, trace metals, and organic compounds will be studied in a variety of systems, including natural waters, soils, and air (CHEM 0104 or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect.

SCI

Fall 2011, Fall 2013

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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 2012, Fall 2014

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GEOL 0352 - Quaternary Geology      

Glacial and Quaternary Geology
This course will provide an overview of the tools used in determining depositional environments and tectonic settings of sedimentary rocks. Lectures will cover depositional systems and facies relationships, stratigraphic principles, origin of sedimentary structures and textures. Labs and field trips will include methods in sedimentary basin analysis, and sedimentary petrology. (formerly GEOL 0321) (Any 0100-level geology course, or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab/field trips

DED SCI

Spring 2014

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GEOL 0382 - Geophysics      

Geophysics
An introduction to the physical nature of the Earth from two perspectives: 1) Whole-Earth Geophysics: the large-scale properties of the planet, including formation, structure, gravity, orbital properties, and seismology, and 2) Geophysical Exploration: acquisition and interpretation of geophysical data derived from surface and satellite-based observation. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab

Spring 2012, Spring 2014

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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 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014

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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)

Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015

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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)

Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015

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GEOL 1002 - Mars: Geology & Exploration      

Mars: Geology, Evolution, and Exploration
Mars is an Earth-like planet that holds a fascination for scientists, space explorers, science fiction writers, movie makers, and anyone with a curiosity about the sky. In this course, we will explore what we know about the geology and evolution of Mars from spacecraft missions. Volcanism, tectonics, existence of water, and possible presence of life are some topics that will be covered. We will study the results from the probes currently in orbit and on the surface of Mars. We will also investigate plans for sending humans to Mars and building a base on the red planet. lect./disc.

WTR

Winter 2012

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GEOL 1004 - Historical Geology of Vermont      

Historical Geology of the Champlain Valley
At the dawn of the 18th century, the Champlain Valley was largely the domain of the Abenaki and Mohawk nations. A century later Europeans populated the valley and Middlebury College was founded. In this course we will explore how the geologic environment defined these different cultures. Topics will include: the hydrologic system as transportation, energy, and food source; geologic controls on soil quality; geologic resources for building, tool making, and war; and the role of climate change and variability. The course will include numerous field trips to regional museums and geologic sites. Students should feel comfortable being outside in winter.

SCI WTR

Winter 2012

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GEOL 1005 - Geol Controls VT Landscape      

Geologic Controls on the Vermont Landscape
In this course we will investigate the various processes that have shaped the Vermont landscape throughout time, from hundreds of millions of years ago through to the present. We will focus on tectonic collisions that formed the Green Mountains, erosion and sculpting by continental ice sheets, and anthropogenic modifications of the landscape. We will take weekly local field trips, so please be prepared for winter hiking and cold weather. The goals of this course are to better understand the landscape on which we live, and to better place our own lives in the larger context of geologic time. (This course counts as a lab science cognate for ENVS majors with a focus in the humanities or social sciences.)

SCI WTR

Winter 2011

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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 2013

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GEOL 1008 - Past and Future Climate      

The Future of Earth's Climate as Revealed by its Past
Climate change in the 21st century poses a number of significant questions. For instance, how much will temperature and sea level rise? What is a ‘safe’ level of CO2? How robust are climate models? What is the likelihood of an abrupt climate shift? In this course we will explore the central issues surrounding global warming, particularly as viewed through the lens of Earth’s climate history. We will link climate theory, global warming projections, and the geologic record of past climate to understand the scientific basis for and level of certainty about our climate future.

SCI WTR

Winter 2013

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GEOL 1009 - Geology of National Parks      

Geology of National Parks
The collision of continents, the passage of glaciers, and time itself have sculpted our 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 our 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.

SCI WTR

Winter 2013

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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 2014, Winter 2015

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GEOL 1033 - Paleolimnology      

Paleolimnology
In a glaciated region like the Northeast, lacustrine sediments can be analyzed to interpret evolution of a lake and the surrounding catchment since deglaciation. Students in this class will core a local lake through the ice and work in small groups analyzing the core in the laboratory. The results will be pooled, allowing each student to interpret the postglacial sedimentary, geomorphic, and ecologic history of the lake basin. Students will work independently and collectively, and will gain experience working with actual data on a project where the outcome is not known beforehand. Winter outdoor experience strongly recommended.

SCI WTR

Winter 2011, Winter 2014

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GEOL 1034 - Geology & Landscapes of France      

Geology & Landscapes of France
France hosts a remarkable variety of landscapes, created by a wide range of geological processes: continental rifting and volcanic activity, mountain building, canyon carving, and coastline processes. In this course we will consider the major forces that shape a country, and the influence of geology on its economy and cultural heritage: fossil fuel and mineral ores, building material for castles and cathedrals, and the notion of terroir in agriculture and winemaking. Students will be encouraged to research the geological history and attributes of their own home state or country.

SCI WTR

Winter 2014

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GEOL 1052 - Scientific Visualization      

Multi-Dimensional Scientific Visualization
There is an increasing requirement for sophisticated visualization tools to help solve spatially complex systems (n parameters in 2D or 3D). This course will provide hands-on experience with a commercially available multi-dimensional software package. Students are encouraged to provide their own data sets if at all possible, but will be provided data sets otherwise. Classroom instruction will concentrate on the aspects of learning how to transform observational data into multi-dimensional visual imagery, validation of the results, and subsequent manipulation of the imagery. A final project will be orally presented.

SCI WTR

Winter 2013

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