COVID-19: Essential Information

Will Amidon

Associate Professor of Geology

 
 work(802) 443-5988
 Mondays & Tuesdays, 2 - 4 p.m.
 McCardell Bicen Hall 413

My research focuses on  using geochronology, remote sensing, and modeling to understand the timing and rates of surface processes. Much of my work involves cosmogenic dating and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating. In 2013 I founded an OSL lab at Middlebury, which is open to visitors and collaborators. Recent projects have looked at spatio-temporal patterns of erosion, neotectonics, and terrestrial paleoclimate. For more information, please visit my website.

 

Courses

Course List: 

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

FYSE 1520 - Pollution of Rivers and Lakes      

How Should We Clean Up Our Rivers and Lakes?
Vermont’s Champlain Valley is a major agricultural center, whose lakes and rivers are experiencing nutrient pollution due to runoff off manure and fertilizer from farm fields. Difficulty identifying the sources of nutrient pollution confounds management decisions. In this research-driven experiential course students will work in teams to collect water quality data and analyze land use and water flow characteristics in polluted watersheds. The goal is to understand when and where pollutants enter regional water bodies, and use these insights to inform management plans. One important aim of this course is to foster collaborative skills and improve student resourcefulness and problem-solving acumen. 3 hrs. sem. CW SCI

Fall 2018

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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

Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

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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) (open to Juniors and Seniors by waiver) SCI

Spring 2019

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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

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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, Fall 2021

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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

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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 2021

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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)

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

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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)

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

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STLD 1009 - Zero Energy School Design      

Zero Energy School Design
There are over 100,000 K-12 schools in the U.S. and these buildings are, on average, over 50 years old. Many of these schools will need to be replaced in the coming years and it is critical that designs today can meet the needs of the future. Designing schools to achieve Zero Energy presents an opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve the learning environment in classrooms, and save districts money. Zero Energy schools incorporate the latest advances in energy efficient building design and use on-site renewable energy to produce more electricity than they consume each year. In this course we will learn about the Zero Energy design process and develop a design for a Zero Energy elementary school to be built in Vermont. Approval Required (Credit/No Credit) non-standard grade WTR

Winter 2018

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Recent Publications

  1. Amidon, W.H., and Farley, K.A., 2011, Cosmogenic 3He dating of apatite, zircon and pyroxene from Bonneville flood erosional surfaces: Quaternary Geochronology, v. 6, p. 10-21.
  2. Amidon, W.H., and Hynek, S.A., 2010, Exhumational history of the north central Pamir: Tectonics, v. 29.
  3. Amidon, W.H., and Farley, K.A., 2010, Mass spectrometric He-3 measurement in He-4-rich phases: Techniques and limitations for cosmogenic He-3 dating of zircon, apatite, and titanite: Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, v. 11.
  4. Amidon, W.H., Rood, D.H., and Farley, K.A., 2009, Cosmogenic 3He and 21Ne production rates calibrated against 10Be in minerals from the Coso volcanic field: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 280, p. 194-204.

Department of Geology

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