UNC College of Arts & Sciences

Geological Sciences

Courses

Courses offered through the Department of Geological Sciences

 

 

070 [006D] First-Year Seminar: One Billion Years of Change: The Geologic Story of North Carolina (3). A field-based course focused on the geologic story of North Carolina. Includes local field trips and weekend trips to the coast and mountains

072 [006C] First-Year Seminar: Field Geology of Eastern California (3). This seminar provides a hands-on introduction to active geologic and environmental processes in eastern California, including active volcanoes, earthquake-producing faults, and extreme climate change.

073 [006D] First-Year Seminar: Global Warming and the Future of the Planet (3). Global warming is the most important environmental problem of the 21st century. This seminar explores geologic history of global warming, its physical principles, and prospects for future societies.

074 [006D] First-Year Seminar: Geology of Climate Change (3). Examination of the problem of natural versus human-induced climate change from the perspective of the geologic record of earth history. Field trips to coast, Piedmont, and Blue Ridge.

075 [006D] First-Year Seminar: Waste in the Environment (3). Origins and effects of waste in the environment. Introduces natural wastes and ecosystem recycling, but focuses on case studies of generation, environmental impacts, and remediation of anthropogenic wastes.

076 [006D] First-Year Seminar: Energy Resources for a Hungry Planet (3). Discussions are centered on the most pressing issues of our time: environmental deterioration and construction of a sustainable (livable) world during and after the depletion of traditional energy resources.

077 [006C] First-Year Seminar: Volcanoes and Civilization: An Uneasy Coexistence (3).Volcanoes provide a breathable atmosphere, a habitable climate, and precious ores, but they have the potential to destroy civilization. This seminar will explore the uneasy coexistence of volcanoes and civilization.

078 [006D] First-Year Seminar: Time: Meanings, Uses, and Experiences (3). Time: how it is viewed by different cultures; different ways of measuring, describing, and using time; how we sense time biologically and psychologically.

101 [011] Introductory Geology (3). Geologic materials: minerals and rocks. Major geologic events: earthquakes, volcanic activity, mountain formation, plate tectonics, and continental drifts. Landscape development by glaciers, streams and groundwater, ocean currents and waves, wind. Not open to students with credit in or currently enrolled in GEOL 105, 109, or 111. Optional laboratory.

101L [011L] Introductory Geology Laboratory (1). Pre- or corequisite, GEOL 101. Study of common minerals and rocks. Use of topographic and geologic maps to illustrate geologic processes. Two laboratory hours a week.

103 [012] The Marine Environment (MASC 101) (3). See MASC 101 for description.

105 [013] Violent Earth (3). Earth as a dynamic planet, changing catastrophically through volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and meteoric impacts. Causes and effects of these phenomena will be addressed and their impact on human development. Not open to students with credit in or currently enrolled in GEOL 101, 109, or 111. Optional laboratory: GEOL 101L.

109 [018] Earth, Climate, and Life through Time (3). Origin of the solid earth. Plate tectonics, earthquakes, and volcanic hazards/prediction. Evolution of the atmosphere and oceans. Climate change. Origin of life, evolution and mass extinctions, dinosaurs and hominids. Not open to students with credit in or currently enrolled in GEOL 101, 105, or 111. Optional laboratory.

109L [018L] Earth, Climate, and Life through Time Laboratory (1). Pre- or corequisite, GEOL 109. Rocks and crustal evolution; plate tectonics, seismology, and seismic hazards; atmospheric change; fossil invertebrates, the record of mass extinctions; dinosaurs and hominids. Many of the laboratories will use interactive software.

110 Earth and Climate for Science Majors (3). Interactions between earth systems. Topics include plate tectonics, climate change, history of life, and biogeochemical cycles. This course is restricted to science majors only.

111 [41] Physical Geology for Science Majors (ENST 111) (4). Introduction to geology for geology majors and other science majors. Origin of minerals and rocks. Structure of the earth. Erosion, volcanoes, earthquakes, plate tectonics. Not open to students with credit in or currently enrolled in GEOL 101, 105, or 109. Three lecture and two laboratory hours a week.

159 [016] Prehistoric Life (BIOL 159) (3). Fossils and the origin and evolution of life, including micro- and macroevolution, mass extinctions, the evolution of dinosaurs and humans, and scientific perspectives on multicultural creationism. Optional laboratory.

159L Prehistoric Life Laboratory (BIOL 159L) (1). Normal laboratory is one credit hour; two credit-hour laboratory includes internship (three to five hours, once a week) at the North Carolina Museum of Natural History as part of the APPLES program.

202 Earth Systems History (3). Required preparation, one introductory geology course numbered below GEOL 202, except first-year seminar. History of the earth (including its oceans, atmosphere, and life forms) as deciphered from the geologic record. Birth of continents/oceans; evolution and extinction of life forms; the changing global environment.

204 [049] Planetary Geology: Meteorites and Asteroids (3). Required preparation, one introductory geology course numbered below GEOL 202, except first-year seminar: Effects and probable effects of meteorite and asteroid impacts on earth and other planets: craters, new meteorites, and tektites; giant sea waves; reduction of species and extinction of organisms.

211 [048] Environmental Geology (ENST 211) (3). Required preparation, one introductory geology course numbered below GEOL 202, except first-year seminar. Environmental and human problems connected with uses of earth materials and with geological processes. Mineral and water resources, land-use planning, and engineering geology.

213 [045] Earth’s Dynamic Systems (ENST 213) (3). Required preparation, one introductory geology course numbered below GEOL 202, except first-year seminar. Earth system science approach to the study of planet earth. Influence of earth processes on the environment. Earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, global climate change.

215 [043] Mineral Resources (3). Required preparation, one geology course numbered below GEOL 202, except first-year seminar. Considers the distribution, extraction, economics, and demand for mineral resources. Treats the impact of the mineral industry on industrial and preindustrial economies, economic factors, maldistribution and depletion of resources, and the environmental impact of the mineral extraction industry.

221 [046] Geology of North America (3). Required preparation, one geology course numbered below GEOL 202, except first-year seminar. General introduction to the geologic evolution of North America. Provides students with an understanding and appreciation of diverse natural regions of the United States and Canada. Selected national parks serve as case studies of regional geologic history.

223 [047] Geology of Beaches and Coasts (MASC 223) (3). Required preparation, one introductory geology course numbered below GEOL 202, except first-year seminar. Introduction to coastal processes, including waves, tidal currents, tectonics, climate, and human activity, and their influence on barrier islands, beaches, dunes, marshes, and estuaries. Involves a field trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

225 Introduction to Field Geology (3). Prerequisites, GEOL 101/101L. Introduction to geologic field methods. Includes making observations, mapping, identification of structures and features, and interpretation to solve basic geologic problems. Many field trips.

301 [052] Earth Materials: Minerals (4). Prerequisite, GEOL 101 or 111; pre- or corequisite, CHEM 101. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. Minerals in sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic environments: their properties, occurrence, and uses. Methods of identifying minerals, including use of optical properties. Three lecture and three laboratory hours a week.

390 [199] Special Problems in Geology (1–4). Permission of the department. For details, see geology degree requirements.

401 [058] Structural Geology (4). Prerequisite, GEOL 101, 105, 109, or 111. Introduction to the mechanical behavior and dynamic evolution of the earth’s crust through the study of deformed rocks. Includes weekend field trip to western North Carolina.

402 [057] Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (4). Prerequisites, GEOL 101 or 111, and GEOL 301. Introduction of principles involved in description and classification of sedimentary rocks and stratigraphic units as well as stratigraphic correlation. Students will be introduced to relationships of processes, depositional environments, and sedimentary facies.

403 [101] Oceanography (BIOL 350, ENVR 417, MASC 401) (3). Prerequisites, major in a natural science or at least two college-level courses in natural sciences. The origin of ocean basins, chemistry and dynamics of seawater, biological communities and processes, the sedimentary record, and the history of oceanography. Term paper. Intended for students with college science background; other students should consider GEOL 103.

404 [053] Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology (4). Prerequisite, GEOL 301. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. Studies of the origin and evolution of igneous and metamorphic rocks, including microscopic, X-ray, and field methods; volcanology; plate-tectonic interpretation of rock sequences. Three lecture and three laboratory hours a week.

410 [111] Earth Processes in Environmental Systems (ENST 410, MASC 410) (4). Prerequisites: MATH 231; CHEM 102; PHYS 105 or PHYS 117; GEOL 111 or GEOL 213; or permission of instructor. Principles of geological and related earth systems sciences are applied to the analysis of environmental phenomena. The link between the lithosphere and other environmental compartments is explored through case studies of environmental issues. Three lecture hours and one lab hour a week. Spring. Benninger.

411 [112] Oceanic Processes in Environmental Systems (ENST 411, MASC 411) (4). Prerequisites: MATH 231; BIOL 101; CHEM 102; PHYS 105 or PHYS 117; ENST 222; or permission of instructor. Principles of analysis of the ocean, coast and estuarine environments, and the processes that control these environments, are applied to the analysis of environmental phenomena. The link between the hydrosphere and other environmental compartments is explored through case studies of environmental issues. Three lecture hours and one lab hour a week. Spring. Shay.

413 Paleontology (4). Prerequisites, GEOL 101, 109, 111, or 159; and 402 or 478. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites. Field-oriented course on larger Ordovician through Pliocene fossil invertebrates in the central and eastern United States. Students develop a reference collection of over 250 genera and species, with data of stratigraphy and biostratigraphy. Three lecture and two laboratory hours a week.

415 [116] Environmental Systems Modeling (ENST 415, ENVR 461, MASC 415) (3). Prerequisites: MATH 383; PHYS 105 or PHYS 117 (may be taken concurrently) or permission of instructor. Methods for developing explanatory and predictive models of environmental processes are explored. Includes discussion of the relevant scientific modes of analysis, mathematical methods, computational issues, and visualization techniques. Two lecture hours and one computer lab hour a week. Spring. William Gray.

417 [138] Geomorphology (ENST 417) (3). Prerequisites, GEOL 101 or 111, and MATH 231. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites. Introduction to process geomorphology with emphasis on quantitative interpretation of weathering, hill slope, fluvial, glacial, and eolian processes from topography and landscapes.

417L [138L] Geomorphology Laboratory (1). Pre- or corequisite, GEOL 417. Two laboratory hours per week.

421 [102] Archaeological Geology (ANTH 421) (3). Permission of the instructor. The application of geological principles and techniques to the solution of archaeological problems. Studies geological processes and deposits pertinent to archaeological sites, geologic framework of archaeology in the southeastern United States, and techniques of archaeological geology. Field trips to three or more sites; written reports required.

422 [122] Physics of the Earth’s Interior (PHYS 422) (3). See PHYS 422 for description.

430 [125] Coastal Sedimentary Environments (MASC 430) (3). Prerequisite, GEOL 402. Introduction to modern shallow-water clastic environments and their sediments, emphasizing barrier islands, deltas, estuaries, wetlands, and tidal flats. Includes local field trips and discussion/application of data-collecting techniques.

431 [133] Micropaleontology (MASC 431) (4). Prerequisite, GEOL 478 or MASC 440. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. An in-depth study of the biostratigraphy, paleoecology, and taxonomy of various microfossil groups (i.e., foraminifera, ostracodes, conodonts, coccoliths, radiolaria, diatoms, acritarchs, dinoflagellates, etc.) dependent upon individual student objectives. Three lecture and three laboratory hours a week.

432 [134] Paleoclimatology (3). Prerequisite, GEOL 402. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. Introduction to mechanisms that drive climate. Examination of past climate reconstructions using ecological and geochemical proxies. Utility of computer models to reconstruct past climates and predict future climate change. Emphasis placed on late Quaternary.

433 [117] Paleoceanography (3). Prerequisite, GEOL 402 or 503. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. Origin and distribution of pelagic sediments. Review of the major Mesozoic and Cenozoic events in the world oceans. Glacial/interglacial changes in the ocean/atmosphere system.

434 [123] Marine Carbonate Environments (2). Permission of the instructor. Chemical and biological origins of calcium carbonate, skeletal structure, and chemo-mineralogy, preservation, sedimentation, and early diagenesis are studied in deep and shallow environmental settings to understand skeletal genesis, limestone origin, and carbonate facies variability. Field trip to Florida, Bahamas, or Bermuda. Laboratory exercises; research report.

436 [130] Topics in Earth and Environmental Sciences (3). Key topics and resources for high school teachers preparing to teach earth and environmental sciences. Includes lithosphere, tectonic processes, hydrosphere, atmosphere, origin of solar system and life, and environmental stewardship.

440 [113] Principles of Seismology (3). Prerequisites, GEOL 101, 213, 401; MATH 231. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites. Descriptive account of global seismology, earthquake distribution, and focal mechanics. Principles of geometrical optics and applications to imaging the earth’s interior. Principles of seismic prospecting of hydrocarbon and geothermal reservoirs.

478 [419] Invertebrate Paleontology (BIOL 478) (4). Prerequisite, GEOL 159 or BIOL 101. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites. Introduction to the principles, methods of analysis, and major controversies within paleontology. Examination of the fossil record and its application to problems in evolutionary biology, paleoecology, paleoclimatology, and general earth history.

480 [141] Modeling of Marine and Earth Systems (ENVR 480, MASC 480) (1–3). Prerequisite, MATH 232. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. Mathematical modeling of the dynamic system, linear and nonlinear. The fundamental budget equation. Case studies in modeling convective transport, biogeochemical process, population dynamics. Analytical and numerical techniques, chaos theory, fractal geometry.

483 [119] Geologic and Oceanographic Applications of Geographical Information Systems (MASC 483) (4). Required preparation, four GEOL courses or permission of the instructor. Focus is on applying GIS concepts and techniques to mining and petroleum geology, resource assessment, hydrogeology, coastal and marine geology, physical oceanography, engineering geology, and a geologic perspective on land use. Three lecture and two laboratory hours a week.

501 [118] Geological Research Techniques (2). Permission of the instructor. An introduction to methods of obtaining, analyzing, and presenting geologic and paleontologic data.

502 [147] Earth Surface Processes (GEOG 440) (3). Prerequisite, GEOG 101 or 110. Focuses on the processes of soil formation, erosion, and landform evolution, with an emphasis on the interaction of geomorphic processes with surface hydrology and ecosystems.

503 [188] Geological Oceanography (MASC 503) (4). Prerequisite, GEOL 101, GEOL 111, or permission of instructor. Ocean basin origin, continental margin development, coastal geology, carbonate platforms, and pelagic sediments are subjects covered; paleo-oceanographic reconstructions are emphasized. Three lecture and two laboratory hours a week.

504 [173] Topics in Petrology (4). Prerequisite, GEOL 404. Origin of magmas and evolution of igneous and metamorphic rocks, combined with petrographic study of selected sites and individual examples. Two lecture and six laboratory hours a week.

505 [105] Chemical Oceanography (ENVR 505, MASC 505) (4). Prerequisite, one semester of physical chemistry or CHEM 480, or permission of instructor. Variation and abundance of sea water constituents, the chemical, physical and biological processes contributing to their distribution as well as problems of dispersion of conservative and nonconservative substances. Three lecture and two recitation hours a week.

506 [106] Physical Oceanography (MASC 506) (4). Prerequisites, MATH 231, 232; PHYS 104, 105; or permission of instructor. Descriptive regional oceanography, equations of motion, the Ekman layer, wind-driven currents, thermohaline circulation, modern observations, waves, tides. Four lecture hours a week.

507 Rhythms in Global Climate and the Stratigraphic Record (3). Prerequisite, GEOL 402. An overview of the mechanisms of cyclic climate forcing and a review of the geologic evidence for these climate rhythms, with a particular emphasis on the Milankovitch orbital cycles.

508 [163] Applied Hydrology (3). Prerequisites, GEOL 101 or 111, MATH 231, PHYS 105. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites. An introduction to methodologies and instrumentation for quantifying the movement of water in the earth system focusing on components of the hydrologic cycle. Emphasis is divided between analytical aspects and field procedures.

509 [165] Groundwater (3). Prerequisites, CHEM 102; GEOL 101, 105, 109, or 111; MATH 231; PHYS 104, 116. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites. Introduction to physics, chemistry, and geology of groundwater.

510 [164] Geochemistry of Natural Waters (3). Prerequisites, CHEM 102; GEOL 101, 105, 109, or 111; MATH 231. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites. Survey of processes affecting the compositions of streams, lakes, the ocean, and shallow ground waters.

511 [166] Stable Isotopes in the Environment (ENST 511) (3). Prerequisite, CHEM 102. Introduction to the theory, methods, and applications of stable isotopes to environmental problems. Primary focus will be on the origin, natural abundance, and fractionation of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen isotopes.

512 [145] Geochemistry (MASC 553) (3). Prerequisites, CHEM 102, GEOL 101 or 111. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites. Introduction to the application of chemical principles to geological problems, with emphasis on isotope methods.

513 Sedimentary Geochemistry (3). Prerequisite, GEOL 101 or 111, or CHEM 102. Introduction to the chemistry of marine sediments. A review of the processes that control the chemistry of fine-grained sediments, and analysis of the theoretical basis for commonly used paleoenvironmental proxies.

514 [139] River Systems of East Coast North America (3). Prerequisites, GEOL 101 or 111, and 211 or 417. Junior or senior status. Analysis of 23 rivers from St. Lawrence to the Everglades, from headwaters to oceanic terminus of turbidite fan. Focus on stream processes, geologic development, hydrology, utilization history, ecology, and planning.

515 [142] Introduction to Geophysics (3). Prerequisites, PHYS 104 and 105. Introduction to the fundamentals of global geophysics: gravity, seismology, magnetism, heat, and plate tectonics. Both shallow and deep processes are considered. Emphasis is aimed at problem solving by applying concepts.

516 [120] Environmental Field Mapping and Information Systems (3). Prerequisite, GEOL 401. Field and laboratory methods for collection, assimilation, and manipulation of map-based earth science data within a geospatial relational database. Introduction to applications of remote sensing and analysis of digital topography.

517 [136] Sequence and Seismic Stratigraphy (3). Prerequisite, GEOL 402. Examination of lithostratigraphic principles and the sequence stratigraphic paradigm. Students will study use of variation of well log signature reflection attributes and reflection termination patterns to identify and correlate sequences and systems and to interpret the lithology and depositional history of subsurface stratigraphic units.

518 [151] Geodynamics (3). Prerequisites, CHEM 102, GEOL 101 or 111, MATH 232, and PHYS 104 and 105. Interior of the earth deduced from seismology, gravity, heat flow, magnetism; geophysics of continents and ocean basins; age of earth.

519 [150] History of the Earth (3). Prerequisites, GEOL 101, 105, 109, or 111; and 301, 401, 402, and 404. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites. History of the earth’s surficial and internal systems, including biologic evolution; development of oceans, atmosphere, and climate; plate tectonic processes; evolution of crust and mantle.

520 [152] Data Analysis in the Earth Sciences (3). Prerequisites, MATH 231 and 232. Required preparation, an introductory geology course numbered below 202, except first-year seminar, or permission of the instructor. Introduction to quantitative analysis in earth sciences: solid earth, atmospheres, oceans, geochemistry, and paleontology. Topics covered: univariate and multivariate statistics, testing, nonparametric methods, time series, spatial and cluster analysis, shapes.

521 Clastic Deposational Systems: Processes and Products (3)

522 [154] Physical Volcanology (3). Required preparation, introductory courses in geology and physics. Course is aimed at understanding the physical properties and processes controlling volcanism and magma transport. Topics covered include volcanic processes from the formation of magma in the upper mantle to violent eruption at the surface. Emphasizes dynamic processes and underlying mechanisms.

523 Petroleum Geoscience (3)

550 [140] Biogeochemical Cycling (MASC 550) (3). Prerequisites, MASC 440, 505; or GEOL 510, 512, 655; or ENVR 421; or permission of instructor. Biogeochemical cycling explores interfaces of marine, aquatic, atmospheric, and geological sciences emphasizing processes controlling chemical distributions in sediments, fresh and salt water, the atmosphere, and fluxes among these reservoirs.

552 [144] Organic Geochemistry (ENVR 552, MASC 552) (3). Prerequisites, MASC 505 or CHEM 261 or permission of instructor. Sources, transformations, and fate of natural organic matter in marine environments. Emphasis on interplay of chemical, biological, and physical processes that affect organic matter composition, distribution, and turnover.

555 [197] Paleobotany (BIOL 555) (4). Prerequisites, BIOL 101, BIOL/ 101L, or permission of instructor. An introduction to the morphology, stratigraphic occurrence, and evolutionary relationships of fossil plants. Both macrofossils and microfossils are considered. Three lecture and three laboratory hours a week.

560 [181] Fluid Dynamics (ENVR 452, MASC 560, PHYS 660) (3). Prerequisite, PHYS 301 or permission of instructor. The physical properties of fluids, kinematics, governing equations, viscous incompressible flow, vorticity dynamics, boundary layers, irrotational incompressible flow.

563 [143] Descriptive Physical Oceanography (MASC 563) (3). Prerequisite, MASC 506 or permission of instructor. Observed structure of the large-scale and mesoscale ocean circulation and its variability, based on modern observations. In situ and remote sensing techniques, hydrographic structure, circulation patterns, ocean-atmosphere interactions.

601 [128] Summer Field Course in Geology (3). Prerequisites, GEOL 301, 401, 402, and 404. Six-week field camp conducted in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. Field interpretation of rocks and their deformation; construction of geologic maps; introduction to hydrology. Includes field trips to classic localities such as the Grand Canyon.

602 [129] Summer Field Course in Geology (3). Prerequisites, GEOL 301, 401, 402, and 404. Six-week field camp conducted in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. Field interpretation of rocks and their deformation; construction of geologic maps; introduction to hydrology. Includes field trips to classic localities such as the Grand Canyon.

608 [182] Continuum Mechanics in the Earth Sciences (ENST 608) (3). Prerequisites, MATH 231; PHYS 104 or 116. Required preparation, introductory geology course numbered below GEOL 202, except first-year seminar, or permission of the instructor. Applications of continuum mechanics in the earth sciences, including stress, strain, elasticity, and viscous flow. Numerical solutions to problems in heterogeneous finite strain including finite element analysis.

609 [184] Advanced Field Seminar in Geology (1–4). Prerequisites, GEOL 601 and 602. A field course that emphasizes advanced field methods. Emphasis is placed on large-scale, detailed field work in complex structural terrains and on independent mapping that will lead to thesis/dissertation and/or publication.

655 [146] Physical Geochemistry (3). Prerequisites, CHEM 102 and MATH 232. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites. An introduction to physical geochemistry and chemical thermodynamics with special emphasis on geological applications. Three lecture hours a week.

691H [098] Honors (3). Permission of the department. For details, see geology degree requirements.

692H [099] Honors (3). Prerequisite, GEOL 691H. For details, see geology degree requirements.

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