GEOL 105 - Earth Lab
Additional course fee required, for which the student is responsible after Friday of the 7th week of winter term. Preference given to first-years and sophomores. The emphasis and location of the study area differs from year to year. Most course activity involves outside field work with a series of multi-day to multi-week field trips. The primary goal of this course is an in-depth introduction to a particular region or field of geological study for introductory level science students. Information about the course is made available prior to the end of the fall term. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different but only four credits may be used toward major requirements. Lab fee required.
Spring 2018, GEOL 105-01: FS: Earth Lab: Sand (4). First-Year seminar. A Jockey John Robinson Seminar. Prerequisite: First-Year standing. Sand is everywhere. It is between our toes at the beach, sweeping beneath us in rivers, and blown against us in stinging desert storms. And yet, this ubiquitous, ordinary substance tells incredible stories of plate tectonic upheavals, vast seas covering now-dry continents, and journeys through rivers, into inland deserts, and along ocean shores. This field-based seminar explores the origin and nature of sand, its journeys, and how geologists use observations in modern environments along with detailed microscopic and field descriptions of rocks to define the conditions of landscapes long past. Participation requires camping on eastern barrier islands, travel to the Colorado Plateau of Utah, and a healthy imagination. Most expenses are covered by the Jockey John Robinson Fund. (SL) Harbor.
Spring 2018, GEOL 105-02: Earth Lab: Is the Earth Worth Saving (4). Can we ‘save the earth’? What does that really mean? This course explores both the humbling existence of humans in deep time (4.6 billion years), and the potentially profound impacts of humans on the earth environment. Students consider whether it is the earth or only ourselves that we wish to ‘save’. We study how rocks reveal a deep and rich history of changing climate and environment with time, and then compare this record with what we know about human-influenced climate and environmental change in the last few hundred years. We reflect on what, if anything, we should do with this information. We evaluate the effectiveness of efforts to ‘protect’ the environment, specifically with regards to marine-protected areas. Extensive field exploration of the geology of Rockbridge County and a week-long trip to Belize, to visit protected and unprotected coral reefs. (SL) Greer.
Spring 2018, GEOL 105-03: Earth Lab: The Geology of Virginia (4). No prerequisites. Suitable for all students. From the billion-year-old rocks of the Blue Ridge to the sediments actively accumulating at the modern shore, the geology of Virginia preserves a rich and fascinating record of Earth history. Students explore the geology of Virginia, with emphasis on the physical processes responsible for rock formation and landscape evolution. Topics include: plate tectonics and mountain building, volcanism, metamorphism, erosion, sedimentation, and coastal processes. The course takes full advantage of our local setting and features many field trips, including at least one overnight trip to the coastal plain. (SL) Rahl.
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