GEOL 105 - Earth Lab
Planned Offering: Spring
Prerequisite: First-year or sophomore standing and three credits in geology.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.
Topics in Spring 2011:
GEOL 105A: Earth Lab: Resources and Consequences (4). Prerequisite: First-year or sophomore standing and three credits in geology. Since the Paleolithic Age, humans have used geologic materials on a daily basis in order to sustain both our lifestyles and our lives. The extraction, refinement, trade, and consumption of these resource materials creates a variety of negative externalities that must be considered when making informed, responsible decisions as consumers and citizens. This course introduces students to geologic resources through the field investigation of issues related to coal, shale gas, hydroelectric facilities, aggregate mining, sulfide deposits, and pegmatite deposits. Students discuss issues related to our use of other conventional hydrocarbons (oil, gas), other unconventional hydrocarbons (tar sands, oil shale), mineral resources from ophiolites and large igneous complexes, and mining and international trade of diamonds. Some of the specific topics investigated include mountain-top removal and valley fill coal mining in Appalachia, the recent BP oil spill, and shale-gas extraction from the Marcellus formation. A large portion of the course involves an original research project of water quality comparing undisturbed areas and areas of intensive, recent, and historical mining activity wherein students collect water samples, analyze them, interpret the results, and communicate those results to a general (lay) audience. (SL) Low.
GEOL 105B: Earth Lab: Volcanology (4). First-year or sophomore standing and three credits in geology. This course serves as an introduction to the formation and development of volcanoes, the processes that take place at active volcanoes, and methods and instrumentation used to study volcanism. In addition, we study volcanic hazards as related to eruptive style, and the complex challenges of scientists involved in the response to a volcanic crisis or eruption. Includes a five-day field trip to investigate volcanic structures in the San Francisco Mountains of Arizona. (SL) Meyer.
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