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Course Category: Earth Science

Students will explore the Earth’s structure and composition, and the geologic processes acting on and within our planet. Topics covered include: geologic time; historical geology; formation of minerals, rocks and fossils; plate tectonics; volcanism; mountain building; earthquakes; and surface processes such as erosion.
This course introduces students to the principles of natural resource occurrence and use, and covers conservation issues and strategies from an earth systems perspective.
Humans often find themselves directly in the path of natural processes and the natural evolution of landscapes. The course covers a variety of natural hazards and related disasters including flooding, volcanoes, landslides, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunami. These phenomena are studied in the context of geology and earth-system processes contributing to and controlling them, strategies and systems for managing risk, and impacts on socities worldwide.
Dinosaur paleontology incorporates concepts from geology and biology and integrates aspects of chemistry, physics and mathematics to explain and understand these magnificent animals, the environments in which they lived, and the processes that have shaped our dynamic Earth. Students learn how to apply the scientific method in learning about dinosaurs from their fossil remains.
The Earth is a dynamic system that supports all life. The flow of energy and cycling of matter through the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere provide us with air, water and food, and with resources to support economic development. Environmental problems such as air and water pollution, soil degradation and erosion, and loss of biodiversity threaten our ability to sustain the growing human population. This course develops scientific understanding of Earth systems, examines the impacts of human activities, and describes the role of scientific knowledge and research in meeting environmental and resource challenges.
Students learn and practice inquiry and geoscience techniques in field settings and in the laboratory, enhancing their understanding of fundamental earth systems science principles and concepts learned in ES 100 or ES 161. Corequisite or prerequisite: ES 100 or ES 161
Utilization of Earth’s natural resources by humans can threaten soils and the quality of water. This course introduces students to principles of conservation and stewardship of resources. This is presented in the context of scientific methodology or the ways in which scientific knowledge and research contribute to sustainable management of soil and water resources.
Life has persisted on Earth for billions of years, despite a number of globally significant mass extinction events. Fossils provide the evidence necessary to understand the causes and effects of these events, as well as the ecosystem recovery and evolutionary radiation that may follow them. In this course, one or more of the most significant extinction events in the history of life will be explored in depth. Concepts and methods in paleontology will be covered, along with an overview of the history of life on Earth.
Students will participate in a scientific field trip to observe and investigate a notable locality, and learn or reinforce principles and concepts in the geosciences. They will use scientific methodologies to study the area before and during the trip, and to document their findings. Following the trip, they will report their results, interpretations and conclusions.
This course focuses on the study of landforms and their relationship to underlying geologic structure and lithology. Topics include weathering, soil formation, erosion, sediment production, and landform genesis in fluvial, arid/semiarid, glacial, periglacial, karst, eolian, and coastal environments. Laboratory exercises emphasize interpretation of topographic maps and use of aerial photography and satellite imagery for environmental applications. Field excursions will focus on local fluvial, glacial, and karst landforms. A field trip fee may be required.
(ES 100 or ES 161 or GEOG 100) and ES 175; or consent of instructor
This course covers the principles of sustainable development, with an emphasis on the impact of current economic growth on the future viability of natural ecosystems. Existing opportunities for achieving a balance between economic growth and the need for the protection of natural systems will be addressed from a variety of perspectives.
ES 100 or ES 161 or GEOG 100, or consent of instructor.
This course provides an introduction to soils as natural bodies and to the study of soil characteristics and classification, including the basics of soil profile description, field textural classification, recognition of master horizons, and essential soil-landscape, soil-vegetation, and soil-climate relationships. Laboratory work involves field excursions to describe soils and examine soil-landscape relationships. A field trip fee may be required.
[(ES 100 or ES 161 or GEOG 100), and ES 175] or CHEM 151; or consent of instructor.
This course studies how institutions, interests and ideologies have shaped environmental policy, and examines the interaction of economic, cultural, and ecological factors in an integrated approach focused at the water-food-energy nexus. The use and misuse of scientific knowledge, methods, and research, and incorporation of indigenous/traditional knowledge will be addressed. Case studies will include local, national, and global environmental issues such as water quality and availability, agricultural production of food, feed, fiber and fuels; soil erosion, depletion, and degradation; depletion of stratospheric ozone; decrease of biodiversity; globalization of e-waste and waste cycles; and impacts of extractive industries such as mining and fossil fuel production.
ES 100 or ES 161 or GEOG 100
Sustainability may be defined as meeting the needs of the present population without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This course introduces the theory, principles and practices of sustainability. Using a systems approach, students will assess the sustainability of communities, businesses and organizations in a specific region. They will use scientific evidence and reasoning in developing alternative policies and practices that support ecological and environmental health, a vibrant economy, and social justice.
ES 100 or ES 161 or GEOG 100, or consent of instructor.
Students will investigate the occurrence and behavior of water in the geologic environments in the context of the hydrologic cycle. Topics include hydrologic processes in surface and ground waters; pollution and contamination of water resources; surface water-ground water interaction; saturated and unsaturated zone processes; movement of chemicals in soils; site characterization; soil remediation techniques; and development and management of water resources. Applied field and laboratory methods for hydrogeologic investigations are emphasized. A field trip fee may be required.
(ES 100 or ES 161 or GEOG 100) and ES 175; or consent of instructor. Successful completion of a college mathematics course recommended.