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Course Catalog

Geosciences

Geoscientists study the Earth, including the materials that compose the planet, the processes that continuously change the planet, and the evolution of the earth and life through time. Because these studies involve investigations of relationships between the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere, the Geosciences are inherently interdisciplinary by nature and include aspects of chemistry, biology, and physics. Geoscientists also are addressing increasingly challenging problems that confront a growing human population as we begin the twenty-first century: dwindling water, mineral, and energy resources; earthquake prediction and natural hazard identification; human impacts on the environment at regional and global scales; and safe disposal of toxic and radioactive waste materials. The goal of the Department of Geosciences is to expose students to the complex interplay of Earth systems through active, hands-on learning. Therefore, a DePauw education in the Geosciences goes far beyond the traditional classroom. Students work in modern laboratories with extensive mineral, rock, fossil, and map collections. They use computers to model complex systems and simulate geological processes. They receive training on emerging technological tools such as GPS (global positioning systems) and GIS (geographic information systems). They participate on field trips that take them to some of the best geological exposures in the world. Many students spend a summer working closely with faculty on important research problems using state-of-the-art instrumentation. These student-faculty collaborations commonly result in student presentations at national meetings and co-authored publications in refereed journals.


Requirements for a major

Earth Science

Total courses required 8.5 GEOS + 2.25 CHEM/PHYS
Core courses GEOS 110, GEOS 280, GEOS 310, GEOS 350, GEOS 450
Other required courses
  • CHEM 130 & CHEM 170 (1.25 total credit)
  • PHYS 103 or PHYS 104
  • At least 4 course credits from the following courses (at least one of the four must be at the 300 or higher level): GEOS EXP (Weather & Climate Change), GEOS 105, GEOS 107, GEOS 115, GEOS 125, GEOS 205, GEOS 210, GEOS 220, GEOS 230, GEOS 315, GEOS 320, GEOS 330, GEOS 370, GEOS 380, GEOS 470*, GEOS 480*, GEOS 490*, UNIV 170.
    *only a total of 1 course credit counts towards major
Number 300 and 400 level courses Three and one-half
Senior requirement and capstone experience The senior requirement consists of GEOS 450. The Department of Geosciences Senior Seminar provides students with the opportunity to integrate skills and expertise learned in previous coursework at DePauw as well as to prepare for opportunities after graduating from DePauw. Students research and prepare mock applications to graduate schools and potential employers. They also explore two areas of the geosciences in-depth by critically reading and analyzing the primary literature and leading class discussions. Later, they prepare and present both oral and poster presentations on selected research topics to peers and the Department.
Additional information Recommended courses from which to choose:
  • MATH 151, MATH 152
  • PHYS 120, PHYS 130
  • CSC 121-122
  • POLS (Political Science) courses (e.g., POLS 110, 160, 382)
  • ANTH 253
  • Additional GEOS, CHEM, and/or BIO courses
  • Winter Term internship in a geoscience-related field
  • Off-campus study in an approved geoscience program
  • Summer geology field camp
Writing in the Major

Writing is an important skill for professional geoscientists. Whether publishing the results of research in a peer-reviewed journal, communicating the findings of a consulting project to a client in a technical report, or explaining our science to the general public, geoscientists must be able to communicate their ideas with writing that is clear, concise, and accurate. Furthermore, students are able to better refine and develop their thoughts and ideas as they strive to convey their message to others in writing. To facilitate the development of these skills, all students majoring in Earth Science, Environmental Geoscience, or Geology must take GEOS 3xx,Writing in the Geosciences, during their junior or senior year. In this course, students will further develop their writing skills by reading and discussing texts about writing in the geosciences, writing original papers for different audiences, providing feedback for other participants in the class, and editing and revising their own work. Students will be evaluated based on their ability to 1) effectively communicate their ideas using appropriate geologic terms and concepts, 2) adapt their writing style for different audiences, and 3) appropriately incorporate references and citations into their papers. Students must pass Writing in the Geosciences to satisfy the writing in the major requirement.

Environmental Geoscience

Total courses required 9.5 GEOS + 4 in other departments
Core courses GEOS 110, GEOS 280, GEOS 310, GEOS 350, GEOS 450
Other required courses
  • GEOS 125, GEOS 230
  • At least 3 course credits from the following courses (at least two must be at the 300 level or higher): GEOS 205, GEOS 220, GEOS EXP Weather, Climate and Climate Change, GEOS 315, GEOS 330, GEOS 370, GEOS 380, GEOS 470*, GEOS 480*, GEOS 490* (*only 1 course credit counts towards major)
  • At least four course credits from the following*: ANTH 253+, CHEM 120, CHEM 130, BIO 145, BIO 342+, BIO 345+, ECON 335+, PHIL 232, UNIV 170
    *Students should consult with the department chair regarding other courses that might fulfill this requirement.
    +These courses have prerequisites.
Number 300 and 400 level courses Four and one-half
Senior requirement and capstone experience The senior requirement consists of GEOS 450. The Department of Geosciences Senior Seminar provides students with the opportunity to integrate skills and expertise learned in previous coursework at DePauw as well as to prepare for opportunities after graduating from DePauw. Students research and prepare mock applications to graduate schools and potential employers. They also explore two areas of the geosciences in-depth by critically reading and analyzing the primary literature and leading class discussions. Later, they prepare and present both oral and poster presentations on selected research topics to peers and the Department.
Additional information Recommended courses from which to choose:
  • MATH 151, MATH 152
  • PHYS 120, PHYS 130
  • CSC 121, CSC 122
  • POLS courses (e.g., POLS 110, 160, 382)
  • Additional GEOS, CHEM, and/or BIO courses
  • Winter Term internship in a geoscience-related field
  • Off-campus study in an approved geoscience program
  • Summer geology field camp
Recent changes in major The requirement that majors complete two out of three areas outside the Geosciences department was dropped and the requirement that majors complete four courses from a list of related courses outside the department was added. Effective Fall 2011.
Writing in the Major

Writing is an important skill for professional geoscientists. Whether publishing the results of research in a peer-reviewed journal, communicating the findings of a consulting project to a client in a technical report, or explaining our science to the general public, geoscientists must be able to communicate their ideas with writing that is clear, concise, and accurate. Furthermore, students are able to better refine and develop their thoughts and ideas as they strive to convey their message to others in writing. To facilitate the development of these skills, all students majoring in Earth Science, Environmental Geoscience, or Geology must take GEOS 3xx,Writing in the Geosciences, during their junior or senior year. In this course, students will further develop their writing skills by reading and discussing texts about writing in the geosciences, writing original papers for different audiences, providing feedback for other participants in the class, and editing and revising their own work. Students will be evaluated based on their ability to 1) effectively communicate their ideas using appropriate geologic terms and concepts, 2) adapt their writing style for different audiences, and 3) appropriately incorporate references and citations into their papers. Students must pass Writing in the Geosciences to satisfy the writing in the major requirement.

Geology

Total courses required 9.5 GEOS + 1.25 CHEM
Core courses GEOS 110, GEOS 280, GEOS 310, GEOS 350, GEOS 450
Other required courses
  • GEOS 210, GEOS 320
  • CHEM 130 & 170 (1.25 credit)
  • At least 3 course credits from the following courses (at least one must be at the 300 level or higher): GEOS 205, GEOS 220, GEOS 230, GEOS 315, GEOS 330, GEOS 370, GEOS 380, GEOS 470*, GEOS 480*, GEOS 490*
    *only 1 course credit counts towards major
Number 300 and 400 level courses Four and one-half
Senior requirement and capstone experience The senior requirement consists of GEOS 450. The Department of Geosciences Senior Seminar provides students with the opportunity to integrate skills and expertise learned in previous coursework at DePauw as well as to prepare for opportunities after graduating from DePauw. Students research and prepare mock applications to graduate schools and potential employers. They also explore two areas of the geosciences in-depth by critically reading and analyzing the primary literature and leading class discussions. Later, they prepare and present both oral and poster presentations on selected research topics to peers and the Department.
Additional information Recommended courses from which to choose:
  • MATH 151, MATH 152
  • PHYS 120, PHYS 130
  • CSC 121, CSC 122
  • POLS courses (e.g., POLS 110, 160, 382 )
  • ANTH 253
  • Off-campus study in an approved geoscience program
  • Additional GEOS, CHEM, and/or BIO courses
  • Winter Term internship in a geoscience-related field
  • Summer geology field camp
Writing in the Major

Writing is an important skill for professional geoscientists. Whether publishing the results of research in a peer-reviewed journal, communicating the findings of a consulting project to a client in a technical report, or explaining our science to the general public, geoscientists must be able to communicate their ideas with writing that is clear, concise, and accurate. Furthermore, students are able to better refine and develop their thoughts and ideas as they strive to convey their message to others in writing. To facilitate the development of these skills, all students majoring in Earth Science, Environmental Geoscience, or Geology must take GEOS 3xx,Writing in the Geosciences, during their junior or senior year. In this course, students will further develop their writing skills by reading and discussing texts about writing in the geosciences, writing original papers for different audiences, providing feedback for other participants in the class, and editing and revising their own work. Students will be evaluated based on their ability to 1) effectively communicate their ideas using appropriate geologic terms and concepts, 2) adapt their writing style for different audiences, and 3) appropriately incorporate references and citations into their papers. Students must pass Writing in the Geosciences to satisfy the writing in the major requirement.


Requirements for a minor

Earth Science

Total courses required Five
Core courses GEOS 110
Other required courses
  • At least three additional GEOS course credits, including at least one at the 300 level or above.
  • At least one course credit from the following: CHEM 130, PHYS 103, PHYS 104.
Number 300 and 400 level courses One

Environmental Geoscience

Total courses required Seven
Core courses GEOS 110, GEOS 125, GEOS 230
Other required courses
  • One GEOS course credit at the 300 level or above
  • At least three course credits from the following*: ANTH 253+, CHEM 120, CHEM 130, BIO 145, BIO 342+, BIO 345+, ECON 335+, PHIL 232, UNIV 170.
    *Check with department chair about other courses that might count. +Course has prerequisite.
Number 300 and 400 level courses One

Geography

Total courses required Four
Core courses GEOS 115
Other required courses
Number 300 and 400 level courses One

Geology

Total courses required Five
Core courses GEOS 110
Other required courses At least four additional GEOS course credits, including at least one at the 300 level or above.
Number 300 and 400 level courses One

Courses in Geosciences

GEOS 105

Earthquakes and Volcanoes

An investigation of the theory of plate tectonics and how it explains the distribution of earthquake and volcanic activity throughout the world. Destructive historical earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are examined with consideration of the impact of these disasters on human populations. Advances in the prediction of earthquake and volcanic activity also are evaluated. May include lab some semesters.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics 1 course

GEOS 107

Geology of America's National Parks

Study of the geologic history of America via the National Park System. The course focuses on origin and evolution of landforms in various national parks and the geologic processes that created and sculpted them. Park features serve as a point of departure for interdisciplinary discussions on society's impact on the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. May include lab some semesters.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics 1 course

GEOS 110

Earth and the Environment

Includes laboratory. An introduction to the materials that make up the earth and the interplay between constructive and destructive processes that shape the earth, including plate tectonics. Laboratories include mineral and rock identification, field trips, and topographic map interpretation.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics 1 course

GEOS 115

Physical Geography

An introduction to the earth's physical environment. Earth-sun relationships, weather, climate, natural vegetation, soils and landforms are studied.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics 1 course

GEOS 117

Weather, Climate and Climate Change

An introduction to the Earth's atmosphere through the study of weather, climate and climate change. Topics covered include atmospheric composition,structure and function, weather phenomena and climate, and natural and human-induced climate change. Global societal responses to rapid climate change are also discussed.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics 1 course

GEOS 125

Introduction to Environmental Science

An introduction to the study of environmental science. Topics include matter, energy, ecosystems, human populations, natural resources, and the impact of human activity on the natural environment. Special attention is given to current environmental problems including air and water pollution, acid rain, stratospheric ozone depletion, climate change, deforestation, and species extinctions.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics 1 course

GEOS 183

Off-Campus Extended Studies Course

Winter or May Term off-campus study project with a geosciences theme.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
variable

GEOS 190

Energy and Environment

An introduction to energy resources and the environmental impacts of their use. The importance of nonrenewable fossil fuels in modern industrialized societies is examined and the effects of changing rates and costs of energy production on modern lifestyles are explored. The potential economic costs and societal impacts of transitioning to renewable and sustainable sources of energy are discussed.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics 1 course

GEOS 197

First-Year Seminar

G. Geography. S. Geology. A seminar focused on a theme related to the study of geology or geography. Open only to first-year students.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

GEOS 205

Introduction to GIS

Includes laboratory. An introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and their applications. Emphasis on cartographic concepts, strengths and limitations of different GIS data formats, spatial statistics, and spatial analysis. Students use a variety of specialized GIS tools to solve spatial problems and map spatial phenomena. Prerequisite: GEOS 110.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics GEOS 110 1 course

GEOS 210

Historical Geology

Includes laboratory. An introduction to earth history and the methods that geologists use to interpret the rock record and the fossil record. The origin and evolution of the earth and life through time are examined with emphasis on the interrelationships of earth history, evolution and plate tectonics. Prerequisite: GEOS 110.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics GEOS 110 1 course

GEOS 220

Geologic Field Experiences

Includes laboratory. A. West Virginia B. Utah C. Nevada D. California E. Other. An introduction to field geology through intensive study of a geologic province. Students collect and interpret geologic data, construct geologic maps and cross sections, and read published professional papers in order to interpret the tectonic, stratigraphic and geologic history of a province. Topics include the Valley and Ridge Province in West Virginia, the Colorado Plateau Province in Utah, and the Basin and Range Province in Nevada. A week-long field trip to the geologic province is required during spring break. A course fee covers field trip expenses. May be repeated for credit with different topics. Prerequisite: GEOS 110.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics GEOS 110 1 course

GEOS 230

Environmental Geology (formerly GEOS 109)

An intermediate examination of the processes that influence the physical and chemical nature of the Earth's surface with special attention given to the influence of human actions on the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. Students learn how the risks from natural hazards are assessed and minimized; understand the consequences of natural resource extraction; and consider the sources, transportation, fate, and remediation of waste and pollution in the environment. Real-world examples emphasize the importance of these topics for solving environmental problems. Prerequisite: GEOS 110 or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics GEOS 110 or permission of instructor 1 course

GEOS 280

Mineralogy

Includes laboratory. A qualitative and quantitative study of the physical, chemical and optical properties of minerals. The physical properties of minerals are studied through the identification of hand samples and geometric analysis of crystal models. Mineral chemistry is studied using literature sources and laboratory work. The optical properties of minerals are examined using the petrographic microscope. Prerequisite: GEOS 110.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics GEOS 110 1 course

GEOS 290

Topics

An exploration of selected topics in the geosciences. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Variable

GEOS 300

Writing in the Geosciences

In this course, students will further develop their writing skills by reading and discussing texts about writing in the geosciences, writing original papers for different audiences, providing feedback for other purposes in the class, and editing and revising their own work. Students will be evaluated based on their ability to 1) effectively communicate their ideas using appropriate geologic terms and concepts, 2) adapt their writing style for different audiences, and 3) appropriately incorporate references and citations into their papers.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1/2 course

GEOS 310

Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

Includes laboratory. Detailed study of the formation, transportation, and deposition of sediments, and criteria for inferring the geologic history of sedimentary rocks. The application of facies models in recognizing and interpreting ancient depositional systems is emphasized. Prerequisite: GEOS 110.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics GEOS 110 1 course

GEOS 315

Map Interpretation

Includes laboratory. Analysis and interpretation of topographic maps, geologic maps, and geologic cross sections. Course focuses on the relationship of map patterns to tectonic, geomorphic, hydrogeologic and climatic processes that shape and influence landform development. Involves some work with Google Earth and Adobe Illustrator software packages. Prerequisite: GEOS 110.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Science and Mathematics GEOS 110 1 course

GEOS 320

Petrology

Includes laboratory. Genesis, classification and identification of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. These rock groups are studied through the use of hand samples, rock and mineral chemistry, computers and petrographic analysis. Laboratory exercises include field trips to examine and interpret outcrops in Indiana and adjacent states. Prerequisite: GEOS 280.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
GEOS 280 1 course

GEOS 330

Geochemistry

Includes laboratory. An introduction to thermodynamics and kinetics applied to geological problems, with special emphasis on aqueous geochemistry. Students learn field collection techniques, sample analysis, and methods of presenting geochemical data. Prerequisites: GEOS 110, CHEM 130, and CHEM 170; or permission of the instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
GEOS 110, CHEM 130, and CHEM 170; or permission of the instructor 1 course

GEOS 350

Structural Geology and Tectonics

Includes laboratory. Recognition, description and origin of structural features that form the architectural framework of the upper crust. Geometric (shape), kinematic (motion) and dynamic (mechanical) development of structural features is emphasized. Fieldwork and applied laboratory work with computers facilitate analyses of structures over a wide range in scale. Prerequisite: GEOS 110.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
GEOS 110 1 course

GEOS 370

Applied Hydrogeology

Includes laboratory. An investigation of the occurrence and movement of water within the hydrologic cycle. Special attention is given to water quality and water supply concerns. Lab and field work develop skills to apply course concepts to real world problems. Prerequisite: GEOS 110. MATH 135 proficiency recommended.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
GEOS 110. MATH 135 proficiency recommended 1 course

GEOS 380

Environmental Geophysics

Includes laboratory. Application of geophysical techniques to solving problems in geology, with emphasis on their applicability in environmental and exploration investigations. Course provides basic theory, field methods and interpretation techniques for seismic refraction/reflection, magnetic, gravitational, and electrical methods of geophysical prospecting. Outdoor work required. Prerequisites: GEOS 110 or permission of instructor. MATH 135 proficiency and PHYS 120 recommended.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
GEOS 110 or permission of instructor. MATH 135 proficiency and PHYS 120 recommended. 1 course

GEOS 390

Topics

An exploration of selected topics in the geosciences. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Variable

GEOS 395

Topics in Geography

An examination of a topic in Geography. May be repeated for credit with different topics. Prerequisite: Permission of chair of the department.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Permission of chair of the department 1/2-1 course

GEOS 450

Senior Seminar

Students read, present and discuss research papers in the geosciences. Prerequisite: A departmental major and senior standing.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
A departmental major and senior standing 1/2 course

GEOS 470

Readings in Geology

Topical investigation using primary geological literature sources, including written analyses and oral presentations. Prerequisite: Permission of chair of the department.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Permission of chair of the department 1/4-1/2 course

GEOS 480

Problems in Geology

Advanced problems in geology, including written analyses and/or oral presentations. Prerequisite: Permission of chair of the department.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Permission of chair of the department 1/4-1/2 course

GEOS 490

Research Thesis

Original research in geology, including a written thesis and an oral defense. Prerequisite: Permission of chair of the department.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Permission of chair of the department 1/4-1/2-1 course