Students may complete a major or minor in Geology. Within the major, students may complete concentrations in Environmental Studies, geoarchaeology or geochemistry.
The department seeks to make students more aware of the physical world around them and of its development through time. The subject includes a study of the materials of which the Earth is made; of the physical processes which have formed the Earth, especially near the surface; of the history of the Earth and its organisms; and of the various techniques necessary to investigate Earth processes and history.
Each introductory course is designed to cover a broad group of topics from a different perspective. Students may elect any of the 100-level courses. Fieldwork is an essential part of geologic training and is part of all introductory courses, most other classes and most independent research projects.
Associate Professor Donald C. Barber
Lecturer Lynne Elkins
Assistant Professor Pedro Marenco
Assistant Professor Christopher Oze (on leave semesters I and II)
Professor W. Bruce Saunders (on leave semesters I and II)
Associate Professor and Chair Arlo B. Weil
Thirteen courses are required for the major: GEOL 101 and 102 or 103; 202, 203, 204, and 205; MATH 101 and 102, or alternates approved by the advisor; a two-semester sequence of CHEM (103-104) or PHYS (101-102 or 121-122); GEOL 399; and either two advanced geology courses or one advanced geology course and an additional upper-level course in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, or computer science.
Additional courses in the allied sciences are strongly recommended and are required by most graduate schools. A student who wishes to follow a career in geology should plan to attend a summer field course, usually following the completion of the 200-level courses.
All geology majors undertake a research project (GEOL 399) and write a thesis in the senior year.
A minor in geology consists of two of the 100-level Geology courses, and any four of the 200- or 300-level courses offered by the department. Back to Top
Honors are awarded to students who have outstanding academic records in geology and allied fields, and whose research is judged by the faculty of the department to be of the highest quality.
The geochemistry concentration encourages students majoring either in geology or in chemistry to design a course of study that emphasizes earth chemistry. In geology this concentration includes at least: GEOL 101, 103, 202, 205; 302 or 305; CHEM 101 or 103, 104 and 221 or 222. Additional chemistry courses might include 211 (Organic Chemistry). Other courses that complement this concentration are: calculus, linear algebra, computer programming and computer modeling. Paperwork for the concentration should be filed at the same time as the major work plan. For course planning advice, contact Christopher Oze (Geology) or Sharon Burgmayer (Chemistry).
The Environmental Studies concentration allows students to explore interactions of the geosphere, biosphere and human societies. The concentration represents interdisciplinary cooperation among Bryn Mawr and Haverford departments in the natural and social sciences and humanities, and is open to students from any major, pending approval of the home department.
The Environmental Studies concentration in Geology consists of GEOL 101 and 103, 202 and two other 200-level geology courses, 302 or 328 (both are recommended), 397, one other 300-level geology course and 399; CITY/SOCL 175, BIOL 220; CHEM 101 or 103, and 104; and two semesters of math, statistics or computational methods. Two additional environmental courses outside of the natural sciences also are required: one addressing issues of planning and policy, and one that addresses issues of humans in the environment. The Environmental Studies Web site lists approved courses in these categories. Paperwork for the concentration should be filed at the same time as the major work plan. Students also should carefully consider their options with regard to study abroad in the junior year. Early consultation with the current director of Environmental Studies is advised in the planning of courses.
The geoarchaeology concentration allows students majoring in anthropology, archaeology or geology to explore the connections among these fields with respect to how our human ancestors interacted with past environments, and how traces of human behavior are preserved in the physical environment. In geology, the geoarchaeology concentration consists of 13 courses: GEOL 101 or 102 or 103, 202, 204, 203 or 205, 270, 328, and 399; CHEM 101 or 103, and 104; two semesters of math, statistics or computational methods; either ARCH 101 or ANTH 101; and one 200- or 300-level elective from among current offerings in Anthropology or Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. Paperwork for the concentration should be filed at the same time as the major work plan. For course planning advice, consult with Don Barber (Geology), Rick Davis (Anthropology) or Peter Magee (Archaeology).
GEOL B101 How the Earth Works
An introduction to the study of planet Earth—the materials of which it is made, the forces that shape its surface and interior, the relationship of geological processes to people, and the application of geological knowledge to the search for useful materials. Laboratory and fieldwork focus on learning the tools for geological investigations and applying them to the local area and selected areas around the world. Three lectures and one afternoon of laboratory or fieldwork a week. One required one-day field trip on a weekend.
GEOL B102 Earth History
The history of the Earth from its beginning and the evolution of the living forms that have populated it. Three lectures, one afternoon of laboratory a week. A required two-day (Fri.-Sat.) field trip is taken in April.
GEOL B103 Earth Systems and the Environment (Cross-listed as CITY B103)
This integrated approach to studying the Earth focuses on interactions among geology, oceanography, and biology. Also discussed are the consequences of population growth, industrial development, and human land use. Two lectures and one afternoon of laboratory or fieldwork per week. A required two-day (Fri.-Sat.) field trip is taken in April.
GEOL B202 Mineralogy and Crystal Chemistry
The crystal chemistry of representative minerals. Descriptive and determinative mineralogy, as well as the relation between the physical properties of minerals and their structures and chemical compositions. The occurrence and petrography of typical mineral associations and rocks is also covered. Lecture three hours, laboratory at least three hours a week. Prerequisite: introductory course in geology or chemistry (both recommended). Not offered in 2009-10.
GEOL B203 Invertebrate Paleobiology
Biology, evolution, ecology, and morphology of the major marine invertebrate fossil groups. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory a week. A semester-long research project introducing computer-aided morphometric analysis will be based on material collected on a two-day trip to the Tertiary deposits of the Chesapeake Bay.
GEOL B204 Structural Geology
Three lectures and three hours of laboratory a week, plus weekend field trips. Recognition and description of deformed rocks, map reading, and an introduction to the mechanics and patterns of deformation. Prerequisites: GEOL 101 and MATH 101.
GEOL B205 Sedimentary Materials and Environments
An introduction to sediment transport, depositional processes, and stratigraphic analysis, with emphasis on interpretation of sedimentary sequences and the reconstruction of past environments. Three lectures and one lab a week, plus a weekend field trip. Prerequisite: GEOL 101, 102, 103 or instructor permission. Recommended: GEOL 202 and 203.
GEOL B206 Energy Resources and Public Policy
An examination of issues concerning the supply of energy and raw materials required by humanity. This includes an investigation of requirements and supply of energy and of essential resources, of the geological framework that determines resource availability, and of the social, economic, and political considerations related to energy production and resource development. Two 90-minute lectures a week. Prerequisite: one year of college science. Not offered in 2009-10.
GEOL B209 Natural Hazards (Cross-listed as CITY B210)
A quantitative approach to understanding the earth processes that impact human societies. We consider the past, current, and future hazards presented by geologic processes, including earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, floods, and hurricanes. The course includes discussion of the social, economic, and policy contexts within which natural geologic processes become hazards. Lecture three hours a week, with one day-long field trip. Prerequisite: one semester of college science or permission of instructor. Not offered in 2009-10.
GEOL B230 The Science of Soils
Physical, chemical, and biological processes within soil systems. Emphasis is on factors governing the physical properties, nutrient availability, and plant growth and production within soils. How to classify soils and to assess nutrient cycling and contaminant fate will be covered. Prerequisite: at least one introductory course in geology, biology or chemistry. Not offered in 2009-10.
GEOL B236 Evolution (Cross-listed as ANTH B236 and BIOL B236)
GEOL B250 Computational Methods in the Sciences (Cross-listed as CMSC B250 and BIOL B250)
Not offered in 2009-10.
GEOL B255 Problem Solving in the Environmental Sciences
Provides basic quantitative and numerical modeling skills that can be applied to any of the natural sciences, including geology and environmental studies. Students will learn fundamental quantitative concepts while exploring issues such as global warming, sudden catastrophes, and the effects of wind and water on Earth’s surface. Lecture/discussion three hours a week. Not offered in 2009-10.
GEOL B260 Biogeography (Cross-listed as BIOL B260)
Not offered in 2009-10.
GEOL B270 Geoarchaeology (Cross-listed as ARCH B270 and ANTH B270)
GEOL B302 Low-Temperature Geochemistry
The geochemistry of Earth surface processes. Emphasis is on the chemistry of surface waters, atmosphere-water environmental chemistry, chemical evolution of natural waters, and pollution issues. Fundamental principles are applied to natural systems with particular focus on environmental chemistry. Prerequisites: CHEM 103, 104 and GEOL 202 or two 200-level chemistry courses, or permission of instructor. Not offered in 2009-10.
GEOL B303 Advanced Paleobiology/Advanced Evolution Seminar
Principles, theory, and application of various aspects of paleobiology such as evolution. Seminar-based, with a semester-long research project or paper. Three hours of seminar a week and a weekend field trip. Prerequisite: GEOL 203 or permission of instructor. Not offered in 2009-10.
GEOL B304 Tectonics
Three hours of lecture and a problem session a week. Plate tectonics and continental orogeny are reviewed in light of the geologic record in selected mountain ranges and certain geophysical data. Prerequisite: GEOL 204 or permission of instructor. Not offered in 2009-10.
GEOL B305 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
The origin, mode of occurrence, and distribution of igneous and metamorphic rocks. The focus is on the experimental and field evidence for interpreting rock associations and the interplay between igneous and metamorphic rock genesis and tectonics. Three lectures and three hours of laboratory or equivalent field work a week. Occasional weekend field trips. Prerequisites: GEOL 202 and CHEM 101 or 103, and 104. Not offered in 2009-10.
GEOL B310 Introduction to Geophysics
An overview covering how geophysical observations of the Earth’s magnetic field, gravity field, heat flow, radioactivity, and seismic waves provide a means to study plate tectonics. Also covered are the geophysical techniques used in mineral and energy resources exploration, and in the monitoring of groundwater, earthquakes and volcanoes. Three class hours a week. Prerequisites: GEOL 101 and PHYS 101, 102.
GEOL B312 Quaternary Geology
The most recent part of Earth history provides an opportunity to analyze how and why variability in the oceans, atmosphere, and biota influence the climate. This course covers the many types of geological evidence used to reconstruct climate variability during the Quaternary Period, which covers the last two million years of Earth history. Three class hours a week, including hands-on data analysis exercises. Prerequisite: GEOL 103 or 205, or permission of instructor. Not offered in 2009-10.
GEOL B314 Marine Geology
An introduction to the structure of ocean basins, and the marine sedimentary record. Includes an overview of physical, biological, and chemical oceanography, and modern coastal processes such as shoreline erosion. Meets twice weekly for a combination of lecture, discussion and hands-on exercises, including one day-long field trip. Prerequisite: GEOL 101, 102 or 103, and 205, or permission of instructor.
GEOL B328 Analysis of Geospatial Data Using GIS (Cross-listed as ARCH B328, BIOL B328, and CITY B328)
An introduction to analysis of geospatial data, theory, and the practice of geospatial reasoning. As part of this introduction students will gain experience in using one or more GIS software packages and be introduced to data gathering in the field by remote sensing. Each student is expected to undertake an independent project that uses the approaches and tools presented.
EOL B350 Advanced Topics in Geology: High-Temperature Geochemistry
A seminar studying the geochemistry and origins of igneous rocks. Includes igneous petrography and examination of the chemistry of igneous materials to approach questions about igneous petrogenesis. How to use major element, trace element, and isotopic chemistry as tools to study igneous systems. Prerequisites: GEOL 202 and advanced standing in geology or consent of the instructor.
GEOL B397 Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies (Cross-listed as ANTH B397, BIOL B397, and CITY B397)
A seminar course that encourages and facilitates environmental problem solving by interdisciplinary teams of ES concentrators. Coursework may take the form of service-learning (Praxis) projects. Students hone their research, collaboration, and leadership abilities by working on real problems facing our community and the broader world. Students will provide oral and written progress reports and submit written summaries of their findings. Collaborative research projects also are possible. Three hours per week.
GEOL B399 Senior Thesis
An independent project in the field, laboratory, or library culminating in a written report and oral presentation. Required for all geology majors in the spring semester of the senior year.
GEOL B403 Independent Research
GEOL B425 Praxis III
Independent or group projects with a significant emphasis on community outreach and service. Projects usually focus on addressing environmental issues through collaborative work with off-campus practitioners. Prerequisites: advanced standing in the environmental studies concentration or permission of the instructor.