FS = offered fall semester, SS = offered spring semester, US = offered summer semester, Occ = occasionally offered
UG cr. = undergraduate credit, G cr. = graduate credit
GEOL 1001C. Freshmen Seminar I: Geology and Paleontology. 3 UG cr. FS. Dr. Carl Brett. This course, the first of a two-part sequence of freshmen seminars, is designed to give introductory students a broad understanding of basic geological principles and to introduce processes in Earth and life history that occur on the scale of millions of years. In particular, it emphasizes the geologic history -- a mixture of geological and biological concepts -- of eastern North America, a world-famous area for Paleozoic rocks and fossils. This seminar provides an overview of the tools by which Earth scientists interpret physical and life history, the depth of geologic time, and the forces that shape our planet's surface. This course incorporates a mixture of class and lab experiences designed to introduce students to the broad concepts of geology largely through field observations and laboratory exploration of data and specimens. Students do not need special background for these classes, but should have a natural curiosity, an eagerness to learn, and a willingness to work in outdoor field situations on day-long trips. Students completing this course will be well prepared to pursue further studies in geology, paleontology, or other natural sciences.
GEOL 1002C. Freshman Seminar II: Earth Surface Processes and Environmental Issues. 3 UG cr. SS. Dr. Lewis Owen. The Earth's surface is continuously changing as tectonic, climatic, geomorphic, hydrologic and biological processes constantly operate. These changes affect the way we utilize and survive on our planet. This course will examine the nature of these processes from a geologic perspective to show how an understanding of their dynamics is relevant to the well being of humankind. Specifically, we will examine: 1) the management of geological resources such as fossil fuels, minerals, water and land space; 2) the effects of natural hazards on humans and how we can mitigate the hazards; 3) how geology can be used to help in the effective design and implementation of engineering projects; and 4) waste disposal and minimizing effects of pollution.
GEOL 1003. Physical Geology. 3 UG cr. FS, SS. Dr. Attila Kilinc. An introductory physical geology course that includes a comprehensive study of the earth's physical processes and properties, with an emphasis on understanding the scientific theories behind the geological principles. Topics are explored within the general context of plate tectonic theory and include: minerals and rocks, weathering and erosion, geological time, earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain building, oceans, landforms, and natural resources.
GEOL 1003L. Physical Geology Laboratory. 3 UG cr. FS. Various instructors. STUDENTS MUST BE ENROLLED IN GEOL1003, PHYSICAL GEOLOGY, TO REGISTER FOR GEOL1003L, PHYSICAL GEOLOGY LABORATORY. In this laboratory course students will utilize the basic materials and tools of physical geology to identify common rocks and minerals. Students will also analyze and interpret geologic and topographic maps as well as aerial photographs. Specific topic areas to be studied include faults and folds, mass wasting, stream, eolian, glacial, coastal and slope processes, earthquake hazards and plate tectonics. Emphasis is placed on interactions between plate tectonics and the rock cycle, and how these interactions drive igneous rock formation, metamorphic rock formation, and the formation of sedimentary basins and landforms. There will be three field trips.
GEOL 1004. Historical Geology. 3 UG cr. SS. Dr. Warren Huff. An introductory historical geology course designed to provide the student with the necessary tools to interpret and understand the processes leading to the complex history of the Earth and its contained biota. An additional goal is to provide an overview of the major events in Earth's history that have had a profound effect on Earth's physical, chemical, and biologic environment. The course encompasses the causes and effects of mass extinction on the history of life, and the role of plate tectonics on the geologic and biologic evolution of the Earth.
GEOL 1004L. Historical Geology Laboratory. 3 UG cr. SS. Various instructors. In this laboratory course students will gain practical experience in studying sedimentary rocks in order to interpret depositional processes and environments. Students will further learn to identify invertebrate fossils and to combine that knowledge with sedimentary analysis to make age determinations for rock formations and interpret their regional correlation. There will be six field trips. In addition, students will complete and present an in-class research project.
GEOL 1005. Environmental Geology. 3 UG cr. TBD. An introductory physical geology course that includes in-depth study of selected topics related to physical processes at the earth's surface, with an emphasis on understanding the scientific theories behind the geological principles. Topics are explored within the general context of human impacts on the environment and human responses to environmental hazards. For each topic, the political and legal ramifications of responses to hazards are considered in addition to better understanding the underlying scientific concepts. Included are surface water, flooding and flood insurance; groundwater depletion, movement and contamination; major storms and beach erosion; volcano hazards from mudflows; and global climate change.
GEOL 1008. Age of Dinosaurs. 3 UG cr. FS. Dr. Josh Miller. This course provides an introduction to one of the most unique and fascinating groups of animals ever to inhabit the Earth, the dinosaurs. Anyone with some background in geology or biology will benefit from the class. Topics covered include: placement of dinosaurs in the framework of geologic time; evolutionary origin of dinosaurs and their relationship to other vertebrate animals; major groups of dinosaurs, their characteristics, classification, life habits and geologic time range; life history of dinosaurs; paleogeography and paleoenvironments in which dinosaurs lived; physiology of dinosaurs (cold- or warm-blooded); how dinosaur fossils were preserved (taphonomy); dinosaur tracks and their implications about dinosaur life; life in the sea and air during the Age of Dinosaurs; hypotheses about dinosaur extinction; the evolutionary relationship of dinosaurs and birds; history of discovery and study of dinosaurs.
GEOL 1009. Natural Hazards. 3 UG cr. SS, US. Dr. Lewis Owen, Krista Smilek. This class will provide an introduction to geologic hazards and natural disasters, their effects on society, and the attempts at preparation and mitigation for these events. Hazards to be covered include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, landslides, hurricanes, tsunamis, and others. Central to the course is the understanding of the technical cooperation required for hazard and vulnerability assessments, including the use of geographic information systems for mapping and analysis and urban watershed planning for hazard and resource management.
GEOL 1010C. Evolution of Earth Systems. 3 UG cr. FS. Dr. Tom Algeo. This course will familiarize students with the history of the Earth. The first section of the course will cover the development and structure of the geologic time scale, which represents the scaffolding for understanding events in Earth's history. The second part of the course will examine the origin of the solar system and its planetary bodies, including the Earth. The third part of the course will examine the development of Earth's chemical and physical systems from their primordial condition to their present state, including the evolution of continents, the atmosphere, and oceans through time. The fourth part of the course will examine the history of life on Earth, including prebiotic features that may have predisposed the Earth to the appearance of life, the record of pre-metazoan life in ancient rocks, and a detailed characterization of the evolutionary processes and pathways that have led to the diversity of life seen in the modern world.
GEOL 1011C. Environmental Volcanology. 3 UG cr. FS. Dr. Attila Kilinc. The course focuses on principles of volcanology and volcano-environment interaction. After a brief introduction to what a volcano is and where volcanoes are located, we begin to discuss types of volcanic hazards, and what can be done to minimize them. Next, we discuss broader aspects of volcanology such as impact of volcanoes on weather and climate, biological activity around submarine volcanoes and origin of life, relationship between mass extinctions and volcanic activity, volcanic risks and rewards. Finally, we explore the close relationship between volcanoes around the world and cultures of people living in volcanic terrains.
GEOL 1013. Earthquakes and Society. 3 UG cr. SS. Dr. Attila Kilinc. This course will cover where, how and why earthquakes occur in the world and their impact on society. Topics will include: what is an earthquake, how an earthquake is detected and its strength measured, what are the psychological, societal and financial consequences of earthquakes and how to educate people on what to do before, during and after a hypothetical earthquake in Cincinnati area.
GEOL 1014. Geology Through Film. 3 UG cr. SS. Dr. Aaron Diefendorf. In this course, geological topics and concepts are introduced by watching popular earth science-based films. Students are required to watch assigned films and to answer questions or write synopses based on the scientific topics presented in the films. Lectures will be presented on the scientific topics addressed. Topics will include: the Earth's structure, tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, meteor impacts, marine science, climate change, and weather. This course provides students with a unique method of learning about earth sciences and distinguishing scientific fact from fiction in film.
GEOL 1015. Ice Age Mammals. 3 UG cr. Even SS. Dr. Brooke Crowley. Have you always wanted to know more about the megabeasts that once lived here in Cincinnati and other parts of the USA? This course introduces the ecology and evolution of extinct and still-living mammals on our continent since the age of the dinosaurs. Topics include, biodiversity, climate change, ecological adaptations, mass extinctions, and the potential for rewilding.
GEOL 1016. Astrobiology: Life in the Universe. 3 UG cr. FS. Dr. Andy Czaja. Astrobiology seeks to answer the questions 'Where did we come from?' and 'Are we alone?'. These are fundamental questions of life that have been asked for millennia and are still unanswered. Because these are such broad scientific questions, astrobiology is necessarily an interdisciplinary field that encompasses many fields of science, including geology, biology, chemistry, planetary science, and astronomy. This course will introduce students to astrobiology and all of the subfields within, but will emphasize the geological and chemical properties of planetary bodies that make them habitable, and the properties of life that make it able to flourish in a wide variety of environments. We will also discuss current and past astrobiology missions undertaken by NASA and other space agencies that seek to answer the fundamental questions.
GEOL 1018C. Field Geology of Cincinnati. 3 UG cr. US. Dr. Craig Dietsch, Paula Figueiredo. Cincinnati has an interesting geological history that extends back half a billion years. Its landscape is built on limestone that contains an abundance of fossils (remnants of an ancient sea), and records the much more recent advance and retreat of massive continental ice sheets. Cincinnati's geologic history is reflected in where our city was founded, where we live, and where our highways, factories, and stadiums are. Knowledge of our geologic history has practical applications too, related to the natural hazards that affect our city, including flooding and unstable hillslopes -- Hamilton County has one of the highest per capita expenditures on landslide prevention and remediation in the nation. Cincinnati is called the city of seven hills, but is in fact a city of valleys: the Little Miami, Great Miami, and Ohio Rivers once flowed in very different channels than we see today, and created our current terrain with its steep hillsides. The goal of Field Geology of Cincinnati is for students to develop an understanding of the geological materials, processes, and history of our tri-state area through hands-on, experiential fieldwork.
GEOL 1019. Tropical Islands: Endangered Paradises. 3 UG cr. SS. Dr. Yurena Yanes. Because of their relative isolation from one another and from large continental regions, islands can be viewed as "worlds unto themselves", offering opportunities to explore ecological models and theories in simplified contexts. Island biotas are susceptible to human impact and global change because they occupy limited environments and areas with finite resources, and tropical islands are especially vulnerable because they often harbor large numbers of unique species.
This course introduces basic concepts of island geology, biology, paleontology and archeology, with a particular emphasis on tropical islands. Topics include a broad overview of geological processes, biodiversity, extinction and evolutionary processes, fossil records, prehistoric and historic human impacts, climate change, and conservation and sustainability. No previous courses or experience are required. This course is designed to expose students to various disciplines in the sciences that will help them to identify and pursue a more specific scientific field in the future. Overall, students will learn foundational concepts and processes related to the natural and earth sciences.
GEOL 1020. Earth, Sea, and Sky. 3 UG cr. Dr. Dylan Ward. This course serves as an introduction to how the Earth works as a set of interconnected systems. Through this lens, the course focuses on the interactions between the solid Earth (plate tectonics, topography, and minerals and resources), hydrosphere (the water cycle, glaciers, and oceans), and atmosphere (weather, climate, and global change). Weekly in-class exercises will provide hands-on experience with scientific interpretation using Google Earth, digital topography, and interactive simulations of the basic physics that combine to make the Earth a dynamic and exciting place to live.
GEOL 1024. Geology of the National Parks. 3 UG cr. SS. Dr. Dylan Ward, Dr. Brooke Crowley. America’s National Parks owe their spectacular scenery and rich cultural history to the geologic forces that have shaped their landscapes. This course introduces the processes of tectonics, volcanism, erosion, sedimentation, hydrology, and glaciation that have acted over millions of years on the wide variety of rocks found across North America to create exceptional landscapes such as Hawaii Volcanoes, the Grand Canyon, and Mammoth Cave. We will also discuss the history of the National Parks system and the impact of human activities on these unique places that we as a nation have chosen to preserve.
GEOL 1037. Global Warming - Its Place in Earth History. 3 UG cr. FS. Dr. Tom Lowell. Global Warming is an often used term, but what is it? What causes it, how does it differ from naturally occurring climate events, and what are the ramifications of it? Our discussion of the role of energy and its distribution across the planet and its relationship to temperature and other climate changes will address these questions and lead us to delve into the geological past, where we will study past climate events such as the Ice Age. We will examine how scientists date and document the past climate events, and how they seek to explain the underlying causes. This framework will provide context for considering how human activities and energy use patterns are modifying natural patterns today.
GEOL 1056. Gems and Minerals. 3 UG cr. FS, US. Dr. Craig Dietsch. Gems have been prized for millennia. World trade in colored gemstones exceeds US$5 billion per year. Worldwide diamond production exceeds 100 million carats equivalent to over US$10 billion. Deposits of gems are rare because the geological processes that form them are unusual. Students in this course will learn about gemstone formation, the physical properties of gemstones, and will learn how to assess the quality of gemstones in the retail market. In the process, students will learn about the mineralogy, chemistry, and geology of gemstones in the context of our dynamic planet Earth. We will focus on those gemstones that are the most significant in terms of the worldwide trade: diamond, emerald, beryl, ruby, sapphire, tanzanite, topaz, and tsavorite. Some aspects of the politics and economics of the global trade in gemstones will be addressed through selected reading. The course will also include hands-on examination of the raw materials of gemstones and guest presentations from Gemological Institute of America certified gemologists.
GEOL 1061. Oceanography. 3 UG cr. SS. Dr. Tom Algeo. This course will familiarize students with the principles of oceanography, including (1) the physical and chemical properties of water, (2) the structure and circulation of water masses, (3) processes such as waves, tides, and currents, (4) marine life, (5) the origin and development of the oceans through time, and (6) the role of oceans in heat transport and global climate change.