University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
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Course descriptions

The Geology & Planetary Science Department offers a variety of courses in support of the Geology major. In addition to several core courses that are fundamental to the major, there are several upper-level electives that allow students to purse different areas of geologic interest.

The department also offers numerous introductory courses in earth and space science that are intended for non-majors. Any of these course can be used to fulfill Knowledge Area requirements of the Pitt-Johnstown General Education Program. Some of them also qualify as Quantitative Reasoning courses in the same program.

SYMBOLS FOR COURSES THAT FULFILL GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS:

KA = Knowledge Area in Natural Science course.

QR = Quantitative Reasoning course.

PW = Primary Writing course.

SE = Speaking Enhanced course


GEOL 0010 - PRINCIPLES OF ASTRONOMY

A systematic study of our solar system that includes the planets, sun and minor solar members; the properties of stars and the nature of our galaxy and extra-galactic systems, including modern theories of cosmology.  Historical perspective is provided through the work of Copernicus, Tycho, Keplar, Hubble, and others.   Basic math skills are emphasized through the use of astronomical formulas and calculations used by astronomers to explain the nature of the universe.  Includes lab practicum experience. (04.0 crs) either KA or QR


GEOL 0015 - PHYSICAL GEOLOGY
The goal of this course is to provide students with a basic understanding of geology and its processes and an appreciation of how geology relates to the human experience. The required laboratory work includes the study and identification of rocks and minerals; the interpretation of topographic maps, aerial photographs, and geologic maps; and the study of glaciation and ground water. At least one lab session will be a field trip. (04.0 crs) KA

GEOL 0024 - METEOROLOGY
This course will provide students with an overview of the earth's weather systems. Emphasis will be on lab-centered, hands-on activities designed to demonstrate weather phenomenon through a holistic approach. Topics will include but are not limited to: structure and composition of the atmosphere, global patterns of circulation, pressure systems, fronts, air masses, weather maps and weather prediction, and climate systems. Students will be required to complete weekly assignments; there will be a semester project; at least one class session will be a field trip. (04.0 crs) either KA or QR

GEOL 0061 - HISTORICAL GEOLOGY
Basic principles for reconstructing the geologic past are introduced, and earth history is surveyed in terms of geological and biological evolution from the origin of the solar system to the present. Laboratory work includes study of rocks as clues to earth history, indentification of fossils, stratigraphic correlation, paleoenvironmental and paleogeographic reconstruction, and interpretation of geologic history from geologic maps. Includes a two-day (weekend) field trip. Prereq: GEOL 0015. (04.0 crs) KA

GEOL 0083 - INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICAL OCEANOGRAPHY
Emphasis on physical aspects of the oceans. Topics include geology of the seafloor, chemical and physical nature of seawater, waves, tides, coastal systems, ocean resources, and environmental concerns.  (03.0 crs) KA

GEOL 0086 - ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY
This course will provide the student with an awareness of the environmental problems facing mankind today. Case studies of environmental disruption, both natural and manmade, will be presented. The main topics include: volcanism, earthquakes, flooding, slope instability, hydrologic cycle, surface and ground water supply, water law, water pollution, fuel resources, acid mine drainage, acid rain, greenhouse effect, and ozone depletion (03.0 crs) KA

GEOL 0087 - THE EARTH'S CLIMATE
A non-laboratory introductory course intended for students other than geology majors. The course examines interactions between the solid earth, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere in an Earth Systems context. Topics covered include plate tectonics, earthquakes and volcanic hazards, evolution of the atmopshere and oceans, and climate change. The origin of life, evolution and mass extinctions will also be examined in relation to the changing Earth system. Formerly listed as Earth, Climate, and Life Through Time. (03.0 crs) KA

GEOL 0090 - EARTHQUAKES & VOLCANOES
Introductory course that will provide the student with an understanding of how earthquakes and volcanoes occur and impact our planet.  Earthquakes and volcanoes can vary from small phenomena with little effect on their surrounding environment to large-scale disasters that impact a wide geographic region.  This course will explore the physical cousesm the differences between small and large events, and the results that impact the landscape of our planet.   (03.0 crs)

GEOL 0210 - EARTH MATERIALS
This course provides a detailed investigation into the formation and properties of Earth's primary materials:  rocks and minerals.  Topics include:  the physical, chemical, structural, and optical properties of minerals; description and identification of common rock-forming and ore minerals; mineral assemblages and associations; and classification and identification of common rock types.  Prereq: Geol 0015. (04.0 crs)

GEOL 0220 - FOSSIL FUELS
This course provides an overview of energy resources, with special attention given to fossil fuels and the resources of western Pennsylvania.  Emphasis will be placed on the origin, development, and distribution of resources.  Alternative energy energy sources, such as renewable evergy and nuclear, will also be covered, as well as the environmental implications of use, production, and disposal of the various resources.  Prereq: Geol 0015. (03.0 crs)  

GEOL 1000 - MINERALOGY & OPTICAL MINERALOGY
 The symmetry, structure, and crystal chemistry of minerals are the focus of this course. Laboratory work includes the physical properties of minerals and hand sample identification. The student is introduced to the use of the polarizing microscope as a tool for mineral identification. Permission of instructor required if prerequisites are not met.  Prereq: GEOL 0015. (04.0 crs) 

GEOL 1004 - IGNEOUS & METAMORPHIC PETROLOGY & PETROGRAPHY
The origin, occurrence, and classification of rocks form the heart of the course. Problems of petrogenesis are approached through the use of phase equilibria and crystal chemistry. Laboratory work includes hand specimen identification and the use of the polarizing microscope. Prereq: Geol 1000. (04.0 crs) SE

GEOL 1005 - SEDIMENTOLOGY & STRATIGRAPHY
Course focuses on sedimentological processes and products, depositional environments, and modern stratigraphic principles. Lab emphasizes description and interpretation of various types of sedimentological and stratigraphic data. Course includes local field exercises that may occur on weekends. Prereqs: GEOL 0015 and GEOL 1000 (or permission of instructor). (04.0 crs) 

GEOL 1061 - GEOMORPHOLOGY
This course is a survey of the major landform features found on the earth's surface. Each landform type is first described qualitatively and then examined in terms of the processes, such as stream flow or glacial activity, which cause its development. The purpose of the course is to familiarize students with geomorphic principles. Course includes a required three-day field trip. Permission of instructor required if prerequisite is not met. Prereq: Geol 0015. (04.0 crs)

GEOL 1105 - HYDROLOGY
Detailed discussion of all parts of the hydrologic cycle except for ground water. Topics include: precipitation evaporation, transpiration, interception, surface water runoff, watershed analysis, flood and low-flow frequency analysis, water quality, statistical treatment of hydrologic data. A number of labs will be field exercises. Prereq: Geol 0015. (04.0 crs)

GEOL 1106 - HYDROGEOLOGY
Topics to be covered include soil moisture and ground-water regimes, hydraulic conductivity of earth materials, principles of ground-water flow, well hydraulics, aquifer characteristics and testing, geology of ground-water occurrence, and ground-water contamination. Permission of instructor required if prerequisite is not met. Prereq: Geol 0015. (04.0 crs)

GEOL 1108 - REPORT WRITNG & COMPUTER APPLICATIONS IN GEOLOGY
Conventions of scientific writing are introduced and applied to the preparation of geological reports. Covers use of various types of software and web-based resources used in geologic research and report writing. Poster and oral presentations are required term projects. Required for all Geology majors. Permission of instructor required if prerequisites are not met. Prereq: Geol 0015 and GEOL 0061. (04.0 crs) PW and SE

GEOL 1110 - STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY
Mechanical properties of rock deformation, the principles of geologic mapping, and introductory methods of structural analysis. Laboratory work includes solving geologic structural problems using orthrographic and stereographic methods, fault motion, and drill hole interpretation. Prereq: Geol 0015. (04.0 crs)

GEOL 1139 - GEOLOGY OF SOILS
The genesis, classification, properties, and utilization of soil are discussed with emphasis on topics of current interest. Relationships of soils to geology, chemistry, and biology are stressed. One year of chemistry is recommended. Permission of instructor required if prerequisite is not met. Prereq: Geol 0015. (04.0 crs)

GEOL 1150 - SENIOR PROJECT
The student selects, with the project director's assistance, an area of study, prepares a proposal, performs the research, and prepares written and/or oral reports to be presented to the Geology faculty. (04.0 crs)

GEOL 1157 - GEOLOGIC FIELD METHODS
Course format emphasizes practical work in field situations with supplemental lectures, and includes introduction to the use of Brunton compass, altimeter, allidade, and field mapping techniques. Attendance at any accredited field camp is an acceptable substitute. Prereq: Geol 0015. (04.0 crs)

GEOL 1160 - SELECTED TOPICS
An examination of current geologic trends and problems. (01.0 crs)

GEOL 1162 - SELECTED TOPICS
An examination of current geologic trends and problems. (03.0 crs)

GEOL 1164 - SELECTED TOPICS
An examination of current geologic trends and problems. Permission of instructor is required. (04.0 crs)

GEOL 1170 - INTERNSHIPS
Experience with local and state cooperating agencies; also departmental assistantships. Permission of instructor is required. (01.0 TO 12.0 crs)

GEOL 1202 - INTRODUCTION TO PALEONTOLOGY
Geologically significant fossils are studied with emphasis on paleoecology and evolution. Laboratory work involves morphological study of fossils, and use of fossils in solving geological and paleontological problems. Permission of instructor required if prerequisite is not met. Prereq: Geol 0015 and GEOL 0061. (04.0 crs)

GEOL 1406 - INTRODUCTION TO SOLID-EARTH GEOPHYSICS
Study in the application of gravity, resistivity to determination of the composition and structure of the earth. Geophysical equipment operation, data collection, and interpretation are covered. Prereq: Geol 0015. (04.0 crs)

GEOL 1905 - INDEPENDENT STUDY
This course permits undergraduates to explore specific topics in the geological sciences. The course is designed in a more flexible format than a directed study, stressing a higher degree of independent library research. Permission of instructor required. (01.0 TO 12.0 crs)

GEOL 1906 - DIRECTED RESEARCH
This course provides the opportunity for undergraduates to obtain "hands on" experience in geology by actively interacting with faculty members on research projects. Permission of instructor required. (01.0 TO 12.0 crs)

GEOL 1907 - DIRECTED READING
This course is designed to permit individual students the opportunity to explore in-depth specific topics in the geological sciences. The course is organized around a series of selected readings on specific topics. Permission of instructor required. (01.0 TO 12.0 crs)
Last Reviewed: August 13, 2009