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Geology

Professors Creasy, Retelle, and Eusden; Associate Professor Johnson (chair); Lecturer Clough

Located in the northern Appalachian mountains and an hour from the Maine coast, the College affords students excellent opportunities for study and research in the geological sciences. The curriculum utilizes this setting by stressing field-oriented and laboratory-supported inquiry into bedrock, surficial, and environmental geology. This program leads students and faculty alike to a fuller understanding and appreciation of the geosciences.

Earth Surface Environments and Environmental (103), Plate Tectonics and Tectonic Hazards (104), Field Geology in Maine (107), Global Change (109), and Lunar and Planetary Science (110) introduce students to areas of active research and current interest in geological and environmental sciences and are vehicles for acquiring a basic understanding of processes that have formed and continue to shape the Earth and other planets.

Short Term courses in geology offer students a unique experience. Geologic field methods, mapping techniques, and geochemical analyses are learned in a variety of spectacular settings. Past Short Term courses have taken students to the Canadian Arctic, the American Southwest, Iceland, the Netherlands, and the lakes, mountains, and coast of Maine.

More information on the geology department is available on the website (www.bates.edu/GEO.xml).

Major Requirements. The major requirements include two geology courses at the 100 level, one of which must have a laboratory component; four geology courses at the 200 level (Geology 210, 223, 230, and 240); two elective geology courses at the 300 level; and a geology Short Term course. The program in geology culminates in a two-semester senior research experience (Geology 457 and 458) that consists of an original contribution based on field and/or laboratory investigations by the student under the supervision of a faculty committee.

For the B.S. degree a student is required to complete Chemistry 107A or 107B and 108A or 108B, Mathematics 105 and 106, Physics 107 (or First-Year Seminar 314) and Physics 108 (or First-Year Seminar 274). For the B.A. degree a student is required to complete either Chemistry 107A or 107B and 108A or 108B or Physics 107 (or First-Year Seminar 314) and Physics 108 (or First-year Seminar 274). Courses for the B.A. cannot be taken pass/fail. The B.S. degree is recommended for students planning careers in the geological or environmental sciences. Prospective majors are encouraged to take Chemistry 107A or Chemistry 107B and Chemistry 108A or Chemistry 108B for a letter grade during their first or second year.

Interdisciplinary Interests. The departmental course offerings allow a maximum of flexibility to meet individual interests. Students with environmental interests are encouraged to choose a major in geology or environmental studies with a geology concentration or a double major involving geology and another natural science such as biology, chemistry, or physics. Students contemplating a major in geology or an interdisciplinary major or double major must consult with the geology faculty during their second year to plan an appropriate program of study. All programs are subject to departmental approval.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses counting toward the major.

Guidelines for Geology Majors Regarding Off-Campus Study.
1) The department expects that majors who wish to study abroad do so for only one semester.
2) The department expects that majors will have completed the following major requirements prior to the semester abroad: two 100-level courses; a minimum of two, but preferably three, 200-level courses; and one geology Short Term course.
3) The department expects that majors will have completed the following major requirements prior to their senior year: all four 200-level courses and one 300-level course.
4) The department normally accepts only two non-Bates courses toward the major. Typically this is a 200-level course equivalent in content to one of the required Bates 200-level courses and a 300-level course chosen by the student in consultation with the major advisor.
5) All applications for off-campus study require approval of the major advisor and the department chair. Applications that involve exceptions to the above guidelines require review and approval by the department.

Courses

GEO 103. Earth Surface Environments and Environmental Change.The Earth's surface environments are in a constant state of change resulting from the interaction of its atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and lithosphere. Changes on the surface occur on various time scales from brief, severe storms to glaciations lasting thousands of years, to changes in continents and ocean basin environments occurring over millions of years due to tectonic processes. Studies of surficial processes and materials illustrate the dynamic nature of the Earth and provide a key to understanding past and future environmental change. The lectures are complemented with field and laboratory study. Field experiences include day trips to the Saco River, the Maine coast, or the White Mountains. Enrollment limited to 52. [S] [L] [Q] Normally offered every year. M. Retelle. Concentrations

GEO 104. Plate Tectonics and Tectonic Hazards. Volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis are examples of tectonic hazards that directly affect human populations. Yet the processes responsible for such natural hazards are an integral part of the global tectonic cycle that over millions of years results in the formation of ocean basins, mountain ranges, and the global-scale motion of continents. Study of active and ancient tectonic activity is key to forecasting future volcanic eruptions and earthquakes as well as global environment change. The laboratory component emphasizes understanding global tectonic processes and reconstructing the tectonic history of southwestern Maine through field studies. Enrollment limited to 52. [S] [L] [Q] Normally offered every year. J. Creasy. Concentrations

GEO 107. Katahdin to Acadia: Field Geology in Maine.The rocky coast and glaciated bedrock mountains of Maine have a rich 500-million-year geologic history. This hands-on, outdoor-oriented course on Maine's geologic history includes weekly half-day field trips to local geologic settings, two required day-long field trips to the Presidential Range and a Maine island, and one or two required weekend trips to Acadia National Park or Baxter State Park, on weekends to be determined. Reading and making maps, recording field observations, writing papers, giving talks, and making posters about the variety of geologic environments are the major features of the course. The required trips involve strenuous hiking and sea kayaking. Appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear is needed. Not open to students who have received credit for First-Year Seminars 327. Enrollment limited to 30. [S] [L] [Q] Normally offered every year. J. Eusden. Concentrations

GEO 108. Global Environmental Change.Earth's system is comprised of the dynamic interactions between its various components: the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and the atmosphere. Currently, humans are perturbing these components at unprecedented rates, resulting in environmental change on regional and global scales. In this course, students examine the Earth system on multiple timescales and investigate current topics in global change, including the impact of greenhouse gases on global climate, sea level, El Niño, global dimming, and ocean acidification. Two required day-long field trips to the Maine coast take place on weekends. Not open to students who have received credit for Geology 109. Enrollment limited to 44. [S] [Q] B. Johnson. Concentrations   |   Interdisciplinary Programs.

GEO 109. Global Change.The Earth's system is comprised of the dynamic interactions between its various components: the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and the atmosphere. Mounting evidence indicates that humans are perturbing these components at unprecedented rates, resulting in environmental change on regional and global scales. In this course, students examine the Earth system on multiple timescales and investigate current topics in global change, including the impact of greenhouse gases on global climate, sea level, El Niño, global dimming, and ocean acidification. Laboratories include field trips to sites that illustrate environmental change on local and regional scales. Not open to students who have received credit for Geology 108. Enrollment limited to 22. [S] [L] [Q] Normally offered every year. B. Johnson. Concentrations   |   Interdisciplinary Programs.

AT/GE 110. Lunar and Planetary Science.An introduction to the solar system using the methods of physics and geology. The historical development of our understanding of planetary motion leads to the contemporary view of celestial mechanics essential to exploration by spacecraft. The composition, formation, and age of the solar system are examined, together with the physical processes involved in the development of planetary interiors and surfaces. Basic algebra and geometry are used throughout. Laboratory work emphasizes the principles of remote sensing and exploration technology. Nighttime telescope work is expected. Enrollment limited to 56. [S] [L] [Q] Normally offered every year. G. Clough. Concentrations

BI/GE 112. Oceanography.An integrated, interdisciplinary overview of the chemistry, physics, geology, and biology of the world's oceans. Topics include chemical and physical properties of sea water, ocean circulation, evolution of ocean basins, coastal geomorphology, the distribution and abundance of organisms in the major marine communities, the status of the world's most important fisheries, and the role of the ocean in the global carbon cycle. The course may include weekend field trips. Not open to students who have received credit for Biology/Geology 113. Not open to students who have received credit for BI/GE 113. Enrollment limited to 40. [S] [L] [Q] W. Ambrose. Concentrations

BI/GE 113. Marine Science.An integrated, interdisciplinary overview of the chemistry, physics, geology, and biology of the world's oceans. Topics include chemical and physical properties of sea water, ocean circulation, evolution of the ocean basins, coastal geomorphology, the distribution and abundance of organisms in the major marine communities, the status of the world's major fisheries, and the role of the ocean in the global carbon cycle. Lectures are supplemented by demonstrations and occasional laboratory exercises, though the course does not fulfill the General Education laboratory requirement. Not open to students who have received credit for Biology/Geology 112. Not open to students who have received credit for BI/GE 112. Enrollment limited to 40. [S] [Q] W. Ambrose. Concentrations

AT/GE 115. Impacts and Mass Extinctions.What happens when a ten-kilometer rock, traveling at forty kilometers per second, hits the Earth? As the dinosaurs discovered sixty-five million years ago, it is not a pretty picture. Scientists now believe that such catastrophically violent collisions, apparently common in the past, are inevitable in the future as well. But impacts alone may not explain the mass extinction events that have shaped the history of life on Earth; global-scale volcanism and climate change are examples of more familiar processes. This course examines the role of impacts in the Earth's history and the heated debate regarding the causes of mass extinctions. Enrollment limited to 64. [S] [Q] E. Wollman. Concentrations

GE/PH 120. The Unexpected Earth.How do we know that on average every half-million years or so the Earth's magnetic field spontaneously reverses direction? How do we know that the Atlantic Ocean is growing wider and the Pacific Ocean is shrinking about as fast as a fingernail grows? This course takes a multidisciplinary look at amazing and unexpected discoveries about our home planet, exploring how new discoveries come about and how crucial but difficult measurements are conceived and made. The course is designed for students with strong high school backgrounds in the physical sciences and mathematics. Enrollment limited to 40. [S] [Q] One-time offering. E. Wollman, J. Creasy. Concentrations

GEO 210. Sedimentary Processes and Environments.The study of modern sedimentary processes and environments provides geologists with a basis for comparison with ancient deposits preserved in the rock record. The analysis of modern sedimentary environments and reconstruction of ancient environments permit stratigraphic reconstructions at regional and global scales. Laboratory work includes field studies of processes and interpretation of modern and ancient depositional systems. Prerequisite(s): any two introductory geology courses or one introductory geology course and one of the following: Chemistry 107A, Chemistry/Environmental Studies 107B, Mathematics 105, or Physics 107. [S] [L] [Q] [W2] Normally offered every year. M. Retelle. Concentrations

ES/GE 217. Mapping and GIS.Geographical information systems (GIS) are computer-based systems for geographical data presentation and analysis. They allow rapid development of high-quality maps, and enable sophisticated examination of spatial patterns and interrelationships. In this course students learn the principles of GIS through extensive computer use of ArcGIS (ESRI). Geological and environmental projects introduce students to cartography, common sources of geographic data, methods for collecting novel spatial data, and data quality. Finally, students learn to extend the capabilities of GIS software to tackle more advanced spatial analysis tasks by completing an independent project. Lectures supplement the laboratory component of the course. Prerequisite: one 200-level course in environmental studies or one 100-level course in geology. Not open to students who have received credit for Environmental Studies 217. Enrollment limited to 20. [S] [L] [Q] J. Eusden, C. Parrish. Concentrations

GEO 223. Rock-Forming Minerals and Mineral Assemblages.Many geochemical processes that occur within the lithosphere, such as crystallization of magmas, metamorphism, and weathering, are understood through the study of minerals and mineral assemblages. This course covers the occurrence, composition, and compositional variation of the common silicate minerals, the mineral reactions and assemblages typical of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary environments, and contemporary applications to a range of tectonic processes. The laboratory involves hand-specimen identification of minerals and the determination of mineral composition by optical microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry and X-ray diffraction. Prerequisite(s): any two introductory geology courses or one introductory geology course and Chemistry 107A or Chemistry/Environmental Studies 107B. [S] [L] [Q] [W2] Normally offered every year. J. Creasy. Concentrations

GEO 230. Structural Geology.The processes of mountain building and plate tectonics are understood by observing the structure and architecture of rocks. This course explores the nature and types of structures present in rocks that make up the Earth's crust. Fundamental concepts and principles of deformation are examined in a variety of field settings. The laboratory introduces the techniques used in descriptive and kinematic structural analysis. Several one-day excursions and one weekend field trip take place throughout Maine and the mountains of the northern Appalachians. Prerequisite(s): any two introductory geology courses or one introductory geology course and Chemistry 107A or Chemistry/Environmental Studies 107B, or First-Year Seminar 314 or Physics 107 or s25, or Mathematics 105, or Environmental Studies/Geology 217. [S] [L] [Q] [W2] Normally offered every year. J. Eusden. Concentrations

GEO 240. Environmental Geochemistry.This course is an introduction to the chemistry of geological processes that occur at the Earth's surface. Basic concepts are presented in the framework of biogeochemical cycling of the major organic elements through geologic time. Topics revolve around the hydrologic cycle and include rock weathering and the carbon cycle. The laboratory includes field trips to local environmental "hotspots" and chemical analysis of environmental samples (e.g. waters, core sediments) using inductively coupled plasma emission spectroscopy and stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry. Prerequisite(s): any 100-level geology course and Chemistry 107A or Chemistry/Environmental Studies 107B. Enrollment limited to 20. [S] [L] [Q] [W2] Normally offered every year. B. Johnson. Concentrations   |   Interdisciplinary Programs.

GEO 310. Quaternary Geology.The Quaternary Period, representing the last 1.6 million years of geologic history, is characterized by extreme climatic fluctuations with effects ranging from globally synchronous glacier expansions to periods warmer than present. Records of the climatic fluctuations are contained in sediments on land and in the oceans and lakes and also in the stratigraphy of ice caps. This course examines various climate proxy records and the dating methods used to constrain them. Fieldwork focuses on the recovery of sediment cores from local lakes, while indoor labs emphasize physical, chemical, and paleontological analyses of the sediment cores. Prerequisite(s): any 200-level geology course. [S] [L] [Q] M. Retelle. Concentrations

GEO 315. Glacial Geology.Glaciers, ice caps, and ice sheets are presently located in high-latitude and high-altitude areas of the globe. However, during the height of the last ice age, about 18,000 years ago, major ice sheets extended to mid-latitudes from the polar regions and to lower elevations in mountainous regions of low latitudes. Lectures investigate processes of modern glaciers, evidence for former extent, and the cause of climatic variability between glacial and interglacial periods. The laboratory introduces students to glaciogenic sediments, stratigraphic analysis, glacial landforms, and field mapping. Several one-day local field trips and one overnight field trip take students to sites in Maine and northern New England. Prerequisite(s): any 200-level geology course. [S] [L] [Q] [W2] M. Retelle. Concentrations

GEO 340. Stable Isotope Geochemistry.The stable isotope composition of modern and ancient waters and biological materials has revolutionized our understanding of biogeochemical cycling at the Earth's surface and of environmental change. This course focuses on the theory and applications of stable isotope fractionation in water and biological materials for modern and past environmental research. The laboratory includes fieldwork within the Androscoggin River watershed and the Maine coast and use of a stable isotope ratio mass spectrometer. Students are engaged in projects that may include tracking changes in carbon cycling in lakes, salt marshes, and trees through time, and documenting changes in energy flow in modern and ancient marine food webs. The interdisciplinary nature of the subject material lends itself well to upper-level students from a variety of science majors. Prerequisite(s): Chemistry 107A or Chemistry/Environmental Studies 107B and any 200-level geology course. Recommended background: Geology 240. Enrollment limited to 10. [S] [L] [Q] B. Johnson. Concentrations

GEO 360. Independent Study.Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study per semester. Normally offered every semester. Staff. Concentrations

GEO 364. Plate Tectonics, Climate Change, and Landscape. Plate tectonics and climate often interact in profound ways. For example, high rainfall creates rapid erosion that reduces the height of compressional mountain ranges; ash plumes from arc volcanism may trigger global cooling and also restore water to the atmosphere and oceans. This seminar explores these and other relationships with a focus on active tectonic environments and today's climate as well as paleoclimate change and ancient tectonics. Students give in-class presentations on these topics from the current literature and investigate in the lab the fundamentals of tectonic processes. They also participate in field excursions to rock exposures demonstrating the relationships between ancient tectonics and paleoclimate in the Appalachians. Prerequisite(s): any 200-level geology course. [S] [L] [Q] J. Eusden. Concentrations

GEO 365. Special Topics.A course reserved for a special topic selected by the department. Instructor permission is required. Staff. Concentrations

GEO 381. The Lithosphere.The formation and occurrence of rocks in the lithosphere are directly relatable to plate tectonic processes. Specific tectonic environments such as rift valleys or oceanic subduction zones are characterized by specific assemblages of igneous and metamorphic rocks. The course examines rock assemblages typical of global tectonic environments, the processes by which they are generated, and the methods by which they are studied. The laboratory is project-oriented and includes field studies, optical and X-ray analytical techniques, and written reports. Prerequisite(s): any 200-level geology course. [S] [L] [Q] J. Creasy. Concentrations

GEO 391. Seminar in Appalachian Geology.A description of the Appalachian Mountain Belt. The purpose is to understand the tectonic evolution of the Appalachian Mountains. Plate tectonic models that are particularly helpful in enhancing our understanding are discussed in detail. Students are expected to do independent work and to give oral and written reports. Fieldwork includes several day trips and an overnight traverse through the northern Appalachians of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Prerequisite(s): any 200-level geology course. [S] [L] [Q] J. Eusden. Concentrations

GEO 457. Senior Thesis.The thesis is a program of independent research conducted by the student, on a field and/or laboratory problem, under the direction of a faculty mentor. All seniors must take both courses and participate in the regularly scheduled weekly seminar. Such participation includes preparation of a thesis proposal and a thesis outline, timely submission of written results, and oral progress reports of thesis research. Students are responsible for scheduling individual meetings with their faculty committee. A final thesis document is submitted by the student near the end of the winter semester on a date established by the department. A public presentation and an oral defense are scheduled during final week of the winter semester. Students register for Geology 457 in the fall semester and for Geology 458 in the winter semester. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff. Concentrations

GEO 457-458. Senior Thesis.The thesis is a program of independent research conducted by the student, on a field and/or laboratory problem, under the direction of a faculty mentor. All seniors must take both courses and participate in the regularly scheduled weekly seminar. Such participation includes preparation of a thesis proposal and a thesis outline, timely submission of written results, and oral progress reports of thesis research. Students are responsible for scheduling individual meetings with their faculty committee. A final thesis document is submitted by the student near the end of the winter semester on a date established by the department. A public presentation and an oral defense are scheduled during final week of the winter semester. Students register for Geology 457 in the fall semester and for Geology 458 in the winter semester. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff. Concentrations

GEO 458. Senior Thesis.The thesis is a program of independent research conducted by the student, on a field and/or laboratory problem, under the direction of a faculty mentor. All seniors must take both courses and participate in the regularly scheduled weekly seminar. Such participation includes preparation of a thesis proposal and a thesis outline, timely submission of written results, and oral progress reports of thesis research. Students are responsible for scheduling individual meetings with their faculty committee. A final thesis document is submitted by the student near the end of the winter semester at a date established by the department. A public presentation and an oral defense are scheduled during final week of the winter semester. Students register for Geology 458 in the winter semester. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff. Concentrations

Short Term Courses

GEO s19. Introduction to Computer Programming.Students are introduced to computer programming in the C++ programming language. They begin by learning an important three-step approach to computer programming: problem analysis, program design, and program coding. The course covers key programming concepts such as variables, operators, flow control, and I/O as well as some of the programming paradigms commonly used today. In the final week students gain exposure to additional programming languages in order to reinforce the programming concepts common to many languages. Enrollment limited to 20. Offered with varying frequency. M. Duvall. Concentrations

GEO s30. Field Geology in the Appalachians.Geologic mapping and other geologic and geophysical field methods are developed and applied in an integrated study of specific topics or areas of current interest in Appalachian geology. Students prepare detailed geologic maps and reports. Several sections may be offered emphasizing the differing interests of the staff involved. These sections may be off campus, all or in part, depending upon the specific project. Students should consult registration materials for specific offerings. Prerequisite(s): Geology 103 or 104. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 8. Instructor permission is required. Staff. Concentrations

GEO s31. Limnology and Paleolimnology of Lakes in Northern New England.This course studies the present and past environmental conditions of lake basins in northern New England. Modern conditions, such as thermal and chemical stratification and hydrologic and sedimentary inputs, are monitored in local watersheds. Cores and acoustic profiles of bottom sediments are obtained to study the long-term climatic history. The course is project-oriented with several off campus, multi-day field trips. Students collect field data, perform laboratory analysis of core and water samples, and prepare a final report. Participants must be able to swim. Prerequisite(s): one of the following: Geology 103, 104, 107, or 109. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission is required. [S] [L] [Q] M. Retelle. Concentrations

GEO s34. Field Geology in the Southern Rocky Mountains.The deserts, plateaus, and mountains of the American southwest are the backdrop for this course in geologic field methods and geologic mapping. Students work with a wide variety of rock types and structural styles in several multi-day projects. Examples include the volcanic rocks and landforms of the Chiricuahua Mountains and the San Francisco Peaks of Arizona and folded sedimentary strata in San Ysidro, New Mexico, and Durango, Colorado. This is also a camping experience; accommodations are tents and communal meals are prepared by the group. Recommended for majors. Prerequisite(s): any 100-level geology course. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 8. Instructor permission is required. [S] [L] [Q] J. Creasy. Concentrations

GEO s36. Coastal Hazards.Humans have always lived along the world's coastlines. Constantly changing coastal landscapes, combined with increases in coastal populations, present a unique and challenging set of pressures for people living at the boundary between land and sea. In this course, students explore coastal processes (e.g., erosion, sea level rise, storm events, and tsunamis) and coastal features (e.g., beaches, salt marshes, and barrier islands) in a variety of geological settings. The first half of the course is spent studying sites in Maine; the second half of the course is spent studying coastlines in Iceland and the Netherlands, two places where people have taken extreme measures to live by the sea and to mitigate coastal hazards. Prerequisite(s): Geology 103, 104, 107, 108, or 109. Enrollment limited to 14. Offered with varying frequency. B. Johnson. Concentrations

ES/GE s37. Introduction to Hydrogeology.Hydrogeology is the study of the interactions between water and earth materials and processes. This course uses hydrogeology as a disciplinary framework for learning about groundwater processes, contamination, supply, use, and management. Students are engaged in class research projects along the Maine coast and within the Androscoggin River basin. Field and laboratory methods are learned in the context of these projects for determining groundwater flow and aquifer properties, collecting samples, and analyzing water quality. The final research project is both written and presented to the College community. Prerequisite(s): any 100-level geology course or Environmental Studies 203. Enrollment limited to 16. [S] [L] [Q] B. Johnson. Concentrations

GEO s39. Geology of the Maine Coast by Sea Kayak.Six hundred million years of geologic history are preserved in the spectacular rock exposures of the Maine coast. Students learn how to interpret this geologic history by completing four one-week bedrock mapping projects of coastal exposures on offshore islands. Islands in Casco Bay, Penobscot Bay, and Acadia National Park are used as both base camps and field sites for these projects. Students travel to and from these islands in sea kayaks. Students are trained in kayaking techniques, sea kayak rescue and safety, and low-impact camping by a certified kayak instructor who stays with the group for the entire Short Term. No previous kayaking experience is necessary. Participants must be able to swim. Prerequisite(s): any 100-level geology course. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 10. [S] [L] [Q] J. Eusden. Concentrations

GEO s46. Internship in the Natural Sciences.Off-campus participation by qualified students as team members in an experimental program in a laboratory or field setting. Internships require specific arrangement and prior department approval. Staff. Concentrations

GEO s50. Independent Study.Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study during a Short Term. Normally offered every year. Staff. Concentrations