Professors Creasy, Eusden, Johnson, and Retelle (chair); Lecturers Clough and Doughty
Located in the northern Appalachian mountains and one hour from the Maine coast, Bates 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. The program leads students and faculty alike to a fuller understanding and appreciation of the geosciences.
Major Requirements. The major requirements include eight core courses, four elective courses, and a one- or two-semester thesis.
Core Courses. One of the following:
GEO 103. Earth Surface Enfironments and Environmental Change.
GEO 104. Plate Tectonics and Tectonic Hazards.
GEO 107. Katahdin to Acadia: Field Geology in Maine.
GEO 109. Global Change.
All of the following:
GEO 210. Sedimentary Processes and Environments.
GEO 223. Rock-Forming Minerals and Mineral Assemblages.
GEO 230. Earth Structure and Dynamics.
GEO 240. Environmental Geochemistry.
Two 300-level geology courses.
One geology Short Term course.
Elective Courses. Students must take two courses from List A and two courses from List B.
ES/GE 217. Mapping and GIS.
ES/GE 226. Hydrogeology.
ENVR 203. Scientific Approaches to Environmental Issues.
ENVR 240. Water and Watersheds.
ENVR 310. Soils.
GEO 360. Independent Study.
GEO 458. Senior Thesis (taken in addition to GEO 457, creating a yearlong thesis).
A second 100-level geology course.
A second Short Term geology course.
A third 300-level geology course.
One of the following:
CHEM 107A. Atomic and Molecular Structure.
CH/ES 107B. Chemical Structure and Its Importance in the Environment.
FYS 398. The Chemistry of Color.
One of the following:
CHEM 108A. Chemical Reactivity.
CH/ES 108B. Chemical Reactivity in Environmental Systems.
One of the following:
PHYS 108. Modern Physics.
FYS 274. Physics in the Twentieth Century.
One of the following:
BIO 190. Organismal Biology.
BIO 244. Biostatistics.
BIO 270. Ecology and Evolution.
MATH 105. Calculus I.
MATH 106. Calculus II.
PHYS 107. Classical Physics.
Senior Thesis. Students may choose to complete a one-semester thesis (GEO 457) or a two-semester thesis (GEO 457 and 458). The two-semester option is normally reserved for honors candidates, those students who plan to pursue a career in the geological or environmental sciences, and/or those planning to attend graduate school in geological or environmental sciences.
B.S. Degree for Geology Majors. Students planning careers in the geological or environmental sciences are encouraged to complete a two-semester thesis (GEO 457 and 458), and to complete the Bachelor of Science degree requirements, available in the Academic Program section of the catalog.
Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for any course used to fulill the major requirements.
Geology Minors. Students may complete a minor in geology by taking seven geology courses distributed as follows:
One of the following:
FYS 190. The Changing Climate of Planet Earth.
GEO 103. Earth Surface Environmental Change.
GEO 108. Global Environmental Change.
GEO 109. Global Change.
BI/GE 112. Oceanography.
BI/GE 113. Marine Science.
One of the following:
FYS 327. Katahdin to Acadia: Exploring Maine Geology.
GEO 104. Plate Tectonics and Tectonic Hazards.
GEO 107. Katahdin to Acadia: Field Geology in Maine.
AT/GE 110. Lunar and Planetary Science.
AT/GE 115. Impacts and Mass Extinctions.
GE/PH 120. The Unexpected Earth.
Five additional geology courses or geology cross-listed courses including Short Term courses, only one of which may come from geology minor List A or List B, above.
Environmental studies majors whose concentration in the major is geology may not minor in geology.
Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses counting toward the minor.
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.
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: one 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 similar 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.
GEO 103. Earth Surface Environments and Environmental Change/Lab.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 and 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 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/Lab. 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. A. Doughty. Concentrations
GEO 107. Katahdin to Acadia: Field Geology in Maine/Lab.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. 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 FYS 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 GEO 109. Enrollment limited to 44. [S] [Q] B. Johnson. Concentrations Interdisciplinary Programs.
GEO 109. Global Change/Lab.The Earth's system is comprised of the dynamic interactions between its various components: the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and the atmosphere. Humans are perturbing these components at unprecedented rates, resulting in environmental change on regional and global scales. In this laboratory 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 GEO 108. Enrollment limited to 30. [S] [L] [Q] Normally offered every year. B. Johnson. Concentrations Interdisciplinary Programs.
AT/GE 110. Lunar and Planetary Science/Lab.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/Lab.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 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 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-wide 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 a strong high school background in the physical sciences and mathematics. Enrollment limited to 48. [S] [Q] E. Wollman, J. Creasy. Concentrations
GEO 210. Sedimentary Processes and Environments/Lab.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): one introductory geology course. [S] [L] [Q] [W2] Normally offered every year. M. Retelle. Concentrations
ES/GE 217. Mapping and GIS/Lab.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 ENVR 220. Enrollment limited to 20. [S] [L] [Q] C. Parrish, J. Eusden. Concentrations
GEO 223. Rock-Forming Minerals and Mineral Assemblages/Lab.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): one introductory geology course and CHEM 107A, or CH/ES 107B. [S] [L] [Q] [W2] Normally offered every year. J. Creasy. Concentrations
ES/GE 226. Hydrogeology.Hydrogeology is the study of the movement and interaction of underground fluids within rocks and sediments. This course uses hydrogeology as a disciplinary framework for learning about groundwater processes, contamination, supply, use, and management. Students engage in practical applications of hydrogeology via discussions, guest lectures, research projects, problem sets, and hands-on experience. Students learn field and laboratory methods for determining and analyzing groundwater flow, contamination, and aquifer properties by working at local sites of interest in central Maine. Prerequisite(s): ENVR 203 or one 100-level geology course. Enrollment limited to 22. [S] B. Johnson. Concentrations
GEO 230. Earth Structure and Dynamics/Lab.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 introductory-level geology course. [S] [L] [Q] [W2] Normally offered every year. J. Eusden. Concentrations
GEO 240. Environmental Geochemistry/Lab.This course is an introduction to the chemistry of geological processes that occur at the Earth's surface. Basic concepts of rock-water interactions, chemical equilibria, and biogeochemical cycling are presented in the context of natural settings as well as those influenced by anthropogenic activity. Students work on local environmental problems, which may include surface and groundwater contamination by salt, arsenic, nutrients, and/or heavy metals; acid mine drainage; and the history of lead deposition. The laboratory includes fieldwork and GIS, chemical analysis of environmental samples using inductively coupled plasma emission spectroscopy, and stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry and modeling using STELLA. Prerequisite(s): any 100-level geology course and CHEM 107A, or CH/ES 107B. Enrollment limited to 20. [S] [L] [Q] [W2] Normally offered every year. B. Johnson. Concentrations Interdisciplinary Programs.
GEO 310. Quaternary Geology/Lab.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/Lab.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 320. Coastal and Estuarine Processes.This course explores the form and evolution of coasts: the connections between physical processes in the atmosphere and ocean; the underlying geology; and the erosion, transport, and deposition of sediment in coastal environments. Students examine the role of waves, tides, storms, and changes in climate and sea level by studying physical oceanographic and modern sedimentary processes in coastal environments and investigating coastal change as recorded in coastal stratigraphic sequences. The course includes weekend field trips for the collection of oceanographic data and sediment samples that are used for student projects. Prerequisite(s): any 200-level geology course. Enrollment limited to 18. Staff. Concentrations
GEO 340. Stable Isotope Geochemistry/Lab.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): CHEM 107A, CH/ES 107B, or FYS 398, and any 200-level geology course. Recommended background: GEO 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 365. Special Topics.A course reserved for a special topic selected by the department. Instructor permission is required. Concentrations
GEO 381. The Lithosphere/Lab.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. This 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/Lab.A study of the Appalachian Mountain Belt. The purpose of the course 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 conduct independent work and 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. Seniors 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 public presentation and an oral defense are scheduled during final week of the semester. Students register for GEO 457 in the fall semester. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff. Concentrations
GEO 458. Senior Thesis.Senior ThesisThe 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. Seniors 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 public presentation and an oral defense are scheduled during final week of the winter semester. Students register for GEO 458 in the winter semester. [W3] Normally offered every year. M. Retelle. ConcentrationsShort 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. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 20. [Q] Staff. Concentrations
ES/GE s21. Field Studies in Geology.This course introduces students to field studies in geology. Three different geologic settings (bedrock geology, geomorphology, and hydrology) are the focus of three week-long field projects. Each project is followed by laboratory analysis and compilation of the field data in the form of maps, cross sections, and lab reports. Students learn how to map and analyze spatial datasets using mobile GIS field methods and ArcGIS techniques as well as methods in environmental sampling and modeling. Students examine exposures of bedrock on the Maine coast, glacial features in downeast Maine, and river systems in central Maine. This course provide students with a basic toolkit for fieldwork in geology and environmental studies. Prerequisite(s): one 100-level geology course. Enrollment limited to 30. B. Johnson, J. Eusden. Concentrations
GEO s24. Geology of the Southwestern United States.This course focuses on developing geologic field method and mapping skills in a variety of southwestern United States settings. Students work in a variety of rock types and structural styles to complete several field projects. Locations for projects include extension complexes of Death Valley, California; Proterozoic basement rocks of New Mexico; and fold-and-thrust and rift structures in the Franklin Mountains of Texas and New Mexico. Students also explore the tectonic history and development of the North American Cordillera. This course includes a camping experience, with accommodations in tents, with communal meals prepared by the group. Prerequisite: one introductory geology course. Recommendations: two introductory geology courses. Enrollment limited to 8. Instructor permission is required. Staff. Concentrations
GEO s31. Limnology and Paleolimnology of Lakes in Northern New England/Lab.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: GEO 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/Lab.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/Lab.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 mitigate coastal hazards. Prerequisite(s): GEO 103, 104, 107, 108, or 109. Enrollment limited to 14. [S] [L] [Q] B. Johnson. 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