Earth and Climate Sciences

Professors Eusden, Johnson (chair), and Retelle; Associate Professor Robert; Lecturer Saha (Earth and Climate Sciences and Physics)


Earth and climate sciences are key to addressing scientific issues relating to energy, mineral, and water resource security, ecosystem and environmental stewardship, hazards risk assessment, adaptation and mitigation, and climate variability and change. In the Department of Earth and Climate Sciences, students learn the founding principles including an in-depth knowledge of earth materials, Earth’s climate system, geologic time, surface processes, field relationships, tectonics, cycles and cycling, and the earth system, as applied to the understanding of earth processes, earth history, climate change, and natural hazards. The department stresses the importance of communication, collaboration, and hands-on experiential learning in the field, the laboratory, and the classroom. Students work with their peers and faculty to answer fundamental questions and to solve real-world problems. Given the college's location in Maine with ready access to a wide variety of diverse geologic environments, students have excellent opportunities for experiential learning, whether in the classroom, the laboratory, or the field, and through independent research, at all levels of the curriculum.

Earth and climate sciences strives to instill in students a life-long curiosity of the Earth across vast spatial and temporal scales. The curriculum provides the fundamentals of engaging science while illuminating the power of scientific literacy in informing social issues, thus better preparing students to be engaged citizens. Courses prepare students for professional careers and to be well-informed citizens who use their expertise ethically to contribute to equity and social justice.

Students in the Class of 2024 and beyond major and minor in earth and climate sciences. The major offers students the opportunity to learn field, laboratory, and computational skills. Select courses from environmental studies, physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and digital and computational studies may also count toward the major. Students in the classes of 2021, 2022, and 2023 major and minor in geology.

More information about the department may be found on the website (www.bates.edu/earth-climate-sciences.)

Major Requirements for the Class of 2024 and beyond

The major consists of eleven courses (nine core courses plus two electives) and a one- or two-semester thesis. Students may design their major by choosing from a suite of courses at all levels of the curriculum.

Core Courses



1) Introductory courses:
a) One of the following earth sciences courses:
EACS 104. Plate Tectonics and Tectonic Hazards/Lab.
EACS 107. Katahdin to Acadia: Field Geology in Maine/Lab.

b) One of the following climate sciences courses:
FYS 476. Coastal Hazards.
EACS 103. Earth Surface Environments and Environmental Change/Lab.
EACS 109. Earth's Climate System/Lab.
EA/PH 119. The Anthropocene.

2) Intermediate-level courses (each course below requires one introduction to earth and climate sciences core course as a prerequisite)
Four of from the following:
EACS 210. Sedimentary Processes and Environments/Lab.
EACS 223. Earth Materials/Lab
EACS 230. Earth Structure and Dynamics/Lab.
EACS 240. Environmental Geochemistry/Lab.
EA/PH 220. Dynamical Climate (recommended by the department) or MA/PH 255E. Nonlinear Models and Chaos or PHYS 216. Computational Physics.

3) Upper-level courses
a) One of the following earth sciences courses:
EACS 304. Planetary Geology.
EACS 383. The Lithosphere/Lab.
EACS 391. Seminar in Appalachian Geology/Lab.

b) One of the following climate sciences courses:
ENVR 310. Soils/Lab.
EACS 341. Stable Isotope Geochemistry.

4) One earth and climate sciences Short Term course

Elective Courses


Two of the following:
BI/EA 113. Marine Science.
BIO 190. Organismal Biology/Lab.
BIO 195. Lab-Based Biological Inquiry.
BIO 244. Biostatistics.
BIO 270. Ecology and Evolution/Lab.
CHEM 107A. Atomic and Molecular Structure/Lab.
CHEM 108A. Chemical Reactivity/Lab.
CHEM 215. Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry.
DCS 108. Introduction to Computation for Science and Mathematics.
ENVR 203. Scientific Approaches to Environmental Issues/Lab.
ENVR 240. Water and Watersheds/Lab.
EA/ES 217. Mapping and GIS.
EA/ES 226. Hydrogeology.
EACS 360. Independent Study.
EACS 458. Senior Thesis. (taken in addition to EACS 457, creating a year-long thesis).
MATH 105. Calculus I.
MATH 106. Calculus II.
PHYS 107. Introductory Physics of Living Systems I/Lab.
PHYS 108. Introductory Physics of Living Systems II/Lab.
PHYS s10. Basic Computational Science Lab Skills.
A second earth and climate sciences Short Term course
A third 300-level earth and climate sciences course

Senior Thesis

A one-semester thesis (EACS 457) is required of all majors. EACS 457 must be completed during the fall semester of senior year. The two-semester thesis option (EACS 457 and 458) is reserved for honors candidates only. To qualify for the honors program, students must present a detailed proposal to the department the spring of their junior year, must earn an A- or better in EACS 457, have the support of their thesis advisor, and must sustain a minimum GPA of 3.5 in their earth and climate sciences courses.

The department normally accepts only two non-Bates courses toward the major. Typically these courses are used to fulfill a 300-level earth and climate sciences course and an elective.

Major Requirements for the Classes of 2021, 2022, and 2023

The major requirements include eight core courses, four elective courses, and a one- or two-semester thesis.

Core Courses

One of the following:
EACS 103. Earth Surface Environments and Environmental Change/Lab.
EACS 104. Plate Tectonics and Tectonic Hazards.
EACS 107. Katahdin to Acadia: Field Geology in Maine/Lab.
EACS 109. Earth's Climate System/Lab.
FYS 476. Coastal Hazards.

All of the following:
EACS 210. Sedimentary Processes and Environments/Lab.
EACS 223. Earth Materials/Lab.
EACS 230. Earth Structure and Dynamics/Lab.
EACS 240. Environmental Geochemistry/Lab.

Two 300-level earth and climate sciences courses.

One earth and climate sciences Short Term course.

Elective Courses

Students must take two courses from List A and two courses from List B.

List A:
EA/ES 217. Mapping and GIS.
EA/PH 220. Dynamical Climate.
EA/ES 226. Hydrogeology.
EACS 360. Independent Study.
EACS 458. Senior Thesis. (taken in addition to EACS 457, creating a year-long thesis)
A second Short Term earth and climate sciences course.
A third 300-level earth and climate sciences course
One or two 200- or 300-level courses may be transferred from an off-campus study program as electives with prior approval of the department.

List B:
BI/EA 113. Marine Science.
BIO 190. Organismal Biology/Lab.
BIO 195. Lab-Based Biological Inquiry.
BIO 244. Biostatistics.
BIO 270. Ecology and Evolution/Lab.
CHEM 107A. Atomic and Molecular Structure/Lab.
CHEM 108A. Chemical Reactivity/Lab.
ENVR 203. Scientific Approaches to Environmental Issues/Lab.
ENVR 240. Water and Watersheds/Lab.
ENVR 310. Soils/Lab.
FYS 274. Physics in the Twentieth Century/Lab.
MATH 105. Calculus I.
MATH 106. Calculus II.
PHYS 107. Introductory Physics of Living Systems I/Lab.
PHYS 108. Introductory Physics of Living Systems II/Lab.

The department normally accepts only two non-Bates courses toward the major. These two courses are counted as electives under list A in the major requirements.

Senior Thesis

A one-semester thesis (EACS 457) is required of all majors. EACS 457 must be completed during the fall semester of senior year. The two- semester thesis option (EACS 457 and 458) is reserved for honors candidates only. To qualify for the honors program, students must present a detailed proposal to the department the spring of their junior year, must earn an A- or better in EACS 457, have the support of their thesis advisor, and must sustain a minimum GPA of 3.5 in their earth and climate sciences courses.

B.S. Degree for Earth and Climate Sciences and Geology Majors

Students planning careers in the earth, climate, or environmental sciences are encouraged to complete a two-semester thesis (EACS 457 and 458), and to complete the Bachelor of Science degree requirements, detailed in the Academic Program section of the catalog.

Pass/Fail Grading Option

Pass/fail grading may not be elected for any course used to fulfill the major requirements.

Minor Requirements

Students may complete a minor in earth and climate sciences (Class of 2024 and beyond) or geology (Classes of 2021, 2022, and 2023) by taking seven courses distributed as follows:

One 100-level earth and climate sciences course, or FYS 476. Coastal Hazards.

Three of the following five courses:
EACS 210. Sedimentary Processes and Environments/Lab.
EA/PH 220. Dynamical Climate.
EACS 223. Earth Materials/Lab.
EACS 230. Earth Structure and Dynamics/Lab.
EACS 240. Environmental Geochemistry/Lab.

Three additional earth and climate sciences courses at the 200 or 300 level, including Short Term courses, and pre-approved earth and climate sciences courses taken in off-campus study programs.

Students completing the environmental studies major with an Ecology and Earth Systems concentration and an earth and climate sciences or geology minor may count no more than one course toward both.

Students completing a double major in earth and climate sciences or geology and in environmental studies with an Ecology and Earth Systems concentration may count no more than two courses toward both majors.

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 contemplating a major in earth and climate sciences or geology or an interdisciplinary major or double major are strongly encouraged to consult with the earth and climate sciences faculty during their first or second year to plan an appropriate program of study. All programs are subject to departmental approval.

Guidelines for Earth and Climate Sciences and Geology Majors Regarding Off-Campus Study


1) The department recommends 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 course; a minimum of three 200-level courses; and one Short Term course.
3) The department expects that majors take all four 200-level courses at Bates.
4) The department expects that majors will have completed the following major requirements prior to their senior year: all four 200-level core courses and one 300-level course.
5) All applications for off-campus study require approval of the major advisor and the department chair.
6) Applications that involve exceptions to the above guidelines require a petition review and approval by the department.

Courses
EACS 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 local geologic settings and to the Maine coast. Not open to students who have received credit for GEO 103. Enrollment limited to 29. Normally offered every year. [L] [Q] [S] [SR] M. Retelle.
Concentrations
EACS 104. Plate Tectonics and 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. Not open to students who have received credit for GEO 104. Enrollment limited to 26. Normally offered every year. [L] [Q] [QF] [S] [SR] G. Robert.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

EACS 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 field trips to local geologic settings. 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 or GEO 107. Enrollment limited to 29. Normally offered every year. [L] [Q] [QF] [S] [SR] J. Eusden.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

EACS 109. Earth’s Climate System/Lab.
The Earth 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 climate and environmental change on regional and global scales. In this course, students examine the Earth’s climate 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. Experiential learning may include field trips to sites that illustrate environmental change on local and regional scales and analysis of large data sets. Not open to students who have received credit for GEO 109. Enrollment limited to 29. Normally offered every year. [L] [Q] [S] B. Johnson.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

BI/EA 113. Marine Science.
An integrated, interdisciplinary marine science overview encompassing physical, biological, and social aspects of the marine environment. Oceanography topics encompass origins and geological history of the oceans, structure of basins and sediments, ocean chemistry, as well as currents, waves, and tides. Biological subjects include diversity, physiology, and behavior of marine organisms, ecology of major marine communities, and global change biology. Social considerations include human impacts on marine environments (including fisheries) and conservation. Not open to students who have received credit for BI/GE 113. Enrollment limited to 39. (Community-Engaged Learning.) [Q] [QF] [S] [SR] Staff.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

EA/PH 119. The Anthropocene.
This research-based course examines the current geological epoch, the Anthropocene, where humans are the agents of environmental change. How does climate change at present differ from those in the past? How do we know humans really are the drivers of climate change? How can we expect climate change to manifest in the near future? Why is biodiversity important? The course addresses these questions from scientific and mathematical perspectives. The course also critically examines IPCC projections and proposals like the Green New Deal. Students construct their own narrative of the course topics through independent or collaborative research. Normally offered every year. [L] [Q] [S] R. Saha.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

EACS 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 earth and climate sciences course. Not open to students who have received credit for GEO 210. Enrollment limited to 29. [W2] Normally offered every year. [L] [Q] [QF] [S] [SR] M. Retelle.
Concentrations
EA/ES 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 100-level course in earth and climate sciences or one 200-level course in environmental studies. Not open to students who have received credit for ES/GE 217. Enrollment limited to 19. [L] [Q] [QF] [S] [SR] J. Eusden.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

EA/PH 220. Dynamical Climate.
An introduction to the dynamical behavior of climate on geologic and human timescales. Simple conceptual models are developed, with the goal of understanding the role of feedbacks, stability, and abrupt changes. Topics include the basic physics of climate, El Niño/La Niña, climate models, the greenhouse effect and global warming, and glacial cycles. Python is used as the main computational tool; no prior experience is required. Prerequisite(s): MATH 106 and any 100-level earth and climate sciences course. Not open to students who have received credit for GE/PH 220. Enrollment limited to 29. Normally offered every year. [Q] [QF] [S] [SR] R. Saha.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

EACS 223. Earth Materials/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 rocks. This course covers the occurrence and composition of the common rock-forming minerals; the mineral reactions and assemblages typical of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary environments; and applications to a range of tectonic processes. The laboratory involves the identification of minerals and the determination of mineral composition in hand specimen and by optical microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry, and X-ray diffraction. Prerequisite(s): one introductory earth and climate sciences course. Not open to students who have received credit for GEO 223. Enrollment limited to 29. [W2] Normally offered every year. [L] [Q] [QF] [S] [SR] G. Robert.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

EA/ES 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 earth and climate sciences course. Not open to students who have received credit for ES/GE 226. Enrollment limited to 22. [QF] [S] [SR] B. Johnson.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

EACS 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 may take place throughout Maine and the mountains of the northern Appalachians. Prerequisite(s): any 100-level earth and climate sciences course. Not open to students who have received credit for GEO 230. Enrollment limited to 29. [W2] Normally offered every year. [L] [Q] [QF] [S] [SR] J. Eusden.
Concentrations
EACS 240. Environmental Geochemistry/Lab.
Environmental geochemistry draws from concepts in earth, climate, and environmental sciences, biology, and chemistry to study the behavior of natural and anthropogenic materials as they cycle through the various components of the Earth System. In this introduction to the field, students explore rock-water interactions, chemical equilibria, and biogeochemical cycling and develop field, laboratory, and modeling skills to work on local current environmental problems. Students may investigate climate change; mitigation and adaptation; surface and groundwater contamination by salt, arsenic, nutrients, and/or heavy metals; acid mine drainage; and the history of atmospheric lead deposition. The laboratory includes fieldwork, 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 earth and climate sciences course. Not open to students who have received credit for GEO 240. Enrollment limited to 19. [W2] Normally offered every year. [L] [Q] [QF] [S] [SR] B. Johnson.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

EACS 304. Planetary Geology.
An introduction to the physical states, interior structures, chemistry, petrology, geology, and geologic processes of solar systems bodies: planets, moons, asteroids, comets, sun. The course covers nucleosynthesis and the formation and evolution of the Solar System. Prerequisite(s) or corequisite(s): EACS 223. Recommended background: introductory courses in chemistry and/or physics or EACS 383. Not open to students who have received credit for GEO 304. Enrollment limited to 15. [Q] [QF] [S] [SR] G. Robert.
EACS 341. 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 course may include 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 and any 200-level earth and climate sciences course. Recommended background: EACS 240. Not open to students who have received credit for GEO 340 or 341. Enrollment limited to 15. [Q] [QF] [S] [SR] B. Johnson.
EACS 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.
EACS 383. The Lithosphere/Lab.
The formation and occurrence of rocks in the lithosphere are directly relatable to plate tectonic processes. Tectonic environments such as rift valleys or subduction zones are characterized by specific assemblages of igneous and metamorphic rocks. This course examines rock and mineral assemblages typical of global tectonic environments, the processes by which they are generated, and the methods by which they are studied. Prerequisite(s): any 200-level earth and climate sciences course. Recommended background: EACS 223. Not open to students who have received credit for GEO 383. Enrollment limited to 15. [L] [Q] [QF] [S] [SR] G. Robert.
EACS 391. Seminar in Appalachian Geology.
A study of the Appalachian Mountain Belt and the tectonic evolution of the Appalachian Mountains. Plate tectonic models that are particularly helpful are discussed in detail. Students are expected to conduct independent work and give oral and written reports. Fieldwork may include several day trips and an overnight traverse through the northern Appalachians of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Prerequisite(s): any 200-level earth and climate sciences course. Not open to students who have received credit for GEO 391. Enrollment limited to 15. [Q] [S] J. Eusden.
EACS 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, which includes preparation of an annotated bibliography, a thesis proposal, and timely submission of written results and oral progress reports of thesis research. Students are responsible for scheduling weekly individual meetings with their faculty committee. A public presentation is scheduled during finals week. Students register for EACS 457 in the fall semester. Students conducting a two-semester thesis must register for both EACS 457 and 458. Enrollment limited to 15. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.
EACS 458. Senior Thesis.
The thesis is a program of independent research conducted by the student, on a field, laboratory, and/or computational problem, under the direction of a faculty mentor. Seniors participate in the regularly scheduled seminar, which includes 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 the during the final week of the winter semester. Students register for EACS 458 in the winter semester. Students conducting a two-semester thesis must register for both EACS 457 and 458. Enrollment limited to 15. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.
Short Term Courses
EACS s23. Melts, Glasses, and Magmas/Lab.
The Earth cools as magma transports heat from its interior to the surface, sometimes resulting in spectacular volcanic eruptions. This course explores the factors that control magma behavior in various geologic systems by studying fossil magma chambers in Maine, performing hands-on experiments with food analogs or molten rock in the laboratory at Bates, and working with industrial glass in art studios. Prerequisite(s): any 100-level chemistry, geology, or physics course. Not open to students who have received credit for GEO s23. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 18. [L] [Q] [S] G. Robert.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

EACS 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

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations