http://www.as.miami.edu/geology

Dept. Code: GSC

Introduction

Geological Sciences is concerned with Planet Earth, its origin, evolution, structure, internal and surface processes, mineral resources, environmental preservation, global dynamics, paleoclimate reconstruction, and life history. Geologists use their knowledge of chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics to solve Earth problems.

Educational Objectives

Geological Sciences undergraduates are prepared for careers in industry as well as graduate study in geosciences, the environmental sciences, and marine sciences. Career paths include research and teaching, as well as employment in the petroleum and mineral industries and in industries and government organizations concerned with energy resources, geodynamics, the marine environment, conservation, and climate change.

Degree Programs

The Department of Geological Sciences offers three undergraduate degree major programs and two double major programs:

  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Geological Sciences
  • Five-year Master of Science Program (M.S.)
  • Geological Sciences/Marine Science (Double Major)
  • Geological Science/Ecosystem Science and Policy (Double Major)

For the Geoscience Graduate Program please see the Department of Marine Geosciences at the RSMAS campus.

Double Major

Double majors are offered in cooperation with the Marine and Atmospheric Science Program and the Ecosystem Science and Policy Program.

Marine Science (MSC)

This program consists of a major in the Geological Sciences and a major in Marine Science. Interested students should read the information under Marine and Atmospheric Science in this Bulletin and contact the Marine Science office (184 Cox Science or 305-284-2180) for details.

Ecosystem Science and Policy (ECS)

This program consists of a major in Geological Sciences and a major in Ecosystem Science and Policy (ECS). Interested students should read the information under ECS in this bulletin and contact the ECS office (058 Cox).

Departmental Honors

Honors in Geological Sciences may be earned by students in good standing within the University Honors program. In addition to their general requirements, a student must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or better, and also perform research beginning prior to their senior year, resulting in a written Honor’s Thesis and oral defense approved by the student’s thesis advisor.

Writing and Communications Requirement

To satisfy the College of Arts and Sciences writing and communications requirement in the discipline, students majoring in Geological Sciences should take at least two of the following courses (GSC 114, GSC 310, GSC 462, GSC 560).

Minor in Geological Sciences

GSC 101. Origin and Evolution of Planet Earth. 3 Credit Hours.

The origin of the elements and the evolution of the universe. The formation and early evolution of the solar system. The differentiation of the earth into core, mantle, and crust. Origin of the oceans and atmosphere.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall & Spring.

GSC 102. Evolution of the Biosphere. 3 Credit Hours.

The physical basis of life. The origin, early evolution, history of life on Earth. Emphasis on major crises and innovations, including the evolution of modern man.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, & Summer.

GSC 103. Evolution of the Modern Earth's Environment. 3 Credit Hours.

The earth's crust: composition and morphology. Ocean and atmosphere: radiation balance and dynamics. Climatology and paleoclimatology. The ice ages and the evolution of the modern environment. The relationships between the geological environment and human activities.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, & Summer.

GSC 105. THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT. 3 Credit Hours.

Anthropogenic effects on the Earth's environment compared to analogous natural events.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, & Summer.

GSC 106. Geological Influences on Society. 3 Credit Hours.

Impact of geological processes on daily human activities and decision-making. Geological hazards and human habitation. Economic geology and exploration of natural resources. Influences of geology on other disciplines.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

GSC 107. Natural Disasters - Hollywood Vs. Reality. 3 Credit Hours.

This course will explore the causes, effects and societal responses to disasters. We will look at a variety of natural hazards and related disasters including flooding, volcanoes, landslides, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunami and drought. Using excerpted segments of "disaster films" in conjunction with scientific treatments, we can identify the causes, frequency, consequences, risks, and public perceptions of natural hazards.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

GSC 108. The Geologic Record. 3 Credit Hours.

Analysis of the rock record to determine the geologic history using knowledge of rocks, minerals, fossils, and stratigraphy.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall.

GSC 110. The Earth System. 3 Credit Hours.

Interactions among the major components of the Earth System - the geosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere. To be taken concurrently with GSC 114 lab section.
Corequisite: GSC 114.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, & Summer.

GSC 111. Earth System History. 4 Credit Hours.

Earth History, beginning with earliest origins and surveying major steps in the evolution of the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall & Spring.

GSC 114. Earth Processes Lab. 2 Credit Hours.

Minerals, rocks, sediments, maps, imagery, fossils and paleoenvironmental reconstruction methods. Current frontiers of knowledge and field introduction to marine geology. Co-requisite: GSC 110.
Corequisite: GSC 110.
Components: LAB.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall & Spring.

GSC 204. Environmental Statistics. 3 Credit Hours.

This introductory course provides an overview of parametric and nonparametric statistics with an emphasis on applications in the analysis of environmental data.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall & Spring.

GSC 230. Reef Systems Through Time. 3 Credit Hours.

Interacting geological, physical, chemical, biological, and climatic processes that define a reefal setting and system. Field trips included.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

GSC 231. Field Study of Reef Systems Through Time. 2 Credit Hours.

Fossil reef systems of the Paleozoic age in west Texas and New Mexico. Components, fabrics, and facies relationships. Field Methods. Visit to the Permian reef complex at Alamogordo. Carlsbad and Mississippian, Pennsylvanian and Permian reef mounds near Alamogordo. Fee required.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

GSC 240. Introduction to Marine Geology. 3 Credit Hours.

Learn about the origin, structure and evolution of the ocean basins and their margins, including interpretation of the paleo-archives hidden on the seafloor. The course material is necessarily broad, covering marine geography, plate tectonics, active and passive margins, coastal and ocean processes, sediment processes, continental margin and seafloor resources, and climate and ocean history and interactions. Our approach will be interdisciplinary, requiring integration of chemical, physical and biological systems, as well as geologic processes. A special emphasis will be placed on learning to read the sediment record as an archive of information on biologic and climate evolution.
Prerequisite: GSC 110, and GSC 114 or GSC 111.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

GSC 260. Earth Materials. 4 Credit Hours.

Physical and optical properties of common rock-forming minerals and their occurrence in igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary rocks, and ore deposits. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory, 4 hours.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall.

GSC 309. Microbes and the Environment. 3 Credit Hours.

This course is designed to provide students in geology, biology and environmental science a fundamental understanding of the role microbes play in shaping the Earth and its environments as well as the basic principles and approaches to studying these interactions in both modern and ancient settings. The metabolic diversity displayed by microbial communities makes them an integral component of global elemental cycles. In this regard, microorganisms have shaped our planet over the past 4 billion years and continue to do so in a very prominent way. The goal of this course is to learn about microbial diversity and metabolism, and the ability of microbes to shape and influence the environment.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall.

GSC 311. Field Study of Volcanoes and Society. 2 Credit Hours.

Field trip to Popocatepetl and surrounding sites near Mexico City. Nature and impact of explosive volcanic eruptions on prehistoric civilizations. Fee required.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

GSC 360. Depositional and Diagenetic Systems. 4 Credit Hours.

Sedimentary processes, sedimentology, and sedimentary diagenesis. Physical, biological and chemical sedimentation in Earth's surficial environments. Paleoenvironmental and diagenetic history reconstruction using petrologic, hand specimen, and field methods. Cyclicity in sedimentary systems. Lecture, 3 hours; field/ laboratory, 3 hours.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall.

GSC 380. Paleontology and Stratigraphy. 4 Credit Hours.

Biostratigraphy, paleoecology, taphonomy, micro- and macro-evolutionary processes, and physical and chemical methods used for stratigraphic correlation. Major groups of invertebrate phyla comprising the bulk of the fossil record. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory, 2 hours.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

GSC 401. Senior Internship. 3 Credit Hours.

Field and laboratory studies conducted in conjunction with an approved academic environmental or industrial research laboratory or agency.
Components: THI.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Offered by Announcement Only.

GSC 410. Environmental Geochemistry. 3 Credit Hours.

Natural distribution of the elements on earth, and how this is being changed. Radioactivity and energy, greenhouse warming and ozone depletion, water and waste and other environmental problems.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall & Spring.

GSC 420. Geophysics. 3 Credit Hours.

The earth's gravitational field. Geomagnetism and paleomagnetism. Seismology. Heat flow. Plate tectonics. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory, 2 hours.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

GSC 424. Origin and Geology of the Galapagos Islands. 3 Credit Hours.

This course explores the origin and geology of volcanic oceanic islands, using the Galapagos Islands as a natural laboratory. Though all share a common origin in. plate tectonic theory, each island presents a host of environments that originate in the processes of volcanic action, erosion and hydrology. Individual islands therefore develop distinctive ecosystems within which organisms interact and evolve. The emphasis of this course will be to lay out the underlying geological processes that have led to the formation of the islands and to their present state, and to explore through daily field excursions a wide suite of volcanic features displayed on Isabela Island.
Prerequisite: GSC 110.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall.

GSC 440. Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology. 4 Credit Hours.

Genesis and classification of igneous and metamorphic rocks, field relationships of rock assemblages, and results of recent laboratory investigations. Identification of common rock types in hand specimens and by thin-section and X-ray diffraction techniques. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory, 3 hours.
Prerequisite: GSC 260.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall.

GSC 462. Earth's Ancient Atmospheres, Climates, And Sea Levels. 3 Credit Hours.

The Earth's atmospheres, climates, and sea level from the early Pre-Cambrian to present. Focus is placed on how the study of Earth's past is relevant to both modern and future climate change.
Prerequisite: GSC 110 and GSC 111.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

GSC 480. Structural Geology. 4 Credit Hours.

Behavior of rock materials; analysis, description and classification of geologic folds, faults, joints; analysis of rock fabrics; tectonic and geologic history of continents and continental margins. Lecture, 2 hours; laboratory, 2 hours.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

GSC 482. Field Methods. 2 Credit Hours.

Field and laboratory exercises in mapping. Interpretation of aerial and satellite photographics; coring and laboratory meets two hours/week. Field portion is on alternate Saturdays plus four day trip to Appalachians or Caribbean.
Components: LAB.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

GSC 490. Senior Thesis. 3 Credit Hours.

Individual, original research of independent study supervised by a member of the Departmental faculty and concluded by formal thesis preparation, public oral defense and submission of the thesis to the Department.
Components: THI.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, & Summer.

GSC 491. Senior Thesis. 3 Credit Hours.

Individual, original research of independent study supervised by a member of the Departmental faculty and concluded by formal thesis preparation, public oral defense and submission of the thesis to the Department.
Components: THI.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, & Summer.

GSC 550. Hydrogeology. 3 Credit Hours.

Movement of subterraneous water. The mechanical, chemical and thermal interaction of water with porous solids, and the transport of energy and chemical constituents. The origin of porosity and permeability. The controls exerted on aquifers by the lithology, stratigraphy and structure of geologic deposits and formations.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall.

GSC 560. Colloquium - Current Topics in the Geosciences. 1 Credit Hour.

Weekly presentations and discussions. Written and oral presentations required.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall.

GSC 561. Colloquium - Current Topics in the Geosciences. 1 Credit Hour.

Weekly presentations and discussions. Written and oral presentations required.
Components: DIS.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring.

GSC 574. Special Studies. 1-4 Credit Hours.

Students engaged in approved field and/or laboratory activities, such as work at sea or in the laboratory under supervision, may register for credit.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, & Summer.

GSC 575. Special Studies. 1-4 Credit Hours.

Students engaged in approved field and/or laboratory activities, such as work at sea or in the laboratory under supervision, may register for credit.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, & Summer.

GSC 576. Special Studies. 1-4 Credit Hours.

Students engaged in approved field and/or laboratory activities, such as work at sea or in the laboratory under supervision, may register for credit.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, & Summer.

GSC 580. Summer Field Geology. 4 Credit Hours.

An intensive four-week summer field laboratory study of modern geological processes and ancient rock sequences. Mapping, description and interpretation of rock and structural sequences, paleoenvironmental reconstruction, interpretation of tectonic history. Reports required. Touring course. Travel fee required.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring & Summer.

GSC 581. Summer Field Environmental Geology. 2 Credit Hours.

Field evaluation of environmental geology problems in marine, coastal, wetland and terrestrial environments. Effects of human alteration of landscape, natural hazards, pollution of ground water, surface water and soils. Role of climate change on surficial environments. Reports required. Touring course. Travel fee required. Co-requisite: GSC 580.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Spring & Summer.

GSC 582. Field Studies. 1-4 Credit Hours.

Conducted field trips to selected geological sites in the United States and abroad. Report required.
Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Offered by Announcement Only.

GSC 596. Research in Geology. 1-4 Credit Hours.


Components: LEC.
Grading: GRD.
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, & Summer.