Undergraduate Courses in Geology

Subject course numbers in parentheses at the end of the course description represent the course equivalent in the Texas Common Course Numbering system.

GEOL 1401 Introductory Geology I (3-2) This course covers the nature and properties of the materials which make up the earth, the distribution of these materials throughout the earth, the processes (volcanism, glaciation, stream erosion, weathering, etc.) by which these materials are formed, altered, transported and deformed, and the nature and development of the landscapes. (GEOL 1403)

GEOL 1402 Introductory Geology II (3-2) A study of the record of life forms (fauna and flora) that evolved throughout the geologic time 4.5 billion years ago up to the occurrence of man. It also covers the physical changes of the earth through 4.5 billion years of advancing and retreating seas, of deposition and of erosion of rocks, fashioned into mountain ranges -- the entire chronological history of how processes of physical geology have operated. (GEOL 1404) Prerequisite: Geology 1401

GEOL 2401 Crystal and Optical Mineralogy (3-3) Introduction to crystallography, crystal chemistry, and optical mineralogy. Identification of minerals by physical, optical and X-ray diffraction techniques. Prerequisite: Geology 1401, Chemistry 1401

GEOL 2404 Introduction to Environmental Geology (3-2) A course designed for environmental science majors and for persons seeking earth science teacher certification. The course emphasizes the complex relations between the land, sea and atmosphere and human activities. Topics include geologic hazards, land management use, water resources, hazardous waste disposal, energy and mineral resources, conservation of natural resources and atmosphere and ocean sciences. Laboratory will consist of the study of a variety of environmental problems. This course may be used by students seeking earth science teacher certification.

GEOL 2407 Air Photo Interpretation (3-3) This course is designed for students wishing to acquire a broad overview of the surface of the earth as revealed by aerial photography. It will commence with the analysis of geological structures and progress through human interaction with the environment through natural resource management such as forestry and hydrology through agricultural activities and urban planning.

GEOL 3301 Geology of West Texas (3-0) Designed to introduce the non-major to the geology of West Texas, this course contains a brief introduction to general geology followed by outlines of the geologic evolution of the region. Topics range from billion-year-old continental collisions, through deep sea deposition, coral reefs, explosive volcanism, mineral and petroleum deposits, to the evolution of the present-day West Texas landscape. Optional field trips will be available. This course does not count towards advanced hours for Geology majors.

GEOL 3302 Dinosaurs, Earthquakes and Volcanoes (3-0) Recent developments and theories dealing with the changing face of the Earth and some of the animals that lived on it. New views on dinosaurs, their lives and their ultimate extinction. The distribution, causes, effects and prediction of earthquakes and volcanoes.  This course does not count towards advanced hours for Geology majors.

GEOL 3304 Forensic Geology (3-0) The course is divided into two parts; "criminal" forensics and "civil" forensics. The first part examines such things as soil, rock, glass, etc., used in the commission of crimes. The second part looks at case studies of landslides, floods, etc., where people have sued for damages.

GEOL 3401 Interdisciplinary Geographical Information Systems (3-2) This course is designed to introduce the concepts of computer-based spatial data handling, referred to as geographical information systems (GIS). The interdisciplinary approach focuses on bringing students from diverse academic backgrounds together in a team effort to learn the fundamentals of GIS, including data sources, input, manipulation and output presentation. There are no prerequisites, but it is recommended that the student have completed an introductory class in one of the following: geology, geography, biology, natural resource managment or archeology.  Prerequisite: CS1301, OFS1384, equivalent or approval of instructor.

GEOL 3402 Structural Geology (3-3) A study of the structural features (faults, folds, etc.), their classification, identification, occurrence, causes and geographic distribution. Prerequisite: Geology 1401, Math 1316

GEOL 3403 Advanced Geographical Information Systems (3-3) This course is designed to build on the skills learned in the Interdisciplinary GIS class.  Topics will include a review of advanced vector analysis, followed by a detailed coverage of raster based analysis.  Projects will include the creation and manipulation of digital elevation models, classification on aerial and satellite imagery, and vector to raster conversion and analysis.  The projects and assignments will utilize an extensive Trans-Pecos spatial database housed in the Sul Ross GIS lab. Software used will include the Spatial and 3D Analyst extension for ArcGIS and ERDAS Image.  Prerequisite: Geology 3401 or approval of instructor.

GEOL 3408 Stratigraphy and Sedimentation (3-3) A study of the processes governing the formation and distribution of recent sediments, which established the guiding principles used in the classification, correlation and interpretation of ancient, stratified sedimentary rocks. The stratigraphic record is largely the result of the continuity of sedimentary processes through the dimension of geologic time. Prerequisite: Geology 1402

GEOL 3410 Geochemistry (3-1) A survey of the application of chemical principles to the problems of geology. Topics include the origin and distribution of the elements in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. Basic concepts of thermodynamics, solution chemistry and isotope geochemistry will be discussed. Prerequisite: Chemistry 1402

GEOL 3411 Invertebrate Paleontology (3-3) The course deals with the morphology, classification, identification, evolutionary trends and geological distribution of invertebrate fossils. Laboratory work consists of systematic study of index fossils as well as representative fossils of various phyla. Prerequisite: Geology 1402 or permission of the instructor

GEOL 3412 Geomorphology (3-3) An introduction to surficial processes and land forms. Understanding the landscape upon which we live and depend can be of vital importance to nearly everyone from the homeowner to the civil engineer. Fluvial, glacial, coastal, groundwater and weathering processes will be studied along with lithologic and structural influences. Labs will include map and photo interpretation and field studies. Prerequisite: Geology 1401

GEOL 3601 Field Geology (3-6) A six weeks summer field course on the methods or techniques of geologic surveying, the nature and construction of topographic and geologic maps, measurement of stratigraphic sections and preparation of geological reports. Prerequisite: Geology 3402, 3408 or permission of the instructor

GEOL 4101 Research (1-0) Research by the student into a carefully outlined problem in the earth or geologic sciences. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

GEOL 4308 Tectonics (3-2) A general survey of large-scale geologic structures and their relationships on continental and global systems. Detailed study of the origin of continents, ocean basins, geosynclines and major mountain ranges as well as discussions about the concepts of continental drift, plate tectonics and the new global tectonics. Prerequisite: Geology 1401

GEOL 4311 Special Topics (3-0) A course covering various topics in geology. May be repeated for credit when course topic varies.

GEOL 4401 Sedimentary Petrology (3-3) The course concerns the laws of sedimentation, the origin, history, description, classification and interpretation of sedimentary rocks. It also involves determination of the rock types in the source areas. Laboratory work consists of petrographic investigation of thin sections of sedimentary rock types. Prerequisite: Geology 2401, 3408

GEOL 4402 Special Problems (3-3) Individual directed readings and conference on special topics in geology. A lecture or seminar format may be used when sufficient interest exists in a topic.

GEOL 4403 Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology (3-3) A study of the mode of origin, environment, evolution, characteristics and association of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Laboratory consists of hand specimen and petrographic examination of igneous and metamorphic rock suites from differing environments. Prerequisite: Geology 2401 and Chemistry 1401

GEOL 4405 Lunar and Planetary Geology (3-3) A study of the terrestrial planets and moons in which a systematic description of the planetary surfaces will be integrated with geochemical data, mineralogic data and experimental studies in theories of the formation and evolution of terrestrial planets. Prerequisite: Geology 4403

GEOL 4414 Hydrology (3-3) A detailed, analytical, quantitative overview of the general concepts of the Hydrologic Cycle including both surface and groundwater hydrology. Discussion of the major water parameters in the cycle and their interactions. Field and lab exercises as well as lectures dealing with: precipitation; interception and water losses; evaporation; evapotranspiration; infiltration and soil moisture, groundwater movements and aquifers; surface runoff processes and flood hazards; all as related to water in environmental planning. Prerequisite: Geology 1401, Math 1310, 1315 and 1316, or equivalents