Courses in geosciences leading to a bachelor of science degree provide opportunities for research and specialization (including surface and subsurface) in:
- structural geology, structural petrology, and tectonics;
- sedimentology, sedimentary petrology, environmental geochemistry, and diagenesis;
- invertebrate paleontology, paleoecology, and modern carbonate environments;
- petroleum geology and stratigraphy;
- igneous petrology and volcanology;
- hydrogeology and hydrology;
- geomorphology, urban geology, G.I.S., environmental geology, and wetlands; and
Geosciences students planning to specialize in paleontology should elect courses in biology; those planning to specialize in mineralogy and/or petrology should take more chemistry.
Counterpart laboratory for GEO 1309.
In this course, students will gain an understanding of the relationship between the Earth's history and what that history suggests about both Earth's future and the present distribution of natural resources that support civilization.
An examination of the fossil and geologic evidence of the history of life on Earth to help address that fundamental question. This course will emphasize what the fossil records tells us about evolutionary processes, major extinction events in Earth history, the relationship between the Earth’s changing climates and environments and evolution, and the implications of future climate change for life on Earth.
Climate science, emphasizing the physical, chemical, and biological processes and consequences of climate change of the past, present, and future.
This course asks "What makes a planet habitable?" by exploring the origins and inner workings of rocky planets and moons. This course will focus on the geologic processes that are endemic to Earth-like planets and will explore the ways in which NASA spacecraft missions illuminate these processes.
Examines natural water processes, current human impacts on water systems, and future water needs challenged by a growing population and a changing climate. Discussion of issues and potential solutions from a variety of perspectives.
Introduction to oceanography emphasizing human interaction with the oceans: ocean resources, global environmental ethics, and conflicts resulting from ocean exploitation. One Saturday field trip required.
Survey of processes that have shaped the earth, including mountain building, volcanism, deposition of sediments, and landscape development. Plate tectonics integrates all the above into a dynamic theory of the deformation of the earth. Weekly laboratory. Students taking GEO 1405 cannot receive credit for Geo. 1401 or Geo. 1403.
A descriptive survey of the earth sciences including astronomy, geology, meteorology, and oceanography. One Saturday field trip required.
Theory and application of gemology. Topics include crystallography, mineral optics, crystallization conditions, identification, and preparation of gemstones.
The current understanding of the earth as studied in a lab setting through group experimentation and projects. May be repeated with a change in content or topic.
Introduction to the study of the earth by quantitative physical methods, especially by seismic reflection and refraction, gravity, magnetic, electrical, and radiation methods.
An introduction to the processes that control the chemical composition of surface and groundwater. Emphasis on the differentiation between natural geochemical processes and human perturbations of the environment.
Field examination of modern marine environments, including coral reefs, lagoons, deltas, and beaches. Individual research projects emphasize geology or biology of coral reefs. Offered during summer session.
Field study of modern sediments and ancient sedimentary rocks. Physical and biological features of modern sedimentary environments are examined to provide the basis for interpreting ancient environments in the rock record. Offered during summer session.
Theory and principles of hydrology and hydrogeology focusing on the physical processes: the hydrologic cycle, definitions, equations, streams, flooding, erosion, sedimentation and transport, aquifers, groundwater flow and well hydraulics. One or more local field trips required.
1405 and 1406 or (1106 and 1306) or (1106 and 1307). Basic and intermediate concepts related to hydrocarbon origin, migration and accumulation. Review of the design and application of standard analytical techniques and technologies used in hydrocarbon exploration and production.
Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic rocks in hand specimen; crystallography and systematic mineralogy. Occasional field trips.
Origin and evolution of Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic rocks. Includes optical mineralogy of principal rock-forming minerals and thin section study of rocks. Required field trip.
Prerequisite (s): Prerequisite (s): GEO 1406 or (1106 and 1306) or (1106 and 1307) or consent of instructor. Introduction to taxonomy, morphology, evolution, paleoecology and stratigraphic aspects of invertebrate fossils. Emphasis on biostratigraphic and time-stratigraphic concepts, evolutionary trends, speciation, biometrics, facies, faunas, zonation, and correlation. Independent field and lab problems.
Prerequisite (s): GEO 3427 and 3435 or consent of instructor. Study of sediments and sedimentary rocks in the field. The interpretation of geologic history, based on outcrop investigation. Includes numerous written and oral reports, weekly field trips, and occasional weekend field trips. Recommended for junior year.
Prerequisite (s): GEO 1406 or (1106 and 1306) or (1106 and 1307) and GEO 3430 or consent of instructor. The structures of the earth's crust; their classification, origin, and economic aspects; methods of discovery of structures; solution of structural problems; elementary field methods. Two field trips are required.
Undergraduate research undertaken with the supervision of a faculty member. May be taken for a maximum of 6 hours.
Independent research problem. Result will be submitted in proper thesis format with an oral defense.
Research in laboratory or field with faculty or graduate student under direction of faculty. Requires a written report to faculty mentor.
Supervised work experience in a geology-related position with an outside agency or company. This course will allow undergraduates the chance to experience work in an area of their career interest.
Composition of the atmosphere, atmospheric processes, weather disturbances, and climate elements and controls. Emphasis is placed on climate classification and measurements of human inputs into the atmosphere.
A chemical investigation of geological processes and materials in low temperature and pressure environments including important chemical reactions occurring at various stages of the surface cycle.
Theory and application of stable and radioactive isotopes in geology with particular emphasis on the use of stable isotopes in solving environmental, paleoclimate, and hydrogeologic problems.
The chemistry of the earth’s surface. Emphasis on the dynamic chemical and biological reactions on land, in the oceans, and in the atmosphere and their influence upon the global budgets and cycling of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur. Includes field trips.
Study of dynamic processes in solid planetary bodies using mathematical reasoning or MATLAB scripts.
Microbial metabolic processes that have coevolved with the Earth’s surface environment including the changing composition of the upper lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere.
Non-hydrocarbon economic mineral deposits. Origin and migration of ore-bearing fluids; mineralogy and geometry of ore bodies; relations of ore deposits to magnetism and tectonics. Field trip to Central Texas mining district.
Microscopic and field characteristics of sedimentary rocks. Emphasis on interpretation of depositional and diagenetic environments and relationships between geometry of rock bodies and sedimentary processes.
See ENV 4332 for course information.
Analysis of volcanic ejecta. Mechanisms of lava and pyroclastic eruptions. Geomorphological analysis of volcanic landforms. History of volcanological studies and case studies of well-known volcanoes. Field trips.
Principles and practice of X-ray fluorescence and electron probe analysis of geologic materials. Includes extensive laboratory work.
Relationship of fossil plants and animals to their physical and biological environment. Examination of principles of paleosynecology and paleoautecology; data gathering, analysis, and techniques of interpretation.
Continuation of GEO 3341/5333. Field examination of marine environments. Individual research projects emphasize biology and geology of carbonate depositional regimes.
Development and modification of land-surface forms by atmospheric, fluvial, glacial, mass-wasting, volcanic, and tectonic agents. Emphasis is placed on the spatial aspects of landscape evolution.
Basic applied techniques in surface and ground water hydrology. Surface water hydrology will incorporate analysis of precipitation records, runoff processes, and calculation of flood hazard. Ground water hydrology will emphasize hydrogeology techniques, including simple models of ground water movement.
Hydrogeology (ground water hydrology) for geologists and engineers. Topics to be covered include evaporation and precipitation, soil moisture, principles of ground water flow, regional ground water flow, geology of ground water occurrence, flow to wells, ground water chemistry, and ground water development and management.
Concepts and methods of the geosciences applied to solving archaeological problems. Emphasis on stratigraphy, soils, climate, dating techniques, site formation, and site preservation related to both New World and Old World archaeology.
Geologic controls on the formation and accumulation of oil and gas, including concepts, equipment, data types and analytical procedures used in exploration and production.
Theory and application of the wetland concepts: classification, hydrology, biochemistry, soils, vegetation, construction, regulation, and delineation. Field lab.
Fundamentals of soil genesis, classification, geomorphology, ecosystems, and environmental interpretation. Includes the role of soil biogeochemical cycles in past, current, and future global change issues. Field lab.
A survey of important changes in the Earth’s climate using primary literature and the proxies and models used to determine and interpret the causes and effects of these changes.
Details how humans have changed Earth's atmosphere, climate and environments which has challenged the sustainability of the planet. Earth systems models will be examined to highlight past and future climate changes.
A global view on monsoon climate dynamics and variability in the 21st century, the past 20,000 years and into the future.
Physical mechanisms of surface and atmospheric materials absorption, transmittance, reflection, and emittence of light measured by various remote sensing platforms. Survey various applications related to earth science, ecology, meteorology, and environmental science.
The internal and external forcing factors that influence the Earth’s four systems (atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and solid Earth), and how they affect the Earth’s climate.
An examination through morphologic, stratigraphic, and biogeochemical proxy data of the nature of earth environments, focusing on the three most important components: Quaternary stratigraphies, Quaternary chronologies, and Quaternary environmental proxies and their interpretation.
Investigate the chemical composition of organic matter in soils, sediments, and petroleum source rocks. The lab provides experience measuring and interpreting biomarkers and molecular proxies.
The evolutionary history of plants as studied through the fossil record, including preservation, plant morphology and anatomy, and techniques used to reconstruct paleoenvironment and paleoecology. Weekly labs, with one weekend field trip.
Techniques used to extract geological information from three-dimensional seismic reflection data. Laboratory emphasizing interpretation of real data sets, integration of other geologic and geophysical data, and construction of subsurface maps and sections.
Theory of wave propagation in the Earth, earthquake mechanics, Earth structure, interpretation of seismograms, faults, seismotectonics, earthquake locations, magnitudes, and focal mechanisms.
Exploration geophysics, using gravity, magnetics, heat flow, telluric currents, resistivity, and other methods of remote sensing of hidden geological phenomena exclusive of seismic exploration. Laboratory work will emphasize geological interpretation of geophysical data.
Exploration geophysics, using latest seismic techniques and well-log analyses, with emphasis on petroleum exploration.
The course covers the use of GIS to acquire primary geographic data, solve geographic problems, automate geographic analysis, and render explanations for geographic patterns and trends. Students will use the latest GIS software and data layers in a lab section.
See ENV 4487 for course information.
Practice in the efficient, accurate, and cost effective acquisition of geophysical data in the field. The course will involve field practice with gravimeters, magnetometers, borehole drilling and logging devices, exploration seismic gear, surface electrical prospecting equipment, physical laboratory models, and digital data processing equipment as specific equipment is available from summer to summer. Field work will be conducted on a weekly schedule of at least five half days, with data reduction taking up the remaining time.
Includes extended field trip, oral and written reports, sample identification, and design of field problems. Synthesis of undergraduate curriculum through geological mapping and interpretation of field processes.
Course may be repeated with a change in content or topic.
Undergraduate research undertaken with the supervision of a faculty member. May be taken for a maximum of 6 hours.