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Geology

The bachelor of science major in Geology prepares the student for a professional career and/or graduate study in the geological sciences. Graduates work to understand natural processes on Earth and other planets. They are able to apply their knowledge of forces and factors that shape the Earth to reconstruct past environments and anticipate future problems. Graduates provide essential information for solving problems for resource management, environmental protection, and public health, safety, and welfare. They work as consultants on engineering and environmental problems, explorers for new minerals and hydrocarbon resources, researchers, staff members in state and U.S. geological surveys, government regulators, teachers, writers, editors, and museum curators. Graduates are able to integrate field and laboratory data and to prepare reports. They are able to make presentations that include maps and diagrams that illustrate the results of their studies.

Geology Double Major/Double Degree Options: The Geology program has identified the core of 31 credits of geology courses that can complement a BS degree in materials engineering, civil engineering, environmental science, or biology for students wishing to earn a major or second BS in geology. The Geology Double Major/Degree programs allow students in academic programs with affinity to geology to complete both programs in four years. These programs open up the opportunity to pursue careers or a graduate degree in the geosciences. Please contact Dr. Cinzia Cervato for more information regarding the Geology Double Major/Degree programs. See suggested pathways on the Four Year Plan link.

Combined Degrees: A concurrent program is offered which combines a bachelor of science degree in geology and a master of science degree in geology. This program gives well-qualified Iowa State juniors and seniors the opportunity to begin working on the M.S. degree before completing the B.S. degree, reducing by at least one year the normal time period necessary to complete both degrees separately. Review the department website or contact the current program head for more information regarding this option.

Required courses for BS in Geology include:

GEOL 100How the Earth Works3
or GEOL 101 Environmental Geology: Earth in Crisis
GEOL 100LHow the Earth Works: Laboratory1
GEOL 102History of the Earth3
GEOL 102LHistory of the Earth: Laboratory1
GEOL 302Summer Field Studies6
GEOL 315Mineralogy and Earth Materials3
GEOL 315LLaboratory in Mineralogy and Earth Materials1
GEOL 316Optical Mineralogy1
GEOL 356Structural Geology and Tectonics4
GEOL 357Geological Mapping and Field Methods1
GEOL 365Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology3
GEOL 368Sedimentary Geology4
GEOL 479Surficial Processes3
And 9 credits of geology electives9
Total Credits43

Required supporting courses include:

MATH 165Calculus I4
MATH 166Calculus II4
CHEM 177General Chemistry I4
CHEM 177LLaboratory in General Chemistry I1
CHEM 178General Chemistry II3
CHEM 178LLaboratory in College Chemistry II1
PHYS 111General Physics5
PHYS 112General Physics5
And 6 additional credits of either geology electives or courses from an approved departmental list of science, engineering, and mathematical disciplines outside of geology.6
Total Credits33

No more than 9 credits in 490 may be counted toward a degree in Geology.

Communication Proficiency requirement: According to the university-wide Communication Proficiency Grade Requirement, students must demonstrate their communication proficiency by earning a grade of C or better in ENGL 250. The department requires a grade of C or better in ENGL 309 or ENGL 314.

ENGL 150Critical Thinking and Communication3
ENGL 250Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Composition3
or ENGL 250H Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Composition: Honors
One of the following:3
Proposal and Report Writing
Technical Communication
Total Credits9

Minor - Geology

A minor in Geology may be earned by taking 15 credits of geology coursework, including:

3 credits:
GEOL 100How the Earth Works3
or GEOL 201 Geology for Engineers and Environmental Scientists
or GEOL 101 Environmental Geology: Earth in Crisis
GEOL 100LHow the Earth Works: Laboratory1
GEOL 102History of the Earth3
GEOL 102LHistory of the Earth: Laboratory1

Although many students will take GEOL 100 as the first course in this sequence, GEOL 101 or GEOL 201 may be taken in place of GEOL 100. Note: all students must take GEOL 100L (How the Earth Works: Laboratory). The remainder of the coursework should be at the 300 level or above. 

FOUR YEAR PLAN

Below is a suggested pathway for new majors.

Geology, B.S.

Freshman
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
ENGL 1503GEOL 1023 
GEOL 100 or 1013GEOL 102L1 
GEOL 100L1CHEM 1783 
CHEM 1774CHEM 178L1 
CHEM 177L1MATH 1664 
MATH 1654Arts-and-Humanities Choice3 
LIB 1601  
 17 15
Sophomore
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
ENGL 2503GEOL 3653 
GEOL 3153Arts-and-Humanities Choice3 
GEOL 315L1PHYS 1125 
GEOL 3161Science/Engineering/Mathematics Choice13 
PHYS 1115Elective3-4 
Science/Engineering/Mathematics Choice13  
 16 17-18
Junior
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
GEOL 4793GEOL 3564GEOL 3026
GEOL 3684GEOL 3571 
Geology Choice13Foreign Language/Elective3-4 
Foreign Language/Elective3-4Geology Choice13 
 Social-Science Choice3 
 13-14 14-15 6
Senior
FallCreditsSpringCredits 
Geology Choice13Elective3 
Arts-and-Humanities Choice3Arts-and-Humanities Choice3 
Social-Science Choice3Social-Science Choice3 
ENGL 309 or 3143Elective3 
 12 12

FOUR YEAR PLANs - suggested Pathways for geology Double MajorS/Double degreeS

The Geology Double Major/Degree pathways include a core of 31 credits of geology courses designed to complement a BS degree in materials engineering, civil engineering, environmental science, or biology with a major or, in some cases, a second BS degree in geology. The Geology Double Major/Degree programs allow students in academic programs with affinity to geology to complete their programs of study in four years (which may include credits earned in summer). Students should work closely with their advisors in each degree area to ensure that all requirements are met.

Geology + Biology (CALS)

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BIOL 1101BIOL 1110.5
BIOL 2113BIOL 2123
BIOL 211L1BIOL 212L1
CHEM 1774CHEM 1783
CHEM 177L1CHEM 178L1
ENGL 1503GEOL 100 or 1013
Social Science choice3GEOL 100L1
 SP CM 2123
 16 15.5
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
ENGL 2503GEOL 1023Humanities/US Diversity choice3
LIB 1601GEOL 102L1 
BIOL 3124MATH 1664 
CHEM 2313BIOL 3133 
CHEM 231L1BIOL 313L1 
MATH 1654BBMB 3163 
 Ethics choice3 
 16 18 3
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
GEOL 3153BIOL 3153International Perspectives choice3
GEOL 315L1GEOL 3653 
GEOL 3161PHYS 1125 
BIOL 3143Advanced biology choice3 
PHYS 1115  
Advanced biology choice3  
 16 14 3
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
GEOL 3684GEOL 3564GEOL 3026
Advanced biology choice3GEOL 3571 
Advanced biology choice3Advanced biology choice3 
Advanced biology choice3Advanced biology choice3 
 STAT 1043 
 13 14 6

Geology + Biology (LAS: calculus only/calc & stat sequence)

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BIOL 1101BIOL 1110.5
BIOL 2113BIOL 2123
BIOL 211L1BIOL 212L1
CHEM 1774CHEM 1783
CHEM 177L1CHEM 178L1
ENGL 1503GEOL 100 or 1013
Arts & Humanities elective3GEOL 100L1
 Social Science elective3
 16 15.5
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
ENGL 2503GEOL 1023Arts & Humanities/US Diversity 3
LIB 1601GEOL 102L1 
BIOL 3124MATH 1664 
CHEM 2313BIOL 3133 
CHEM 231L1BIOL 313L1 
MATH 1654ENGL 309 or 3143 
 Social science elective3 
 16 18 3
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
GEOL 3153BIOL 3153Arts & Humanities elective3
GEOL 315L1PHYS 1125Social science elective3
GEOL 3161GEOL 3653 
BIOL 3143Advanced biology choice3 
PHYS 1115  
Advanced biology choice3  
 16 14 6
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
GEOL 3684GEOL 3564GEOL 3026
Advanced biology choice3GEOL 3571 
Advanced biology choice3Advanced biology choice3 
Advanced biology choice3Advanced biology choice3 
 Arts and Humanities elective or International Perspective3 
 13 14 6

 Geology + Civil Engineering

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
ENGR 101RC E 1113SP CM 2123
C E 1603C E 1702ENGL 1503
C E 1051MATH 1664 
C E 120RPHYS 2215 
LIB 1601GEOL 1023 
MATH 1654GEOL 102L1 
GEOL 2013  
CHEM 1774  
CHEM 177L1  
 17 18 6
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
MATH 2654MATH 2663PHYS 2225
E M 2743E M 3243Engineering elective3
CHEM 1783E M 3453 
CHEM 178L1E M 3783 
GEOL 3153C E 2063 
GEOL 315L1  
ENGL 2503  
 18 15 8
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
C E 3323C E 3063Statistics elective3
C E 3263C E 333 or 3343Social Science & Humanities elective3
C E 3603C E 3723 
C E 3553C E 3823 
E M 3271GEOL 3653 
Technical communication3  
GEOL 3161  
 17 15 6
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
International Perspectives elective3C E 403RGEOL 3026
GEOL 3684C E 4853 
Engineering topics elective3Civil Engineering Design elective3 
C E 4603Engineering topics elective3 
Diversity elective3Social science and Humanities elective3 
Engineering topics elective2GEOL 3564 
 GEOL 3571 
 18 17 6

 Geology + Environmental Science (LAS)

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ENSCI 1101ENSCI 2031
ENSCI 2012BIOL 2113
ENSCI 2021BIOL 211L1
GEOL 100 or 1013GEOL 1023
GEOL 100L1GEOL 102L1
CHEM 1774MATH 1654
CHEM 177L1Gen Ed elective3
STAT 101 or 1043-4 
 16-17 16
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ENSCI 2503ENSCI 2513
PHYS 1115CHEM 1783
ENGL 2503CHEM 178L1
GEOL 3153CHEM 2313
GEOL 315L1CHEM 231L1
Gen Ed elective3GEOL 3653
 Gen Ed elective3
 18 17
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
ENSCI 3813-4ENSCI 3823GEOL 3026
GEOL 3684ENSCI 3843 
Gen Ed elective3GEOL 3564 
PHYS 1125GEOL 3571 
 MATH 1664 
 15-16 15 6
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ENSCI choice3ENSCI choice3
ENGL 309 or 3143EnSci choice3
Gen Ed elective3Gen Ed elective3
Gen Ed elective3Elective3
Elective3Elective3
GEOL 3161 
 16 15

 Geology + Materials Engineering

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CHEM 1774CHEM 1783
CHEM 177L1CHEM 178L1
ENGL 1503MATH 1664
MATH 1654PHYS 2215
LIB 1601GEOL 100 or 1013
ENGR 101RGEOL 100L1
ENGR 1603 
 16 17
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
MATH 2654MATH 2674US Diversity (Gen Ed)3
MAT E 2153MAT E 2143 
MAT E 215L1MAT E 2163 
PHYS 2225MAT E 216L1 
ENGL 2503GEOL 1023 
 GEOL 102L1 
 16 15 3
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
MAT E 3113MAT E 301R
MAT E 3173MAT E 3143
Specialization3MAT E 3193
Materials elective3STAT 3053
GEOL 3153GEOL 3564
GEOL 315L1GEOL 3571
GEOL 3161Specialization3
 17 17
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
MAT E 4133MAT E 4143GEOL 3026
MAT E 4183Specialization3 
Specialization3Technical writing3 
Materials elective3GEOL 3653 
GEOL 3684International Perspective3 
 16 15 6

Graduate Study

The department offers programs leading to the master of science and doctor of philosophy with majors in Earth Science, Geology, and Meteorology. Program options are available for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in earth science leading to careers in teaching. The department also cooperates in the interdepartmental major in Water Resources (see Index). Students desiring a major in the above fields normally will have a strong undergraduate background in the physical and mathematical sciences. Individuals desiring to enter a graduate program are evaluated by considering their undergraduate background and performance and their expressed goals.

Programs of study are designed on an individual basis in accordance with requirements of the Graduate College and established requirements for each departmental major. Additional coursework is normally taken in aerospace engineering, agronomy (soil science), chemistry, civil and construction engineering, computer engineering, computer science, engineering mechanics, materials engineering, mathematics, mechanical engineering, microbiology, physics, or statistics. Departmental requirements provide a strong, broad background in the major and allow considerable flexibility in the program of each individual.

A dissertation is required of all Ph.D. candidates.

M.S. students in Geology are required to complete a thesis. The M.S. in Earth Science is available to students electing the non-thesis (Creative Component) option in Geology or Meteorology. A non-thesis option is also offered for the M.S. degree in Meteorology.

Graduates in Geology specialize in a subdiscipline, but they comprehend and can communicate the basic principles of geology and supporting sciences. They possess the capacity for critical and independent thinking. They are able to write a fundable research proposal, evaluate current relevant literature, carry out the proposed research, and communicate the results of their research to peers at national meetings and to the general public. They work as consultants on engineering and environmental problems, explorers for new minerals and hydrocarbon resources, researchers, teachers, writers, editors, and museum curators.

Course requirements for the MS degree include MTEOR 542, 543, 507 or 518, 552 or 516x, and 502 or 504 or 505 or 605. In addition to the 5 required courses from this list, students must take at least 3 more credits of graduate course work in Meteorology, Agricultural Meteorology, or a field related to their research interests (students will work closely with their POS committee to determine the exact amount of structured course work required – typically this is 18-21 credits). Students without prior synoptic meteorology course work must complete MTEOR 511 and may substitute these credits in place ofthe required MTEOR 507 or 518 courses.

Graduates in Meteorology have a good comprehension of basic principles, a capacity for critical and independent thought and an ability to communicate effectively with scientific colleagues. They have an appropriate breadth in their understanding of meteorology with a suitable specialization. Graduates are able to undertake thorough research and explain the results in a scientifically reasonable fashion.

Expand all courses

Courses

Courses primarily for undergraduates:

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.SS.


How does the earth work, what is it made of, and how does it change through time? Plate tectonics, Earth materials, landforms, structures, climate, and natural resources. Emphasis on the observations and hypotheses used to interpret earth system processes. Students may also enroll in GEOL 100L.

(0-2) Cr. 1. F.S.

Prereq: Credit or enrollment in GEOL 100
Students will gain understanding of how Earth processes affect their lives and how they affect the Earth, and of the complex nature of the Earth and its processes. They will gain a deep knowledge of the methods used to understand the time scales and rates of Earth processes also through an applied research experience on groundwater and surface water.

(Cross-listed with ENV S). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.SS.


An introduction to geologic processes and the consequences of human activity from local to global scales. Discussion of human population growth, resource depletion, pollution and waste disposal, global warming and ozone depletion, desertification, and geologic hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, flooding, and volcanism. Summer - online only.

(3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: GEOL 100 or GEOL 201
The Earth's physical and biological evolution; concepts of global tectonics. Methods used to decipher earth history. Students majoring in geology must also enroll in GEOL 102L.

(0-2) Cr. 1. S.

Prereq: Credit or enrollment in GEOL 102
Introduction to the use of sedimentary rocks and fossils in reconstructing the Earth's history.

Cr. 1. F.


Introduction to the diversity of dinosaur species. Discussion of basic evolutionary theory and interpretation of fossil evidence. Overview of Mesozoic Earth history including paleogeographic and paleoclimate reconstructions. Course available via the World Wide Web.

(2-0) Cr. 1. F.


Offered in second half of the semester. Introduction to gems and gemstones, physical and optical properties of gems and gemstones, explanation of where gems come from and how they are found, how to distinguish between synthetic and naturally occurring gems, how the value of gems are determined, and the history of famous gems.

(Cross-listed with ASTRO). (2-0) Cr. 2. F.S.

Prereq: Major in elementary or early childhood education.
Fundamental concepts of Earth and Space Science, including the solar system, weather and climate, water and soils, plate tectonics, and geologic hazards. Online course format.

(Cross-listed with ASTRO). (0-2) Cr. 1. F.S.

Prereq: Restricted to elementary and early childhood education majors; to be taken concurrently with GEOL 106/ASTRO 106
Inquiry-based lab exploring fundamental concepts of Earth and Space Science, including the solar system, weather and climate, water and soils, plate tectonics, and geologic hazards. Must be taken concurrently with GEOL/ASTRO 106.

(Cross-listed with ENV S). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.


Introduction to study of the oceans. Ocean exploration. Waves and currents. Shape, structure, and origin of the ocean basins. Sedimentary record of oceanic life. Composition of seawater and its significance for life. Ocean circulation and its influence on climate. Life of the oceans, including coral reefs. Use and misuse of ocean resources. Anthropogenic impacts on the oceanic environment.

(Cross-listed with ENV S). (1-0) Cr. 1. F.S.SS.


Introduction to the catastrophic geologic processes that disrupt ecosystems and human activity. Includes a discussion on the role of plate tectonics, the hydrologic cycle, and humans as the driving forces behind selected case studies on volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and floods. Summer and fall - online only.

(Cross-listed with MTEOR). (1-0) Cr. 1. F.


Orientation course for students enrolled in the Earth, Wind and Fire Learning Community. Provides an introduction to Iowa State University and meteorology, geology, and Earth science programs for students enrolled in the department's learning community. Activities include academic and social activities, talks and presentations on academic success, resume writing, and study abroad, as well as research talks by faculty members.

(Cross-listed with MTEOR). (1-0) Cr. 1. S.


Spring orientation course for students enrolled in the "Earth, Wind and Fire" Learning Community. Develop and apply quantitative, data-analysis, management, and communication skills on an authentic research project in a team to focus on professionalism and resilience. Introduction to interview strategies and the importance of creating a professional image on social media. Academic and social events, plus two field trips.

(Cross-listed with AGRON, ENV S, MTEOR). (3-0) Cr. 3. S.


Study of the occurrence, history, development, and management of world water resources. Basic hydrologic principles including climate, surface water, groundwater, and water quality. Historical and current perspectives on water policy, use, and the role of water in society and the environment.
Meets International Perspectives Requirement.

(2-2) Cr. 3. F.


Introduction to Earth materials and processes with emphasis on engineering and environmental applications.

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor
Independent study for freshman and sophomore students.

Cr. R. F.S.SS.

Prereq: GEOL 100 or GEOL 201, GEOL 100L, GEOL 102, GEOL 102L, and permission of the department cooperative education coordinator; sophomore classification
Required of all cooperative education students. Students must register for this course prior to commencing the work period.

Cr. 6. SS.

Prereq: GEOL 102, GEOL 356, GEOL 368
Geologic mapping; structural, stratigraphic, sedimentologic, metamorphic, geomorphic, and environmental analyses. Study areas in the Bighorn Basin and Wind River Range and excursions to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. A 6-week summer field course required of all geology majors.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: GEOL 100 or GEOL 201, CHEM 177
Introduction to mineral classification, elementary crystal chemistry, crystal growth and morphology, mineral stability, and mineral associations.

(0-3) Cr. 1. F.

Prereq: GEOL 100 or GEOL 201
Mineral identification methods, especially hand-specimen identification.

(1-2) Cr. 1. F.

Prereq: GEOL 100 or GEOL 201, CHEM 177, credit or enrollment in GEOL 315
Laboratory problems in mineral-identification methods utilizing optical microscopic techniques.

(Cross-listed with ENSCI, ENV S, MTEOR). (3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: CHEM 163 or CHEM 177, MATH 140
Exploration of the origin of Earth’s energy resources and the environmental and climatic impacts of energy acquisition and consumption. Renewable and non-renewable energy resources within an Earth-system context. Various environmentally-relevant topics such as water quality and availability, habitat destruction, greenhouse-gas emissions, and health and safety hazards to wildlife and human communities.

(3-3) Cr. 4. S.

Prereq: GEOL 100 or GEOL 201; PHYS 111
Principles of stress, strain, and rheology. Brittle and ductile behavior of rocks. Mechanics of formation, description, and classification of fractures, faults, folds, foliation, and lineation. From micro-structures to tectonic processes. Laboratory includes application of learned concepts to real-world scenarios, geometrical techniques to solve structural problems.

Cr. 1. S.

Prereq: GEOL 100 or GEOL 201; PHYS 111; credit or enrollment in GEOL 356
Generation and interpretation of geological maps via a combination of laboratory and field exercises. Developing skills in 3D thinking, cross-section construction, stereonet analysis, field data collection, and communicating scientific results.

(2-3) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: GEOL 315, GEOL 315L, GEOL 316
Nature and origin of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Emphasis on important rock-forming environments and processes and their influence on rock characteristics. Laboratory includes thin section study of rock textures and mineralogy and the interpretation of these features.

(3-3) Cr. 4. F.

Prereq: GEOL 102
Exploration of the interplay between weathering, sedimentation, sea-level change, tectonics, and life through time that creates sedimentary rocks and stratigraphic packages. Understanding of the historical development of sedimentary geology through the development of petrography, paleontology, deep earth sampling, geophysical technologies, and geochemistry. Field and laboratory problem sets illuminate lecture material.

Cr. R. F.S.SS.

Prereq: GEOL 100 or GEOL 201, GEOL 100L, GEOL 102, GEOL 102L, and permission of the department cooperative education coordinator; junior classification
Required of all cooperative education students. Students must register for this course prior to commencing each work period.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 502). (Cross-listed with ENSCI, MTEOR, NREM). (2-3) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: Four courses in physical or biological sciences or engineering; junior standing
Examination of watersheds as systems, emphasizing the surface components of the hydrologic cycle. Combines qualitative understanding of hydrological processes and uncertainty with quantitative representation. Laboratory emphasizes field investigation and measurement of watershed processes.

Cr. 1-2. Repeatable, maximum of 2 times. F.S.

Prereq: GEOL 100 or GEOL 201
Weekly seminar introduces students to a selected geological region or theme that is visited on a required ten-day field excursion. Introduction to field-safety leadership.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 509). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). (0-4) Cr. 3. Alt. SS., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: GEOL/ENSCI 402 or GEOL/ENSCI 411 or C E 473
Introduction to field methods used in groundwater investigations. In-field implementation of pumping tests, slug tests, monitoring well installation and drilling techniques, geochemical and water quality sampling, seepage meters, minipiezometers, stream gaging, and electronic instrumentation for data collection. Field trips to investigate water resource, water quality, and remediation projects.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 511). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). (3-2) Cr. 4. F.

Prereq: Four courses in biological or physical sciences
Physical principles of groundwater flow, nature and origin of aquifers and confining units, well hydraulics, groundwater modeling, and contaminant transport. Lab emphasizes applied field and laboratory methods for hydrogeological investigations.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 512). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: GEOL 102 and GEOL 102L
Evolution, identification and utility of major microfossil groups from the Mesozoic to present. Focus on Cenozoic applications including biostratigraphy, paleoclimate, and paleothermometry using assemblages, stable isotopes, Mg/Ca, and molecular fossils. Laboratory includes processing and analysis of specific microfossils. Major groups covered include foraminifera, calcareous nannofossils, sponge spicules, diatoms, radiolarians, and silicoflagellates.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 513). (Cross-listed with C E, ENSCI). (2-2) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: GEOL 100 or GEOL 201, algebra and trigonometry
Seismic, gravity, magnetic, resistivity, electromagnetic, and ground-penetrating radar techniques for shallow subsurface investigations and imaging. Data interpretation methods. Lab emphasizes computer interpretation packages. Field work with seismic - and resistivity-imaging systems and radar.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 514). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). (2-2) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: GEOL 411 or C E 473; MATH 165 or MATH 181
Introduction to the principles of modeling groundwater flow systems. Finite-difference and analytic-element methods, spreadsheet models, boundary conditions, calibration, sensitivity analysis, parameter estimation, particle tracking, and post-audit analysis. Application of MODFLOW to regional flow-system analysis. Computer laboratory emphasizes assigned problems that illustrate topics discussed in the course.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 515). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: Four courses in biological or physical science
Introduction to mechanisms that drive climate, including the interplay between oceanic and atmospheric circulation and fluctuation in Earth's orbital parameters. Examination and analysis of past climate records ranging from historical documentation to ecological and geochemical proxies (e.g. tree ring analysis; O and C isotopes of skeletal carbonates and soils). Dating methods used to constrain and correlate climatic periods; utility of computer models to reconstruct past climates and predict future climate change. Emphasis placed on paleoclimatology and paleoecology of the late Quaternary (last ~1 million years).

(Dual-listed with GEOL 516). (Cross-listed with ENSCI, MTEOR). (2-3) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: Four courses in Earth science, meteorology, or engineering; junior standing
Study of the basic principles of hydrologic modeling, including rainfall-runoff analysis, lumped and distributed modeling, conceptual and physical models, parameter estimation and sensitivity analysis, input and validation data, uncertainty analysis, and the use of models in surface water hydrology. A range of common models are applied to study hydrologic topics such as flood forecasting and land use change impacts. Previous experience with Matlab or other programming language is needed.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 519). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). (2-2) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: CHEM 178, CHEM 178L; junior classification
Geochemistry of natural waters and water-rock interactions. Acid-base equilibria, carbonate chemistry and buffer systems, mineral dissolution and precipitation, sorption, ion exchange, and redox reactions. Introduction to thermodynamics and kinetics. Laboratory emphasizes chemical analysis of waters and computer modeling.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 520). (2-3) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: GEOL 365
Geology and geochemistry of non-metallic and metallic ore deposits. Major processes that concentrate metals in the Earth. Geochemical conditions of ore formation using stable-isotope and fluid-inclusion studies. Laboratory emphasizes the study of metallic ores.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 526). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: Four courses in biological or physical science
Introduction to the theory, methods and applications of stable isotopes. Primary focus on the origin, natural abundance, and fractionation of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen isotopes. Applications of isotopic occurrence for elucidation of physical, chemical, biological, and environmental processes. Effects of plant physiology, photosynthesis, trophic structure, diffusion, evaporation, chemical precipitation, soil and atmospheric processes, and environmental factors on isotope abundance.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 539). (Cross-listed with C E). (2-2) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: GEOL 100 or GEOL 201, algebra and trigonometry
Physics of elastic-wave propagation. Seismic surveys in environmental imaging, engineering, and petroleum exploration. Reflection and refraction techniques. Data collection, processing, and geological interpretation. Field work with state-of-the-art equipment.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 544). (2-2) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered even-numbered years.


The geoscience and engineering aspects of exploration, development, and production of hydrocarbon resources around the world, as well as the historical and legal frameworks through which the industry has developed. Broader discussions of safety, risk, uncertainty, cost, and integrity as relevant to the petroleum industry.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 552). (Cross-listed with AGRON, ENSCI). (2-2) Cr. 3. F.S.

Prereq: GEOL 100, GEOL 201 or equivalent
Introduction to geographic information systems (GIS) with particular emphasis on geoscientific data. Uses ESRI's ArcGIS Desktop Software and extension modules. Emphasizes typical GIS operations and analyses in the geosciences to prepare students for advanced GIS courses.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 568). (Cross-listed with ENSCI, MTEOR). Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: GEOL 452, C R P 351, C R P 452, NREM 345, or NREM 446
Introduction to geospatial data collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation. Geospatial techniques including geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing (RS), and global positioning systems (GPS). Study of applied geostatistical analysis (e.g., interpolation and spatial regression).

(Dual-listed with GEOL 574). (2-2) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: GEOL 100 or GEOL 201 or equivalent experience
The study of glaciers and glacial processes. Discussion of glaciology, glacial sediment transport, glacial landforms, and Quaternary history. Laboratory emphasizes topographic map interpretation and the Quaternary landscapes of Iowa.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 579). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). (2-3) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: GEOL 100 and GEOL 100L; or GEOL 201; or equivalent experience.
The study of physical processes that shape Earth's surface. Topics include weathering, sediment transport, and landform genesis with emphasis on fluvial, glacial, hillslope, eolian, and coastal processes. Applications to engineering and environmental problems. Laboratory includes topographic map interpretation and local field trips.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 587). (Cross-listed with BIOL, ENSCI, MICRO). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: Six credits in biology and 6 credits in chemistry
Introduction to major functional groups of autotrophic and heterotrophic microorganisms and their roles in natural and environmental systems. Consequences of microbial activity on water chemistry, weathering, and precipitation/dissolution reactions will be emphasized.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 588). (Cross-listed with AGRON, ENSCI). (2-2) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: GIS course, such as GEOL 452, CRP 451, CRP 452, NREM 345, NREM 446, AE 408 or equivalent
GIS course with focus on the spatial analysis and modeling of raster data and triangulated irregular network (TIN) data. Uses ArcGIS and various extensions, such as Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst, and ArcScene. Includes practical exercises during lectures, lab exercises, homework assignments, and (for GEOL 588) a class project.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 589). (Cross-listed with E E, MTEOR, NREM). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: Four courses in physical or biological sciences or engineering
Electromagnetic-radiation principles, active and passive sensors, multispectral and hyperspectral sensors, imaging radar, SAR, thermal imaging, lidar. Examples of applications. Also offered online S.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 589L). (Cross-listed with E E, MTEOR, NREM). (0-3) Cr. 1. F.

Prereq: Completion or concurrent enrollment in MTEOR/GEOL/NREM/EE 489/589
Processing and analysis of satellite sensor data (optical and radar). Provides practical applications in an environmental context.

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable, maximum of 9 credits.

Prereq: 6 credits in geology and permission of instructor
Independent study for senior students. No more than 9 credits of Geol 490 may be counted toward graduation.

Cr. 1. F.S.

Prereq: Junior or senior classification
Weekly seminar on topics of current research interest. Requires written summaries of three presentations of choice.

Cr. R. F.S.SS.

Prereq: GEOL 100 or GEOL 201, GEOL 100L, GEOL 102, GEOL 102L, and permission of the department cooperative education coordinator; senior classification
Required of all cooperative education students. Students must register for this course prior to commencing each work period.

Courses primarily for graduate students, open to qualified undergraduates:

(Dual-listed with GEOL 402). (Cross-listed with ENSCI, MTEOR, NREM). (2-3) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: Four courses in physical or biological sciences or engineering; junior standing
Examination of watersheds as systems, emphasizing the surface components of the hydrologic cycle. Combines qualitative understanding of hydrological processes and uncertainty with quantitative representation. Laboratory emphasizes field investigation and measurement of watershed processes.

Cr. 1-2. Repeatable, maximum of 2 times. F.S.

Prereq: Graduate classification
Weekly seminar introduces students to a selected geological region or theme that is visited on a required ten-day field excursion. Graduate students are expected to assist in field teaching and safety leadership.

Cr. 1. Repeatable, maximum of 4 times. F.

Prereq: GEOL 365
On-site inspection of various ore deposits, mining operations, and terrains dominated by igneous or metamorphic rocks. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 409). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). (0-4) Cr. 3. Alt. SS., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: GEOL/ENSCI 402 or GEOL/ENSCI 411 or C E 473
Introduction to field methods used in groundwater investigations. In-field implementation of pumping tests, slug tests, monitoring well installation and drilling techniques, geochemical and water quality sampling, seepage meters, minipiezometers, stream gaging, and electronic instrumentation for data collection. Field trips to investigate water resource, water quality, and remediation projects.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 411). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). (3-2) Cr. 4. F.

Prereq: Four courses in biological or physical sciences
Physical principles of groundwater flow, nature and origin of aquifers and confining units, well hydraulics, groundwater modeling, and contaminant transport. Lab emphasizes applied field and laboratory methods for hydrogeological investigations.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 412). Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: GEOL 102 and GEOL 102L
Evolution, identification and utility of major microfossil groups from the Mesozoic to present. Focus on Cenozoic applications including biostratigraphy, paleoclimate, and paleothermometry using assemblages, stable isotopes, Mg/Ca, and molecular fossils. Laboratory includes processing and analysis of specific microfossils. Major groups covered include foraminifera, calcareous nannofossils, sponge spicules, diatoms, radiolarians, and silicoflagellates.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 413). (Cross-listed with C E, ENSCI). (2-2) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: GEOL 100 or GEOL 201, algebra and trigonometry
Seismic, gravity, magnetic, resistivity, electromagnetic, and ground-penetrating radar techniques for shallow subsurface investigations and imaging. Data interpretation methods. Lab emphasizes computer interpretation packages. Field work with seismic - and resistivity-imaging systems and radar.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 414). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). (2-2) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: GEOL 411 or C E 473; MATH 165 or MATH 181
Introduction to the principles of modeling groundwater flow systems. Finite-difference and analytic-element methods, spreadsheet models, boundary conditions, calibration, sensitivity analysis, parameter estimation, particle tracking, and post-audit analysis. Application of MODFLOW to regional flow-system analysis. Computer laboratory emphasizes assigned problems that illustrate topics discussed in the course.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 415). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: Four courses in biological or physical science
Introduction to mechanisms that drive climate, including the interplay between oceanic and atmospheric circulation and fluctuation in Earth's orbital parameters. Examination and analysis of past climate records ranging from historical documentation to ecological and geochemical proxies (e.g. tree ring analysis; O and C isotopes of skeletal carbonates and soils). Dating methods used to constrain and correlate climatic periods; utility of computer models to reconstruct past climates and predict future climate change. Emphasis placed on paleoclimatology and paleoecology of the late Quaternary (last ~ 1 million years).

(Dual-listed with GEOL 416). (Cross-listed with ENSCI, MTEOR). (2-3) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: Four courses in earth science, meteorology, or engineering; junior standing
Study of the basic principles of hydrologic modeling, including rainfall-runoff analysis, lumped and distributed modeling, conceptual and physical models, parameter estimation and sensitivity analysis, input and validation data, uncertainty analysis, and the use of models in surface water hydrology. A range of common models are applied to study hydrologic topics such as flood forecasting and land use change impacts. Previous experience with Matlab or other programming language is needed.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 419). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). (2-2) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: CHEM 178, CHEM 178L; junior classification
Geochemistry of natural waters and water-rock interactions. Acid-base equilibria, carbonate chemistry and buffer systems, mineral dissolution and precipitation, sorption, ion exchange, and redox reactions. Introduction to thermodynamics and kinetics. Laboratory emphasizes chemical analysis of waters and computer modeling.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 420). (2-3) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: GEOL 365
Geology and geochemistry of non-metallic and metallic ore deposits. Major processes that concentrate metals in the Earth. Geochemical conditions of ore formation using stable-isotope and fluid-inclusion studies. Laboratory emphasizes the study of metallic ores.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 426). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: Four courses in biological or physical science
Introduction to the theory, methods and applications of stable isotopes. Primary focus on the origin, natural abundance, and fractionation of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen isotopes. Applications of isotopic occurrence for elucidation of physical, chemical, biological, and environmental processes. Effects of plant physiology, photosynthesis, trophic structure, diffusion, evaporation, chemical precipitation, soil and atmospheric processes, and environmental factors on isotope abundance.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 439). (Cross-listed with C E). (2-2) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: GEOL 100 or GEOL 201, algebra and trigonometry
Physics of elastic-wave propagation. Seismic surveys in environmental imaging, engineering, and petroleum exploration. Reflection and refraction techniques. Data collection, processing, and geological interpretation. Field work with state-of-the-art equipment.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 444). (2-2) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered even-numbered years.


The geoscience and engineering aspects of exploration, development, and production of hydrocarbon resources around the world, as well as the historical and legal frameworks through which the industry has developed. Broader discussions of safety, risk, uncertainty, cost, and integrity as relevant to the petroleum industry.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 452). (Cross-listed with AGRON, ENSCI). (2-2) Cr. 3. F.S.

Prereq: GEOL 100, GEOL 201 or equivalent
Introduction to geographic information systems (GIS) with particular emphasis on geoscientific data. Uses ESRI's ArcGIS Desktop Software and extension modules. Emphasizes typical GIS operations and analyses in the geosciences to prepare students for advanced GIS courses.

(Cross-listed with AGRON). (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: AGRON 473, CHEM 178. Recommend: GEOL 311
Structure and behavior of clay minerals, humic substances and biochar in soil environments, with emphasis on reactions and environmental implications.

(Cross-listed with COM S, HCI). (2-2) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered even-numbered years.

Prereq: Graduate-student standing in the mathematical or natural sciences or engineering; basic programming knowledge
Introduction to visualizing scientific information with 3D computer graphics and their foundation in human perception. Overview of different visualization techniques and examples of 3D visualization projects from different disciplines (natural sciences, medicine, and engineering). Class project in interactive 3D visualization using the ParaView, Mayavi, TVTK, VTK or a similar system.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 468). (Cross-listed with ENSCI, MTEOR). Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: GEOL 452, C R P 351, C R P 452, NREM 345, or NREM 446
Introduction to geospatial data collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation. Geospatial techniques including geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing (RS), and global positioning systems (GPS). Study of applied geostatistical analysis (e.g., interpolation and spatial regression).

(Dual-listed with GEOL 474). (2-2) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: GEOL 100 or GEOL 201 or equivalent experience
The study of glaciers and glacial processes. Discussion of glaciology, glacial sediment transport, glacial landforms, and Quaternary history. Laboratory emphasizes topographic map interpretation and the Quaternary landscapes of Iowa.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 479). (Cross-listed with ENSCI). (2-3) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: GEOL 100 and GEOL 100L; or GEOL 201; or equivalent experience.
The study of physical processes that shape Earth's surface. Topics include weathering, sediment transport, and landform genesis with emphasis on fluvial, glacial, hillslope, eolian, and coastal processes. Applications to engineering and environmental problems. Laboratory includes topographic map interpretation and local field trips.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 487). (Cross-listed with EEOB, ENSCI, MICRO). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: Six credits in biology and 6 credits in chemistry
Introduction to major functional groups of autotrophic and heterotrophic microorganisms and their roles in natural and environmental systems. Consequences of microbial activity on water chemistry, weathering, and precipitation/dissolution reactions will be emphasized.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 488). (Cross-listed with AGRON, ENSCI). (2-2) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered odd-numbered years.

Prereq: GIS course, such as GEOL 452, CRP 451, CRP 452, NREM 345, NREM 446, AE 408 or equivalent
GIS course with focus on the spatial analysis and modeling of raster data and triangulated irregular network (TIN) data. Uses ArcGIS and various extensions, such as Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst, and ArcScene. Includes practical exercises during lectures, lab exercises, homework assignments, and (for GEOL 588) a class project.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 489). (Cross-listed with E E, MTEOR, NREM). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.

Prereq: Four courses in physical or biological sciences or engineering
Electromagnetic-radiation principles, active and passive sensors, multispectral and hyperspectral sensors, imaging radar, SAR, thermal imaging, lidar. Examples of applications. Also offered online S.

(Dual-listed with GEOL 489L). (Cross-listed with E E, MTEOR, NREM). (0-3) Cr. 1. F.

Prereq: Completion or concurrent enrollment in MTEOR/GEOL/NREM/EE 489/589
Processing and analysis of satellite sensor data (optical and radar). Provides practical applications in an environmental context.

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable.

Prereq: Permission of instructor

(Cross-listed with MTEOR). Cr. 1. Repeatable. F.S.

Prereq: Senior or graduate classification
Weekly seminar on topics of current research interest. All students seeking a graduate degree must enroll during each semester of residence. Students pursuing a non-thesis option for the M.S. in Earth Science must enroll for one semester. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

(Cross-listed with MTEOR). (1-0) Cr. 1. Repeatable. F.S.

Prereq: Senior or graduate classification
Weekly seminar on topics of current research interest. All students seeking a graduate degree must enroll during each semester of residence. Students pursuing a non-thesis option for the M.S. in Earth Science must enroll for one semester. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

(Cross-listed with MTEOR). Cr. R. Repeatable. F.S.

Prereq: Senior or graduate classification
Attendance only. Weekly seminar on topics of current research interest. All students seeking a graduate degree must enroll during each semester of residence. Students pursuing a non-thesis option for the M.S. in Earth Science must enroll for one semester. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

Cr. arr. Repeatable.


Courses for graduate students:

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable. F.S.

Prereq: Graduate standing and permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable. F.S.

Prereq: Graduate standing and permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable. F.S.

Prereq: Graduate standing and permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable. F.S.

Prereq: Graduate standing and permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable. F.S.

Prereq: Graduate standing and permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable. F.S.

Prereq: Graduate standing and permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable. F.S.

Prereq: Graduate standing and permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable. F.S.

Prereq: Graduate standing and permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable. F.S.

Prereq: Graduate standing and permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable. F.S.

Prereq: Graduate standing and permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable. F.S.

Prereq: Graduate standing and permission of instructor

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable. F.S.

Prereq: Graduate standing and permission of instructor

Cr. arr. Repeatable.


Cr. arr. Repeatable.


Cr. arr. Repeatable.


Cr. arr. Repeatable.


Cr. arr. Repeatable.


Cr. arr. Repeatable.


Cr. arr. Repeatable.


Cr. arr. Repeatable.


Cr. arr. Repeatable.