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Earth Science Courses

The number of credit hours for each course is given in brackets after its ID.

ES 131. (4) Earth Science/Physical Geology. Basic principles governing the dynamic Earth including plate tectonics, volcanism, earthquakes, geologic time, rocks, minerals, weathering, and erosion. Three class periods; one 2-hour laboratory period per week. Field trips and/or term projects may be required. Course fee: $50.00. (Fall, Spring)

ES 132. (4) Historical Geology. The development of the earth as deduced from the examination and interpretation of rocks. Special attention given to the identification and significance of fossils. Three class periods; one 2-hour laboratory period per week. Field trips and/or term projects may be required. Prerequisites: ES 131, or departmental approval. Course fee: $50.00. (Spring)

ES 133. (4) Earth Science/Earth Systems. Major concepts of meteorology, oceanography, and astronomy with selected examples of interrelationships. Three class periods; one 2-hour laboratory period each week. Field trips and/or term projects may be required. Course fee:$50.00. (Fall, Spring)

ES 245. (4) Mineralogy. Crystal chemistry, crystallography; physical properties of minerals; mineral stability, identification, and occurrence. Three class periods; one 2-hour laboratory per week. Field trips and/or term projects may be required. Prerequisite: ES 131. Course fee: $50.00. (Spring, odd numbered years)

ES 247. (4) Sustainable Earth.  This course explores historical and contemporary environmental issues in Earth science with an emphasis on human-environmental relationships and their influences on sustainability.  Inquiry into regional and global environmental issues in geoscience allows students to identify causes, effects, and potential solutions to problems.  The course supports the development of geoscience literacy, informed by current scientific understanding of Earth, which is critical to the promotion of good stewardship, sound policy development, and the understanding of diverse perspectives, behaviors, and outcomes.  Three class periods; one 2-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite or concurrent enrollment: ES 131 or ES 133. Course fee: $50.00. (Fall, Spring)

ES 251. (4) Environmental Systems. This course introduces methods of modeling dynamic systems, with particular emphasis on environmental systems which are foundational to interdisciplinary perspectives of sustainability. A focus in understanding sustainability is placed on the predicting the behavior of systems through time. Three class periods; one 2-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite or concurrent enrollment: (ES 131 or ES 133). Course fee: $50.00. (Fall, Spring)

*ES 308. (3) Science for the Elementary School Teacher. Selected topics from elementary school science teaching units, including biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, and meteorology; practical techniques in the development and use of teaching materials and science equipment, the collection and preservation of specimens, and demonstration; consideration of the role of science in the elementary school; study of new curricula. This course cannot be used as a 300-level elective in any major or minor other than Elementary Education. Prerequisites: BI 101, 102; ES 131, PH 101 and ABI/FBI background clearance. Course fee: $50.00. (Fall, Spring)

ES 330. (3) Meteorology. Components of weather systems; atmospheric temperature, pressure, and humidity; interpretation of weather maps and elements of forecasting. Also listed as GE 330 but creditable only in field for which registered. Field trips and/or term projects may be required. Prerequisite: ES 131 or GE 111 or GE 112 or departmental approval. (Fall)

ES 348 (4) Earth: Sustainable Resources. This course supports understanding of the field of sustainability in the context of the systems of Earth Sciences.  Sustainability is commonly defined as meeting the needs of the generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  It is characterized by the overarching concerns: maintaining ecological and environmental health; creating economic welfare; and ensuring social justice.  This course explores how the human and natural systems interact in a time of visible climate change, diminishing natural resources, and rising rates of consumption through using real world examples.  Three class periods; one 2-hour laboratory per week.  Prerequisites: ES 131 or ES 133. Course fee: $50.00.  (Spring)

ES 350. (4) Introduction to Geophysics. A geophysics course in which physics is applied to studies of Earth structure and dynamics crust to core.  The study includes exploring geophysical tools like seismology, gravity , magnetism, heat flow, and geodesy which are used to understand the age, whole-earth and near-surface structure, and to quantify the kinematics and dynamics of plate tectonics.  Three class periods each week and on 2-hour laboratory each week.  Concurrent enrollment in laboratory required.  Prerequisites: PH 251 and MA 125. (Fall, and upon sufficient demand)

ES 365. (3) Data Analysis in Geophysics.  Emphasis in placed on manipulation and analysis of geophysical data in a Unix/Linux environment. Topics will include Unix, programming in MATLAB, scripting (sh and csh), AWK, Seismic Analysis Code (SAC), Generic Mapping Tools (GMT) and Adobe Illustrator, and an overview of Fortran an C.  Students will acquire a working knowledge of a wide range of scientific programming and scripting languages implemented by geoscientists. Three class periods each week. Prerequisite: ES 131, ES 350 or departmental approval. (Spring and upon sufficient demand)

ES 375. (3) Technology and the Environment. A course designed to acquaint the student with the dynamic state of our technological world; interrelationships of pollution, energy, natural resources, food, and populations, with emphasis on human health issues. Field trips and/or term projects may be required. Prerequisite: advanced standing or departmental approval. (Spring, odd-numbered years)

ES 410. (3) Tectonics.  Plate tectonics is the fundamental theory in geology that illuminates dynamic Earth processes.  The theory explains the volcanoes, earthquakes, mountains, and the oceans.  Students will investigate topics such as historical continental drift, earthquakes, subduction zones, the creation and destruction of the ocean floor, and mountain building and interpret data related to these.  Three class periods each week. Prerequisites: ES 131 or ES 133.  (Fall, and upon sufficient demand)

ES 420. (4) Seismology.  This course provides an introduction to concepts in seismology.  Studies include wave propagation in the Earth as well as constraints on Earth structure and earthquake rupture.  Topics covered include: body waves to surface waves, ray theory, development of the wave equation, source theory, and array seismic tomography.  Techniques will be introduced in single wave propagation, array seismology with large data sets, seismic tomography, seismic anisotropy, introduction to inverse theory, signal processing, and reflection seismology. Applications and seismic image analysis relevant to plate tectonics, earthquakes, and the Earth's interior will be discussed.  Three class periods each week and one 2-hour laboratory each week.  Concurrent enrollment in laboratory required.  Prerequisite: ES 131, ES 350 or departmental approval. (Spring, and upon sufficient demand)

ES 431. (3) Structural Geology. The nature, classification, origin, and quantification of geologic structures, with emphasis on sedimentary rocks. Field trips and/or term projects may be required. Prerequisite: ES 131. (Fall, odd-numbered years)

ES 431L. (1) Structural Geology Laboratory. Laboratory analysis, including computer mapping of folds, faults, and other structural features. Laboratory exercises are designed to develop computer skills. Required for geology major. One 2-hour laboratory period per week. Prerequisite: concurrent enrollment in ES 431. (Fall, odd-numbered years)

ES 455W. (4) Paleobiology. Fundamental biological problems, including speciation, systematics, evolution, extinction, functional morphology, paleoecology, and biogeography will be addressed from the perspective of the fossil record. Three class periods; one 2-hour laboratory per week. Field trips and/or term projects may be required. Also listed as BI 455W but creditable only in the field for which registered. Prerequisite: ES 132 or departmental approval. Course fee: $50.00. (Fall, even-numbered years)

ES 480-481. (1-4) Topics in Earth Science. Topics will be selected from astronomy, environmental science, geology, marine geology, meteorology, and oceanography. Departmental approval required. Course fee: $50.00 (may be required depending on the topic). (Offered on sufficient demand)

ES 488. (3) Hydrogeology. The interrelationships between water and geologic materials and processes, primarily subsurface water. Prerequisite: ES 131. (Spring, even-numbered years)

ES 489. (1-3) Senior Capstone Research. Students will pursue an area of research interest in sustainability related to the Earth Sciences.  Projects are subject to faculty approval prior to engagement.  Students will meet regularly with the assigned faculty member(s) to develop the project plans, to implement plans, and to prepare a paper reflecting the research.  Scheduled work and conferences equal three hours per week per credit hour.  Students will present research to at least one professional group.  A maximum of 2 credit hours will be offered in the summer.  A total of 3 credit hours required.  Prerequisite: Departmental approval required. Course fee: $50.00. (Fall, Spring, Summer)

ES 495. (1-3) Directed Research.  Experimental, theoretical, or computational investigation of problems in physics under the direction of departmental faculty, with enrollment and projects subject to approval of the department.  Formal reports of research progress will be required for credit.  Scheduled work and conferences require a minimum of three hours per week per credit hour.  May be repeated to maximum of four credit hours.  A maximum of 2 credit hours will be offered during the summer term.  Also listed as PH 495 but creditable only in field for which registered. Prerequisite: departmental approval. (Summer, Fall, Spring)