Geology (GEO)

Rhawn DennistonBenjamin GreensteinEmily Walsh (chair)

Major: A minimum of 12.5 courses, including any 100-level geology course (excluding GEO 130), 130, 212, 214, 217, 306, 307, 320, 324; a field class, such as GEO 255, 329, or an accredited summer field camp; the 300-level specialty course offered by the student's 485 advisor (GEO 317, 322, 325); GEO 485 (Departmental capstone experience);  two (2) quarter credits in GEO 511 in association with the (1) construction of a capstone research proposal and (2) construction and delivery of a public presentation of the capstone results.

Supporting coursework in chemistry, physics, and mathematics is strongly recommended, including CHE121-122 (Chemical Principles I and II) or CHE 161 (Accelerated General Chemistry); MAT 121 (Calculus of a Single Variable), 122 (Calculus of Several Variables); and PHY 161-162 (General Physics I and II), or 141-142 (Introductory Physics I and II).

Teaching Major: Any 100-level geology course (excluding GEO 130), 130, 212, 214, 217, and three additional Geology courses selected from the following: 122, 123, 320, or 329; and PHY 121 (Astronomy) or 228 (Energy and the Environment). Supporting work in the other sciences and mathematics is strongly recommended. In addition to the foregoing requirements, prospective teachers must also apply for admission to the Teacher Education Program (preferably at the start of their sophomore year) and complete coursework leading to secondary certification described under Education. Prospective teachers should request a current list of the specific course requirements from the Education Office.

Minor: A minimum of seven course credits in Geology which include any 100-level geology course (excluding GEO 130), 130, 212, 214, 217, and two electives which must be at or above the 200 level; at least one of these must be at or above the 300 level. Supporting coursework in other sciences and mathematics is recommended.

101. Earth Science
Phenomena and processes within, upon, and above the earth. The exploration of a dynamic planet with an immense history. Includes discussion of modern and ancient climate, geologic time, and the processes shaping the planet today. Not open to students previously enrolled in GEO 111 or GEO 114. Alternate years. (Science) STAFF

105. Marine Science
An introduction to the global marine environment, with emphasis on sea floor dynamics, submarine topography and sediments, the nature and circulation of oceanic waters, coastal processes, marine biologic productivity, coral reefs and pollution, and exploitation of the oceans by humans. One field trip to the Shedd Aquarium, Chicago. (Science) STAFF

111. Physical Geology
The earth as a dynamic body whose materials and structures are continually being modified by the interactions of the geological processes; considers interrelationships between geological processes and human activity. Fieldtrips as weather permits. Not open to student previously enrolled in GEO 101. (Laboratory Science) DENNISTON or WALSH

114. Iowa Geology: The story under your feet
Earthquakes, volcanoes, oceans, meteorite impacts, glaciers… in Iowa? Geology may not be the first thing you think of when you think about Iowa, but the geology of Iowa records valuable information about the geological formation and evolution of the Earth. Geologists are not only historians; however, but also detectives who use rocks, minerals, fossils, landforms, and Earth processes to piece together the physical history of the Earth. Because geology is active, the geology of Iowa is still changing today. In fact, as residents of Iowa, you affect the geology of Iowa through your everyday consumer choices. So, what does Iowa geology tell us about Earth’s history? And how do your choices influence the geology of Iowa?

This field- and laboratory-based course is designed to show how you can use your own observations and experimental data to interpret the changing Earth around you. (Laboratory Science) WALSH 

122. Climate Change
An examination of changes in Earth's climate with particular focus on the last 20,000 years. Topics include greenhouse and icehouse worlds, climate reconstruction techniques, and factors driving climate change. Offered as a writing-designated course (W) in alternate years. ( Laboratory Science) DENNISTON

123. Go West: An Introduction to Field Geology
A largely field-based course centered in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the canyonlands of southern Utah, or the volcanoes of Hawaii. The fundamentals of geology will be introduced in the classroom and amplified by hands-on learning during a two-week trip west. Students will learn skills necessary for introductory geological mapping and field-based studies and will gain first-hand knowledge about large-scale tectonic features such as volcanoes and mountains, as well as surficial processes, such as river erosion. Entails additional costs. (Laboratory Science) WALSH

130. Historical Geology
Origin and evolution of the solid earth, atmosphere, and ocean; the origin of life; and the succession of life through geologic time. Prerequisite: either GEO 101, 105, 111, 114, 122, or 123. (Laboratory Science) STAFF

212. Mineralogy
Principles and processes of mineral growth; mineral chemistry and structure; physico-chemical stabilities of minerals; the foregoing leading to an understanding of the origins of minerals. Laboratory problems and mineral identification. Prerequisite: any 100-level GEO course. (Laboratory Science) WALSH

214. Tectonics
An examination of plate tectonic processes on Earth. Topics will include the building of mountains, rifting of ocean basins, the structure of Earth's interior, paleomagnetism, and the driving forces behind plate movement. Structural geological methods will also be discussed. Includes several field trips. Prerequisite: GEO 130. (Laboratory Science) DENNISTON

217. Invertebrate Paleontology
Principles of paleontology, paleoecology, and taxonomy, with an introduction to major fossil invertebrate groups. Prerequisite: GEO 130 or BIO 141 and 142. (Laboratory Science) STAFF

255. Modern and Ancient Carbonate Systems of the Bahamas
Field course on the geologic and biologic processes occurring in a modern carbonate system and the responses preserved in Pleistocene limestones. Days spent in the field investigating modern shallow marine environments (coral reefs, tidal flats, lagoons, beaches, dunes) and ancient analogs preserved in rock outcrops, caves, and sink-holes. Follow-up lectures and laboratory sessions in the evening. Snorkeling experience desirable but not essential; scuba diving opportunities will be made available. Taught at the Gerace Research Center, San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Entails additional costs. Prerequisites: any 100-level Geology course and sophomore standing. (Laboratory Science) GREENSTEIN

260 Through 265. Topics in Geology
See Topics Courses.

280/380. Internship: see Courses 280/380.

290/390. Individual Project: see Courses 290/390.

306. Igneous Petrology
Tectonic origins and geochemical evolution of magmas provide insight into the huge variety of igneous rocks. Hand sample and microscopic study of igneous rocks helps to determine compositions, structures and regional settings of the rocks. Prerequisite: GEO 212. Alternate years. (Laboratory Science) WALSH

307. Metamorphic Petrology
Tectonic origins, mineralogical and textural evolution of rocks that undergo changes in pressure, temperature and fluid-availability. Hand sample and microscopic study will provide insight into the processes and controlling influences of metamorphic change. Prerequisite: GEO 212. Alternate years. (Laboratory Science) WALSH

317. Paleoecology
Applications of principles of paleoecology to an understanding of the ecology of marine invertebrates that existed in eastern Iowa during Paleozoic time. Includes group research projects on various aspects of paleoecology using field- and laboratory-based studies of fossiliferous outcrops in eastern Iowa. Prerequisite: GEO 217. Alternate years. (Laboratory Science) GREENSTEIN

320. Earth Surface Systems
The study of landforms, landscape evolution, and earth surface processes. Particular attention will be paid to glacial and post-glacial environments in the north-central U.S. Includes field- and laboratory-based group research projects on various local and regional topics, and reading of primary literature. Cannot be taken if ENV 301 has been taken. Prerequisite: GEO 130. Alternate years. (Laboratory Science)

322. Climates of the Ice Age
An in-depth examination of Quaternary climates around the globe and the methods used to reconstruct them. Topics include ice cores, marine sediments, speleothems, pollen, tree rings, and geochemical techniques. Involves hands-on paleoclimate projects including computer simulations. Will also entail significant reading of the primary literature. Prerequisite: GEO 122 or 320. Alternate years. (Laboratory Science) DENNISTON

324. Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
Sedimentary processes and the stratigraphic record. Basics of particle transport, facies models, and methods of stratigraphic analysis. Hand specimen and microscopic study of sedimentary rocks. Prerequisite: GEO 130. Alternate years. (Laboratory Science) STAFF

325. The Origin of Mountains
Mountains are formed by a variety of geological processes. This class will explore methods of mountain building, focusing on the histories of different mountain belts around the world. We will read and discuss current literature on a range of related topics, such as: ultrahigh-pressure rocks, ophiolite emplacement, terrane accretion, thermobarometry, and methods for dating ancient mountain belts. Multi-day field trip is likely. Prerequisite: GEO 306, 307, or GEO 214 and permission of instructor. Alternate years. (Laboratory Science) WALSH

329. The Geology of New Zealand
Application of geologic principles in the field to explore the geology of a New Zealand: stratigraphy, structure, geomorphology, and tectonic history. Interpretation of geologic maps. Offered on the south island of New Zealand. Registration entails additional costs. Prerequisites: GEO 130, 214, and permission of instructor. Junior and senior Geology majors only. Alternate years. (Laboratory Science) DENNISTON

360 Through 365. Advanced Topics in Geology
See Topics Courses.

485. Geological Problems
Serves as the capstone for the geology major. Research on a subject or problem selected by the student and approved by the instructor, involving library and field or laboratory study. Comprehensive term paper and oral report. May be repeated once for credit. DENNISTONGREENSTEIN, or WALSH

511. Extended Research in Geology (1/4)
Two semesters to be taken in conjunction with capstone project, GEO 485. Extended reading during the first semester and writing of a capstone research proposal. Extended writing with construction and delivery of a public presentation of the capstone research results during the second semester. Prerequisites: Registration in GEO 485 during the end of the first semester or beginning of second semester. Permission of Instructor.