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Geology Majors' Handbook

2019-2020 Geology Majors' Handbook

Precambrian Basement:

Geology Department goes green with the annual alumni newsletter; featuring highlights from students, faculty, staff, and alumni.  Read all the department's highlights on this link: Precambrian Basement 2018-19 or prior years PCB publications.


Block 1 Talks

September 6, 12:15 p.m., Palmer Hall 16 - Dr. Calvin Shackleton, University of Trømso, Norway "Subglacial hydrology of the Fennoscandian and Barents Sea Ice Sheets"

September 11, 12:15 p.m., Tutt Science Lecture Hall - Professor Carol Dehler, Utah State University "Neoproterozoic strata of the southwestern U.S.:   A record of rifting, global glaciation, and eukaryotic evolution (plus:  How does Tava Sandstone fit in?)"

September 16, 12:15 p.m., Tutt Science Lecture Hall - Dr. Mariana Esteves from the University of Trømso, Norway, "Palaeo-Ice Stream retreat patterns and dynamics during deglaciation of the central Barents Sea"



Contact us:

General email: or

Precambrian Basement submissions:

Geology Department Chair Jeff Noblett:

Welcome back to CC Geology!

CC Professor of Geology Christine Siddoway features in “A Journey to Discover Antarctica's Future,” a film by Vivien Cumming, detailing the journey and work of Antarctic research aboard the JOIDES Resolution for Expedition #379 of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program.

The Geology Department at Colorado College offers introductory and advanced courses in earth sciences that may lead to a B.A.   in geology.

GY250 2017-18 Blk 8GY250/AN208 Past Climates & Human History in the Southwest

Mission Statement

The Geology Department is a place of active inquiry and intellectual exploration for faculty and students who are engaged in academic courses and original research in Earth Sciences. We use Colorado College's flexible Block Plan schedule to teach distinctive courses that extensively utilize the natural laboratory of the Rocky Mountain West and learning in the field to engage students in observing natural systems, understanding geologic time and geospatial concepts, studying the processes that make Earth a complex and dynamic system, and solving geological problems.

Curricular Goals

The Geology Department serves geology majors and CC students who opt to include geoscience perspectives in their liberal arts education through implementation of the following goals:

Goal One: Establish a strong foundational knowledge in fundamental principles of geology, in order to impart understanding of geologic time scales and spatial concepts and bring insight about the Earth as a complex and dynamic system.

Goal Two: Offer scientific experiences that train students in observing natural systems and apply such observations towards building an understand of the Earth.

Goal Three: Bring geoscience perspectives to bear on students' lives.

Goal Four: Prepare geology majors to function as earth scientists.

Goal Five: Contribute to the aims of a liberal arts education.

Department Philosophy

The courses in the major are designed to provide a foundation for a professional career in the earth sciences, provide the background for graduate school, which has increasingly become a necessary prerequisite to a professional career, provide an opportunity for students majoring in other fields to combine their expertise with geology, and educate students about the physical environment and our place in it, as part of a liberal arts education.

An excerpt from the nomination statement of Marcia K. McNutt (’74 graduate, Physics), presented to U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 10/8/09, during the process of her selection as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey.

“My favorite college course was Introduction to Geology, taught by Professor John Lewis. Colorado College uses the Block Plan, in which students take only one course at a time for a month. Introduction to Geology is two blocks long. So my first two months at college were spent with Doc Lewis and about 19 other students scrambling around the Front Range with our backpacks and sleeping bags trying to piece together the geologic history of the Southern Rockies from first principles. We never cracked a book the entire time. I was drawn to the grandeur of the Earth sciences and awed by the time and space scales upon which Earth processes played out. No lab coat. No test tube. Science outside!”

The Block Plan

The Colorado College Block Plan allows us to offer a unique program in geology. Because students take just one course at a time, with class size limited to 25 students, the program is intensive and individualized.

The flexibility of the Block Plan also allows faculty and students to pursue independent study and research projects, during the academic year as well as during summer and winter breaks. Much of this work takes place away from the campus. Many of our students do field-oriented research as part of a required senior seminar project or as part of a distinction thesis.

Students with strong interests in both geology and environmental issues may major in Geology and take elective courses in other environmental sciences and environmental issues. Alternatively, such students may major in Environmental Science complemented with coursework in Geology.