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Course Listing

GEOLOGY COURSES

Geological topics, such as environmental hazards, plate tectonics, and mineral resources and society, offered in different years. No prior knowledge of geology is assumed. (Only one Geology 100 course unit may be applied toward divisional credit in the natural sciences. 100 and 140 may be substituted for 130 as a prerequisite for other geology courses and may not be taken for credit after 130.) (May meet the laboratory/field requirement for natural sciences.) 1 unit – Department.

Geology Department Course Offerings

Catalog Entries

GY 100 - Studies in Geology

Geological topics, such as environmental hazards, plate tectonics, and mineral resources and society, offered in different years. No prior knowledge of geology is assumed. May not be taken for credit after 130. (Only one Geology 100 course unit may be applied toward divisional credit in the natural sciences.) (May meet the laboratory/field requirement for natural sciences.)

Prerequisite: No credit if taken after 130 or 140.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 101 - Catastrophic Geology: Causes and Consequences of Natural Disasters

An examination of the nature and causes of earthquakes, volcanos, and floods through in-depth study of several seminal hazardous events and regions. Unique and occasionally conflicting perspectives from historic/pre-historic records, modern science and present/future economics and politics underscore the slow progress in our understanding of these catastrophes. The events will also be examined within the global framework of plate tectonic theory to enhance understanding of dynamic earth processes. .5 or 1.0 unit.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. .5 to 1 unit

GY 115 - Oceanography

Basic principles of physical and chemical oceanography.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 130 - Introductory Geology

The materials of the earth, earth processes and interrelationships between these domains. History of the earth, with emphasis on how geologists accomplish their historical inquiries.

Meets the laboratory/field requirement for natural sciences.

Prerequisite: No credit after Geology 140. 

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement. 1 to 2 units

GY 140 - Physical Geology

The fundamentals of physical geology: igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks; basic mineralogy; structural geology; mapping; and examination of local stratigraphic units.

Meets the laboratory/field requirement for the natural sciences.

Prerequisite: No credit after Geology 130. 

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World lab or field requirement. 1 unit

GY 150 - Environmental Geology

A survey of environmental issues from the geologist's perspective, including such topics as: hazards from volcanoes, earthquakes, and floods, bio-geochemical cycles and atmospheric change, and energy and mineral resources.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 205 - Historical Geology

Historical development of the Earth and life history emphasizing the major tectonic and stratigraphic patterns and the feedback between the physical Earth and biological evolution.

Prerequisite: Geology 130 or 140.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 207 - Independent Study in Geology

Independent research projects based on laboratory, field or library investigations. May be taught in extended format or regular course.

Prerequisite: Geology 140, consent of instructor and registration at least 1 block prior.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. .5 to 1 unit

GY 210 - Fundamental Geological Methods and Rocky Mountain Evolution

Foundational methods in geology, taught through field studies that examine the regional geology and tectonic evolution of the Rocky Mountain Region.

Prerequisite: Geology 130 or 140, and Chemistry & Biochemistry 107, Physics 141 or Physics 241 recommended.

No credit if taken after Geology 211 or 212.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 to 2 units

GY 211 - Earth as a Chemical System

Study of the earth as a chemical system where a limited number of elements react over a range of geologic conditions to form igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks characterized by unique mineral assemblages. Topics covered include processes driving rock-forming reactions, where they take place, and why certain minerals are associated with each rock type. Also included is a study of the chemistry, crystallography and identification of silicate and other common minerals based on their physical, optical and diffractive properties. Field and lab projects enable students to build upon their knowledge of Rocky Mountain geology.

Prerequisite: Geology 130 or 140;CH 107.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 212 - Investigating Earth as a Physical System

Studies of rock deformation, landscape formation and earth structure are used as a framework for developing skills in hypothesis formation, project design, data analysis and scientific writing. These skills serve as a foundation for work in higher-level Geology courses and on independent research projects.

Prerequisite: Geology 130 or 140; Physics 141 or 241 No credit if taken after Geology 210.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 230 - Volcanology

Volcanic types, processes and products. Volcanic hazards and prediction.

Prerequisite: consent of instructor or Geology 210 or Geology 211.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 240 - Plate Tectonics

History of Plate Tectonics and its formulation, paleomagnetic record of ocean crust, geodynamics and tectonic theory, active tectonics, current frontiers.

Prerequisite: Geology 130 or 140 and one 200-level GY course.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 250 - Studies in Geology

Geological topics, such as Advanced Environmental Geology, Hydrology, Mineral Resources Problems and Policies, and Colorado Alpine Environments, offered in different years.

Prerequisite: Geology 130 or 140.

May meet the laboratory/field requirement for natural sciences. 1 unit

GY 300 - Invertebrate Paleontology

Microscopic and megascopic study of the significant fossil invertebrate phyla with emphasis on taxonomy, morphology, ecology and evolution.

Prerequisite: Geology 130 or Geology 140 and Geology 210 or Geology 212.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 305 - Stratigraphy & Sedimentation

Transport and deposition of sediment, modern and ancient depositional systems, basin analysis, and correlation of sedimentary rocks. Field work emphasizes analysis of sedimentary structures and facies models for paleoenvironmental interpretation.

Prerequisite: Geology 210 or Geology 211.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 307 - Independent Study in Geology

Independent research projects based on laboratory, field or library investigations. May be taught in extended format or regular course.

Prerequisite: One prior course in the discipline of study, consent of instructor and registration at least 1 block prior.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. .5 to 1 unit

GY 308 - Introductory Geophysics

Applications of physics to the study of Earth structure from crust to core. Seismology, magnetics, gravity, and geodesy. Explores history of Earth's formation, current geologic and tectonic problems, and uniqueness of interpretation issues.

Prerequisite: Mathematics 125 or Mathematics 126, Physics 141 or Physics 241, and Geology 210 or Geology 212 or consent of instructor.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 310 - Igneous Petrology

Classification, modes of occurrence and origin of igneous rocks.

Prerequisite: Geology 210 or Geology 211 and Chemistry & Biochemistry 107.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 313 - Metamorphic Petrology

Classification, modes of occurrence and origin of metamorphic rocks. Emphasis is on field relations and thin section work.

Prerequisite: Chemistry & Biochemistry 107 and Geology 210 or Geology 211.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 315 - Structural Geology

A study of the geometry and origin of rock structures from microscopic to continental scale. Mechanical behavior of rocks, stress and strain, plate tectonic context of rock deformation.

Prerequisite: Geology 210 or Geology 212 and Physics 141 or Physics 241.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 316 - Field Analysis of Geological Structures

Techniques of field and laboratory analysis of deformed rocks. Geological mapping in metamorphic and sedimentary terrains.

Prerequisite: Geology 315.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 320 - Surface Processes and Geomorphology

Mechanical and chemical processes involved in the development of landforms. Discussion of weathering and soils, mass movement, fluvial, and glacial/periglacial processes and landforms, tectonic geomorphology, and landscape evolution. Course involves significant components of laboratory and field work.

Prerequisite: Geology 210 or Geology 212 and Physics 141 or Physics 241.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 321 - Glacial Geology

An introduction to glaciology and glacial geomorphology. Course also examines the nature, history, and causes of Quaternary glaciation.

Prerequisite: Geology 260 or 320 or consent of instructor.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 335 - Geochemistry of the Rock Cycle

Atomic-scale to lithospheric-scale investigation of geologic processes that occur as a result of chemical reactions, and the evidence of these reactions in the rock record. Includes study of chemical behavior of common and rare elements in the earth, and of isotopes of these elements. Theoretical concepts are reinforced by collection and analysis of geochemical data by students, critical reading of journal articles, and by scientific writing summary papers and research proposals.

Prerequisite: Geology 210 or Geology 211 and Chemistry & Biochemistry 107.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 370 - Advanced Studies in Geology

Advanced geological topics. These courses are aimed at students with considerable background in geology and will generally involve critical reading of current literature. Topics will vary year- to-year.

Prerequisite: depending on topic.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 400 - Senior Seminar in Geology

Thematic capstone seminar designed to integrate aspects of several geologic disciplines. Emphasis will be placed on current topics in the geological literature, including their historical and philosophical contexts.

Topics will vary year-to-year.

Senior standing in geology is required. Class size limit is 15 students.

Prerequisite: Senior Geology Major.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 405 - Research Topics in Geology

Student participation in original research. The particular topic, chosen in conjunction with a faculty member, to be included in the course title whenever offered.

May be taken either as a block course or as an extended format course with 1/2 unit of credit per semester.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit

GY 445 - Regional Studies in Geology

An in-depth study of a geological region that requires students to apply fundamental knowledge and skills acquired through the course of their college education. Involves in-depth study of primary rock relationships in a field setting, critical reading of published geological literature, and interpretation and synthesis in oral/written formats.

Prerequisite: Senior Geology major and consent of instructor.

Meets the Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement. 1 unit