To learn more about our faculty, click here.

Catalogue Archive

Geoscience is the study of our planet, its lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. Geoscientists use their expertise to monitor changes in the environment, gain a greater understanding of our natural world, predict and evaluate how human activities may contribute to environmental change, and manage Earth's resources. The study of geoscience provides strong preparation for a variety of careers in government, industry and academia, including environmental consulting; weather forecasting; natural hazards impact assessment; natural resource management; environmental law; petroleum exploration; science teaching; science journalism; and research in geology, hydrology, climatology, and meteorology.

The Geoscience Department offers a variety of courses spanning areas of geology, hydrology, and atmospheric science. In addition to taking formal courses, most geoscience students undertake undergraduate research through independent study and honors courses or as internships. Our instruction and research are strongly augmented by fieldwork in the Finger Lakes region, as well as other locations around the world. The department offers two majors, a B.A. in Geoscience and a B.S. in Geoscience, a minor in Geoscience, and a minor in Atmospheric Science. Only two courses transferred from another institution may count toward the major unless the student has previously been matriculated at another institution. Only those courses in which a student has obtained a grade of C- or better will be credited toward a major or minor. Credit/no credit options cannot be used for departmental or cognate courses counted for the major or minor except for GEO 299 Geoscience Field Studies. GEO 299 may be counted twice for a major and once for a minor.

disciplinary, 12 courses
GEO 182, GEO 184, GEO 186; five additional geoscience courses at 200 or 300-level, not to include GEO 206, GEO 207, or GEO 299; two additional geoscience courses at 200-level or above (GEO 207 may count if not used for the quantitative requirement and abroad courses may count if approved by department); BIOL 167, CHEM 110, CHEM 190, CPSC 124, ENV 203, or PHYS 150; GEO 207, MATH 130, or BIOL 212; Geoscience capstone (GEO 489 ' Fulfillment includes any two GEO 300-level or GEO 495 courses and capstone seminar presentation). Credit/no credit options cannot be used for departmental or cognate courses except GEO 299. No more than two courses from another institution may count toward the major.

disciplinary, 15 courses
GEO 182, GEO 184, GEO 186; five additional geoscience courses at 200 or 300-level, not to include GEO 206, GEO 207, or GEO 299; two additional geoscience courses at 200-level or above (GEO 207 may count if not used for the quantitative requirement and abroad courses may count if approved by department); PHYS 150; CHEM 110 or CHEM 190; MATH 130; GEO 207, MATH 131, or BIOL 212; BIOL 167, CHEM 120, CHEM 240, CPSC 124, ENV 203, or PHYS 160; Geoscience capstone (GEO 489 ' Fulfillment includes any two GEO 300-level or GEO 495 courses and capstone seminar presentation). Credit/no credit options cannot be used for departmental or cognate courses except GEO 299. No more than two courses from another institution may count toward the major.

disciplinary, 6 courses
GEO 182, GEO 184, or GEO 186; four additional geoscience courses at the 200-level or above; any one additional geoscience course. Credit/no credit options cannot be used for departmental or cognate courses except GEO 299. No more than two courses from another institution may count toward the minor. No more than one of the following may count toward the minor: GEO 299, GEO 450, GEO 495, or study abroad.

disciplinary, 6 courses
GEO 182, ATMO 245, ATMO 260, and three additional Atmospheric Science elective courses. Credit/no credit options cannot be used except for GEO 299. No more than one course from another institution may count for the minor. No more than three 200-level or above courses may be from any one department or program.

Introductory Courses
GEO 142 Earth Systems Science
GEO 143 Earth and Life through Time
GEO 144 Astrobiology
GEO 182 Introduction to Meteorology
GEO 184 Introduction to Geology
GEO 186 Introduction to Hydrogeology

Upper Level Elective Courses
GEO 206 Scientific Communication
GEO 207 Environmental Statistics
GEO 210 Environmental Hydrology
GEO 215 Hydrometeorology
GEO 220 Geomorphology
GEO 240 Mineralogy
GEO 255 Global Climates
GEO 260 Weather Analysis
GEO 265 Weather Measurements & Computing
GEO 275 Planetary Geology
GEO 280 Aqueous and Environmental Geochemistry
GEO 299 Geoscience Field Studies
GEO 320 Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks
GEO 325 Paleoclimatology
GEO 330 Limnology
GEO 336 Macroevolution
GEO 340 Petrology
GEO 350 Synoptic-Dynamic Meteorology I
GEO 351 Synoptic-Dynamic Meteorology II
GEO 355 Mesoscale and Severe Weather
GEO 362 Polar Meteorology
GEO 365 Environmental Meteorology
GEO 370 Structural Geology
GEO 375 Earth History
GEO 380 Paleontology
GEO 390 Gondwana
GEO 450 Independent Study
GEO 495 Honors

Required Courses
GEO 182 Introduction to Meteorology
ATMO 245 Climate Change Science
ATMO 260 Weather Analysis

Elective Courses
ATMO 450 Independent Study
ATMO 495 Honors
GEO 215 Hydrometeorology
GEO 255 Global Climates
GEO 265 Weather Measurements and Computing
GEO 299 Geoscience Field Studies (Severe Storms Only)
GEO 325 Paleoclimatology
GEO 350 Synoptic-Dynamic Meteorology I
GEO 351 Synoptic-Dynamic Meteorology II
GEO 355 Mesoscale and Severe Weather
GEO 362 Polar Meteorology
GEO 365 Environmental Meteorology
PHYS 285 Math Methods
CPSC 225 Intermediate Programming
CHEM 260 Environmental Chemistry
MATH 237 Differential Equations
MATH 353 Math Models

GEO 142 Earth Systems Science Our planet is an integrated system in which rocks, water, ice and air interact and influence each other. This applied geoscience course investigates Earth and its systems for non-majors. The course focuses on global environmental change by exploring the complex links between the geosphere (Earth's rocky surface), hydrosphere (oceans, lakes, rivers and groundwater), atmosphere and biosphere (living things). This course examines each of these "spheres". What are they made of? How are they structured? How do they work? How do they interact with each other? We will consider how humans manipulate Earth's system, particularly considering climate change, nutrient pollution, ozone depletion and loss of biodiversity. We recognize that the geologic past is the key to the present and future, and explore how contemporary environmental change has analogues in Earth history. This course is designed to fulfill a student's curricular goal of experiencing scientific inquiry. It does not count toward the Geoscience major. (Staff, offered occasionally)

GEO 143 Earth & Life Through Time Is Earth's current condition with a global ocean, polar ice caps and an oxygen-rich atmosphere an inevitable consequence of the planet's size and position in the solar system? Should we expect all such Goldilocks Planets to have the same habitable environment? Or has our planetary home been shaped by the chance events of history? This course will begin with an examination of history. What makes a system like the Earth historical? Then we will explore how scientists ask and answer questions about historical systems and understand how this method differs from the classic "experiments" that most students performed in science class. Finally, we will study a series of moments in Earth's history where everything really did change. These may include the origin of life, the transition to an oxygen-rich atmosphere, the origin of animals, land plants, flowering plants, dinosaurs, mammals, and consider why our species -Homo sapiens is the last bipedal ape standing. We will consider ice ages, wandering continents, meteor impacts and titanic volcanic eruptions. We will examine episodes of mass extinction when life hit the reset button. And we will conclude with a final question: If chance events can change the course of Earth's history, can we? (Kendrick, offered occasionally)

GEO 144 Astrobiology Astrobiology is the scientific study of the origin and evolution of life in the Universe. It brings together perspectives from astronomy, planetary science, geoscience, paleontology, biology and chemistry to examine the origin of life on Earth and the possibility of life elsewhere in the Universe. This course is designed to help students understand the nature and process of science through the lens of astrobiology. We will explore questions such as: What is life? How did life arise on Earth? Where else in the Universe might life be found? How do we know about the early history of life on Earth? And how do we search for life elsewhere? We will evaluate current theories on how life began and evolved on Earth and how the presence of life changed the Earth. We will review current understanding on the range of habitable planets in our solar system and around other stars. And we will discuss what life might look like on these other planets and what techniques we could use to detect it. This course is designed to fulfill a student's goal of experiencing scientific inquiry and understanding the nature of scientific knowledge. It does not count toward the major in Geoscience or Physics. (Hebb, Kendrick, offered alternate years)

GEO 176 Tectonics Tectonics encompasses the large-scale processes that determine the properties, distribution, and structure of the Earth's crust and its evolution through geologic time. This discipline is key to understanding large and small-scale geologic patterns across the Earth, including what governs the origin and growth of continents, the location and lifecycle of mountain belts, the geometry of plate boundaries, the formation of sedimentary basins, ore deposits, erosional patterns, the maintenance of planetary habitability, the distribution and intensity of geological hazards, and more. This course will examine the foundations of tectonic theory, spherical geometry and plate boundaries, large-scale plate motions, paleogeography, and elements of structural geology the recognition, representation, and genetic interpretation of the folds and faults that result from tectonic collisions. May include one required weekend field trip. (Kendrick, Spring, offered alternate years)

GEO 182 Introduction to Meteorology The influence of weather and climate affect our daily activities, our leisure hours, transportation, commerce, agriculture, and nearly every aspect of our lives. In this course many of the fundamental physical processes important to the climate system and responsible for the characteristics and development of weather systems will be introduced. We will examine the structure of the atmosphere, parameters that control climate, the jet stream, large-scale pressure systems, as well as an array of severe weather phenomena including hurricanes, tornados, thunderstorms and blizzards. Upon completion of this course, we will have developed: (a) a foundation of basic scientific inquiry (b) a basic comprehension of the physical processes that govern weather and climate, and (c) an understanding of the elements of weather and climate that are most important to society. Prerequisite: MATH 100 or a score of 20 or better on the math placement test. This course is a prerequisite for many geoscience courses. (Laird, Metz, offered each semester)

GEO 184 Introduction to Geology We will explore the form and function of the solid Earth, using plate tectonics as a central paradigm. From this framework, we investigate minerals and rocks, volcanoes, earthquakes, the rise and fall of mountains, the origin and fate of sediments, the structure of our landscape and geologic time. We analyze geological resources such as minerals and fossil fuels, and the many other ways human society interacts with our restless planet. We work extensively in the field and typically take one mandatory weekend field trip. Prerequisite: Math 100 or a score of 20 or better on the math placement test. This course is a prerequisite for many geoscience courses. (Arens, Kendrick, offered each semester)

GEO 186 Introduction to Hydrogeology Water and water resources are critical issues for the sustenance of every society. This course is an introduction to hydrogeology and explores water in the atmosphere, lakes, oceans, and other reservoirs found on land and the movement among reservoirs. Discussion of the role of water in natural systems results in an exploration of (1) atmospheric moisture; (2) floods and stream processes; (3) the physical , chemical, and ecological characteristics of lakes and oceans; (4) aquifers and groundwater processes; and (5) wetlands. We will use quantitative reasoning to examine the characteristics and importance of water across environmental and geophysical sciences. Prerequisite: Math 100 or a score of 20 or better on the math placement test. This course is a prerequisite for many geoscience courses. (Curtin, Finkelstein, Halfman, fall, offered annually)

GEO 206 Scientific Communication Scientists communicate to two primary audiences: other scientists and nonscientists. Each audience has different needs and successful communication requires that the writer keep the audience in mind. Scientists communicate in a variety of media: technical reports, nontechnical articles, literature reviews, research proposals, technical posters, abstracts, and presentations both technical and nontechnical. Each of these modes integrates verbal and visual elements. This course will explore each of these eight modes to help students already familiar with scientific content to become better communicators. We will begin by a close reading of examples of each mode of scientific communication to examine its elements, style and the ways in which the writer addresses the needs of the audience. Then students will compose in that mode. Prerequisite: One 200 level course in the Natural Sciences. (Arens, offered occasionally)

GEO 207 Environmental Statistics Investigation design and statistical analysis of data are intimately linked. This course will explore these facets of the scientific process iteratively. We will examine probability and sampling, study and data integrity, hypothesis generation and testing, and data analysis using descriptive statistics, t-tests, chi-squared applications, one-and two-way analysis of variance, correlation, time series analysis and linear regression. We will also introduce multivariate methods of data structure exploration. Students will practice concepts by designing investigations in the realms of Earth and environmental science, gathering and/or assembling data from other sources and analyzing it using the R statistical computing environment. Students should have a reliable laptop and understand its directory structure. Prerequisite: One 200-level course in the Natural Sciences. (Arens, Brubaker, Kendrick, spring, offered annually)

GEO 210 Environmental Hydrology "All the rivers run into the ocean; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again" (Ecclesiastes 1:7-8). Hydrology is the study of water at or near the surface of the Earth. Modern society's demand for water from surface and groundwater sources to feed industrial, agricultural, municipal, recreational and other uses typically outstrips the supply, which has become increasingly scarcer due to the environmental degradation of existing water resources by the disposal of wastes. Thus no other discipline in the geological sciences has experienced such an explosion of interest and growth in recent years. This course investigates the physical properties of water, the hydrologic cycle, surface and groundwater processes, water quality issues, and other environmental concerns focusing on the quantitative aspects of hydrology. Project-based laboratories are mostly done in the field and analyzing/modeling data in the lab. Prerequisites: CHEM 120, GEO 184 and GEO 186, or permission of instructor. (Halfman, spring, offered occasionally)

GEO 215 Hydrometeorology Water availability is vital to human survival. However, water can also be a destructive force of nature. This course will examine water from many perspectives with a particular emphasis on meteorological impacts of water. Key topics covered in this course will include floods, droughts, and probabilistic forecasts of precipitation, summertime rain-producing convective systems, snowfall, evapotranspiration, and a general overview of the hydrologic cycle. Meteorologists often have trouble producing accurate precipitation forecasts, and even when the precipitation location can be accurately predicted, the precipitation amount is often in error. Students will examine the difficulties that water creates in the forecast cycle by utilizing numerical models and the current weather to understand the impact that water, or the lack thereof, has on atmospheric and environmental processes. Prerequisite: GEO 182. (Metz, fall, offered alternate years)

GEO 220 Geomorphology We live on the thin surface of the earth, which is the interface between the lithosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. Geomorphology is the study of how these "spheres" interact and form the landscape we see around us. Through both descriptive and quantitative analysis, we will assess the scales and rates at which surface processes occur. Exploring the connection between modern processes and modern deposits is essential to deciphering the geologic record. We will examine the link between process, landform and deposit. We will evaluate fluvial, glacial, slope, eolian, weathering, and karst processes and the landforms that they produce and the deposits that are left behind. An understanding of surficial processes is critical to understanding the interaction of humans and their environment. Note: Weekend field trips are required. Prerequisites: GEO 184 and GEO 186 or concurrent enrollment (Curtin, fall, offered alternate years)

GEO 240 Mineralogy Mineralogy is the study of the structure, chemistry, and origin of minerals. Since minerals are the basic components of all rocks and sediments and are commonly in chemical equilibrium with natural waters, an understanding of minerals is crucial to many fields in geoscience. This course introduces students to the chemical and physical properties of minerals, their occurrence in rocks, and their economic uses. It also familiarizes students with some of the most important minerals and the techniques used in their identification and characterization. Techniques covered include crystallographic, X-ray, spectroscopic, and optical microscopy. Laboratory. Prerequisites: GEO 184 and CHEM 110 (or concurrent enrollment). (Staff, offered annually)

GEO 242 The Earth System Planet Earth is an integrated system in which the geosphere (rocky component), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air), cryosphere (ice) and biosphere (life) interact to produce changes in the planet's physical conditions. This course explores how each of these component "spheres" operates to influence and respond to Earth's overall energy budget and atmospheric greenhouse. The course teaches systems methods and uses quantitative models to explore the interconnections and feedback's between these "spheres'' and the emergent properties of these feedback's such as climate and biodiversity change. The course explores how these systems have operated throughout Earth's geological history to produce dramatic changes in Earth's surface conditions. This course is designed for students with experience in the Earth sciences and counts toward the Geoscience major and minor. (Arens, offered alternate years)

ATMO 245 Climate Change Science Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our society What changes have the Earth's atmosphere undergone in the past? What changes are currently happening? What climate changes are likely to occur in the future? This course will explore these questions by establishing a foundation in climate science and examining the scientific evidence underlying climate change and global warming using lecture, discussion, data analysis, and climate modeling. The course will also compare past natural fluctuations in the Earth's climate to our current situation, discuss how scientists study climate using data and climate models, and examine the current thinking on future climate changes. (Laird and Metz, offered annually)

GEO 255 Global Climates and Oceans The Earth has a large variation of climate regimes that are controlled by both landscape and atmospheric factors. The climate of a particular region is defined by annual and seasonal variations of temperature, precipitation, and winds. Regional climate is also greatly influenced by the spatial distribution of land masses and oceans, as well as ocean water characteristics and ocean circulation. This course examines the physical characteristics, processes, and mechanisms of both the atmosphere and oceans that regulate the Earth's climate system and the patterns of its variation across both space and time. In this course, students will use discussion and analysis of climate datasets collected from a variety of measurement systems to develop a comprehensive understanding of global variations of the Earth's atmosphere and oceans, regional climates (Tropic, Mid-latitude, and Polar regions), and climate teleconnections, such as ENSO. Prerequisite: GEO 182. (Laird, offered alternate years)

GEO/ATMO 260 Weather Analysis Few things capture the public's attention and influence daily decisions like weather. In this course, we will examine day-to-day weather patterns with an emphasis on understanding the basics of meteorological processes and forecasting, independent analysis of weather events and mastery of hands-on data analysis. We will examine and discuss conceptual models of the structure of mid-latitude cyclones and convection weather systems, including the processes of cyclogenesis and frontogenesis. Interpretation of atmospheric kinematic and dynamic processes on weather charts is emphasized along with an introduction to weather prediction. Prerequisite: GEO 182. (Metz, spring, offered annually)

GEO 265 Weather Measurement & Computing New atmospheric observation systems are being introduced frequently with the accelerated development of technology in today's world. This course will describe methods and instrumentation used to collect direct and remotely sensed observations of the atmosphere. Atmospheric remote sensing of clouds, precipitation, and air motion by weather radars and satellites will be examined through observation and data interpretation. This course will also explore scientific computing important to working in most areas of science, especially meteorology. Students will be introduced to the basic concepts of programming and computation using Python and develop skills necessary for the reading, analyzing, and plotting of meteorological and climatic data. Prerequisites: GEO 182 and PHYS 150. (Laird, spring, offered alternate years)

GEO 275 Planetary Geology A wealth of new data has ushered in a golden age of exploration of our solar system. Our understanding of the origin and development of planets, moons, dwarf planets, and asteroids, their unique histories, the active processes still shaping them today, and the possibilities of life on these different worlds is exploding with new information and new insights. This course introduces planetary geology through the examination of the origin of the solar system, the structure and development of the terrestrial planets, the diversity of moons and many of their unique features, the remarkable features of dwarf planets like Pluto, comparative tectonics, the nature of weather and climate on these disparate bodies, and prospects for habitability and life. We will finish with an examination of the current state of knowledge of exoplanets planets around other stars including how we detect them, what we know of their compositions and atmospheres, and speculations about habitability. Prerequisites: GEO 184. May include one required weekend field trip. (Kendrick, spring, offered alternate years).

GEO 280 Aqueous & Environmental Geochemistry Aqueous fluids are the agents of geologic change. They initiate and control many geologic processes because they are ubiquitous, mobile and chemically reactive. Chemical interaction between fluids and rock, soil, or aerosols have a direct bearing on topics such as acid deposition, drinking water quality, acid mine drainage, and the chemical evolution of the hydrologic cycle. Students examine the chemical and geological processes that govern the concentration levels of dissolved substances in aqueous systems. Projects completed during lecture and lab will emphasize the collection and analysis of surface or near surface waters and the interpretation and presentation of data. Note: There will be required weekend field trips. Prerequisites: GEO 184 and GEO 186, CHEM 110 or by permission of the instructor. (Finkelstein, spring, offered alternate years)

GEO 284 Mineralogy and Petrology Humanity relies on minerals, rocks, sediments and soils for agriculture, life and industry. Because minerals are the basic components of all rocks, sediments and soils, and are commonly in chemical equilibrium with natural waters, an understanding of minerals is crucial to many fields in geoscience. This course introduces students to the chemical and physical properties of the some of the most important and common minerals and rocks, the occurrence of minerals in rocks, their economic importance and potential health hazards. It also familiarizes students with the techniques used in mineral and rock identification and characterization. Laboratory work emphasizes the systematic description of minerals and rocks in hand specimen and thin section, and the interpretation of rock origin from mineralogy and texture. Techniques covered include crystallographic, X-ray diffraction, and optical microscopy. Laboratory and one extended field trip are required. Prerequisites: GEO 184 and CHEM 110. (Spring, offered annually)

GEO 299 Geoscience Field Studies The course is designed to introduce you to field-based scientific investigations in an intensive 2-week course. We will conduct several mapping and data collection projects that will provide you experience with field observations in areas of geology, meteorology, and climatology. Students completing the course receive one full course credit. The course is offered as credit/no credit and can be counted toward a Geoscience major or minor. (Offered annually)

GEO 320 Sediments & Sedimentary Rocks Sediments and sedimentary rocks are the most common of the geologic materials on the Earth's surface. Found in them are many of the raw materials used in our industrial society, the record of life in the past and the record of ancient environmental change. Sedimentary rocks preserve evidence for sea level change, global climate change, tectonic processes, and geochemical cycles. Laboratories involve the description, classification, correlation, and interpretation of sediments and sedimentary rocks to decipher that evidence. Field and lab projects provide opportunities for students to collect and analyze their own datasets. Note: There are required weekend field trips. Prerequisite: GEO 184. (Curtin, fall, offered alternate years)

GEO 325 Paleoclimatology Paleoclimatology is the study of climate prior to the period of instrumentation. Understanding how and why climate changes are important for interpreting the geologic record and evaluating contemporary climate change. After an overview of Earth's modern ocean-atmosphere system and energy balance is presented, dating methods and techniques for reconstructing past climates are discussed. Field and lab projects include working with existing paleoclimate datasets in addition to collecting and interpreting archives of climate change such as tree rings, bog and lake cores, and speleothems from the local area. Note: There are required weekend field trips. Prerequisites GEO 184 and GEO 186; or permission of instructor. (Curtin, spring, offered annually)

GEO 330 Limnology Limnology is the study of lakes from a chemical, biological, physical, and geological perspective. Topics include the thermal structure of lakes, lake optics, dissolved gases, biological nutrients, trace elements, plankton populations, food-chain dynamics, estuaries, and the origin and nature of lake basins. Freshwater and marine systems are contrasted, with Seneca Lake serving as an example of the former. The roles of planktonic life, input from rivers, and thermal stratification on the chemistry of Seneca Lake are explored. Special emphasis is placed on biological nutrient dynamics and environmental concerns. Weekly laboratories and a few weekend day-trips are conducted on Seneca Lake aboard The William Scandling, and selected Finger Lakes aboard the JB Snow. Prerequisites: CHEM 280, GEO 184 and GEO 186, or permission of instructor (Finkelstein, fall, offered occasionally)

GEO 340 Petrology Petrology deals with the description, classification, and origin of rocks. Although the subject encompasses all classes of rocks, this course focuses principally on igneous and metamorphic rocks. Topics include the mineralogical and chemical makeup of the common rock types, crystal growth, and equilibrium in magnetic and metamorphic environments, the application of experimental studies to the interpretation of igneous and metamorphic rocks, and the origin of magmas. Laboratory work emphasizes the systematic description of rocks in hand specimen and thin section, and the interpretation of origin from mineralogy and texture. Laboratory and one extended field trip are required. Prerequisite: GEO 240. CHEM 120 is also recommended. (Staff, fall, offered occasionally)

GEO 350 Synoptic-Dynamic Meteorology Synoptic and dynamic meteorology are the cornerstones of meteorological forecasting and the foundation of modern weather prediction computer models. Synoptic Meteorology describes large-scale atmospheric weather systems, while dynamic meteorology quantitatively utilizes mathematical equations to explain atmospheric motion. This course will examine common synoptic-scale weather features such as mid-latitude cyclones, jet streams, and other large-scale aspects of tropospheric weather systems, by relating near real-time atmospheric conditions to the mathematics that govern atmospheric motion and structure. Students will make regular use of archived atmospheric datasets and numerical models along with the current weather to develop and interpret the atmospheric equations of motion in terms of sensible weather. Prerequisite: GEO/ATMO 260 and MATH 130. (Metz, fall, offered alternate years)

GEO 351 Synoptic-Dynamic Meteorology II The second semester of synoptic-dynamic meteorology will continue to intertwine the qualitative study of large-scale atmospheric weather systems, with the quantitative mathematical equations of atmospheric motion. This course will focus on advanced meteorological topics such as quasi-geostrophic theory, potential voracity, baroclinic instability, frontogenesis, ensemble forecasting, atmospheric waves, and instabilities. Students will utilize numerical model simulations along with current atmospheric data to explore the large-scale meteorological circulation from both a theoretical and observational viewpoint. Prerequisite: GEO 350. (Metz, spring, offered alternate years)

GEO 355 Mesoscale & Severe Weather Many of the most destructive, severe and awe-inspiring weather events, such as tornadoes, squall lines, hurricanes, and lake-effect snow occur with spatial and temporal dimensions described as mesoscale. Mesoscale meteorology typically encompasses atmospheric phenomena that are smaller than 1000 km in size. Thus, in addition to severe weather systems, this course will investigate fronts, mountain wind systems, land sea breezes, and precipitation bands, with a focus on the processes and dynamics that govern their formation and distribution. Mesoscale weather is inherently difficult to predict given the relatively small size and complex nature of the various phenomena. In order to facilitate investigation of mesoscale meteorology and severe weather, this class will regularly utilize archived meteorological measurements, mesoscale computer models, and current observations of the atmosphere, which continuously provides interesting and dynamic situations to learn from. Prerequisite: GEO/ATMO 260. (Metz, spring, offered alternate years)

GEO 362 Polar Meteorology Polar regions are important areas in understanding and monitoring changes in the Earth's atmospheric environment and have some unique weather systems, as well as climate characteristics. Perhaps surprisingly to many, the polar atmosphere is governed by the same physical principles that operate in middle-latitude and tropical regions. This course will use the context of the Arctic and Antarctic to introduce and discuss the thermodynamic and precipitation processes in the atmosphere. Additional topics that will be discussed include Polar lows, interactions between the atmosphere, cryosphere, and ocean, and stratospheric ozone. Related to many of these topics, we will analyze current, relevant data sets from Polar Regions. Prerequisite: ATMO 245, GEO 215, GEO 255, or GEO/ATMO 260. (Laird, fall, offered alternate years)

GEO 365 Environmental Meteorology The atmospheric boundary layer can be viewed as the most important layer of the atmosphere since it directly impacts humans, animals, plants and the Earth's surface. Additionally, it is within this portion of the atmosphere where pollutants are typically introduced to the air and directly influence air quality through their transport and dispersion. In this course, we will examine the relationships and controls on the transfer of properties (mass, energy, and moisture) between the Earth's surface and the overlying atmosphere, and within the atmospheric boundary layer itself. We will examine the sources, sinks, and transport of atmospheric pollutants under a variety of atmospheric conditions. To achieve these goals, we will use current, relevant data sets and conduct analyses to examine properties of the atmospheric boundary layer and pollutant transport. Prerequisites: ATMO 245, GEO 215, GEO 255 or GEO 260. (Laird, fall, offered alternative years)

GEO 370 Structural Geology Structural geology is the study of the deformed rocks that mark areas of present or past crustal movement, chiefly the Earth's mountain belts. Its basic tasks are the recognition, representation, and genetic interpretation of a variety of rock structures. These structures range from microscopically deformed mineral grains to entire mountain belts. Major goals of the course include the visualization of rock geometries and structures from maps and cross sections, and the interpretation of these structures in terms of rock deformation processes. Field observations and mapping of deformed rocks constitute an important part of the course. Laboratory with two extended field trips. Prerequisite: GEO 184. (Staff, offered occasionally)

GEO 375 Earth History This course develops the methods by which Earth's history is deciphered. We consider how to rigorously test scientific hypotheses in the geological record. We investigate tectonics, sedimentary rocks and their structures, the fossil record, biological and climate evolution and a variety of ways of understanding geological time, using in-depth analysis of key moments from Earth's past. Laboratory focuses on a detailed analysis of the Devonian rocks of the Finger Lakes region. Students will read and write extensively in the primary literature. Prerequisite: GEO 184 or permission of the instructor. (Arens, fall alternate years)

GEO 380 Paleontology This course examines the fossil record from the perspective of the questions that can be asked of it. How do fossils contribute to understanding patterns of evolution? What large-scale patterns of biological diversity are seen only from the vantage point of fossils? How does form give clues to function? What can be learned about Earth's past climates and environments from fossils? How do fossils tell time in the geologic record? The class answers these questions through a detailed study of the fossils themselves. May include one required weekend field trip. Prerequisite: GEO 184 or BIO 167. (Kendrick, spring, offered alternate years)

GEO 390 Gondwana Formed in the latest Proterozoic and finally drifting apart in the Cretaceous, the supercontinent Gondwana lasted around 500 million years, making it one of the Earth's most enduring features. The complex history of its assembly and eventual breakup, its dramatic range of topographic and climatic variation, and its remarkable biological passengers make up a fascinating chapter of Earth history. In this course we will probe the history of Gondwana from tectonic, climatic, and evolutionary viewpoints, integrating the data into a coherent narrative. Discussion of readings from the primary literature are an integral part of this course. Prerequisite: GEO 184 and GEO 375 or GEO 380. (Kendrick, offered occasionally)

GEO 450 Independent Study

GEO 456 Credit Independent Study

GEO 489 Capstone Experience The Geoscience Department comprises three programs of study (Geology, Hydrogeology and Meteorology), which allows students to blend coursework tailored to their unique interests. The Capstone Experience in the Geoscience Department requires students to complete (a) any two 300-level courses or an Honors Project and (b) one public presentation based on original research. 100and 200-level course work in Geoscience confers a solid understanding of how to collect, analyze and interpret data, as well as how to test hypotheses. In 300-level courses, students are required to demonstrate a suite of key skills critical in the practice of science: (1) gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data, (2) reading and interpreting primary literature, (3) refining work through the peer review process, (4) creating scientific graphics, (5) applying previous knowledge to new places/ideas (conduct original research), and (6) communicating via original scientific writing and presentation. To accommodate student need, multiple 300-level courses will be scheduled each semester. Involvement in the two-semester Honors Program also constitutes a capstone experience since students engage in original research and writing and must defend/present their findings to scholars in their chosen field. All students must give a `conference style' oral presentation in our Departmental Seminar Series; these seminars are scheduled during both fall and spring semesters. Capstone seminar presentations may be based on a research project completed during (i) a 300-level Geoscience course, (ii) an REU or HWS-summer research project, (iii) a Geoscience Independent Study, or a Geoscience Honors project. The Capstone Experience is required for all students in the major.

GEO 495 Honors

GEO 499 Geoscience Internship