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Department of Geology and Geophysics|Graduate

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Department of Geology and Geophysics
Dept. 3006
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: (307)766-3386
Fax: (307)766-6679
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Graduate-level Geology Syllabi and Proposed Courses

Doctor of Philosophy: Doctoral degree requirements include a minimum of 72 semester hours of credit at the 4000-level and above from UW or equivalent levels from another approved university. This 72-hour requirement may include graduate credits earned while working toward the master's degree in the same area, but at least 42 hours (of the 72) must be earned in formal course work and dissertation research credits. Doctoral students must take: 1) an oral qualifying examination, 2) an oral preliminary examination, and 3) an oral defense of the dissertation. Doctoral students may be required, at the discretion of the advisory committee, to demonstrate competence in research "tools", such as statistics or foreign language. Upon completion of the oral preliminary examination, the Ph.D. student has four years to complete the degree.

Masters of Science: Only Plan A (thesis) MS programs are acceptable. The MS degree requires successful completion of 26 credits of course work at the 4000-level and above, four credits for the thesis and an oral examination. A master's thesis is required. Master's students have six calendar years to complete their degree from the beginning of the first course taken and listed on their Program of Study. Most of the MS students in the Department of Geology and Geophysics take two years to complete their degree.

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Course Title
(click for syllabi in PDF format)

5030       X  
Geologic Remote Sensing
5180    XX   X  
 X   X    
Topics in Geology:
 X X X  
Topics: Distinguished Lecturer
X X  
Seminar in Structural Geology
X     X  
Seminar in Sedimentology
 X   X    
5330 Mechanics of Sediment Transport, Erosion, and Deposition       X  
Geochem. Analysis Methods
 X   X   X
Surfaces and Interfaces
5600 Theoretical Petrology X        
Geological Thermodynamics
Plate Tectonics
  X   X  

*Fundamentals of Research 5020 is required for all graduate degrees.

Geology Graduate Course Descriptions and Syllabus

GEOL 5010 Groundwater Flow and Transport Modeling: Dr. Zhang
This course uses the course notes developed by the instructor. Movement of groundwater in the subsurface is responsible for a variety of environmental, engineering, and geological processes of interest including heat transfer and solute transport. To evaluate them, mathematical modeling provides an essential quantitative tool. In recent years, increasing reliance is placed upon using computer simulations to make predictions of flow and transport in the subsurface, thus familiarity with the fundamental principles behind modeling is critical. This course presents an overview of the analyses of groundwater flow and solute transport using numerical modeling. The Finite Difference Method will be introduced as well as direct and iterative linear algebra solution techniques. Exercises and homework require programming with MATLAB (alternatively, Fortran or C language can be used).

GEOL 5020 Fundamentals of Research: Dr. John
This course is designed to provide incoming graduate students with an introduction to "research survival skills." The purpose is threefold, and includes opportunities to gain practice in scientific communication (written, oral, web based and poster presentations), develop ideas for thesis research, and gain an introduction to the faculty and facilities housed in the Department of Geology and Geophysics.

GEOL 5030 Groundwater/Flow Transport: Dr. Zhang

GEOL 5050 Introduction to Isotope Geology:
Understand­ing of atomic structure, radioactive decay, mass spectrometry, dating techniques and applications of stable and radiogenic isotopic systems. Em­phasis will be placed on evaluating dating methods in relation to particular geologic problems and possible sources of error. The use of isotopes as tracers for identifying magmatic sources and crustal contamination, water-rock interactions, and sediment provenance will be discussed. Prerequisites: CHEM 1020, CHEM 1110, MATH 2200, MATH 2205.

GEOL 5113 Remote Sensing: Dr. Howell
Acquaints students with aircraft and spacecraft remote sensing of the environment, emphasizing geologic application to earth and other planetary bodies. Includes visible, infrared, ultraviolet, radio and radar sensing. The laboratory exercises are applications related to tectonics, geomorphology, paleoclimate, structure, stratigraphy, environmental geology and geologic hazards.

GEOL 5120 Tectonic Evolution of the Western Cordillera: Dr. Snoke
Phanero­zoic tectonic evolution of western North America viewed through the paradigm of plate tectonics. Course will involve intensive literature review, guest speak­ers, a possible field trip, and an in-depth regional tectonic analysis to be done by each student. Prerequisites: GEOL 2020, GEOL 2100, and GEOL 4610.

GEOL 5140 Advanced Igneous Petrology: Dr Jimm Myers
This course will examine a variety of petrologic and petrographic tools useful for unraveling the petrogenesis of igneous rock suites. The course will cover geochemical modeling, but will concentrate on what can be learned from phase equilibria and application of modern petrographic techniques. Ideally, these results would be combined with more standard geochemical modeling techniques to place quantitative constraints on petrologic processes.

GEOL 5150   Metamorphic Petrology: Dr. R. Frost
Lectures on field occurrence, macroscopic and micro­scopic characteristics of metamorphic rocks, followed by lectures on application of physical chemistry to genetic study of metamorphic rocks. Laboratory devoted to the study of suites of metamorphic rocks from classical areas. Prerequisites: GEOL 2020 and 4490; graduate standing or consent of instructor.

GEOL 5160 Regional Tectonics: Dr. Snoke
The study of orogenic belts worldwide including both external and internal zones. Cross-section preparation is emphasized as well as geometric analysis. Foreland fold-and-thrust belts—some case studies: Canadian Rockies, Helvetic Alps, and other examples. The course includes lectures, readings, and a cross-section project. Prerequisite: GEOL 4610.

GEOL 5190 Petroleum Geology: Ms. Martinsen
Principles governing the exploration for hydrocar­bons; characteristics of reservoirs and traps; origin, migration and accumulation of hydrocarbons; subsurface evaluation techniques. Prerequisites: GEOL 2100, 4610. Dual listed with GEOL 4190.

GEOL 5191 Methods in Petroleum Geology: Ms. Martinsen
Lectures and laboratory exercises designed to give the student experience in working with various kinds of subsurface geoscientific data in relation to the exploration for and production of hydrocarbons.

GEOL 5200 Critical Zone Processes: Dr. Riebe
Focuses on biogeochemical and geomorphic processes that regulate the evolution and movement of weathered rock, soil and nutrients in the critical zone (i.e., at earth's surface). Topics span a range of spatial and temporal scales, from the breakdown of individual minerals to landscape evolution and the importance of weathering and erosion as regulators of global climate.

GEOL 5200 What's New in Science & Nature?: Dr. Cheadle
A 1hr weekly session where we examine what's new and exciting in the latest editions of Science and Nature. The aim is to learn about the latest developments in the broad field of Earth Sciences and to keep up to date with what is being published in Science & Nature. Each week, I will distribute all relevant abstracts from the current issues and we will choose one for presentation the following week.

GEOL 5200 Topics in Geology:
Provides a detailed study at a graduate level of a particular topic in geology. Pre­requisites: Graduate standing in geology and geophysics and permission of the in­structor.

GEOL 5211 Seminar in Structural Geology: Dr. John & Dr. Snoke
Selected topics in structural geology and tectonics. On-going research among un­dergraduate and graduate students is em­phasized. Prerequisite: GEOL 4610 or equivalent course.

GEOL 5212 Sedimentology Seminar: Dr. Heller
Seminar in selected topics in sedimen­tary geology. The course is designed to bring, and keep, graduate students up to date with the current literature and new, unpublished ideas. There will be visiting lecturers and presentations of student and faculty research. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

GEOL 5217 Geodynamics: Dr. Cheadle
This course examines the fundamental physical processes necessary for the understanding of plate tectonics and a variety of other geological phenomena. It provides a solid grounding for future study and research covering plate tectonics, stress & strain, elasticity, isostasy & the flexural strength of the lithosphere, gravity, and thermal processes. 

GEOL 5330 Sedimentary Basin: Dr. McElroy
Course covers the fundamental controls on basin formation and filling in different tectonic settings. Subject matter includes basin analysis, subsidence analysis, subsidence mechanisms, interaction of tectonic and eustastic controls on basin development and modeling of basin formation. A significant project involving basin analysis and quantitative modeling of basin formation will be undertaken.

GEOL 5340 Tectonics & Sedimentation:
Lec­tures, seminars, and field observations on the relations between tectonism and the sedimentary record. Topics will include a review of plate tectonic theory, char­acteristics of major types of sedimentary basins, techniques for evaluating tectonic activity from evidence in the sedimentary record and large-scale tectonosedimen­tary elements. Prerequisite: Graduate standing, GEOL 2100, and GEOL 4610, or consent of instructor.

GEOL 5410 Geochem Analysis Methods:
Lectures and laboratories in analytical methods used in geochemical studies. Particular emphasis given to sampling and sample preparation, inductively cou­pled argon plasma emission, atomic ab­sorption analysis. Other analytical meth­ods are also treated. Prerequisite: GEOL 4490.

GEOL 5444 Geohydrology: Dr. Zhang
This course uses the course notes developed by the instructor, supplemented by Groundwater Science by Charles Fitts. It provides an introduction to the basic principles of groundwater hydrology, including fluid and porous media properties, hydrostatics and hydrodynamics, Darcy’s law in homogenous and heterogeneous media, aquifer system analysis, mass balance analysis, groundwater flow equations and their solutions with classical analytical methods (e.g, Thiem solution, Theis solution, superposition of flow solutions in space and time). Most exercises and homework problems can be solved by hand, using Excel, or write small MATLAB codes.

GEOL 5446 Introduction to Geostatistics: Dr. Zhang
This course uses the course notes developed by the instructor, supplemented with reading assignments. Geoscientists routinely face interpolation problems when analyzing spare data from field observations. Geostatistics has emerged as an invaluable tool for characterizing and estimating spatial phenomena. In this class, both the basic principles of geostatistics and its practical applications in the geosciences will be presented. Topics include Ordinary Kriging, Co-Kriging, and stochastic simulations (unconditional and conditional). Exercises and homework problems can be solved by hand, using Excel, MATLAB or a geostatistical software package.

GEOL 5660 Microstructural Analysis: Dr. R. Frost & Dr. Snoke
The use of microscope in the interpretation of natural strain in rocks is emphasized. Lectures and extensive laboratory exer­cises are the principle components of the course. Microfabric analysis using the universal stage is introduced. Prerequi­sites: GEOL 4610 required, GEOL 5150 recommended.

GEOL 5666 Plate Tectonics: Dr. Steiner
The theory of plate tectonics including a quantitative assessment of the observations which lead to its acceptance and limitations. Topics include: geometry of plate tecton­ics, plate boundaries and plate motions at present and in the past, evolution of plates including sea floor spreading and subduc­tion processes, and driving mechanisms. Two lectures, one laboratory/discussion per week. Dual listed with GEOL 4666. Prerequisites: GEOL 4610, geology/geo­physics math requirements.

GEOL 5720 Ore Deposits: Dr. R. Frost
Teaches princi­ples of economic geology of ore minerals. Lectures cover geochemistry of ore min­erals and environments in which various ore minerals are found. Labs include iden­tification of ore minerals in hand sample and under microscope and methodology of economic geology. Dual listed with GEOL 4720. Prerequisite: GEOL 2010.

GEOL 5777 Geochem Nat Waters: Dr. Eggleston
Physi­cal chemistry of solutions applied to natu­ral waters. Chemistry of rock weathering, controls on major, minor, and trace ele­ment contents of natural waters. Problems of introduced pollutants. Prerequisites: GEOL 2010, CHEM 1060. Dual listed with GEOL 4777.

GEOL 5835 Applied/Exploration Geophysics: Dr. Cheadle
Discusses the fundamentals of Applied or Exploration Geophysics, encompassing lecture, laboratory classes and discussion of case histories. It covers the Seismic Refraction, Seismic Reflection, Gravity, and Magnetics methods. The course provides a solid grounding about the exploration of the Earth’s subsurface for mineral and hydrocarbon resources, and environmental issues.

GEOL 5960 Thesis Research (Max. 24 credits):

GEOL 5980 Dissertation Research (Max. 48 credits):

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