Geology

Undergraduate Programs

Description

Geology is the study of the Earth, its materials, and its processes. It concerns itself with solving basic scientific problems and utilizing knowledge of the Earth for the benefit of society. Its concerns include but are not limited to soil preservation, water production and quality, hazards mitigation, resource exploration and production, engineering of structures large and small, climate change, and the history of life on Earth and the search for life on other planets.

Training in geology requires knowledge of fundamental sciences (chemistry, math, and physics) combined with Geology coursework that applies these sciences to the study of earth's composition and structure. Geology training places an emphasis on the characterization of earth materials (minerals, rocks, sediment, soil, and water) with techniques ranging from basic visual description to cutting-edge laboratory analysis. Geology students also take coursework in Geographic Information Systems, mapping with GPS, and the like to better understand spatial relationships and surficial processes. Upper-division Geology coursework focuses on applying a wide range of approaches to scientific and societally-important problems in the large, complex, and dynamic environments that characterize our planet.

Students earning a B.S. in Geology are prepared for entry-level employment in the environmental consulting field, or positions related to natural resource protection. Entry-level employment in the energy- and mineral-resource job sectors is also attainable with a Geology degree. Graduate study in Geology or closely related discipline (e.g. Environmental Science, Water Resources) may be pursued.

A student earning a BS in Geology is eligible to pursue a Professional Geologist (PG) license which provides additional opportunities for career advancement and enhanced earning potential particularly in the environmental consulting job sector. Students interested in obtaining a PG are strongly encouraged to take the Fundamentals of Geology (FG) exam near the time they compete their degree. Completion of the Geology B.S. in combination with passing of the FG exam advances you to Geologist in Training (GIT) status. Following 5-years of Geology-related work experience, the GIT is qualified to take the Practice of Geology exam and become a fully licensed PG.

Professional Geology licensure in Minnesota is administered by its Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geoscience, and Interior Design (AELSLAGID) online at: http://mn.gov/aelslagid/geology.html For info on licensure procedures in other states, please see the American Institute of Professional Geologists webpage here: http://www.aipg.org/certificationboards

Majors

Program Locations Major / Total Credits
Geology BS BS - Bachelor of Science
  • Mankato
53 / 120

Certificates

Program Locations Major / Total Credits
Environmental Geology CERT
  • Mankato
23 / 23

Minors

Program Locations Total Credits
Geology Minor
  • Mankato
18

Policies & Faculty

Policies

Admission to Major. No formal Admission to Major is required for Geology. Students may enroll in 300- and 400-level courses after they have successfully completed any pre-requisite courses.

P/N Grading Policy. All courses for a Geology award must be taken for a letter grade.

Successful completion of a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) can be substituted for GEOL 499 as the Capstone Experience subject to Department approval.

Contact Information

241 Ford Hall

(507) 389-1963
https://cset.mnsu.edu/academic-programs/geology/

Faculty

100 Level

Credits: 3-4

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and flooding are three examples of naturally recurring events on the Earth that ultimately influence all of our lives. This course introduces the physical features and processes of the Earth that control these events. The course has a laboratory component.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03, GE-10

Credits: 4

An introduction to the multidisciplinary field of soil science and fertility. The course will examine the basic physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils. Further topics will explore soil genesis, soil health and management, and their relationships to crop production. Field trips and lab activities will be used to explore key concepts, with emphasis on examples relevant to the soils of southern Minnesota. Local field trips included.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03

Credits: 4

From mineral formation to mountain building, this course introduces all the main areas of geologic study and places them in the context of environmental justice. We will consider the social and political backdrop of geological processes, practices, and resources, and consider how ignoring the word┬┐s complicated history has resulted in the repetition and perpetuation of practices that have disproportionately harmed diverse peoples. Lecture discussions and laboratory exercises are designed for general education and students seeking a major or minor in one of the natural sciences.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03, GE-10

Diverse Cultures: Purple

Credits: 3

An introduction to the world's oceans: how they work, what they contain, how they impact everything on Earth, and how humans impact them.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03, GE-10

Credits: 4

Physical geology is the study of how the earth works. From mountain building to soil erosion, this course provides an introduction to all the main areas of geologic study. Lecture discussions and laboratory exercises are designed for students seeking a major or minor in one of the natural sciences.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03, GE-10

Credits: 4

An examination of the development and evolution of life on earth. In addition to reviewing the range of life forms and global climates existing on earth during various times in its geologic past, we will also look at how global industrialization could lead to the earth's next period of mass extinction. Weekly laboratory assignments help illustrate principles discussed in lectures.

Prerequisites: none

Goal Areas: GE-03

200 Level

Credits: 4

Examination of the elemental composition and crystal structure of various common minerals. Laboratory time is spent practicing techniques of identifying crystals and minerals. The importance and occurrence of many economic minerals is also covered thoroughly in this course.

Prerequisites: GEOL 100 or GEOL 107 or GEOL 121

Credits: 2

Introduction to laboratory analyses of aqueous solutions and soils in support of civil engineering or geological applications. Includes Techniques of analysis of water and soil samples. Water analysis includes biological and chemical oxygen demand, corrosion, pH, phosphorus, chlorine, VOCs, nitrogen, hardness, turbidity, thermal measurement and flow tracing. Soil analysis includes pH, loss on ignition, redox, and fertility.

Prerequisites: none

300 Level

Credits: 4

Study of the compositions and origins of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks in a plate tectonic context. Topics include mineral optics and geochemistry. Lab portion of course emphasizes identification and study of rocks.

Prerequisites: GEOL 201

Credits: 3

An integrated, multi-disciplinary study of the Earth and the solar system. The course builds on basic concepts of astronomy, chemistry and geology to give students an enhanced understanding of the nature and relationship among the forces that control the Earth's evolution. Learning outcomes partially fulfill licensure requirements for secondary science educators.

Prerequisites: AST 101, CHEM 201, GEOL 121

Credits: 4

Focused studies of the origins and processes of transportation, deposition, burial, and diagenesis of sedimentary materials. Lab assignments focus on sedimentary material identification and analysis. Field trips required.

Prerequisites: GEOL 107, and GEOL 100 or GEOL 121

Credits: 4

Study of the processes and results of rock deformation at scales ranging from microscopic to plate tectonic, and at conditions ranging from the Earth's surface to the deep interior.

Prerequisites: GEOL 100 or GEOL 107or GEOL 121

400 Level

Credits: 1-3

This course is devoted to the study and practice of geological field investigations. Students will first learn basic field investigative methods. Students will then be appropriately versed in the geological history and importance of a region selected for in-depth study. Finally, students will participate in a field trip to a regional site of geologic importance over an extended weekend (4-6 days). Potential study sites may include Minnesota's North Shore and Iron Range, the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota, the Ozarks, or the Rocky Mountains.

Prerequisites: GEOL 100 or GEOL 121 and GEOL 122

Credits: 3

Study of the origin, composition, texture, morphology, and stratigraphy of glacial deposits. Topics include the geologic record of glaciation, techniques used to reconstruct histories of glaciation, glacial depositional systems, provenance of glacial sediments, influence of glaciation on soil texture, and interpretation of glacial geologic maps. Emphasis will be placed on description and interpretation of glacial features in southern Minnesota. Field trips required.

Prerequisites: GEOL 100 or GEOL 107or GEOL 121

Credits: 3

Comprehensive survey of ore deposit and petroleum geology, including exploration and production technologies. Course emphasizes projects using industry data.

Prerequisites: GEOL 121, GEOL 201, GEOL 122

Credits: 4-8

Geologic field mapping and interpretation in diverse settings. Course is offered by universities throughout the U.S. and elsewhere.

Prerequisites: GEOL 121, GEOL 122, GEOL 201, GEOL 320W, GEOL 330

Credits: 4

The application of geologic data and principles to problems created by human occupancy and use of the physical environment. Lecture and laboratory topics include soil classification and conservation, hazardous waste site evaluation and remediation, and living with geologic hazards.

Prerequisites: GEOL 100 GEOL 104 or GEOL 107 or GEOL 121

Credits: 3

This course introduces physical and chemical studies of hydrogeology. The main areas of discussion will include the physical and chemical attributes of aquifers, movement of ground-water and solute through soils and rocks, and reactions between earth materials and pollutants in ground-water systems. The class includes extensive use of MODFLOW and MT3D, the two most commonly usedgroundwater modeling programs currently available.

Prerequisites: GEOL 100 or GEOL 107or GEOL 121

Credits: 3

Biogeochemical processes specific to soil and engineered sediments, including applications of solubility, adsorption/desorption, ion exchange, oxidation/reduction, acidity, alkalinity. Discussion of problems related to environmental degradation, plant nutrition, soil genesis, and element cycling (e.g. P, N, C). Structural chemistry, origin/identification of crystalline soil clay minerals, and soil organic matter will be covered in context with the mechanisms for reactivity in the soil environment. Prerequisites or instructor consent.

Prerequisites: GEOL 104, and CHEM 191 or CHEM 201

Credits: 1-4

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Prerequisites: none

Credits: 2

Selection of geoscience topics relevant to regional applications and current research. Activities may include guest speakers, student research presentations, directed readings in peer-reviewed literature, career panels, and job application development.

Prerequisites: GEOL 201

Credits: 1-10

Internships allow students to apply knowledge and skills learned through undergraduate geoscience classes to real-world problems. Students will work with faculty to secure suitable employment and when finished, students will develop a written report of professional practicum that explores the relationships that exist among collegiate lessons and workplace tasks. Evaluation will be based on the content and presentation of the report as well as consultations with the internship supervisor.

Prerequisites: none

Credits: 1-5

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Prerequisites: none