Classes

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The information below is provided for your convenience. Course schedules are subject to change. Official course information is published in the UC Davis General Catalog.


Geology (GEL) Upper Division Electives
Marine and Coastal Science (MCS) Undergraduate Courses

Spring 2021 | GEL Undergraduate courses

Spring 2021 | GEL Undergraduate Courses

NOTE:  Courses are subject to change. Last updated 3/12/2021.

GEL 001—The Earth (4)
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Introduction to the study of the Earth. Earth's physical and chemical structure; internal and surface processes that mold the Earth; geological hazards and resources. Not open for credit to students who have taken GEL 050; only 2 credits for students who have taken GEL 002. GE credit: SE, SL. Effective: 2019 Winter Quarter.

GEL 002—Earth System Science (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Solid and fluid earth and its place in the solar system. How the solid earth interacts with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and extraterrestrial environment. Only 2 units credit for students who have taken GEL 050; only 2 units credit for students who have taken GEL 001. GE credit: SE, SL. Effective: 2017 Winter Quarter.

GEL 012—Evolution and Paleobiology of Dinosaurs (2)
Lecture—2 hour(s). Introduction to evolutionary biology, paleobiology, ecology and paleoecology, using dinosaurs as case studies. GE credit: SE. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 016—The Oceans (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Introductory survey of the marine environment. Oceanic physical phenomena, chemical constituents and chemistry of water, geological history, the seas biota and human utilization of marine resources Not open for credit to students who have taken GEL 116. GE credit: SE, SL.Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 017—Earthquakes and Other Earth Hazards (2)
Lecture—2 hour(s). Impact of earthquakes, tsunami, volcanoes, landslides, and floods on humans, structures, and the environment. Discussion of the causes and effects of disasters and catastrophes, and on prediction, preparation, and mitigation of natural hazards. GE credit: SE, SL. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 032—Volcanoes (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Role of eruptions, and eruptive products of volcanoes in shaping the planet's surface, influencing its environment, and providing essential human resources. GE credit: SE. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 035—Rivers (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Introduction to geomorphology, climate and geology of rivers and watersheds, with case examples from California. Assessment of impacts of logging, agriculture, mining, urbanization and water supply on river processes. Optional river field trips. GE credit: SE, SL. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 050—Physical Geology (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): High school physics and chemistry. The Earth, its materials, its internal and external processes, its development through time by sea-floor spreading and global plate tectonics. Students with credit for GEL 001 or the equivalent may receive only 2 units for GEL 050. GE credit: SE, SL. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 050L—Physical Geology Laboratory (2)
Laboratory—6 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): GEL 050 (can be concurrent). Introduction to classification and recognition of minerals and rocks and to interpretation of topographic and geologic maps and aerial photographs. Students with credit for GEL 001L or the equivalent may receive only 1 unit for GEL 050L. GE credit: SE.Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.

GEL 081—Learning in Science and Mathematics (2)
Lecture/Discussion—2 hour(s); Fieldwork—2 hour(s). Limited to 26 students per section. Exploration of how students learn and develop understanding in science and mathematics classrooms. Introduction to case studies and interview techniques and their use in K-6 classrooms to illuminate factors that affect student learning. (Same course as EDU 081.) (P/NP grading only.) GE credit: SS, VL, WE. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 103—Field Geology (3)
Fieldwork; Laboratory. Prerequisite(s): GEL 101L; GEL 101; Consent of Instructor. Field mapping projects and writing geological reports. Weekly classroom meetings devoted to preparation of maps, cross sections, stratigraphic sections, rock descriptions, and reports. Seven-eight days on weekends during quarter. GE credit: SE, VL, WE. Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.

GEL 105—Earth Materials: Igneous Rocks (4)
Lecture—2 hour(s); Laboratory—6 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): GEL 060; (MAT 016A or MAT 017A or MAT 021A); CHE 002B (can be concurrent). Origin and occurrence of igneous rocks. Laboratory exercises emphasize the study of these rocks in hand specimen and thin section. GE credit: SE, WE. Effective: 2020 Winter Quarter.

GEL 107—Earth History: Paleobiology (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): GEL 003 or GEL 053 or BIS 002A or BIS 010. Evolution and ecological structure of the biosphere from the origin of life to the present. GE credit: SE. Effective: 2020 Winter Quarter.

GEL 107L—Earth History: Paleobiology Laboratory (2)
Laboratory—6 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): (GEL 003, GEL 003L) or GEL 053 or BIS 002B; GEL 107 (can be concurrent). Exercises in determining the ecological functions and evolution of individuals, populations, and communities of fossil organisms in field and laboratory. GE credit: SE. Effective: 2020 Winter Quarter.

GEL 115—Earth Science, History, & People (4)
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): GEL 001 or GEL 050. Study of interplay between the Earth and its human inhabitants through history, including consideration of acute events such as earthquakes and eruptions as well as the geology of resources, topography, and water. GE credit: OL, SE, WE. Effective: 2017 Winter Quarter.

GEL 116N—Oceanography (3)
Lecture—2 hour(s); Laboratory—3 hour(s); Fieldwork. Prerequisite(s): GEL 001 or GEL 002 or GEL 016 or GEL 050. Advanced oceanographic topics: Chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes; research methods and data analysis; marine resources, anthropogenic impacts, and climate change; integrated earth/ocean/atmosphere systems; weekly lab and one weekend field trip. (Same course as ESP 116N.) GE credit: SE, SL. Effective: 2017 Winter Quarter.

GEL 120—Origins: From the Big Bang to Today (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Limited enrollment. Long-term and large-scale perspectives on the origins of the universe, stars and planets, life, human evolution, the rise of civilization and the modern world. Multi-disciplinary approach to ‘Big History’ involving cosmology, astronomy, geology, climatology, biology, anthropology, archeology and traditional history. GE credit: SE. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 161—Geophysical Field Methods (3) Review all entries
Lecture/Discussion—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Prerequisite(s): (GEL 001 or GEL 050); (MAT 016C or MAT 017C or MAT 021C); (PHY 007C or PHY 009C or GEL 056). Geophysical methods applied to determining subsurface structure in tectonics, hydrogeology, geotechnical engineering, hydrocarbon and mineral exploration. Theory, survey design & interpretation of gravity, electrical resistivity, electromagnetic, reflection & refraction seismology, and ground-penetrating radar measurements. GE credit: QL, SE. Effective: 2020 Winter Quarter.

GEL 161—Geophysical Field Methods (3) Review all entries
Lecture/Discussion—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Prerequisite(s): (GEL 001 or GEL 050); (MAT 016C or MAT 017C or MAT 021C); (GEL 056 or PHY 007C or PHY 009C). Geophysical methods applied to determining subsurface structure in tectonics, hydrogeology, geotechnical engineering, hydrocarbon and mineral exploration. Theory, survey design & interpretation of gravity, electrical resistivity, electromagnetic, reflection & refraction seismology, and ground-penetrating radar measurements. GE credit: QL, SE. Effective: 2021 Winter Quarter.

GEL 181—Teaching in Science and Mathematics (2)
Lecture/Discussion—2 hour(s); Fieldwork—2 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): Consent of Instructor. Major in mathematics, science, or engineering; or completion of a one-year sequence of science or calculus. Class size limited to 40 students per section. Exploration of effective teaching practices based on examination of how middle school students learn math and science. Selected readings, discussion and field experience in middle school classrooms. (Same course as EDU 181.) (P/NP grading only.) GE credit: SS, WE. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 183—Teaching High School Mathematics and Science (3) Review all entries
Lecture/Discussion—2 hour(s); Fieldwork. Prerequisite(s): Major in mathematics, science, or engineering; or completion of a one-year sequence of science or calculus and consent of the instructor. Limited to 40 students per section. Exploration and creation of effective teaching practices based on examination of how high school students learn mathematics and science. Field experience in high school classrooms. (Same course as EDU 183.) GE credit: OL, SS, WE. Effective: 2018 Fall Quarter.

GEL 186—Facilitating Learning in STEM Classrooms (1)
Lecture/Discussion—1 hour(s). STEM Learning Assistant Seminar. Theoretical and practical issues of effective teaching in discussion/labs: student-centered, active, cooperative learning environments, responsive teaching, and differentiated classroom instruction. GE credit: SS. Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.

GEL 190—Seminar in Geology (1)
Discussion—1 hour(s); Seminar—1 hour(s). Presentation and discussion of current topics in geology by visiting lecturers, staff, and students. Written abstracts. May be repeated for credit. (P/NP grading only.) GE credit: SE. Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.

Summer Field 2021

GEL 110A | Summer Field Geology: Structures & Neotectonics

CRN: See advisor
Dates: Summer Special Session, June 20 - July 11, 2021

Location: White Mountain Research Station, Bishop, CA
Units: 4

Course Description: Advanced application of geologic field methods to the study of deformed rocks and their interpretation in terms of tectonic processes. Includes development and interpretation of geologic maps, cross sections and stratigraphic sections. Six days/week for three weeks in an off-campus location. 

Prerequisite: GEL 060; GEL 103; GEL 109

Instructor: Oskin

Fees: In addition to the per unit Course Fee and Summer Campus Fee (see Summer Session), this course has a program fee to partially cover transportation, lodging, and dinners while in the field. Health insurance is not included in this program fee.

Fees for UC Undergraduate Students*:

Course fee:  $1,116 ($279 per unit x 4 units)
Summer Campus fee: $348.59
Program fee: $600 

Total Fees Charged to UC Undergraduate Students: $2,064.59
 
*Higher unit-based fees are charged to non-UC students: $349 per unit X 4 units. Total fees charged to non-UC students is $2,344.59.

For refund information, see Summer Sessions.

GEL 110B | Summer Field Geology: Volcanology

CRN: See advisor
Dates: Summer Special Session, July 11 – July 31, 2021

Location: White Mountain Research Station, Bishop, CA
Units: 4

Course Description: Advanced application of geologic field methods to the study of volcanic and plutonic rocks and their interpretation in terms of igneous processes. Includes development and interpretation of geologic maps, cross sections, stratigraphic sections, and outcrop scale observations. Six days/week for three weeks in an off-campus location. 

Prerequisite: GEL 105; GEL 109

Instructor: Cooper and McClain

Fees: In addition to the per unit Course Fee and Summer Campus Fee (see Summer Session), this course has a program fee to partially cover transportation, lodging, and dinners while in the field. Health insurance is not included in this program fee.

Fees for UC Undergraduate Students*:

Course fee:  $1,116 ($279 per unit x 4 units)
Summer Campus fee: $348.59
Program fee: $600 

Total Fees Charged to UC Undergraduate Students: $2,064.59
 
*Higher unit-based fees are charged to non-UC students: $349 per unit X 4 units. Total fees charged to non-UC students is $2,344.59.

For refund information, see Summer Sessions.

Some or all instruction for all or part of the Academic Year may be delivered remotely. Tuition and mandatory fees have been set regardless of the method of instruction and will not be refunded in the event instruction occurs remotely for any part of the Academic Year. Figures for tuition and fees represent currently approved or proposed amounts and may not be final. Actual tuition and fees are subject to change by the University of California as determined to be necessary or appropriate. Final approved tuition and fee levels may differ from the amounts presented.

GEL Graduate Courses

GEL Graduate Courses

Geology Graduate Courses by Academic Year (pdfs)
2021-2022 | 2020-2021 | 2019-2020 | 2018-2019 | 2017-2018 | 2016-2017

NOTE: Courses are subject to change. Last updated May 2021


Academic Year 2020-2021

Spring 2021

  • GEL 250: Snowball Earth | Yin

    The aim of the course is for the participants to catch up with some key development and arguments in the interdisciplinary fields of geology, geochemistry, geophysics and geobiology from the last two decades on the subject of Snowball Earth hypothesis. The course will be a combination of lectures by me on some key observations and arguments following Hoffman et al 2017 Science Advances review paper, followed by in depth discussion of some key papers from geology, geochemistry, geophysics and geobiology, lead by the participating graduate students in the class. The papers will be selected from the 500 or so references in Hoffman et al (2017) as well as some most recent papers from 2017 to 2021. This is a 3-credit graduate level course. We will have a first organizational meeting in the first week of Spring Quarter, 2021.

  • GEL 251: TBD | Mukhopadhyay
    Astrophysical context on origin of Solar System, synthesis of chemical elements, extinct radionuclides and planet formation, cosmochronology, building blocks of planets, and terrestrial volatile accretion. The course is lecture-based and with problem sets. Students should be familiar with geochemistry at the level of GEL 146, or have research interests in the topics covered, and/or be familiar with coupled linear differential equations.

Academic Year 2021-2022

  • Fall 2021
  • GEL 206: Stratigraphic Analysis | Sumner
    Graduate course breadth area: #2 or 4
    This course will provide students the opportunity to learn and apply sedimentary geology, regional stratigraphy, and sedimentary basin analysis to tectonically active basins. It will be divided into three components: 1) specific techniques (tailored to student prior experience level); 2) a 3-day field trip (likely to the Ridge Basin, Southern California) and application of analysis techniques to those data; and 3) small group projects on topics of interest. Small group projects can focus on Martian stratigraphy for students interested in planetary science.

    GEL 240: Foundations of Geophysics | Rudolph
    Graduate course breadth area: #6
    This course presents foundational concepts in geophysics at a level accessible to all graduate students in the EPS department. Topics to be covered include the geophysical constraints on the large-scale structure and dynamics of Earth and planetary interiors such as seismology, gravity, heat flow, magnetic field, and geodesy. We will explore the physics of the processes that shape planetary surfaces and interiors including impact events, differentiation, mantle convection, and tectonics. The course will include a computer laboratory with hands-on programming activities in Python that reinforce the concepts covered in lecture. Format: Lectures, weekly problem sets/labs, midterm, final
    Note: This course is one of several regular 'core classes' being developed to strengthen our graduate curriculum.

    GEL 294: Structure-Tectonics-Geophysics seminar | Roeske
    1-unit
    This on-going discussion group meets once/week to discuss a paper selected by participants in the group. The theme of the articles varies each quarter; the seminar's goal is to emphasize breadth and we read and discuss a range of articles that cover the diverse interests of members of the group. As an example, we have recently read articles on subduction zone processes, ranging from UHP metamorphism and exhumation, to response of the upper plate to degree of coupling in the subduction zone. If schedules allow, we plan a multi-day field trip to examine rocks that may show some of the processes of interest to the group and focus the reading around the field trip.

    GEL 298: Planet Formation | Stewart
    Graduate course breadth area: #7; Course Registration Number (CRN): 35500
    This course presents foundational concepts in the physics and chemistry of planet formation, focusing on the early stages of growing planets and incorporating recent observations from exoplanets. Course provides foundational material related to protoplanetary disk physics, the solar nebula chemical condensation sequence, meteorite components and chemistry, chondrules and planetesimal formation, accretion of terrestrial planets, accretion of giant planets, current grand challenges in planet formation. The material is targeted at beginning graduate students and accessible to upper-level undergraduates.
     
  • Winter 2022
  • GEL 216: Tectonics | Cowgill
    Graduate course breadth area: #3
    Tectonic processes provide the fundamental mechanisms by which the exosphere (atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere) and the deep interior of Earth interact. This course seeks to understand tectonic systems by examining processes of mass and energy flux at modern and ancient plate boundaries. Our approach will be fundamentally geological in nature, in the sense that we will strive to link the rock record of processes with observations from modern settings. The course will involve readings/lectures based on Global Tectonics (Keary, Klepeis, Vine) and the primary literature, problem sets, and a research project and presentation. Planned topics: 1. Basics of Plate Motion on Sphere; 2. Basics of Isostacy & Flexure; 3. Divergent Boundaries & Passive Margins (e.g., Red Sea, Atlantic); 4. Transform Boundaries (e.g., San Andreas, Alpine, North Anatolian faults); 5. Convergent Boundaries (e.g., Andes); 6. Collision & Orogeny (e.g., Alpine-Himalayan Belt & Demise of NeoTethys); 7. Tectonics, Climate & Ocean Chemistry; 8. Tectonics and Life. Simultaneous enrollment in GEL253 is strongly encouraged.

    GEL 260: Paleontology | Vermeij
    Graduate course breadth area: #1
    This course will explore a broad topic of interest (still to be decided). We will read and discuss relevant papers and there will be a short final presentation and paper.

    GEL 298: Microbial Photosynthesis | Grettenberger
    Graduate course breadth area: #1; Course Registration Number (CRN): 26810
    Photosynthesis is one of the most important evolutionary innovations in Earth’s history. It permanently changed Earth’s surface geochemistry, fundamentally reshaping the cycling of key elements and altered the evolutionary path of life by allowing widespread aerobic respiration. This course will explore the importance of oxygenic photosynthesis in biogeochemical cycling, its evolutionary history, and the history of it in the fossil record. The course will include classroom, field, and laboratory components. Students will participate in a quarter long hands-on project during which they will 1) collect samples from a nearby field site, 2) extract DNA and sequence it using a MinION sequencer, 3) analyze the data using common bioinformatic pipelines, and 4) present their findings in a 10 minute talk format.
  • Spring 2022
  • GEL 219: Fracture and Flow of Rocks | Billen
    Graduate course breadth area: #3 or 6
    This revised course is designed to provide students with diverse undergraduate backgrounds with a strong foundation in brittle, ductile and viscous behavior of rocks. Compared to how the class was taught previously there is a shift to more time spent on brittle/ductile behavior of the lithosphere, including the rheologies used to model earthquake rupture, and less time spent on the viscous behavior of the mantle (but this is still covered). For each topic, I will present the experimental data, the equations used to describe the behavior and a discussion of the microscopic origin of the observed behavior. Targeted paper discussions will occur at key junctures in the course to help synthesize the topics and learn how to critically read papers establishing or applying rheological concepts. Each student will also complete a literature review-based term project on a specific type of rheology of relevance to their own research. Please also see detailed syllabus.

    GEL 230: Geomorphology and River Management | Pinter
    Graduate course breadth area: #5
    The course is a multidisciplinary study of the ecology, geomorphology and management of rivers of the US West, and one river (TBD) in particular. The field of watershed science, including the study of rivers and streams, is inherently multidisciplinary, involving a broad array of physical, biological, and social sciences. Traditional education programs emphasize in-depth study within a specific discipline, whereas most careers in waterrelated science and management rarely are limited to a single discipline. The ability to work collaboratively with professionals from different backgrounds is fundamental to success in watershed science and management, and indeed in most applied-science fields. Comprised of upper division undergraduate students and first-year graduate students, this course will bring together students from a range of biological and physical sciences to address the geology, ecology, and management of a targeted river and watershed. The course will be followed by an optional, private rafting and research expedition on the study river. Trip participants will be expected to help organize logistics for the field trip, including food, gear, transportation and field itineraries.

    GEL 251: Thermodynamics for Earth and Planetary Scientists | Yin
    Graduate course breadth area: #3
    If you are a geologist, or a planetary scientist, or aspired to become one in the near future, and were ever pondering on the questions such as why magma ocean crystallization proceeds from bottom up; if you ever wondered about what the heck does it mean by oxygen fugacity, and why it is a useful measure for a planetary object interior (Earth included); if you ever questioned why geochemists are so crazy about trace and ultra-trace elements in rocks and minerals, instead of (well, in addition to) major rock forming elements; or if you wanted to brush up your knowledge about how pressure and temperature of rocks, minerals and their assemblages were determined; if you were wondering what is solidus, liquidus, and what is adiabat, what is the “potential” temperature of the mantle; what is bridging oxygen and non-bridging oxygen and their roles in elemental partitioning from magma; what are the thermodynamic reasoning behind mass dependent isotope fractionation and its associated temperature dependance (another way of reading temperature record of minerals in nature)……the list could go on and on…… I know you have wondered about these questions in your mind, because I did too. If the answers to the list above were yes to most of them, I recommend you plan on taking GEL 251 in the Spring Quarter 2022 and we will learn together and build up our knowledge bases.

    GEL 253: Petrology seminar | Ratschbacher
    Graduate course breadth area: #4
    This course will focus on the formation of continental crust in subduction zone settings. Topics about magma generation, ascent, and mechanisms of differentiation will be discussed using scientific journal articles. Further topics can be decided depending on the interest of participating students. The course will comprise weekly student-lead discussion of scientific journal articles as well as short lectures by the instructor.

    GEL 294: Structure-Tectonics-Geophysics seminar | Roeske
    1-unit
    This on-going discussion group meets once/week to discuss a paper selected by participants in the group. The theme of the articles varies each quarter; the seminar's goal is to emphasize breadth and we read and discuss a range of articles that cover the diverse interests of members of the group. As an example, we have recently read articles on subduction zone processes, ranging from UHP metamorphism and exhumation, to response of the upper plate to degree of coupling in the subduction zone. If schedules allow, we plan a multi-day field trip to examine rocks that may show some of the processes of interest to the group and focus the reading around the field trip.