Spring 2016

Course Code Title/Instructor Meets
ERSC 121-01 Are We Alone? Understanding Habitable Worlds
Instructor: Alyson Thibodeau
Course Description:
The earth is the only planet we know of that is both habitable and inhabited. Are we alone in the universe, or do other planets support life as well? In this course, we will travel in time from the Big Bang to the present day to understand that factors that underlie the habitability of the Earth since its creation 4.6 billion years ago. Emphasis will be placed on the synthesis of the chemical elements in stars, the composition and creation of terrestrial planets, the differentiation of the solid earth and the origin and evolution of the atmosphere. We will also approach the origin of life as a planetary process and examine co-evolution of both life and the planet. Students will be challenged to consider scales of distance spanning 41 orders of magnitude and to think on time scales ranging from days to billions of years. As we uncover the factors responsible for Earths habitability, we will also consider the rise of our species, Homo sapiens, in planetary context and contemplate the sustainability and longevity of human civilizations. Finally, with the knowledge and skills accumulated over the course of the semester, students will address the search for life on other planets and confront the age-old question: are we alone?
1330:R   KAUF 134
1030:MWF   KAUF 179
ERSC 141-01 Earth's Hazards
Instructor: Jorden Hayes
Course Description:
This course examines natural processes such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, mass wasting events, and floods that have the potential to produce disastrous consequences for humans. All of these processes result from interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere and hydrosphere directly or indirectly, which is the realm of earth sciences. Increasing global populations and increasingly interdependent national economies mean that few disasters are now only local. This course will use examples such as case studies of recent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to examine how natural processes can be hazardous, and whether or not humans can anticipate and mitigate these kinds of hazards to prevent future disasters. Laboratory work will include analog experiments, field trips, and video analysis of historic disasters. Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week.
1030:TR   ALTHSE 201
1330:T   KAUF 140
ERSC 141-02 Earth's Hazards
Instructor: Jorden Hayes
Course Description:
This course examines natural processes such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, mass wasting events, and floods that have the potential to produce disastrous consequences for humans. All of these processes result from interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere and hydrosphere directly or indirectly, which is the realm of earth sciences. Increasing global populations and increasingly interdependent national economies mean that few disasters are now only local. This course will use examples such as case studies of recent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to examine how natural processes can be hazardous, and whether or not humans can anticipate and mitigate these kinds of hazards to prevent future disasters. Laboratory work will include analog experiments, field trips, and video analysis of historic disasters. Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week.
1030:TR   ALTHSE 201
1330:W   KAUF 140
ERSC 142-01 Earth's Changing Climate
Instructor: Marcus Key
Course Description:
An overview of our understanding of climate processes and their interaction with the atmosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere based on studies of ancient climates, which inform our understanding of climate change now and into the future. Topics include drivers of climate change at different time scales, evidence for climate change, and major climate events such as ice ages. Emphasis will be placed on the last 1 million years of earth history as a prelude to discussing potential anthropogenic impacts on the climate. Case studies of major climate players such as the US and China will be contrasted with those most vulnerable, Africa and SE Asia to determine mitigation and adaptation strategies. The lab component will use historic climate data, field experiences, and climate modeling to interpret climate change processes. Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week.
1330:M   KAUF 146
0930:MWF   KAUF 152
ERSC 142-02 Earth's Changing Climate
Instructor: Marcus Key
Course Description:
An overview of our understanding of climate processes and their interaction with the atmosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere based on studies of ancient climates, which inform our understanding of climate change now and into the future. Topics include drivers of climate change at different time scales, evidence for climate change, and major climate events such as ice ages. Emphasis will be placed on the last 1 million years of earth history as a prelude to discussing potential anthropogenic impacts on the climate. Case studies of major climate players such as the US and China will be contrasted with those most vulnerable, Africa and SE Asia to determine mitigation and adaptation strategies. The lab component will use historic climate data, field experiences, and climate modeling to interpret climate change processes. Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week.
1330:W   KAUF 146
0930:MWF   KAUF 152
ERSC 202-01 Energy Resources
Instructor: Marcus Key
Course Description:
The study of the origin, geologic occurrence, and distribution of petroleum, natural gas, coal, and uranium. Discussions include the evaluation and exploitation, economics, law, and the environmental impact of these resources and their alternatives, including geothermal, wind, solar, tidal, and ocean thermal power. Prerequisites: Any DIV III lab science (not MATH). This course is cross-listed as ENST 202. Offered every other year.
1130:MWF   KAUF 152
ERSC 218-01 Geographic Information Systems
Instructor: Peter Muller
Course Description:
Cross-listed with ENST 218-01 and ARCH 218-01. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a powerful technology for managing, analyzing, and visualizing spatial data and geographically-referenced information. It is used in a wide variety of fields including archaeology, agriculture, business, defense and intelligence, education, government, health care, natural resource management, public safety, transportation, and utility management. This course provides a fundamental foundation of theoretical and applied skills in GIS technology that will enable students to investigate and make reasoned decisions regarding spatial issues. Utilizing GIS software applications from Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), students work on a progression of tasks and assignments focused on GIS data collection, manipulation, analysis, output and presentation. The course will culminate in a final, independent project in which the students design and prepare a GIS analysis application of their own choosing. Three hours of classroom and three hours of laboratory per week. This course is cross-listed as ENST 218 and ARCH 218.
1330:R   KAUF 109
0900:TR   KAUF 185
ERSC 305-01 Earth Materials
Instructor: Benjamin Edwards
Course Description:
Completion of both ERSC 305 and ERSC 309 fulfills the WID Requirement. This gives students a basic understanding of the tools and techniques used in modern science to identify and characterize solid earth materials at the macroscopic (hand samples), microscopic (polarized light), and sub-microscopic (X-ray diffraction, Scanning Electron Microscopy) levels. Emphasis in the first part of the course will be on minerals, while the second part of the course will introduce students to characterization techniques of other solid earth materials (soils and rocks) and their conditions of formation. This course is required for the Earth Science major, and will be useful to students interested in agricultural science, archeology, environmental science, forensic science, planetary science, and solid state chemistry and physics. Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. Prerequisites: 141 and 142, or permission of instructor. Completion of both 305 and 309 fulfills the WID graduation requirement.
1030:TR   KAUF 153
1330:T   KAUF 153
ERSC 311-01 Isotope Geochemistry
Instructor: Alyson Thibodeau
Course Description:
Major analytical advancements in the past two decades have revolutionized the field of isotope geochemistry and made isotopic measurements more widely available than ever before. This course will introduce students to both stable and radiogenic isotope systems and give them a quantitative understanding of the basic concepts of isotope fractionation and radioactive decay. With the knowledge of how isotopic variations in nature arise, we will survey applications of isotopic tracers and chronometers in a variety of disciplines including: the earth and environmental sciences, archaeology, and biology. We will also look at emerging applications of isotopic tools such as their role in tracing the trade of illegal drugs, identifying the origins of deceased migrants in border regions, studying of food sources and adulteration, and biomedicine.
0900:TR   KAUF 178
ERSC 318-01 Advanced Applications in GIS
Instructor: James Ciarrocca
Course Description:
Cross-listed with ENST 318-01 and ARCH 318-01. The course is intended as a continuation of the introductory course on Geographic Information Systems, 218, and will concentrate on more advanced discussions and techniques related to spatial analysis and GIS project design. The main focus of the course will be on using higher-level GIS methods to investigate and analyze spatial problems of varying complexity; however, the specific project and topical applications will vary depending on student interests. Students will be required to develop and complete an individual spatial analysis project that incorporates advanced GIS techniques. Prerequisite: ENST 218 or ERSC 218 or ARCH 218 or equivalent GIS experience. Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory per week. This course is cross-listed as ENST 318 and ARCH 318. Offered every two years.
1330:F   KAUF 109
0930:MWF   KAUF 185
ERSC 500-01 Valley Glaciation and Deposits
Instructor: Benjamin Edwards
Course Description:
 
ERSC 500-02 Fundamentals of Sea Ice Formation
Instructor: Benjamin Edwards
Course Description:
 
ERSC 500-03 Ocean Circulation
Instructor: Benjamin Edwards
Course Description:
 
ERSC 500-04 Internship Teaching High School Earth Science
Instructor: Marcus Key
Course Description:
 
ERSC 550-01 Climate Change and Glaciers in the Western Hemisphere
Instructor: Benjamin Edwards
Course Description:
 
ERSC 550-02 Carbon Sequestration
Instructor: Marcus Key
Course Description:
 
ERSC 550-03 Effects of Volcanic Ash on Diatom Populations: Lago Pallarcocha, Peru
Instructor: Benjamin Edwards
Course Description:
 
ERSC 550-04 Sources of Variation in Beach Sand Texture and Mineralogy Alogn Costa Rica's West Coast
Instructor: Marcus Key
Course Description:
 
ERSC 550-05 Geomorphology of Costa Rica
Instructor: Peter Sak
Course Description:
 
ERSC 560-01 Kinetics of Tropical Weathering
Instructor: Peter Sak
Course Description:
 
ERSC 560-02 Soil Research
Instructor: Benjamin Edwards
Course Description:
 
ERSC 560-03 Advanced Geochemistry
Instructor: Alyson Thibodeau
Course Description:
 
ERSC 560-04 Apalachian Fold Kinematics
Instructor: Peter Sak
Course Description: