The department of Geosciences offers two degrees, a Bachelor of Arts in Earth Systems Science and a Bachelor of Science in Geosciences. The Bachelor of Arts program prepares students interested in careers or disciplines that require a fundamental understanding of Earth systems (e.g., environmental science, secondary education, law, geography).  This BA program offers flexibility, allowing students to pursue intensive study in other disciplines. The Bachelor of Science program offers two concentrations to prepare students for graduate work in geosciences or for entry-level positions in geosciences and related fields. The Geosciences BS with a concentration in Geology serves the student interested in a traditional, broad-based foundation in geosciences, and the Geosciences BS with a concentration in Environmental Geosciences serves the student interested in addressing environmental issues of the 21st century.

Geosciences (GEOS)

GEOS-1303 Volcanology
Description
The study of volcanoes with emphasis on volcanic morphology, eruptive mechanisms, rock types, and magmatic properties and processes. Volcanoes will be examined in the context of plate tectonic theory. Natural resources produced by volcanic processes and geologic hazards associated with volcanism will be discussed. (Offered every other year. )
Credits
3 credits
Level
Lower Division
Pathways Curriculum
The Core Capacities, The Interdisciplinary Clusters
GEOS-1307 Geology, Resources, and Environmental Issues of China and Southeast Asia
Description
A survey of the basic geology, natural resources and environmental issues of China and southeast Asia. The fundamental geologic context of China and southeast Asia will be presented in the context of plate tectonics, Earth system processes and Earth history. A large part of the course will be in seminar format. Discussion topics will focus on the unique geological features of China and southeast Asia, the geology of hydrocarbon, metallic and non-metallic resources, and the unique environmental challenges China and southeast Asia face as a result of rapid economic development.
Credits
3 credits
Level
Lower Division
Pathways Curriculum
The Interdisciplinary Clusters, The Core Capacities
GEOS-1405 Oceanography
Description
An inquiry-based introduction to the geologic, chemical, physical and biologic aspects of the Earth's oceans. Topics include plate tectonics, seawater composition, waves, tides, currents, marine habitats and ecosystems and global climate change. Approximately one half of the course meeting times will be data analysis, laboratory or field activities. Field trip required; field trip costs must be paid by each student. (Offered every year.)
Credits
4 credits
Level
Lower Division
Pathways Curriculum
Approaches to Creation and Analysis
GEOS-1406 History and Evolution of Life
Description
An inquiry-based study of major events in the history and evolution of life. Topics include fundamentals of earth systems, the origin of life, mechanics of evolution, diversification of life, the invasion of land, innovation of flight, mass extinctions, evolution of mammals, primates and hominids, and how human activity may affect the future of life. Three class hours each week, three full-day field trips, and out of class projects including analysis and synthesis of data gathered on field trips. Field trips are required; field trip costs must be paid by each student. (Offered every Spring)
Credits
4 credits
Level
Lower Division
Pathways Curriculum
Approaches to Creation and Analysis, The Interdisciplinary Clusters
GEOS-1409 Earth's Environmental Systems
Description
An inquiry-based examination of the interaction of the Earth's natural systems and the role that humans play in determining the evolution of those systems. Topics include plate tectonics, solid earth processes and resources, surficial physical and chemical processes, energy resources, and global climate change. Field trips required; field trip costs must be paid by each student. (Offered every year.)
Credits
4 credits
Level
Lower Division
Pathways Curriculum
The Interdisciplinary Clusters, Approaches to Creation and Analysis
GEOS-2400 Solid Earth Processes
Description
An intermediate-level, inquiry-based study of the fundamental geological materials and processes of the Earth. Topics include plate tectonics, geophysical studies of the subsurface, mineral properties and formation, rock properties and formation, volcanic processes and landforms, earthquake processes, geologic map interpretation, cross section construction, and relative and absolute age dating. Three class hours and three laboratory hours each week. Field trips are required; field trip costs must be paid by each student. (Offered every year). Prerequisites: One lower division GEOS Course or fulfillment of the Natural Sciences Approach of the Pathways curriculum.
Credits
4 credits
Level
Lower Division
GEOS-2402 Earth Surface Processes
Description
The course delves into the processes that shape our planet's dynamic surface. At their most fundamental, these processes are controlled by force, the transport of mass, and the transmission of energy on the surface of our planet. In addition to geoscience concepts, we will apply principles of physics, biology, chemistry, and mathematics in order to understand the short- and long-term evolution of landscapes, soil systems, and groundwater systems. (Offered every Spring.) Prerequisite: GEOS 2400
Credits
4 credits
Level
Lower Division
GEOS-2403 Earth Materials
Description
An introduction to the classification, identification, and formation of minerals, rocks, and soil. Students in the course will be able to evaluate the processes responsible for the origin of minerals and rocks in solid earth and surficial systems, and to appraise the role of minerals and rocks in the Earth system and society. The laboratory emphasizes methodologies and techniques used to identify and classify common minerals and rocks in hand specimen and thin section. Weekend field trip required; students are responsible for field trip expenses. Three class hours and three laboratory hours per week. (Offered every year.) Prerequisite: GEOS 2400
Credits
4 credits
Level
Lower Division
GEOS-3092 Internship
Description
An off-campus internship in professional geoscientific practice. Internships may be arranged with businesses, nonprofit institutions and government agencies and must be supervised by a faculty member. Geoscientific field work, laboratory work or analysis must be conducted during the course of the internship. May be repeated for a maximum of 3 credit hours. May only be taken on a Pass/fail basis. Prerequisites: Prior written approval of the supervising faculty member and departmental permission.
Credits
0 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3101 Geosciences Seminar
Description
Attendance and participation in departmental seminars. Grade is based on participation, completion of assignments, and attendance. Course may be repeated up to 3 times. Pass/Fail only. (Offered every year.)
Credits
1 credit
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3120 Majors' Field Trip
Description
Field study of selected areas in Texas and surrounding regions: emphasis on developing observational and interpretative skills in the field. May only be taken on a pass-fail basis. Field trip costs must be paid by each student. May be taken twice for credit. Prerequisite: Departmental major or by invitation of the department.
Credits
1 credit
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3190 Directed Studies - Junior Level
Description
Individual work under supervision. Credit may vary. Prerequisites: Major or minor standing and consent of project supervisor.
Credits
1 credit
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3191 Special Topics
Description
An in-depth study of a topic in geosciences that is otherwise not covered in existing courses. May be repeated for credit on different topics. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
Credits
1 credit
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3192 Internship
Description
An off-campus internship in professional geoscientific practice. Internships may be arranged with businesses, nonprofit institutions and government agencies and must be supervised by a faculty member. Geoscientific field work, laboratory work or analysis must be conducted during the course of the internship. May be repeated for a maximum of 3 credit hours. May only be taken on a Pass/fail basis. Prerequisites: Prior written approval of the supervising faculty member and departmental permission.
Credits
1 credit
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3290 Directed Studies - Junior Level
Description
Individual work under supervision. Credit may vary. Prerequisites: Major or minor standing and consent of project supervisor.
Credits
2 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3292 Internship
Description
An off-campus internship in professional geoscientific practice. Internships may be arranged with businesses, nonprofit institutions and government agencies and must be supervised by a faculty member. Geoscientific field work, laboratory work or analysis must be conducted during the course of the internship. May be repeated for a maximum of 3 credit hours. May only be taken on a Pass/fail basis. Prerequisites: Prior written approval of the supervising faculty member and departmental permission.
Credits
2 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3306 Evolution of the Earth
Description
A survey of the evolution of Earth's systems through geologic time, with a focus on the physical development of Earth and the evolution of life on Earth. Emphasis on understanding deep time, rates of change, and major planet-wide changes in Earth history, as well as understanding the evidence on which interpretations of these geologic events and processes are based. Course includes readings from the primary scientific literature to explore current debates and questions around major events in Earth's history. Prerequisites: GEOS 2400; GEOS 2402 or GEOS 2403.
Credits
3 credits
Level
Upper Division
Pathways Curriculum
The Core Capacities
GEOS-3307 Planetary Geology
Description
An introduction to the geologic processes that operate on the surfaces and within the interiors of rocky ice-rich objects in the Solar System. Earth analogues, remote sensing, and the latest results from the robotic planetary exploration are used to investigate the origin and geology of the solar system. Topics include nebular materials and processes in the early solar system, orbital dynamics, meteorites and impact cratering, formation and evolution of lithospheres and atmospheres, volcanism and tectonics, weathering phenomena, planetary environments, space missions and the data sets they collect. Prerequisite: GEOS 2400
Credits
3 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3309 Tectonics
Description
Study of the tectonic processes of the Earth with emphasis on the historical development of tectonic theory and current research in tectonics. Topics include: geophysical and geochemical characterization of the Earth's interior, plate kinematics and dynamics, earthquake mechanisms, the nature and origin of continental crusts and margins, and the relationship between tectonics and rock-forming processes. Prerequisite: GEOS 2400 and GEOS 2403.
Credits
3 credits
Level
Upper Division
Pathways Curriculum
The Core Capacities
GEOS-3310 Global Climate Change
Description
An intermediate-level study of the fundamental science of global climate change. Topics include an introduction to the global climate system, a review of the fundamentals of energy transfer between earth systems, investigation of the geologic evidence of natural climate change, and evidence for anthropogenic climate change. The course will also delve into the present and future impacts of climate change on natural systems and human activities, and students will investigate potential viable solutions to global climate change. (Offered every other year.) Prerequisites: One lower division GEOS course.
Credits
3 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3319 Field Geology in China
Description
Field study of the evolution of sedimentary basins and mountain belts in China. Emphasis on developing observational and interprative skills in the field. Additional goals are to gain an appreciation of Chinese culture, language and history by working together with Chinese students and studying a variety of sites of historical and cultural importance. Students interested in geosciences, environmental studies, anthropology, and Chinese languages and cultures are encouraged to apply. Prerequisites: One course in geology, consent of instructor.
Credits
3 credits
Level
Upper Division
Pathways Curriculum
The Interdisciplinary Clusters, The Core Capacities
GEOS-3390 Directed Studies - Junior Level
Description
Individual work under supervision. Credit may vary. Prerequisites: Major or minor standing and consent of project supervisor.
Credits
3 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3391 Special Topics
Description
An in-depth study of a topic in geosciences that is otherwise not covered in existing courses. May be repeated for credit on different topics. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
Credits
3 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3392 Internship
Description
An off-campus internship in professional geoscientific practice. Internships may be arranged with businesses, nonprofit institutions and government agencies and must be supervised by a faculty member. Geoscientific field work, laboratory work or analysis must be conducted during the course of the internship. May be repeated for a maximum of 3 credit hours. May only be taken on a Pass/fail basis. Prerequisites: Prior written approval of the supervising faculty member and departmental permission.
Credits
3 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3401 Structural Geology
Description
A study of the mechanics of crustal deformation in the context of plate tectonics. An introduction to the descriptive, kinematic, and dynamic analysis of structures such as folds, faults, joint systems, and foliation. Emphasis on the application of structural cross-sections, stereonet analysis, graphical techniques, and computer applications to problems involving stress and strain of earth materials. Three class hours and three laboratory hours per week. Field trips required; field trip costs must be paid by each student. (Offered every Fall.) Prerequisite: GEOS 2402 or GEOS 2403
Credits
4 credits
Level
Upper Division
Pathways Curriculum
The Core Capacities
GEOS-3402 Paleontology
Description
A study of invertebrate fossils, their classification, morphology, and geologic history. Also included will be an introduction to the principles of paleontologic investigation and their application to the study of geology. Three class hours and three laboratory hours a week. Prerequisite: GEOS 2400, 2402
Credits
4 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3408 GIS and Remote Sensing
Description
An introduction to computer-based mapping and spatial data analysis used in earth and life sciences and environmental monitoring and management. Topics include: digital representation of data and images; cartographic principles and the use of GPS; raster and vector based geographical information systems (GIS); geostatistics, kriging, and visualization of geospatial data sets; acquisition and analysis of multispectral remote sensing data, including principle component analysis and classification techniques. Three class hours and three laboratory hours a week. (Offered every year.) Prerequisites: Completion of both the Natural Sciences and the Quantitative Reasoning approaches within the Pathways curriculum.
Credits
4 credits
Level
Upper Division
Pathways Curriculum
The Core Capacities
GEOS-3411 Hydrogeology
Description
This course will focus on the fundamentals of groundwater, including groundwater recharge, movement, and storage. Basic concepts covered will include aquifer properties, groundwater flow, aquifer heterogeneity, well monitoring and sampling, chemical evolution of natural groundwater, and an introduction to contaminant fate and transport. The laboratory component of this course will involve data collection, manipulation, and analysis, as well as the use of physical and computational models to simulate groundwater flow and aquifer properties. Field trips are required; field trip expenses must be paid by each student. Prerequisites: GEOS 2400. Recommended: CHEM 1318 and CHEM 1118. (Offered every other year.)
Credits
4 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3412 Applied Geophysics
Description
An introduction to the use of physical principles and measurements in the study of the Earth's subsurface, with an emphasis on applications in environmental science, engineering, mineral exploration and archeology. Topics include Fourier analysis, seismic waves in elastic media, refraction tomography, reflection seismology, multichannel analysis of surface waves, gravity, electrical resistivity and groundpenetrating radar. Three class hours and three laboratory hours per week. Field trips are required; field trip expenses must be paid by each student. (Also listed as PHYS 3412.) Prerequisite: PHYS 1310 or 1312 (may be taken concurrently).
Credits
4 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3415 Iceland - Its Unique Geological, Economic and Cultural History
Description
This course will expose students to the unique economic, geologic, and cultural history of Iceland. The economic aspects will focus on the role of financial markets and monetary institutions in economic booms and crashes using Iceland as a case study, possible solutions to public good problems such as the Icelandic fishing quota, business practices which often prioritize protection of the environment and social responsibility, and the role of international trade in development of a small country. The geological history will emphasize Iceland's plate tectonic setting, volcanism, glacial history and related hazards, geothermal energy, and the effects of climate change. The cultural portion will explore the fundamental role of literature in a country with virtually no illiteracy, and the role of the sagas in the transmission of culture, language, and the law in the country with the oldest parliament in the world. The course includes an excursion to Iceland for 12-14 days in late May-early June. (Also listed as ECON 3415 and INTL 3415.) (Offered occasionally.)
Credits
4 credits
Level
Upper Division
Pathways Curriculum
The Core Capacities
GEOS-3421 Environmental Geochemistry
Description
A study of the geochemical processes that occur at or near Earth's surface and their application in solving geologic and environmental problems. Topics emphasized will include elemental cycling, thermodynamics, kinetics, acid-base equilibrium, and redox reactions. Prerequisites: CHEM 1318 and GEOS 2400 or consent of instructor.
Credits
4 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-3422 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
Description
The identification, description, and interpretation of sediments, sedimentary rocks, and sedimentary strata; an introduction to the principles of stratigraphy and of sedimentary processes as they relate to modern depositional systems and their ancient analogs. Emphasis will be place on the interpretation of depositional systems and sequence stratigraphy. Three class hours and three laboratory hours a week. Field trips are required; field trip costs must be paid by each student. Prerequisites: GEOS 2400 and GEOS 2403.
Credits
4 credits
Level
Upper Division
Pathways Curriculum
The Core Capacities
GEOS-3423 Basin Analysis
Description
Application of stratigraphic concepts to the study of basin evolution and the environmental history and geometry of sedimentary rock successions. Emphasis will be placed on tectonic evolution of basins, principles of stratigraphic correlation, carbonate depositional systems, sequence stratigraphy, event stratigraphy, stratigraphic modeling, and hydrocarbon systems. Laboratory experiments with outcrop sample suites, core and subsurface geophysical data sets. Three class hours and three laboratory hours per a week. Field trips required; field trip costs must be paid by each student. Prerequisites: GEOS 2402 and 2403.
Credits
4 credits
Level
Upper Division
Pathways Curriculum
The Core Capacities
GEOS-3491 Special Topics
Description
An in-depth study of a topic in geosciences that is otherwise not covered in existing courses. May be repeated for credit on different topics. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
Credits
4 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-4001 Senior Comprehensive Examination
Description
Geosciences and Earth Systems majors with senior standing will take a comprehensive exam. Students will be required to attend a one-hour meeting held early in the Spring semester. The exam will be administered on a Saturday in February. May only be taken on a pass/fail basis. Prerequisites: Departmental major and senior standing.
Credits
0 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-4190 Directed Studies - Senior Level
Description
Individual work under supervision. Credit may vary. Prerequisites: Major or minor standing and consent of project supervisor.
Credits
1 credit
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-4290 Directed Studies - Senior Level
Description
Individual work under supervision. Credit may vary. Prerequisites: Major or minor standing and consent of project supervisor.
Credits
2 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-4320 Geosciences Senior Capstone Seminar
Description
A synthesis of concepts and topics from the Geosciences curriculum. Students will integrate concepts from multiple geologic disciplines to understand the geologic evolution of western North America, with particular emphasis on the region to be explored during the Majors' Field Trip. (Offered every Spring.) Prerequisite: Senior standing in Geosciences
Credits
3 credits
Level
Upper Division
Pathways Curriculum
The Core Capacities
GEOS-4390 Directed Studies - Senior Level
Description
Individual work under supervision. Credit may vary. Prerequisites: Major or minor standing and consent of project supervisor.
Credits
3 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-4395 Thesis Research
Description
Student research conducted under the supervision of a Trinity University faculty member leading to written communication of the research in thesis format. Course enrollment requires planning with the thesis director during the Junior year. A written thesis proposal must be submitted to the department. Prerequisites: Senior standing and acceptance by a thesis director.
Credits
3 credits
Level
Upper Division
GEOS-4396 Thesis Research and Presentation
Description
A continuation of student project begun in GEOS 4395. Students are required to write and defend their thesis according to University guidelines set forth in this Bulletin. An oral presentation of the thesis will be made to the students and faculty of the department. Prerequisite: GEOS 4395.
Credits
3 credits
Level
Upper Division
Pathways Curriculum
The Core Capacities
GEOS-4690 Directed Studies - Senior Level
Description
Individual work under supervision. Credit may vary. Prerequisites: Major or minor standing and consent of project supervisor.
Credits
6 credits
Level
Upper Division
Kathleen Surpless
Kathleen Surpless, Ph.D.
Department Chair
Professor
Headshot of Mary Helen Castoreno-Perez
Mary Helen Castoreno-Perez
Administrative Support Specialist
Kurt Knesel
Kurt Knesel, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Glenn Kroeger
Glenn Kroeger, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Headshot of faculty member Daniel Lehrmann
Daniel Lehrmann, Ph.D.
Gertrude and Walter Pyron Professor of Geosciences
Headshot of Richard Silver
Richard Silver
Laboratory and Field Technician
Headshot of faculty member Diane Smith
Diane Smith, Ph.D.
Imogene & Harold Herndon Professor of Geology
Brady Ziegler
Brady Ziegler, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

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