Department of Geological Sciences


112 A.W. Smith Building
http://geology.case.edu
Phone: 216-368-3690; Fax: 216-368-3691
Gerald Matisoff, Chair
E-mail: gerald.matisoff@case.edu


The geological sciences encompass a wide range of inquiries into the physical, chemical, and biological processes that shape the earth and the planets. Application of these inquiries to understanding a planet’s evolution through time is a unique attribute of geological investigations. Knowledge of the past and present reveals the constraints of our environment and serves as a guide for the future.


In recent years, significant advances have been made in the understanding of plate tectonics, properties of the earth’s interior, the nature of surface and near-surface processes, the history of the earth’s climate, the ecology of living and ancient organisms, and the comparative geology of other planets. Geologic knowledge is fundamental to resource conservation, land use planning, environmental geochemistry, hydrology, engineering construction works, and other environmental concerns.


Department faculty focus their research in four areas: surficial processes, planetary materials, geochemistry, and sedimentary basin analysis. The department offers degree programs leading to the B.A. and B.S. in Geological Sciences, B.A. in Environmental Geology, B.A. in Environmental Studies, Master of Science (M.S.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). The Environmental Studies program is described elsewhere in this bulletin.


Department Faculty


Gerald Matisoff, Ph.D.
(Johns Hopkins University)

Professor and Chair
Sedimentary and environmental geochemistry


Ralph P. Harvey, Ph.D.
(University of Pittsburgh)

Associate Professor
Planetary geology


Steven A. Hauck, II, Ph.D.
(Washington University)

Assistant Professor
Geodynamics


Peter L. McCall, Ph.D., J.D.
(Yale University)

Professor; Director, Environmental Studies Program
Benthic ecology; paleoecology


Beverly Z. Saylor, Ph.D.
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Associate Professor
Sedimentary geology


James A. Van Orman, Ph.D.
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Associate Professor
Geochemistry


Peter J. Whiting, Ph.D.
(University of California, Berkeley)

Associate Professor and Associate Dean
Geomorphology; surface water hydrology; environmental geology


Adjunct Faculty


Philip O. Banks, Ph.D.
(California Institute of Technology)

Adjunct Associate Professor
Geology; geochronology


Enriqueta Barrera, Ph.D.
(Case Western Reserve University)

Adjunct Associate Professor
Geochemistry; paleoeclimatology


Andrew Dombard, Ph.D.
(Washington University-St. Louis)

Adjunct Associate Professor; University Illinois-Chicago
Planetary geophysics


Joseph T. Hannibal, Ph.D.
(Kent State University)

Adjunct Associate Professor; Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Invertebrate paleontology


Michael Ketterer, Ph.D.
(University of Colorado)

Adjunct Professor; Northern Arizona University
Analytical chemistry


David Saja, Ph.D.
(University of Pennsylvania)

Adjunct Assistant Professor; Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Minerology


Richard C. Schmidt, Ph.D.
(McGill University, Canada)

Adjunct Professor
Economic geology


Emeritus Faculty


Samuel M. Savin, Ph.D.
(California Institute of Technology)

Jesse Earl Hyde Professor Emeritus and Dean Emeritus of the College of Arts and Sciences
Isotope geochemistry


Undergraduate Programs


Majors


Students in geological sciences obtain a solid background in basic science and mathematics as well as intensive training in the major. In addition, because of the wide variety of ways in which geologic knowledge can be applied, all students are encouraged to take electives in subjects appropriate to their personal objectives, which may be as diverse as the engineering applications of geology or the socioeconomic and legal systems bearing on environmental issues. The undergraduate programs stress practical experience and fieldwork as well as classroom study. The environmental geology major combines courses in geological sciences with courses in basic and applied sciences to provide students with an understanding of environmental problems, with employable skills, and with a background for graduate study or professional school.


All students participate in a three-semester Senior Project sequence in which they propose a research project, conduct the research, write a thesis, and present it to the department.


Geological Sciences Major

The minimum requirements include 8 hours each of chemistry, physics, and calculus, plus any one of GEOL 101, 110, and 115, plus GEOL 119, 210, 301, 315, 317, 341, 344, 360, 390, 391, and 392. GEOL 360 provides comprehensive field training in the summer between the junior and senior years (this course necessitates transfer credit, which must be approved by the department).


Environmental Geology Major
The minimum requirements include 8 hours each of chemistry and calculus, plus BIOL 114, ESTD 101, PHYS 115, and STAT 201, plus GEOL 110, 119, 210, 220, 303, 305, 317, 321, 390, 391, and 392.
In the above majors, the student and his or her advisor will design the remainder of the curriculum based on individual interests, in accordance with departmental and college requirements. An integrated undergraduate-graduate program leading to a master’s degree in five years is available. Special programs, such as interdisciplinary majors, also may be arranged.


Minor


Students may complete a minor in geological sciences by taking up to three of GEOL 101, 110, 115, and 117, plus GEOL 119 and sufficient upper-level GEOL courses to total 15 hours.


Graduate Programs


Graduate programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees are offered. Both programs are flexible so as to meet the needs of the individual student. General areas of study include aquatic systems, aquatic and groundwater chemistry, environmental geochemistry, benthic ecology, biostratigraphy and paleontology, environmental and urban geology, geomorphology, limnology, paleoclimatology, petrology, sedimentary geochemistry, sedimentation and stratigraphy, stable isotope studies, meteoritics, planetary materials, geodynamics of planetary interiors, and planetary geology. More specific information is available from the departmental office, the departmental Web page, and the Office of Admission of the School of Graduate Studies.


Facilities


The department’s research facilities include thin sectioning and mineral separation facilities; laboratories for chemical analysis of water, including an ion chromatograph, colorimetric spectrometer, atomic absorption spectrophotometer, electrochemistry equipment, and an environmental glove box; alpha and gamma spectroscopic facilities for analysis of environmental nuclides; equipment for studying animal-sediment relations, including a scanning gamma spectrometer; scanning electron microscope; electron microprobe; chemical reactors and a diamond anvil press for high-temperature and high-pressure geochemical experiments; and high-speed computing equipment.


Also housed in the department are laboratories for paleontological and micropaleontological investigations and for work in ecology and sedimentology. A well-field owned by the university is available for groundwater sampling and analysis.


The department also contains a wide range of other equipment, such as reflected and transmitted light microscopes, fluid inclusion microscope, cathodoluminescence microscope, submicron and clay-silt-sand particle size analyzers, high magnetic field mineral separator, X-ray diffractometer, and field equipment for groundwater and geophysical work, including resistivity meter, seismic refraction instrument, ground conductivity meter, magnetometer, and gravimeter and field equipment for soil and sediment sampling.


Course Descriptions


GEOL 101. The Earth and Planets (3)
An examination of the geological processes that have shaped the planets and moons of the inner solar system, focusing on those with relevance to our own planet Earth. Following an introduction to the fundamentals of planetary geology, lectures and exercises will explore how the inner planets (the asteroids, Mercury, Venus, Earth, the Moon, and Mars) exhibit the effects of planetary differentiation, impact cratering, volcanic activity, tectonics, climate, and interactions with life.


GEOL 110. Physical Geology (3)
Introduction to geologic processes and materials that shape the world we live in. Hydrologic cycle and evolution of landscapes. Earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, and geologic resources. Students desiring laboratory experience should enroll in GEOL 119 concurrently.


GEOL 115. Introduction to Oceanography (3)
The sciences of oceanography. Physical, chemical, biologic, and geologic features and processes of the oceans. Differences and similarities between the oceans and large lakes including the Great Lakes. Required: Sunday field trip.


GEOL 117. Weather and Climate (3)
Introduction to the study of weather and climate. Covers the basics of meteorology, climate zones, the hydrologic cycle, and weather prediction. Lectures address timely topics including greenhouse warming, past global climates, and recent advances in meteorology.


GEOL 119. Geology Laboratory (1)
Principles and techniques common to the geological sciences including rock and mineral identification, map interpretation, land form analysis, application of geological information to engineering works, and more. One three-hour laboratory or field trip weekly. Recommended preparation: GEOL 110.


GEOL 202. Global Environmental Problems (3)
Science, policy and ethics of environmental problems that affect the entire planet. Examination of problems of current interest, such as population growth, climate change, ozone depletion, and fisheries, from a variety of viewpoints. Construction of simple computer models of a global process using Stella II. No previous computer experience or knowledge of numerical methods is required.


GEOL 210. Historical Geology/Paleontology (3)
History of life as recorded in sedimentary rocks. Case histories of important basins of deposition; the interrelationships of paleogeography, plate tectonics, and evolution. Two lectures and one laboratory weekly.


GEOL 220. Environmental Geology (3)
Geological attributes of environmental settings. Analysis of geologic conditions pertinent to engineering works. Site development, resource availability, urban planning, recognition and assessment of geologic hazards. Recommended preparation: GEOL 110 and GEOL 119.


GEOL 225. Evolution (3)
Multidisciplinary study of the course and processes of organic evolution provides a broad understanding of the evolution of structural and functional diversity, the relationships among organisms and their environments, and the phylogenetic relationships among major groups of organisms. Topics include the genetic basis of micro- and macro-evolutionary change, the concept of adaptation, natural selection, population dynamics, theories of species formation, principles of phylogenetic inference, biogeography, evolutionary rates, evolutionary convergence, homology, Darwinian medicine, and conceptual and philosophic issues in evolutionary theory.
Offered as ANTH 225, BIOL 225, GEOL 225, HSTY 225, and PHIL 225.


GEOL 301. Stratigraphy and Sedimentation (3)
Formation, distribution, and composition of sediments and sedimentary rocks. Modern depositional environments and their ancient analogues; principles of stratigraphic and biostratigraphic correlation. Two lectures and one laboratory per week.


GEOL 303. Environmental Law (3)
Problems in the environmental geosciences and the legal response. Types of pollution regulation, regulation of petroleum and coal exploration and development, water rights, wildlife and public lands management, common law remedies, and the role of scientific experts. Topics of current social interest.


GEOL 305. Geomorphology and Remote Sensing (3)
Recognition and interpretation of land forms and their significance in revealing present and past geologic processes. Introduction to acquisition and analysis of data through aerial photography and satellite imagery. Two lectures and one laboratory weekly. Recommended preparation: GEOL 110 and GEOL 119.
Offered as GEOL 305 and GEOL 405.


GEOL 307. Evolutionary Biology and Paleobiology of Invertebrates
Important events in the evolution of invertebrate life; structure, function, and phylogeny of major invertebrate groups.


GEOL 315. Structural Geology and Geodynamics (3)
Theoretical analysis of deformation in earth materials, with illustrations of deformational styles in various tectonic settings and the dynamics of the Earth’s interior. Recommended preparation: GEOL 110.
Offered as GEOL 315 and GEOL 415.


GEOL 317. Introduction to Field Methods (3)
Practice in field procedures, recognition and testing of hypotheses in the field, field mapping and analysis of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks in deformed and tectonically active settings. Weekly meeting plus spring break field trip. Students required to pay partial cost of meals, lodging, and travel.
Prereq: GEOL 119.


GEOL 318. Topics in Field Methods (3)
Field analysis of geological and environmental problems. Topics and locations will vary. Requires preparatory meetings and week-long field trip, usually during spring break. Students required to pay partial cost of meals, lodging, and travel. Recommended preparation: GEOL 119 or permission of instructor.


GEOL 321. Hydrogeology
Basic and applied concepts pertaining to the occurrence and movement of groundwater. Definitions, basic equations, applications to a variety of geologic settings, wells. Requires one Saturday field trip to make field measurements, collect and analyze data, and prepare a report.
Offered as GEOL 321 and GEOL 421.


GEOL 330. Geophysical Field Methods and Laboratory (4)
Use of seismic refraction and reflection, gravity, electrical, magnetic, and electromagnetic methods to infer the earth’s structure and composition. Application of inverse theory to estimate model parameters. Requires students to make field measurements, analyze data, and prepare a report. Includes several required Saturday field trips.
Offered as GEOL 330, GEOL 430.


GEOL 336. Aquatic Chemistry (4)
Chemical equilibria occurring in natural waters. Quantitative methods of describing acid-base, metal ion/ligand, precipitation/dissolution, and oxidation/reduction reactions. Geochemical cycling of trace metals and nutrients.
Offered as GEOL 336 and GEOL 436.


GEOL 341. Mineralogy (4)
Crystallography, hand specimen mineralogy and petrology, principles of crystal structure and crystal chemistry, elementary thermodynamics and phase diagrams, and an introduction to the petrographic microscope. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory weekly. Recommended preparation: GEOL 119.


GEOL 344. Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology (4)
Composition, classification, and genesis of igneous and metamorphic rocks, emphasizing physical and chemical principles governing their origin. Laboratory study of rocks in thin section. Two lectures and two three-hour laboratories weekly.
Prereq: GEOL 341.


GEOL 345. Planetary Materials (1–3)
An introduction to the materials that make up the solid matter of the solar system. Student presentations will review our current understanding of accessible primitive materials such as meteorites, cosmic dust, lunar and ancient terrestrial rocks, and their relationship to modern natural materials and solar system processes.
Offered as GEOL 345 and GEOL 445.


GEOL 349. Geological Problems (1–3)
Special work arranged according to the qualifications of the student.


GEOL 350. Geochemistry (3)
Introduction to geochemistry. Properties of the elements, elemental and isotopic fractionation, element transport, geochemical systems, geochronology, mineral reactions, the solid Earth, Earth in the solar system. A quantitative approach to modeling geochemical processes will be emphasized throughout.
Offered as GEOL 350 and GEOL 450.


GEOL 360. Summer Field Camp (6)
Six-week course in geologic field methods and mapping. Not offered at Case Western Reserve University; must be taken at another college or university. Credits will be transferred.


GEOL 367. Topics in Evolutionary Biology (3)
The focus for this course on a special topic of interest in evolutionary biology will vary from one offering to the next. Examples of possible topics include theories of speciation, the evolution of language, the evolution of sex, evolution and biodiversity, molecular evolution. ANAT/ANTH/GEOL/PHIL 467/BIOL 468 will require a longer, more sophisticated term paper, and additional class presentation.
Offered as ANTH 367, BIOL 368, GEOL 367, PHIL 367, ANAT 467, ANTH 467, BIOL 468, GEOL 467, and PHIL 467.


GEOL 390. Introduction to Geological Research (3)
Examination of factors in the selection, design, and conduct of research projects and in the analysis and interpretation of research results. Consideration of ethical issues in scientific research. Practice in proposal writing and oral presentation. Consultations with department faculty in preparation for individual Senior Project proposals. Research initiation.
SAGES Dept Seminar


GEOL 391. Senior Project (2)
Research project required of all department majors, based on formal project proposals presented to department faculty. Proposals may be submitted prior to the semester in which GEOL 391 is taken. Emphasis is on independence, initiative, and follow-through in planning and conducting the project. Grading deferred until completion of GEOL 392 (required). This course is the first of a 2 semester Senior Capstone (GEOL 391, 392) sequence. Recommended preparation: GEOL 390.
SAGES Senior Cap


GEOL 392. Professional Presentation (2)
Preparation and presentation of final written and oral reports on individual Senior Projects. Class meetings focus on group discussion of problem areas in analysis and interpretation of project results, and in styles of writing poster and oral presentation as demonstrated by practice examples. This course is the second in a two-course (GEOL 391, 392) Senior Capstone sequence. Recommended preparation: GEOL 391.
SAGES Senior Cap


GEOL 394. Seminar in Evolutionary Biology (3)
This seminar investigates 20th-century evolutionary theory, especially the Modern Evolutionary synthesis and subsequent expansions of and challenges to that synthesis. The course encompasses the multidisciplinary nature of the science of evolution, demonstrating how disciplinary background influences practitioners’ conceptualizations of pattern and process. This course emphasizes practical writing and research skills, including formulation of testable theses, grant proposal techniques, and the implementation of original research using the facilities on campus and at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
Offered as ANTH 394, BIOL 394, GEOL 394, HSTY 394, PHIL 394, ANTH 494, BIOL 494, GEOL 494, HSTY 494, and PHIL 494.


GEOL 396. Undergraduate Research in Evolutionary Biology (3)
Students propose and conduct guided research on an aspect of evolutionary biology. The research will be sponsored and supervised by a member of the CASE faculty or other qualified professional. A written report must be submitted to the Evolutionary Biology Steering Committee before credit is granted.
Offered as ANTH 396, BIOL 396, GEOL 396, and PHIL 396.


GEOL 405. Geomorphology and Remote Sensing (3)
Recognition and interpretation of land forms and their significance in revealing present and past geologic processes. Introduction to acquisition and analysis of data through aerial photography and satellite imagery. Two lectures and one laboratory weekly. Recommended preparation: GEOL 110 and GEOL 119.
Offered as GEOL 305 and GEOL 405.


GEOL 415. Structural Geology and Geodynamics (3)
Theoretical analysis of deformation in earth materials, with illustrations of deformational styles in various tectonic settings and the dynamics of the Earth’s interior. Recommended preparation: GEOL 110.
Offered as GEOL 315 and GEOL 415.


GEOL 421. Hydrogeology (3)
Basic and applied concepts pertaining to the occurrence and movement of groundwater. Definitions, basic equations, applications to a variety of geologic settings, wells. Requires one Saturday field trip to make field measurements, collect and analyze data, and prepare a report.
Offered as GEOL 321 and GEOL 421.


GEOL 425. Geotectonics (3)
Interpretation of the major crustal features of the earth in terms of plate tectonics and associated phenomena.


GEOL 430. Geophysical Field Methods and Laboratory (4)
Use of seismic refraction and reflection, gravity, electrical, magnetic, and electromagnetic methods to infer the earth’s structure and composition. Application of inverse theory to estimate model parameters. Requires students to make field measurements, analyze data, and prepare a report. Includes several required Saturday field trips.
Offered as GEOL 330, GEOL 430.


GEOL 436. Aquatic Chemistry (4)
Chemical equilibria occurring in natural waters. Quantitative methods of describing acid-base, metal ion/ligand, precipitation/dissolution, and oxidation/reduction reactions. Geochemical cycling of trace metals and nutrients.
Offered as GEOL 336 and GEOL 436.


GEOL 437. Chemistry of Natural Waters (3)
Advanced topics in aquatic chemistry. Thermodynamics models for ion/ligand speciation in natural waters; origin and composition of seawater, chemical and mineralogical sequence during evaporation, chemical weathering, groundwater and river water chemistry, chemical cycling and a global mass balances; perturbations on natural systems by man. Predictive capabilities of box models.


GEOL 444. Flow and Sediment Transport (3)
This course focuses on open channel flow and sediment transport mechanics. A mathematical framework for the description of free surface flow and various modes of particle transport is built. This framework is used in discussions of geomorphic and sedimentologic processes and features. Specific topics covered include dimensional analysis, forces on settling particles, fluid flow, initiation of particle movement, bedload and suspended load transport and their calculation, and channel form.


GEOL 445. Planetary Materials (1–3)
An introduction to the materials that make up the solid matter of the solar system. Student presentations will review our current understanding of accessible primitive materials such as meteorites, cosmic dust, lunar and ancient terrestrial rocks, and their relationship to modern natural materials and solar system processes.
Offered as GEOL 345 and GEOL 445.


GEOL 450. Geochemistry (3)
Introduction to geochemistry. Properties of the elements, elemental and isotopic fractionation, element transport, geochemical systems, geochronology, mineral reactions, the solid Earth, Earth in the solar system. A quantitative approach to modeling geochemical processes will be emphasized throughout.
Offered as GEOL 350 and GEOL 450.


GEOL 455. Isotope Geochemistry (3)
Principles and applications of naturally occurring variations of isotopic abundances in geologic, hydrologic, and biologic systems. Includes consideration of radioactive and radiogenic isotopes and their use in geochronology and as tracers; consideration of isotopic fractionations (especially of light stable isotopes), their thermodynamic and kinetic causes, and their use in understanding mechanisms and conditions of geologic processes and as tracers.


GEOL 467. Topics in Evolutionary Biology (3)
The focus for this course on a special topic of interest in evolutionary biology will vary from one offering to the next. Examples of possible topics include theories of speciation, the evolution of language, the evolution of sex, evolution and biodiversity, molecular evolution. ANAT/ANTH/GEOL/PHIL 467/BIOL 468 will require a longer, more sophisticated term paper, and additional class presentation.
Offered as ANTH 367, BIOL 368, GEOL 367, PHIL 367, ANAT 467, ANTH 467, BIOL 468, GEOL 467, and PHIL 467.


GEOL 494. Seminar in Evolutionary Biology (3)
This seminar investigates 20th-century evolutionary theory, especially the Modern Evolutionary synthesis and subsequent expansions of and challenges to that synthesis. The course encompasses the multidisciplinary nature of the science of evolution, demonstrating how disciplinary background influences practitioners’ conceptualizations of pattern and process. This course emphasizes practical writing and research skills, including formulation of testable theses, grant proposal techniques, and the implementation of original research using the facilities on campus and at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
Offered as ANTH 394, BIOL 394, GEOL 394, HSTY 394, PHIL 394, ANTH 494, BIOL 494, GEOL 494, HSTY 494, and PHIL 494.


GEOL 503. Seminar: Geomorphology/Glacial Geology (1)


GEOL 504. Seminar: Geochemistry (1)


GEOL 506. Seminar in Geophysics (1–3)

Selected topics in geophysics: advanced research issues, classical papers, current state of the field, advanced techniques. Course content will vary depending on interests of students and faculty.


GEOL 509. Seminar: Graduate Research (1)


GEOL 511. Special Readings in Geology (1–6)

Detailed study of a selected topic in geology under the guidance of a faculty member.


GEOL 512. Special Readings in Geology (1–6)
Detailed study of a selected topic in geology under the guidance of a faculty member.


GEOL 536. Seminar in Great Lakes Issues (1–3)
Selected topics related to Great Lakes basin studies: research problems, scientific processes, classic research papers, current events, policy issues, and legislative initiatives. Course content will vary depending on interests of students and faculty.
Offered as BIOL 536 and GEOL 536.


GEOL 601. Special Problems and Research (1–18)
(Credit as arranged.)


GEOL 651. Thesis M.S. (1–18)
(Credit as arranged.)


GEOL 701. Dissertation Ph.D. (1–18)
(Credit as arranged.)
Prereq: Predoctoral research consent or advanced to Ph.D. candidacy milestone.