Geology

Back to Geology - Minor

Desired Learning Outcomes

We want our students to understand the workings of the natural world and the process of science, to be able to read, observe and think critically, reason quantitatively, undertake research, and communicate effectively—in other words, to engage in the scientific process. We would like geology and Integrative Studies students to acquire, to different degrees, the following.

Knowledge of:

  • the methods and history of scientific inquiry as an approach to observing and thinking about the world around us
  • internal and surficial Earth processes, of descriptions of major Earth systems, and of the history of the Earth
  • Earth materials and resources, through the study and interpretation of rocks and their constituent minerals, with an understanding of fundamental relationships between chemical composition, mineralogy, rock-type, tectonic setting, and global biogeochemical cycling
  • environmental issues related to earth processes, materials and systems
  • environmental monitoring methods
  • laboratory methods used in geology
  • the contributions of geology to society
  • the vocabulary of geology, both verbal and visual (i.e., map representations)

And the ability to

  • take accurate and complete notes in the field;
  • use the methods of scientific inquiry, with practice in the skills of observation, analysis, problem solving and critical thinking;
  • work cooperatively in teams;
  • use computers in addressing quantitative problems, in managing and analyzing large datasets, and in preparing maps, graphs, illustrations and figures for scientific reports;
  • identify fossils, minerals, and rocks and their origins;
  • recognize and map bodies of rock exposed in the field and from imagery;
  • correlate bodies of rock from surface and subsurface information and recognize spatial relationships;
  • effectively use subsurface data and integrate it with surface data;
  • interpret geologic structures, age sequences, geologic histories, and conditions of formation;
  • find, review, and comprehend appropriate scientific literature;
  • think and visualize in 3 (spatial) and 4 (space & time) dimensions, over a wide range of length and time scales (atomic to universal, instantaneous to forever);
  • reason quantitatively, and to apply quantitative approaches in problem solving and scientific investigation;
  • effectively communicate scientific information and ideas in writing, orally, and visually;
  • apply current technology and theories; and think critically, define problems, quantify parameters and provide solutions;