Sep 27, 2023
GEOL 2150 - Environmental Geology
Survey of geological aspects of environmental crisis. Focus on major environmental processes, immediate and extended influence of humans, and prospects for future of physical environment. Presupposes no background in sciences.
Requisites: WARNING: No credit for both this course and the following (always deduct credit for the first course taken): GEOL 2830
Credit Hours: 3
General Education Code: 2AS
Repeat/Retake Information: May be retaken two times excluding withdrawals, but only last course taken counts.
Lecture/Lab Hours: 3.0 lecture
Grades: Eligible Grades: A-F,WP,WF,WN,FN,AU,I
Course Transferability: OTM Course: TMNS Natural Sciences
College Credit Plus: Level 1
- Are introduced to volcano monitoring technology and the current state of eruption prediction.
- Be able to describe the different types of landslides and how to recognize their potential in the field. Sedimentary and metamorphic rocks and their formation are introduced in the context of their role in hillslope failure.
- Be able to describe the primary types of both organic and inorganic pollutants found in water resources, their causes from human activities and/or natural processes and technological means for remediation or containment.
- Be able to distinguish between confined and unconfined aquifers and be able to describe how groundwater flows through them.
- Become aware of the scientific limitations on earthquake prediction and the relatively easy reduction of damage from earthquakes through seismic hazard zoning, building codes and public education.
- Become familiar with the geologic history of climate change and the corresponding impacts on ecosystems and will apply that to the current debate over human-induced global warming.
- Evaluate technologies for preventing landslides as well as simpler means of avoiding landslide damage via mapping and zoning at the societal scale and wise home-buying at the individual level.
- Examine the costs and benefits, to both humans and to ecosystems, of both technological approaches (e.g., dams and levees) and land-use planning approaches (floodplain mapping and zoning) to avoiding flood damages.
- Have an understanding of fundamental river processes and the interaction between a river and its floodplain. Students will learn to calculate flood recurrence intervals from flood histories.
- Know the basic fundamentals of earth science as applied to the interaction between human activity and the natural environment.
- Learn the long-term cost-effectiveness of preventing environmental damage rather than repairing it.
- Understand fossil fuel, nuclear, hydroelectric, geothermal and renewable energy production today and the environmental impacts of the extraction and transport of energy fuels as well as of their waste by-products.
- Understand the role of wells in depleting groundwater resources and, in some cases, causing subsidence of the ground surface.
- Understand the future of energy sources with respect to supplies/reserves and the demands of society. They will understand the fundamentals of the greenhouse effect and its strength in future scenarios.
- Understand the occurrence and availability of both surface and subsurface water resources and the role of the hydrologic cycle in replenishing them.
- Understand the relative dangers of different types of volcanoes and their occurrence in the plate tectonic context. Students learn the volcanic and intrusive rocks formed by igneous processes as well as the minerals that constitute them.
- Understand the role of plate tectonics in causing earthquakes and how this understanding can aid the assessment of seismic hazard.
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