GEL Courses

GEL101 - Physical Geology (4 cr.)

The study of the composition and structure of Earth's dynamic systems, the interactions between system components and the forces and processes that drive them. The evolution of the Earth, the life it supports, and its surface landscapes are explained. The practices within the context of the scientific method. The interactions between natural Earth processes and human activities and their relationship to modern environmental issues and concerns are examined. Lecture and laboratory. (Spring, Summer & Fall). Liberal arts.

GEL101L - Physical Geology Lab (0 cr.)

(Spring, Summer & Fall).

GEL102 - Evolution of the Earth (4 cr.)

The study of the geologic history of the earth and its life. Lecture, laboratory and field work. (Spring). Liberal arts. Prerequisite: GEL101.

GEL102L - Evolution of the Earth Lab (0 cr.)


GEL199 - Independent Study (1 to 15 cr.)

Project individually arranged by student and faculty sponsor. Requires completion of the Independent Study form and approval by the Faculty Sponsor, Academic Advisor, Department Chair and Academic Dean. (Spring & Fall).

GEL273 - HAZWOPER: Hazardous Waste Operations & Emergency Response (2 cr.)

This course meets the requirements of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) for hazardous materials operations and emergency response program which are required by both EPA and OSHA. The course leads to a 40-hour HAZWOPER certificate. This certification is a job requirement for many entry-level positions in the area of environmental consulting potentially filled by our programs in both geology and environmental science. (Winter/Summer). Prerequisite: senior standing.

GEL299 - Independent Study (1 to 15 cr.)

Project individually arranged by student and faculty sponsor. Requires completion of the Independent Study form and approval by the Faculty Sponsor, Academic Advisor, Department Chair and Academic Dean.

GEL305 - Energy and Mineral Resources (3 cr.)

Introduction to energy and mineral resources: coal, oil and natural gas, nuclear, ore and industrial minerals, and alternative sources of power including solar and geothermal energy. Environmental impact of exploration, pollution and global changes associated with developing and using different resources. (Spring). Liberal arts. Prerequisites: GEL101.

GEL306 - Atmospheric Processes (3 cr.)

An introduction to atmospheric processes including energy transfer and interactions, condensation and precipitation, atmospheric circulation, climate and climatic change. Emphasis will be placed upon how the atmosphere impacts various world ecosystems. (Spring). Liberal arts. Prerequisite: ENV101 or GEL101.

GEL307 - Geochemistry (3 cr.)

Origin of the elements and chemical differentiation of the Earth. Isotope geochemistry and geochronology including both radiogenic and stable isotope systems. Applications of geochemistry to the solution of global environmental problems such as radioactive waste disposal. (Spring). Liberal arts. Prerequisites: CHE112 and GEL101.

GEL310 - Mineralogy/Optical Mineralogy (4 cr.)

Introduction to the major concepts of mineralogy and optical mineralogy. Topics include mineral systems, hand specimen and optical identification of minerals, crystallography, crystal chemistry and X-ray diffraction analysis. Laboratory exercises include identification of major minerals in hand specimen and with the petrographic and binocular microscopes. (Fall). Liberal arts. Corequisite: CHE101 or CHE111. Prerequisite: GEL101.

GEL310L - Mineralogy Lab (0 cr.)


GEL323 - Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology (4 cr.)

An in-depth study of igneous and metamorphic rocks including petrographic examination of characteristic rock textures and mineralogy. Discussion of each rock group includes their mineralogy, chemistry and processes of formation as related to plate tectonics. Laboratory exercises emphasize identification of rock types in hand specimen, in thin section and in the field. (Spring). Liberal arts. Prerequisite: GEL310.

GEL323L - Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology Lab (0 cr.)


GEL324 - Sedimentology (4 cr.)

Origins, transportation, deposition and classification of sediments. Weathering, elastic textures, evaporite and redbed chemistry, clay mineralogy, carbonate textures and composition, depositional environments, and post-depositional features and the physics of sediment transport, cohesion and flow phenomena. Mechanical, physical and X-ray analysis of sediments and sedimentary structures. Approved AWR. (Spring & Fall). Liberal arts. Prerequisites: GEL310.

GEL324L - Sedimentology Lab (0 cr.)

(Spring & Fall).

GEL335 - Extinction (3 cr.)

Discussion of the Biodiversity Crisis and the Concept of the Minimum Viable Population in light of both human induced and natural biological and physical causes for extinction. Survey of the process of extinction ranging from recent extinctions of individual species to mass extinction events in the fossil record. Examines the controversies over the importance of these forcing mechanisms on a global scale and as models for human induced disturbance of the biosphere. (Spring, Summer & Fall). Liberal arts. Prerequisite: an introductory course in Biology, Environmental Science, or Geology.

GEL341 - Geomorphic Processes (4 cr.)

The study of landforms, landscapes and their relationship to surface and internal Earth processes, underlying geological structures and the history of geological changes. Lecture/Lab. (Fall). Liberal arts. Prerequisites: GEL101.

GEL343 - Hydrology (4 cr.)

Studies the hydrologic cycle and the physical basis of surface hydrology, infiltration, precipitation, snow hydrology, evaporation and stream hydrology. Develops basic principles in fluid mechanics and energy gradients related to infiltration and stream flow. Lecture and laboratory. (Spring). Liberal arts. Prerequisites: GEL101 and (PHY101 or PHY111 or CHE101 or CHE111).

GEL343L - Hydrology Lab (0 cr.)

(Spring & Fall).

GEL346 - Environmental Geotechnology (4 cr.)

Investigates the interrelationships between Earth processes, ecosystems and human society and the application of geological principles to environmental problems. Topics include natural geological hazards, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, and floods, and an introduction to geotechnical and hydraulic engineering and environmental issues related to human use and exploitation of Earth resources, such as global climate change, soil and water contamination and land-use planning. Lecture/Lab. (Fall). Liberal arts. Prerequisite: GEL101.

GEL391 - Physical Oceanography and Limnology (3 cr.)

An introduction to the chemical and physical processes that influence oceans and lakes. Course topics include currents, waves, tides, coastal processes, temperature structure, light, and sound processes in oceans and lakes. Course topics will be used to analyze the transport and fate of water pollutants, development of ecological settings, and the role of lakes and oceans in the climate system. Course concepts will be actively applied to Lake Champlain. Liberal arts. (Fall/Spring). Prerequisites: GEL101 and (CHE101 or CHE111 or PHY103 or PHY111).

GEL399 - Independent Study (1 to 15 cr.)

Project individually arranged by student and faculty sponsor. Requires completion of the Independent Study form and approval by the Faculty Sponsor, Academic Advisor, Department Chair and Academic Dean. (Fall).

GEL406 - Climate Change Science (3 cr.)

An introduction to the science of global climate change. Course topics will include radiative transfer and the Earth's energy balance, influence of Earth system components on the climate system (atmosphere, ocean, biosphere, cryosphere), natural and human drivers of climate change, the detection and prediction of long-term climate trends, and the impacts of anthropogenic climate change. Liberal arts. (Fall). Prerequisites: MAT221 or MAT224 or MAT228 or POI.

GEL440 - Geology Seminar (3 cr.)

Seminar discussions on selected topics or contemporary issues in geology. Emphasizes techniques for effective communication through reports, research papers, abstracts, scientific proposals and written and oral presentations for professional and lay audiences. (Spring). Approved AWR. Liberal arts. Prerequisite: ENG101, senior standing in Geology or senior standing in Environmental Science or POI, LIB101 (prerequisite or corequisite).

GEL441 - Hydrogeology (3 cr.)

Studies the physical basis of groundwater flow. Develops basic principles of fluid mechanics and flow through porous media. Determination of hydraulic properties of aquifers. Studies water quality and transport processes. Lecture and laboratory. (Fall). Liberal arts. Prerequisites: (GEL341 or GEL343 or GEL346) and (PHY101 or PHY111) and (MAT221 or MAT224).

GEL451 - Field Geology and Structures (4 cr.)

Study of rock deformation in the field and laboratory including the development and classification of folds, faults, and microstructures. Field laboratory exercises include trips to Vermont and the Adirondacks to map and analyze geologic structures. (Fall). Liberal arts. Prerequisite: GEL310 (may be taken concurrently).

GEL451L - Structural Gel I Lab (0 cr.)


GEL495 - Research (Undergraduate) (1 to 6 cr.)

Laboratory or field research project arranged between the student and sponsoring faculty member. (Spring, Summer & Fall). Liberal arts.

GEL499 - Independent Study (1 to 15 cr.)

Project individually arranged by student and faculty sponsor. Requires completion of the Independent Study form and approval by the Faculty Sponsor, Academic Advisor, Department Chair and Academic Dean. (Spring, Summer & Fall).

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Alphabetical Listing of Curriculum Descriptions by Course Subject