2006-2008 Undergraduate Catalog
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Geosciences Course Descriptions

GEOS 1103 (GEOL 1103) Physical Geology Laboratory (1 semester hour) A laboratory to accompany GEOS 1303. The exercises include mineral and rock identification. Topographic maps, geologic maps, and aerial photographs are used to study surface landforms, geologic phenomena and tectonic processes. GEOS 1303 is a corequisite or prerequisite. (0-3) S
GEOS 1104 (GEOL 1104) History of Earth and Life Laboratory (1 semester hour) A laboratory to accompany GEOS 1304. Exercises include: fossil identification, stratigraphy and correlation, the geologic time scale, age-determination techniques, and maps. (0-3) Y
GEOS 1303 (GEOL 1303) Physical Geology (3 semester hours) Introduction to the Earth as a unique planet. The course investigates minerals and rocks which make up the Earth. The structure of the Earth and dynamics of its internal mechanisms are explored. Plate tectonics and surface processes which sculpt the Earth are the topics of the second half of the course. Other planets and celestial bodies within the solar system are contrasted with Earth. Field trip. (3-0) S
GEOS 1304 (GEOL 1304) History of Earth and Life (3 semester hours) Introduction to the history of the Earth. The history of life and an introduction to the principles of paleontology, stratigraphy and global change will be discussed. All topics will be discussed in the context of the tectonic evolution of North America. Field trip. Prerequisites: GEOS 1303 and GEOS 1103. (3-0) Y
GEOS 2302 The Global Environment (3 semester hours) An introduction to the physical aspects of the world’s geography, emphasizing the interrelationships between the Earth and its climate, vegetation, soils, and landforms. Provides a global perspective on the physical environment and the interactions between global systems to produce regional differences. (Same as GEOG 2302) (3-0) Y
GEOS 2406 Geospatial Science and Methods (4 semester hours) Remote sensing and Geographic Information System (SIS) science and methods as applied to geospatial aspects of geosciences. Introduction to geospatial software in geosciences. Prerequisites: GEOS 1303 and 1103; GEOS 2409 recommended. (4-0) Y
GEOS 2409 (4 semester hours) Introduction to crystallography, mineralogy, and petrography. Laboratory course. Prerequisites: GEOS 1303 and 1103 (may be taken concurrently). (3-3) Y
GEOS 2410 Gemstones (4 semester hours) Minerals and rocks used as gemstones; their characteristics, physical properties; geological settings and extraction from the earth; and lore and history of use. Laboratory component involves gemstone identification and analysis. (3-3) Y
GEOS 2V08 Special Topics in Geology or Geophysics (1-4 semester hours) Subject matter will vary from semester to semester. Consent of instructor required. May be repeated for credit (9 hour maximum). ([1-4]-0) R
GEOS 3101 One hour courses designed to provide an introduction to scientific topics of general interest. Each course will last approximately 1 month during a semester. There are no pre-requisites. Students may enroll in each course individually. Up to 3 courses may be taken in one semester. Current topics include (other courses may be introduced): Y

The Biosphere: Origin, Evolution and Mass Extinctions (1 semester hour) This course presents an overview of the significant events in the history of life on Earth, how the presence of life has modified the Earth’s environment, and the catastrophic events that have caused mass extinctions of organisms. May not be taken for credit with or after taking GEOS 3350. (1-0)
Coral Reefs (1 semester hour) This course examines the biology, chemistry, and geology associated with modern and ancient reef building corals. Human impact on this fragile ecosystem and the role that coral reefs play in global warming are explored. (1-0)
Deserts, Dunes, and Dust (1 semester hour) A study of the climatology, location, and formation of the deserts of the world. The unique landforms found in the desert are described with special emphasis on sand dunes and the role of dust in the geologic record. (1-0)
Diamonds (1 semester hour) An overview of the nature, properties, origin, occurrence, history, exploration, mining, economics, politics, and uses of diamonds in society and technology. May not be taken for credit with or after taking GEOS 2410. (1-0)
Glaciers (1 semester hour) An introduction to the formation and development of glaciers from the high mountains to Poles. A review of past glaciations through geologic time to the present, ending with a discussion of the causes of glaciation. (1-0)
Global Climate Change (1 semester hour) This course focuses on the present climate system of Earth, glacial cycles of the past and potential problems such as ozone depletion and greenhouse warming. May not be taken for credit with or after taking GEOS 3350. (1-0)
Gems of the World (1 semester hour) This course focuses on some minerals used as gemstones and discusses their characteristics, lore, history, intrigue, and geological settings. May not be taken for credit with or after taking GEOS 2410. (1-0)
The Evolution Debate (1 semester hour) The theory of evolution and the origin of life problem. Supporting evidence from the fossil record, molecular biology and DNA. Creationism, intelligent design and pseudoscience. (1-0)

GEOS 3110 Environmental Geology Lab (1 semester hour) Field observation and measurement of processes and phenomena in environmental geology. Activities include stream and groundwater flow and chemistry measurements, hydrogeologic mapping, and environmental site assessment. Most class meetings are outdoors. GEOS 3310 is a pre- or co-requisite. (0-3) Y
GEOS 3132 Age of Dinosaurs Lab (1 semester hour) Hands-on activities that include biological classification, form and analyses of bones, calculations of dinosaur mass, calculations of speed from fossil trackways, assembling a horse or a cow, and building your own sauropod dinosaur from chicken bones. GEOS 3332 is a pre- or co-requisite. (0-3) Y
GEOS 3310 Environmental Geology (3 semester hours) A self-paced course examining the interactions of people and our physical environment. Natural hazards, including landslides, flooding, tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes, erosion and sea-level change. Air, soil, fresh and ocean water pollution problems and solutions including greenhouse gases, ozone depletion, acid rain, aquifer depletion, toxic wastes and contamination. Energy supplies and the environment, including radioactive waste problems, and human impacts on climate. Self-paced course. No prerequisites. (3-0) Y
GEOS 3317 Water Resources of the Southwest (3 semester hours) Examination of the water cycle and the role that fresh water has played in the environment and development of the southwest USA and northern Mexico. Topics include water sources, groundwater and surface water systems, evaporation, pollution, and the role of governments and the private sector in managing water resources. (3-0) R
GEOS 3320 Geology, Resources, and Environment of Africa (3 semester hours) An overview of the natural environment of Africa and how this is being impacted by human activity. Topics include the formation of African crust and continent; location and formation of major physiographic features such as rivers and mountains, nature and origin of mineral resources; and environmental challenges facing Africans. (3-0) R
GEOS 3321 Geology, Resources, and Environment of Latin America (3 semester hours) An overview of the physical environment of Mexico, Central America, and South America. Topics include evolution of Latin American crust and continent; location and formation of major geologic resources and physiographic features; resource exploitation and present environmental problems with an historic perspective. (3-0) R
GEOS 3332 Age of Dinosaurs (3 semester hours) Introductory survey of the anatomy, physiology, life-styles, population, and evolution of dinosaurs and swimming and flying reptiles, as well as Mesozoic climates and basic Earth history of the “Age of Dinosaurs”. One three- or four- day field trip to dig dinosaurs in the Big Bend area of Texas. No prerequisites. (3-0) Y
GEOS 3350 Global Change (3 semester hours) An examination of the Earth as a system of interacting spheres - water, air, land and life - and the energy that drives these systems; global changes that have occurred on Earth in the past (e.g., ice ages, mass extinctions) and are happening now and in the future (e.g., greenhouse warming, ozone depletion); how the presence of life has modified the planet. (3-0) Y
GEOS 3401 Oceanography (4 semester hours) Fundamentals of oceanography, with discussions on the effects of the oceans and people on the Earth’s climate and biological communities. Topics include the formation of ocean currents, waves and tides, the greenhouse effect, El Niño, marine pollution, the exploitation of marine resources, wetlands preservation, coral reefs, life in the deep sea, and other marine ecological systems. Laboratory course. Enrollment in GEOS 3401 precludes enrollment in ISNS 3367 The Oceans. (3-3) R
GEOS 3421 Stratigraphy and Sedimentology (4 semester hours) Principles and evolution of modern stratigraphic nomenclature; concepts of space and time in the rock record and methods of stratigraphic correlation; factors controlling stratigraphic architecture of sedimentary basins; integrated stratigraphic techniques. Origin, transportation, and deposition of carbonate and siliciclastic sediments; weathering, textural analysis, and depositional environments. Laboratory course. Field trips. Prerequisites: GEOS 1304, 1104, and 2409. (3-3) Y
GEOS 3432 Introduction to Fossils (4 semester hours) Introduction to the study of invertebrate fossils occurring in Cretaceous sedimentary strata in North Texas. “Hands on” approach to the study of invertebrate macrofossils and microfossils includes learning how to (1) collect fossils at selected outcrops in the field; (2) process samples for fossils in the laboratory; (3) illustrate microfossils using the scanning electron microscope; and (4) identify fossils using the available paleontological literature. Both lectures and laboratory exercises will focus on the invertebrate phyla occurring in selected North Texas Cretaceous outcrops. Laboratory and field trip course. Not available to students who have taken, or are taking, GEOS 3430. (3-3) Y
GEOS 3434 Paleobiology (4 semester hours) History of life as documented by the fossil record. Basic concepts of Paleontology and Biostratigraphy followed by a review of major fossil groups and major events in the evolution of life, speciation, mass extinction, evolution of communities and ecosystems through geologic time. Paleontological methods to paleoenvironmental reconstruction. Field trip. GEOS 1304 and 1104 recommended. (3-3) Y
GEOS 3464 Mineralogy and Petrography (4 semester hours) Description of crystal morphology, symmetry, atomic structure and chemistry. Structure and classification of silicate minerals. Identification of minerals under the polarizing microscope. Crystallization of magma and classification of igneous rocks and their identification in thin section. Metamorphic reactions, facies and tectures. Examination of metamorphic rocks in thin section. (3-3) Y
GEOS 3470 Structural Geology (4 semester hours) Modern tectonic concepts, survey of major structural provinces, examination of material behavior, stress-strain concepts, failure criteria, soil mechanics, fault analysis, rheology, fold analysis and applications of structural concepts to neotectonics and environmental problems. Training in graphical techniques, use of stereographic projections, and geological map interpretation. Laboratory course. Field trip. PHYS 2325 and 2125 strongly recommended. (3-3) Y
GEOS 4320 The Physics and Chemistry of Solid Earth (3 semester hours) The study of the structure and evolution of the Earth through petrology, geochemistry, and geophysics. Plate tectonics will be emphasized as a framework for crust and mantle dynamics. The roles of gravity, thermal processes and the mechanical behavior of rocks are investigated. Tectonic settings of igneous and metamorphic rocks will be explored. (3-0) Y
GEOS 4322 The Earth System (3 semester hours) Planet Earth comprises a system of interacting spheres: atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere, all of which have played an important role in Earth processes and Earth history. This course examines these Earth systems and how their interactions over time have effected their evolviing compositions, the evolution of life and Earth's climate. The short-term and long-term parts of the Carbon cycle provide the underlying theme for the study of the Earth System. (3-0) Y
GEOS 4399 Senior Honors in Geosciences (3 semester hours) For students conducting independent research for honors theses or projects. (3-0) R
GEOS 4430 Hydrogeology and Aqueous Geochemistry (4 semester hours) An introduction to the principles of physical and chemical hydrogeology. Physical topics include the nature and quantification of the components of the hydrologic cycle, fundamentals of water supply and quality, overview of aquifier testing and environmental assessment. Chemical topics include behavior of low-temperature aqueous solutions, water-rock interaction and applications of chemistry to understand the Earth and its geochemical cycles. (4-0) Y
GEOS 4606 Field Geology (Summer Field Camp) (6 semester hours) A four-week summer camp designed to provide both practical geological and geophysical experience. Geology students emphasize mapping in sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic terrains. Geophysics students utilize seismic, potential field, and electrical methods to analyze a field area. Reports in professional form are required. Prerequisites: GEOS 2407, 3421, 3470. NOTE: A field-trip fee is charged for this course. Students are responsible for all personal expenses related to camp. (6-0) Y
GEOS 4V08 Special Topics in Geology or Geophysics (1-4 semester hours) Subject matter will vary from semester to semester. Consent of instructor required. May be repeated for credit (9 hours maximum). ([1-4]-0) R
GEOS 4V09 Senior Research in Geology (1-9 semester hours) May be repeated for credit. No more than 3 hours of senior research may be used to satisfy the upper-division course work requirement in the major unless approved in advance by the undergraduate advisor. ([1-9]-0) S
GEOS 4V80 Senior Research in Geophysics (1-9 semester hours) May be repeated for credit. No more than 3 hours of senior research may be used to satisfy the upper-division course work requirement in the major unless approved in advance by the undergraduate advisor. ([1-9]-0) S

Interdisciplinary Studies Courses Applicable to the B.A. in Geosciences

Students electing the B.A. program in Geosciences may take one of the following university-wide Interdisciplinary Studies courses as a Geosciences elective.

ISNS 3367 The Oceans
ISNS 4359 Earthquakes and Volcanoes


General Information
Biology & Business Admin.
Biology & Crime/Justice
Mathematical Sciences
Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology & Business Admin.
Molecular Biology & Crime/Justice Studies




This catalog is a general information publication only. It is not intended to nor does it contain all regulations that relate to students. The provisions of this catalog do not constitute a contract, express or implied, between any applicant, student or faculty member and The University of Texas at Dallas or The University of Texas System. The University of Texas at Dallas reserves the right to withdraw courses at any time, to change fees or tuition, calendar, curriculum, degree requirements, graduation procedures, and any other requirements affecting students. Changes will become effective whenever the proper authorities so determine and will apply to both prospective students and those already enrolled.

Statement on Equal Educational Opportunity
The University of Texas at Dallas is committed to an educational and working environment that provides equal opportunity to all members of the University community. In accordance with federal and state law, the University prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, and veteran status. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is also prohibited pursuant to University policy.