Courses

  • GEOL 412 Oceans, Climate, and the Environment (4, Sp) Survey of physical, chemical, and geological oceanography emphasizing the role of the oceans in modulation of climate, atmospheric composition and biogeochemical cycles; paleoceanography and paleoclimate. Corequisite: CHEM 105bL, MATH 126; recommended preparation: PHYS 151L or PHYS 135abL.
  • GEOL 425L Data Analysis in the Earth and Environmental Sciences (4 units) Introduction to mathematical methods giving insight into Earth and Environmental data. Topics include: probability and statistics, timeseries analysis, spectral analysis, inverse theory, interpolation. Recommended Preparation: MATH 126, familiarity with matrix algebra.
  • GEOL 427 The Global Environment (4, Sp)(Enroll in BISC 427) Earth’s development as a habitable planet, from origin to human impacts on global biogeochemical cycles in the ocean, land, atmosphere. Discussion of environmental alternatives. Prerequisite: BISC 120L or BISC 121L; CHEM 105bL or CHEM 115bL.
  • GEOL 433L Paleontology and Evolution in Deep Time (4, Fa) Origin and evolution of life; Precambrian life; evolutionary history of major groups during the Phanerozoic; mass extinctions; deep time and evolutionary processes. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory, 3 hours; required field trips. (Duplicates credit in former GEOL 333L.) Recommended preparation: any introductory GEOL course.
  • GEOL 440L Geophysics and Geoengineering (4, Sp) Plate tectonics, magnetic and gravity fields, earthquakes, seismic waves, reflection and refraction seismics, heat transport, mantle convection, deep Earth structure, data analysis. Includes field trip. Prerequisite: MATH 126; corequisite: PHYS 135bL or PHYS 152L.
  • GEOL 441 Seismic Exploration Geophysics (4, FaSp) Seismic wave theory, ray theory, reflection, refraction, data processing, signal enhancement, field instrumentation and techniques on land and at sea; geological interpretation of seismic data. One field trip.
  • GEOL 450L Geosystems (4, Sp) Geosystems, such as mantle convection, active faults, climate, and the carbon cycle, will be studied using numerical models and concepts such as chaos, universality, emergence, and intermittency. Lecture, 3 hours, laboratory, 2 hours. Prerequisite: MATH 125; recommended prepara­tion: MATH 126.
  • GEOL 460L Geochemistry and Hydrogeology (4, Fa) Composition and origin of Earth; principles of physical chemistry applied to aqueous systems; reaction-diffusion modeling; principles of hydrology; environmental problems. Lecture, 3 hours; laboratory/discussion, 2 hours. Prerequisite: CHEM 105bL or CHEM 115bL and MATH 126.
  • GEOL 470 Environmental Hydrogeology (4, Iregular) Concepts in hydrogeology and their application to environmental problems. Topics include groundwater chemistry and hydrology, contaminants and their behavior. Guest lectures on regulations and remediation techniques. Recommended preparation: GEOL 460L.
  • GEOL 474 Ecosystem Function and Earth Systems (4) (Enroll in BISC 474L) General principles of ecosystem function, energy flow and materials cycling in marine systems at various scales and the importance of microbial processes in these systems. Taught on Catalina Island. Prerequisite: 1 from (BISC-120 or BISC-121)
  • GEOL 483 (Enroll in BISC 483) Geobiology and Astrobiology (4, Sp) Relationships between microbiota and Earth's environment including the hydrosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere, with consideration of the potential for life on other planets. Prerequisite: BISC 120L, CHEM 105bL.
  • GEOL 500 Marine Paleoecology (3, 2 years, Sp) Principles of marine paleoecology; interrelationships between marine organisms and their environment in geologic time. Prereq­uisite: GEOL 433L; recommended preparation: GEOL 577L.
  • GEOL 501 Paleobiology (3, Fa) Concepts and methods for functional morphologic analysis of fossil marine invertebrates. Systematics t heory and methodology, macroevolution, and broad biotic trends in the Phanerozoic. Recommended preparation: GEOL 433L.
  • GEOL 505 Introductory Graduate Seminar in Earth Sciences (2, Fa) Lectures by Earth Sciences faculty about current research; i ntroduction of new graduate students to the breadth of current research; applying for research funding; practicing effective research presentations.
  • GEOL 510L Advanced Stratigraphic Field Methods (3) Stratigraphic field methods and computer-assisted data analysis. Field trips incorporating vertical and lateral facies analysis; collection of paleocurrent, fabric, paleomagnetic, photogeologic and compaction data. Lecture, 2 hours; laboratory, 2 hours; field trips.Prerequisite: GEOL 320L.
  • GEOL 511L Depositional Systems (3) Analy­sis of depositional systems, including conceptual methods of lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, chronostratigraphy, and paleoecology; description of major depositional environments. Lecture, 2 hours; laboratory, 2 hours.
  • GEOL 512 Introduction to Chemical and Physical Oceanography (3, Fa) (Enroll in OS 512)
  • GEOL 514 Marine Geology (3, Fa) Origin and characteristics of ocean basins; marine sedimentary environments; shoreline clas­sification and character; evolution of oceanic features. Lecture, 3 hours; research confer­ence, 1 hour.
  • GEOL 515 Introduction to Atmospheric Science (3, Fa) Elementary physical principles underlying the behavior of Earth's atmosphere. Dry and moist thermodynamics, radiative transfer, conservation laws, fundamental dynamical balances, instability theory, cloud physics. Recommended preparation: PHYS 161L, PHYS 304.
  • GEOL 520 Ichnology (3, 2 years, Fa) Ancient and recent borings and bioturbation struc­tures and their utilization in stratigraphic, paleoenvironmental, paleoecological, sedimentological, and geochemical studies. Recommended preparation: GEOL 320L and GEOL 433L.
  • GEOL 521L Advanced Structural Geology (3, FaSp) Advanced field and theoretical aspects of rock deformation, strain and stress analyses, and evolution of structural systems. Includes lab, field trip(s), and class project.
  • GEOL 525 The Science of Climate Change (4, Sp) Introduction to the fundamental aspects and the factors that influence ocean and atmospheric behavior, and how Earth’s climate has varied in the past.
  • GEOL 530 Modern Perspectives on Crustal Dynamics (3, 2 years, Sp) Deformation mechanisms, strength and structure of the crust. Fractal scaling in structures and dynamic processes. Geodetic measurement of crustal deformation and spatio-temporal patterns of seismicity.
  • GEOL 531 Plate Interactions: Geological Aspects (3, 2 years, Sp) Principles and geo­metrics of plate tectonics; geologic characteris­tics of modern plate boundaries of divergent, convergent, transform type; ocean basin and orogen development from worldwide exam­ples. Field trip.
  • GEOL 532 Advanced Geologic Mapping (3, Fa) Principles of mapping geologically complex terranes of different structural style. Fieldwork will be coordinated with seminar review of diverse structural phenom­ena. Field trips. Recommended preparation: GEOL 321L, GEOL 465.
  • GEOL 533 Structural Evolution of Arcs (3, 3 years, Fa) Examination of the physical characteristics of arcs, particularly structural behavior at different crustal levels. Structural and thermal evolution of magma-country rock systems including pluton emplacement pro­cesses. F ield trip. Recommended preparation: GEOL 316L, GEOL 321L.
  • GEOL 534L Mechanics of Lithospheric Deformation (3, Fa) The mechanical descrip­tion of deformational processes at both crustal and lithospheric scales, and the interpretation of geological and geophysical data in terms of these processes.
  • GEOL 535L Microstructures and Deforma­tion Mechanisms (3, 3 years, Fa) Examina­tion of deformation mechanisms and result­ing microstructures in rocks; chemical and textural equilibrium; physical and chemical processes during fluid flow; prophyroblast-matrix relationships; interpretation of kine­matic indicators. Laboratory. Prerequisite: GEOL 321L.
  • GEOL 536 Principles of Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism (3, 2 years, Sp) Historic geomagnetic field behavior, secular variation, rock magnetism, paleomagnetic techniques, magnetic polarity time scale, apparent-polar-wander paths, and applications to stratigraphic and geotectonic studies. Recommended prepa­ration: GEOL 440.
  • GEOL 537 Rock Mechanics (3, 2 years, Sp) Elasticity, fracture, and flow properties of rocks and minerals; effects of temperature, p ressure, petrology, fractures, and interstitial fluids. Experimental techniques and geologi­cal applications.
  • GEOL 538 Tectonic Evolution of Western North America (3, 2 years, Sp) Geosynclinal and orogenic development of western North America from the Precambrian to present, in the light of plate tectonics concepts. Field trips. Recommended preparation: GEOL 321L.
  • GEOL 540 The Mantle System Phase equilibria; phase diagrams; thermodynamics of aqueous and solid solutions; irreversible thermodynamics; kinetics, diffusion, and metasomatism, with applications to problems in petrology and geochemistry. Recommended Preparation: GEOL 440 and GEOL 534.
  • GEOL 546 Reflection Seismology (3, 2 years, Fa) Basic theory, field data acquisition, data processing, methods of inversion, and geo­logical interpretations, using seismic reflec­tion methodology. Recommended preparation: GEOL 440 or GEOL 551.
  • GEOL 550 Chemical Equilibrium and Dis­equilibrium in Geology (3, 2 years, Sp) Phase equilibria; phase diagrams; thermo­dynamics of aqueous and solid solutions; irreversible thermodynamics; kinetics, dif­fusion, and metasomatism, with applications to problems in petrology and geochemistry. Prerequisite: GEOL 460L.
  • GEOL 551 Introduction to Seismology (3, 2 years, Fa) Basic elements of seismology for the study of Earth’s interior and the tec­tonic process, utilizing observations of seismic waves.
  • GEOL 552 Advanced Seismology (3) Advanced methods of theoretical seismology for studying the generation of seismic waves from natural and a rtificial sources and the propagation through realistic Earth models. Prerequisite: GEOL 551.
  • GEOL 553 Physics of Earthquakes (3, 2 years, Fa) Basic physics of earthquakes and seismic­ity. Continuum elasticity; fracture mechanics; laboratory friction; damage rheology; physics of critical phenomena; spatio-temporal seis­micity patterns; analysis of complex data sets. Recommended preparation: GEOL 537 and/or GEOL 551.
  • GEOL 555 Paleoceanography (3) Mesozoic and Cenozoic paleoceanography; analytical approaches applied to water mass history, paleocirculation, paleoproductivity, nutrient cycling, and paleotemperature reconstruc-tion. Lecture, readings, and research proj­ect. Recommended preparation: GEOL 412 or GEOL 512 and GEOL 460L.
  • GEOL 556 Active Tectonics (3, Sp) Aspects of deformation and associated seismicity at active plate margins around the world. Includes review of plate tectonics, seismol-ogy, geodesy, paleomagnetism, geodynam­ics, Quaternary dating techniques, tectonic geomorphology, paleoseismology, and seismic hazard assessment. Two weekend field trips required. Recommended preparation: GEOL 530, GEOL 531; prerequisite: GEOL 321L.
  • GEOL 557 Numerical Modeling of Earth Systems (3, Fa) The quantitative modeling of ordinary and partial differential equations as they arise in geology, geophysics, climate modeling and related fields with practical, numerical focus. Recommended Preparation: GEOL 425, GEOL 534, and GEOL 540
  • GEOL 560 Marine Geochemistry (3, 2 years, Sp) Principles of chemical sedimentology and aquatic chemistry; diagenesis, authigen­esis, and the geochemical cycle. Prerequisite: GEOL 460L.
  • GEOL 564 Isotope Geochemistry (3, 2 years, Sp) Variations in the isotopic composition of elements in Earth’s crust with applications to geological problems, including geochronol­ogy, geothermometry, ore genesis, and crustal evolution.
  • GEOL 566 Geochemistry Seminar (1-4) Current topics in geochemistry.
  • GEOL 567 Stable Isotope Geochemistry (3) Theoretical basis; nuclide nomenclature, par­tition function ratios, mechanisms and rates of isotope exchange; mass spectrometry and extraction techniques; application of stable isotopes to geologic problems.
  • GEOL 568L Metamorphic Petrology (3, 2 years, Fa) An introduction to advanced study of metamorphic mineral assemblages with use of experimental and field data. Lecture, 2-4 hours; laboratory to be arranged.
  • GEOL 569L Igneous Petrology (3, 2 years, Fa) Study of igneous and meta-igneous rocks from the basis of experimental and field data and theoretical considerations. Lecture, 2-4 hours, laboratory to be arranged.
  • GEOL 570 Thermobarometry (3, 2 years, Fa) Derivation of temperature, pressure, and other intensive properties from igneous and metamorphic mineral data and assemblages. Theoretical aspects of phase equilibria and basis for extrapolation of experimental data and empirical calibrations. Lecture, 3 hours; practical exercises.
  • GEOL 575 Organic Geochemistry (3, Sp) Advanced course on the fundamentals and frontiers of organic geochemistry. Topics include biomarker and isotope geochemical approaches to reconstructing past marine, terrestrial environmental change. Recommended preparation: CHEM 105, 322, GEOL 150, 412.
  • GEOL 577L Micropaleontology (3, 2 years, Fa) Microscopic fossils, especially foramin­ifera, their classification, the common genera, morphology, evolutionary trends; laboratory and field techniques. Lecture, 2 hours; labo­ratory and fieldwork, 6 hours. Recommended preparation: GEOL 433L.
  • OS 582/BISC 582 Advanced Biological Oceanography (4 units) Aspects of physics and chemistry of the oceans. Qualitative and quantitative considerations of the ecology of pelagic and benthic communities.
        * Crosslist: This course is offered by the BISC department but qualifies for major credit in Ocean Sciences. To register, enroll in BISC 582.
  • GEOL 590 Directed Research (1-12) Research leading to the master’s degree. Maximum units which may be applied to the degree to be determined by the department. Graded CR/NC.
  • GEOL 594abz Master’s Thesis (2-2-0) Credit on acceptance of thesis. Graded IP/CR/NC.
  • GEOL 599 Special Topics (2-4, max 9, Irregular) Special topics in the earth sciences. Field trip required when appropriate to the topic. Prerequisite: second-year graduate standing normally required.
  • GEOL 601 Seminar in Sedimentary Geology (1-3, max 6, Sp) Analysis and discussion of current topics in sedimentary geology; top­ics will be chosen by students and faculty to focus on areas of recent advances.
  • GEOL 609 Seminar in Earthquake Physics (2, max 6, FaSp) Current research on the physics governing earthquakes and faults, including results from continuum and frac­ture mechanics, statistical physics, lab experi­ments, and seismological observations.
  • GEOL 650 Recent Advances in Paleontol­ogy (3) Selected review of recent ideas in paleobiology, evolution, and paleoecology related to examining the current frontiers in paleontology.
  • GEOL 790 Research (1-12) Research leading to the doctorate. Maximum units which may be applied to the degree to be determined by the department. Graded CR/NC.
  • GEOL 794abcdz Doctoral Disserta­tion (2-2-2-2-0) Credit on acceptance of dissertation.
  • Zumberge Hall of Science (ZHS)
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0740
  • Phone: (213) 740-6106
  • Email: earthsci@usc.edu