2011-12 Catalog

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2011-12 Undergraduate Index A-Z

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Geology [clear]

Title   Offering Standing Credits Credits When F W S Su Description Preparatory Faculty Days Multiple Standings Start Quarters Open Quarters
Dennis Hibbert
  Course SO–SRSophomore - Senior 4 04 Weekend F 11 Fall There are so many people — and environmental problems — because we control our food supply. Population growth accelerated as the last ice age waned and agriculture emerged separately in the Middle East, East Asia, southern Mexico, and the Amazon basin. We will study the world at that time and the evidence for agriculture's beginnings, drawing on archaeology, geology, palaeobotany, geochemistry, and climatology. We will then watch the project we began come to be today's world. Dennis Hibbert Sat Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Fall Fall
Lucia Harrison and Abir Biswas
  Program FR–SOFreshmen - Sophomore 16 16 Day F 11 Fall W 12Winter This program offers an introductory study of the Earth, through geology and art. What makes the earth a habitable planet?  What forces have shaped the geology of the Pacific Northwest?  These questions have fascinated people for centuries.  Both scientists and artists rely heavily on skills of observation and description to understand the world, and to convey that understanding to others. Geologists use images, diagrams and figures to illustrate concepts and communicate research. Artists take scientific information to inform their work, and seek to communicate the implications of what science tells us about the world. They also draw on scientific concepts as metaphors for autobiographical artworks. In the fall, we will use science and art to study basic concepts in earth science such as geologic time, plate tectonics, earth materials and how they are formed, the hydrological cycle and stream ecology. Case studies in the Cascade Mountain Range and Nisqually Watershed will provide hands-on experience.  In the winter, we further this study to include soil formation, nutrient cycling, ocean basin sand currents, and climate change. Field studies will include a trip to the Olympic Peninsula where we will observe coastal processes. Geologic time and evidence of the Earth's dynamic past are recorded in rocks on the landscape. Students will learn basic techniques in observational drawing and watercolor painting.  They will learn the discipline of keeping illustrated field journals to inform their studies of geological processes.  They will also develop finished artworks ranging from scientific illustration to personal expression. geology, environmental studies, education and visual arts. Lucia Harrison Abir Biswas Freshmen FR Sophomore SO Fall Fall Winter
Dennis Hibbert
  Course SO–SRSophomore - Senior 4 04 Weekend S 12Spring We will consider in depth the question "To what degree do environmental factors and human responses to them determine the fates of human societies?" We will work toward answering this question by drawing on archaeology, palaeoecology, palaeoethnobotany, palaeoclimatology, and zoology as we examine the past 100,000 years of the human story. Dennis Hibbert Sat Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Spring Spring
Abir Biswas and Christopher Coughenour
  Program FR–SRFreshmen - Senior 16 16 Day S 12Spring What are the origins of the Earth? What processes have shaped the planet’s structure over the past 4.6 billion years? Through lab and lecture, students will become familiar with how fundamental Earth materials (minerals and rocks) form and are altered by the persistent physical, chemical, and biological processes at work on our planet's surface. In this program students will study the mechanisms of changes in terrestrial and marine Earth systems and interpret geologic evidence in order to understand Earth system processes. Our approach will integrate topics in chemistry, physics, and evolutionary biology with in-depth studies of physical and historical geology. Quantitative skill development will be fundamental to this approach.After a period of on-campus skill and content building, students will participate in approximately two weeks of rigorous field work. Some students will embark on a 16-day river trip through the Grand Canyon, giving those students the opportunity to visit one of the geologic wonders of the world, access to over 1 billion years of geologic history, and study the processes currently shaping the Canyon. Other students will participate in multiple hands-on field excursions across the Pacific Northwest, studying some of the incredibly diverse landscapes and applying their knowledge about Earth system process in the field.This field-based program requires significant commitment from students, given the cost, rigors, and time away from campus. All students in the program will participate in field work though only approximately 14 students will be able to participate in the Grand Canyon river trip. The program will integrate physical geology, historical geology, quantitative skills for the earth sciences, and a field project. Students who successfully complete this program will gain a solid scientific basis for future work in all aspects of earth sciences and environmental studies. Abir Biswas Christopher Coughenour Freshmen FR Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Spring Spring
Christopher Coughenour
Signature Required: Winter 
  Contract SO–SRSophomore - Senior 16 16 Day W 12Winter Coasts are among the most dynamic geological regimes on our planet.  A wide array of physical and biological processes shape the interface where seas meet continents.  In this contract offering, students will have the opportunity to explore several of the important physical processes of their choosing that are responsible for phenomena such as gravity waves, tides, estuarine circulation, sediment kinematics and dynamics, and the role of antecedent geology in shaping marginal marine systems.  The ultimate goal of the contract is to provide familiarity with the vocabulary and methods of the science and to foster an understanding of some of the fundamental processes that define coasts around the Pacific Northwest and the world.  This work may also incorporate a field research component, upon discussion with faculty. Christopher Coughenour Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Winter Winter
Abir Biswas
Signature Required: Fall 
  Contract SO–SRSophomore - Senior 16 16 Day F 11 Fall W 12Winter In the fields of geology, geochemistry, earth science, hydrology, GIS, and biogeochemistry, Abir Biswas offers opportunities for students to create their own course of study, creative practice and research, including internships, community service and study abroad options. Prior to the beginning of the quarter, interested individual students or small groups of students must describe the work to be completed in an Individual Learning or Internship Contract. The faculty sponsor will support students wishing to do work that has 1) skills that the student wishes to learn, 2) a question to be answered, 3) a time-line with expected deadlines, and 4) proposed deliverables. Areas of study other than those listed will be considered on a case-by-case basis.Self-directed and disciplined students with intellectual curiosity are strongly encouraged to apply. Abir Biswas Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Fall Fall Winter
Christopher Coughenour and Peter Impara
  Program JR–SRJunior - Senior 16 16 Day F 11 Fall W 12Winter This program will merge the fields of geomorphology and ecology to provide students with a broad understanding of both how landscapes form and function and how lifeforms (microbial, plant and animal)organize themselves across this earth template. The many processes and steps in the geological evolution of an area profoundly influence the ever-changing physical environment (e.g. the soils, nutrient transport, surface and ground waters, climate, among others when taken together) and, thus, the organisms and ecosystems that so intimately interact with these environments. How species are distributed, how communities are structured, and how ecosystems function are all dependent upon interactions with the physical environment.We will cover major topics in geomorphology: plate tectonics and the large scale evolution of Earth's surface, weathering and sediment transport in the continental and marine realms, climate, and environmental controls on the physical and chemical evolution of landscapes. We will also cover important concepts in ecology and biogeography: evolution, ecosystem ecology, community ecology, population ecology, and landscape ecology. Topics that will be particularly informed by the synergy of ecology and geomorphology are early Earth evolution, climate change, extremophiles, ecological succession, and paleoecology. Students will be exposed to a variety of environments through local and overnight field trips. One multi-day field trip will involve a visit to the Death Valley National Park to observe extreme environments, geologic processes, and extremophile biology.  Group research projects will focus on studying the biology and environments of extremophiles, including but not limited to microorganisms, fungi, invertebrates, plants, and vertebrates.  Seminar readings will familiarize students with topics in environmental studies as related to ecology and/or geology. Students will be evaluated on attendance, assignments, scientific writing,field and lab work, and exams. geology, field ecology, environmental science, land management, geography, and conservation biology. Christopher Coughenour Peter Impara Junior JR Senior SR Fall Fall Winter
Paul Butler and Dylan Fischer
  Program JR–SRJunior - Senior 16 16 Day F 11 Fall Temperate rainforests are poorly understood and highly valued ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest and other coastal landscapes around the world. This type of ecosystem supports complex interactions among constituents of the atmosphere, the forest and the underlying geology. By focusing on the biogeochemistry and nutrient cycling of the forest, we will understand the interplay between the biotic and abiotic components of these ecosystems. We will examine the pools and fluxes of organic and inorganic nutrients as well as the processes that link them. We will examine forest ecosystem science in temperate rainforests worldwide, and our lectures and field labs will emphasize the temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula, with a three-day field trip at the beginning of the quarter. Students will gain field experience with group independent studies on campus and at remote sites. Students will acquire experience with various sampling techniques that are used measure nitrogen, water, and carbon in forested ecosystems in a single, intensive, multiple-week lab exercise on forest biogeochemistry. Weekly seminars will focus on reading a major forest-ecology textbook and and understanding scientific articles from the primary literature. Each student will develop a scientific research proposal throughout the quarter that requires the development of research and quantitative skills. Finally, controversy over forest management is an integral component of human interactions with modern temperate rainforests. We will explore current and past controversies in forest ecology related to old-growth forests, spotted owls and other endangered species, sustainable forestry, and biofuels. We will also visit local second growth forests to examine the impacts of sustainable forest management on temperate rainforest ecosystems. Readings and guest lectures will introduce students to major ecological issues for temperate rainforests. forest ecology, chemistry, geology and field research. Paul Butler Dylan Fischer Junior JR Senior SR Fall Fall
Abir Biswas
Signature Required: Fall  Winter  Spring 
  Research SO–SRSophomore - Senior V V Day F 11 Fall W 12Winter S 12Spring Rigorous quantitative and qualitative research is an important component of academic learning in Scientific Inquiry. This independent learning opportunity allows advanced students to delve into real-world research with faculty who are currently engaged in specific projects. Students typically begin by working in apprenticeship with faculty or laboratory staff and gradually take on more independent projects within the context of the specific research program as they gain experience. Students can develop vital skills in research design, data acquisition and interpretation, written and oral communication, collaboration, and critical thinking that are valuable for students pursuing a graduate degree or entering the job market.  (geology, earth science) studies in nutrient and toxic trace metal cycles in terrestrial and coastal ecosystems. Potential projects could include studies of mineral weathering, wildfires and mercury cycling in ecosystems. Students could pursue these interests at the laboratory-scale or through field-scale biogeochemistry studies taking advantage of the Evergreen Ecological Observation Network (EEON), a long-term ecological study area. Students with backgrounds in a combination of geology, biology, or chemistry could gain skills in soil, vegetation, and water collection and learn methods of sample preparation and analysis for major and trace elements. geology and earth sciences. Abir Biswas Sophomore SO Junior JR Senior SR Fall Fall Winter Spring