Courses

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Spring 2023

Undergraduate Courses

Chemistry of the Environment (SEN)
Subject associations
ENV 353 / CEE 353 / GEO 353

This course provides the chemical background to understand many of today's most important environmental issues. Topics include atmospheric pollution, the ozone hole, the greenhouse effect, ocean acidification, acid mine drainage, and coastal dead zones. Overall, the course focuses on a quantitative understanding of the chemistry of the atmosphere and natural waters. Students will use the chemical equilibrium model Minteq to study specific examples related to water quality issues.

Instructors
Anne M. Kraepiel-Morel
Natural Disasters (SEL)
Subject associations
GEO 103

An introduction to natural (and some society-induced) hazards and the importance of public understanding of the issues related to them. Emphasis is on the geological processes that underlie the hazards, with discussion of relevant policy issues tied to reading recent newspaper/popular science articles. Principal topics: Earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, tsunami, hurricanes, floods, meteorite impacts, global warming. Intended primarily for non-science majors.

Instructors
Allan M. Rubin
Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate (SEN)
Subject associations
GEO 202

The ocean and the atmosphere control Earth's climate, and in turn climate and atmospheric changes influence the ocean. We explore what sets the temperature of Earth's atmosphere and the connections between oceanic and atmospheric circulations, including exchanges of heat and carbon. We then investigate how these circulations control marine ecosystems and the cycling of chemicals in the ocean. The final part of the course focuses on human impacts, including changes in coastal environments and the acidification resulting from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Instructors
Samantha G. Fortin
Introductory Geophysics (SEN)
Subject associations
GEO 320

An Introduction to Earth and Planetary Physics. Planetary formation (accretion, cooling, heat transport) and evolution (mantle convection, deformation, plate tectonics). Rheology, and mineral physics (melting and differentiation). Techniques include gravity, magnetism, seismology and geodynamics, Taught in the context of the terrestrial planets (Earth, Mars and Venus).

Instructors
Jie Deng
Topics in Environmental Justice in the Geosciences (SEL)
Subject associations
GEO 360 / ENV 356

Humans have profoundly altered the chemistry of Earth's air, water, and soil. This course explores these changes with an emphasis on the analytical techniques used to measure the human impact. Topics include the accumulation of greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4) in Earth's atmosphere and the contamination of drinking water at the tap and in the ground. Students will get hands on training in mass spectrometry and spectroscopy to determine the chemical composition of air, water, and soil and will participate in an outreach project aimed at providing chemical analyses of urban tap waters to residents of Trenton, NJ.

Instructors
John A. Higgins
Environmental Materials Chemistry: Researching in Field and Laboratory (SEN)
Subject associations
GEO 369 / MSE 369 / ENV 388

The course covers concepts related to the chemistry of inorganic and organic materials found in the pristine and contaminated settings in the Earth surface environments, with an introduction to the modern field sampling techniques and advanced laboratory analytical and imaging tools. Different materials characterization methods, such as optical, infrared, and synchrotron X-ray spectroscopy and microscopy, will also be introduced. Field sampling and analysis of materials from diverse soil and coastal marine environments will be the focus during the second half of the semester.

Instructors
Satish C. Myneni
Sedimentology (SEN)
Subject associations
GEO 370 / ENV 370 / CEE 370

This course presents a treatment of the physical and chemical processes that shape Earth's surface, such as solar radiation, deformation of the solid Earth, and the flow of water (vapor, liquid, and solid) under the influence of gravity. In particular,the generation, transport, and preservation of sediment in response to these processes is studied in order to better read stories of Earth history in the geologic record and to better understand processes involved in modern and ancient environmental change.

Instructors
Adam C. Maloof
Mineralogy (SEL)
Subject associations
GEO 378 / MSE 348

Minerals are the fundamental building blocks of the Earth. Their physical, chemical, and structural properties determine the nature of the Earth and they are the primary recorders of the past history of the Earth and other planets. This course will provide a survey of the properties of the major rock-forming minerals. Topics include crystallography, crystal chemistry, mineral thermodynamics and mineral occurrence. Emphasis will be on the role of minerals in understanding geological processes. Laboratories will focus on developing an understanding of crystallography, structure-property relationships, and modern analytical techniques.

Instructors
Thomas S. Duffy

Graduate Courses

Responsible Conduct of Research in Geosciences (Half-Term)
Subject associations
GEO 503 / AOS 503

Course educates Geosciences and AOS students in the responsible conduct of research using case studies appropriate to these disciplines. This discussion-based course focuses on issues related to the use of scientific data, publication practices and responsible authorship, peer review, research misconduct, conflicts of interest, the role of mentors & mentees, issues encountered in collaborative research and the role of scientists in society. Successful completion is based on attendance, reading, and active participation in class discussions. Course satisfies University requirement for RCR training.

Instructors
Frederik J. Simons
Fundamentals of the Geosciences
Subject associations
GEO 505

A yearlong survey, in sequence, of fundamental papers in the geosciences. Topics in 505 (Spring) include the origin and interior of the Earth, plate tectonics, geodynamics, the history of life on Earth, the composition of the Earth, its oceans and atmospheres, past climate. Topics in 506 (Fall) include present and future climate, biogeochemical processes in the ocean, geochemical cycles, orogenies, thermochronology, rock fracture and seismicity. A core course for all beginning graduate students in the geosciences.

Instructors
Jie Deng
Adam C. Maloof
Satish C. Myneni
Allan M. Rubin
Daniel M. Sigman
Frederik J. Simons
Stable Isotope Geochemistry With An Environmental Focus
Subject associations
GEO 520

Examines the use of stable isotope measurements to investigate important biogeochemical, environmental, and geologic processes, today and over Earth history. Introduction to terminology, basic underlying principles, measurement techniques, commonly used analytical and computational approaches for analyzing data, followed by a review of typical applications of the isotope systems of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and other elements. Lectures by the instructor, problem sets, numerical modeling assignments, student presentations and a final student paper based on readings from the scientific literature.

Instructors
Daniel M. Sigman
Sedimentology
Subject associations
GEO 570

This course presents a treatment of the physical and chemical processes that shape Earth's surface, such as solar radiation, deformation of the solid Earth, and the flow of water (vapor, liquid, and solid) under the influence of gravity. In particular, the generation, transport, and preservation of sediment in response to these processes is studied in order to better read stories of Earth history in the geologic record and to better understand processes involved in modern and ancient environmental change. Taught in parallel with GEO 370.

Instructors
Adam C. Maloof