Geology & Geophysics

For courses in other departments that may count toward the major, see the printed YCPS or consult the director of undergraduate studies.
Information regarding the required and recommended textbooks for courses in Yale College can be found in the Online Course Information system (OCI).

 
G&G  110a , Dynamic Earth .
TTh 11.35-12.50 KGL 116 Danny Rye, David Evans
Sc  (24)  
An introduction to the processes that shape Earth's environment through the interactions of rocks, soils, the atmosphere, and the hydrosphere. Field trips and practical sessions in the properties of natural materials. Topics include evolution of landscapes; hydrologic and tectonic cycles; extreme geologic events such as earthquakes, floods, volcanism, and landslides; society's economic dependence on natural materials such as soils, minerals, and fossil fuels; and human influences on the natural environment.
 
G&G  111La , Dynamic Earth Laboratory and Field Methods .
F 1.30-4.30 KGL 120 David Evans, Danny Rye
Sc  (36)  

Practical exercises in the laboratory and in the field to complement G&G 110 or 115. Identification of minerals and rocks; construction of geologic maps and cross sections to determine Earth-system processes and histories. Includes a field trip to the northern Appalachians during the October recess.

After or concurrently with G&G 110, or after G&G 115.

 
G&G  115b , Earth System Science .
TTh 9.00-10.15 HGS 217B Jeffrey Park
Sc  (0)  
Permission of instructor required

A survey of geoscience. Interaction of lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and Earth's deep interior; natural controls on environment and climate in past, present, and future; rocks, minerals, glaciers, earthquakes, and volcanoes; natural hazards and natural resources.

(Formerly G&G 200)

 
G&G  120a , Earth's Changing Climate .
MWF 11.35-12.25 GR109 ROSENFELD John Wettlaufer, Mark Pagani
Sc  (34)  

The science of contemporary climate change or "global warming." Historical and contemporary methods used by scientists to draw conclusions concerning Earth's complex climate system and human influences on it, and to predict future climates. Risk assessment, response options.

 
G&G  125b , History of Life .
TTh 11.35-12.50 KGL 123 Derek Briggs
Sc  (24)  
Permission of instructor required

Examination of fossil and geologic evidence pertaining to the origin, evolution, and history of life on Earth. Emphasis on major events in the history of life, on what the fossil record reveals about the evolutionary process, on the diversity of ancient and living organisms, and on the evolutionary impact of Earth's changing environment.

 
G&G  126Lb , Laboratory for the History of Life .
Th 2.30-5.30 Derek Briggs
Sc  (27)  
A survey of the diversification of life using suites of fossils and related modern organisms drawn from critical evolutionary stages. Emphasis on direct observation and description of specimens, the solution of problems posed by the instructor, and the generation and testing of hypotheses by the students.

To be taken concurrently with or following G&G 125.

 
G&G  140a , Atmosphere, Ocean, and Environmental Change .
MWF 9.25-10.15 ESC 110 Ronald Smith
Sc QR (32)  

Physical processes that control Earth's atmosphere, ocean, and climate. Quantitative methods for constructing energy and water budgets. Topics include clouds, rain, severe storms, regional climate, the ozone layer, air pollution, ocean currents and productivity, the seasons, El Niño, the history of Earth's climate, global warming, energy, and water resources.

Must be taken concurrently with EVST 202L.

 
G&G  141La , Laboratory for Atmosphere, Ocean, and Environmental Change .
3 HTBA Ronald Smith
Sc  (0)  
Permission of instructor required

Laboratory and field exercises to accompany EVST 201.

Must be taken concurrently with EVST 201.

 
G&G  201a , Earthquakes and Volcanoes .
MW 9.00-10.15 KGL 116 Jun Korenaga
Sc QR (32)  

Quantitative introduction to the dynamics of Earth's interior and surface manifestations such as plate tectonics, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Emphasis on understanding various geological phenomena through the framework of mantle convection in the cooling Earth. Discussion of how Earth's internal processes affect human environments in both the short and the long term. Weekly lab sessions provide students with hands-on problem-solving experiences in geophysics. 

Prerequisites: CHEM 112, 113, or 114, 115, or 118; MATH 120; PHYS 170, 171, or 180, 181, or 200, 201; or permission of instructor.

 
G&G  205b , Natural Resources and Their Sustainability .
TTh 2.30-3.45 KGL 116 Jay Ague
Sc  (0)  
Permission of instructor required

The formation and distribution of renewable and nonrenewable energy, mineral, and water resources. Topics include the consequences of extraction and use; depletion and the availability of substitutes; and economic and geopolitical issues.

Recommended preparation: introductory chemistry and geology.

 
G&G  207b , The Science of Water .
MW 9.00-10.15 RKZ 05 Kanani Lee
Sc  (0)  
Permission of instructor required
A study of water in its physical, chemical, biological, astronomical, geological, and environmental aspects. Topics include water's role in food and energy production, conservation and pollution, magnetic field generation, plate tectonics and volcanism, climate, and security.
 
G&G  211b , Catastrophe and the Earth Sciences since 1850 .
MW 10.30-11.20 DAVIES AUD; 1 HTBA William Rankin
Hu  (33)  

A history of the geological, atmospheric, and environmental sciences, with a focus on predictions of global catastrophe. Topics range from headline catastrophes such as global warming, ozone depletion, and nuclear winter to historical debates about the age of the Earth, the nature of fossils, and the management of natural resources. Tensions between science and religion; the role of science in government; environmental economics; the politics of prediction, modeling, and incomplete evidence.

 
G&G  212b , Global Tectonics .
MWF 10.30-11.20 KGL 116 Mark Brandon, David Evans
Sc  (0)  
Permission of instructor required

The architecture of continents and oceans; detailed geology of lithospheric plate margins and mountain chains. Examples of plate-interaction histories from the ancient geological record emphasize the interdisciplinary approaches used to determine interlinked Earth-system processes involving the mantle, crust, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. The course features a field trip during spring break.

Prerequisite: one course in G&G (preferably 100, 110, or 115), or permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 15.

 
G&G  220a , Petrology and Mineralogy .
TTh 1.00-2.15 KGL 116 Danny Rye
Sc  (26)  

Comprehensive study of the structures, chemistry, and physical properties of minerals. Interpretation of mineral associations and textures in terms of processes acting in the formation of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Study of the interplay between plate tectonics and the genesis of igneous and metamorphic rocks.

After one year of college-level chemistry; G&G 110 recommended.

 
G&G  235a , Geomorphology and Surface Processes .
MWF 11.35-12.25 KGL 226 Mark Brandon
Sc QR (34)  

Introduction to geologic processes that shape the Earth's surface, including erosion and deposition caused by rivers, glaciers, wind, and waves. Interaction between these surface processes and the Earth's climate system.

 
G&G  240a , Forensic Geoscience .
MW 11.35-12.50 WLH 112 Maureen Long, Hagit Affek
Sc  (0)  
Permission of instructor required

Approaches and technologies developed for geoscience that have been adapted and applied in criminal, environmental, historical, and archaeological investigations. Methods related to seismology, geophysics, geomorphology, geochemistry, and radiometric dating. Case studies include nuclear treaty verification, detection of unexploded ordnance and clandestine graves, military history, soil and groundwater contamination, archaeological controversies, art and antiquities fraud, and narcotics provenance.

 
G&G  247b , Partial Differential Equations .
TTh 1.00-2.15 LOM 214 Igor Frenkel
  QR (0)  

Introduction to partial differential equations, wave equation, Laplace's equation, heat equation, method of characteristics, calculus of variations, series and transform methods, and numerical methods.

Prerequisites: MATH 222 or 225, MATH 246, and ENAS 194, or equivalents.

 
G&G  250a , Paleontology and Evolutionary Theory .
TTh 11.35-12.50 KGL 123 Elisabeth Vrba
Sc  (24)  

Current concepts in evolutionary and systematic theory with particular reference to how they apply to the fossil record. Emphasis on use of paleontological data to study evolutionary processes.

After G&G 125 or a 100-level term course in biological sciences.

 
G&G  261a , Minerals and Human Health .
TTh 11.35-12.50 KGL 119 H. Catherine Skinner, Ruth Blake
Sc  (0)  
Permission of instructor required

Study of the interrelationships between Earth materials and processes and personal and public health. The transposition from the environment of the chemical elements essential for life.

After one year of college-level chemistry or with permission of instructor; G&G 110 recommended.

 
G&G  274a , Fossil Fuels and Energy Transitions .
MWF 9.25-10.15 KGL 123 Michael Oristaglio, Brian Skinner
Sc  (0)  
The origins, geologic settings, exploration, distribution, and extraction of fossil fuels as finite Earth resources. Energy use today; transitions to future renewable resources. Topical issues include peak oil, deep-water exploration, carbon sequestration, and shale gas.

Prerequisites: high school chemistry, mathematics, and Earth science. Recommended preparation: G&G 110 or 205.

 
G&G  275b , Renewable Energy .
MW 9.00-10.15 KGL 116 Ronald Smith, Lawrence Schwartz
Sc  (32)  
Permission of instructor required

Introduction to renewable energy, including physical principles, existing and emerging technologies, and interaction with the environment. Energy demand; transmission and storage; generation by hydroelectric, wind, solar, biofuel, and geothermal sources, as well as waves and tidal generation. Includes field trips to conventional, hydroelectric, and wind power facilities in Connecticut.

Prerequisites: high school physics, chemistry, and mathematics; college-level science, engineering, and mathematics recommended.

 
G&G  280a , Organic Geochemistry .
TTh 2.30-3.45 KGL 116 Mark Pagani
Sc  (50)  

Introduction to organic geochemistry and its applications in environmental reconstruction. Basic concepts of molecular chemistry and biochemistry, compound-specific carbon and hydrogen isotope distributions, and ancient temperature and carbon dioxide reconstruction.

Prerequisite: CHEM 114 or equivalent.

 
G&G  310a , Isotope Geochemistry .
TTh 10.30-11.20 KGL 226; 1 HTBA Zhengrong Wang
Sc QR (0)  
Meets during reading period

Fundamental principles of stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry. Emphasis on applications to specific geologic problems, including petrogenesis, geochronology, geothermometry, surface processes, hydrology, and biogeochemistry.

Prerequisites: CHEM 115, MATH 120, and PHYS 171 or equivalents, or with permission of instructor.

 
G&G  319a , Introduction to the Physics and Chemistry of Earth Materials .
TTh 9.00-10.15 KGL 119 Kanani Lee, Shun-ichiro Karato
Sc QR (22)  

Basic principles that control the physical and chemical properties of Earth materials. Equation of state, phase transformations, chemical reactions, elastic properties, diffusion, kinetics of reaction and mass/energy transport.

After CHEM 115, MATH 120, and PHYS 181, or equivalents.

 
G&G  322a , Physics of Weather and Climate .
TTh 11.35-12.50 KGL 226 Trude Storelvmo
Sc QR (24)  

The climatic system; survey of atmospheric behavior and climatic change; meteorological measurements and analysis; formulation of physical principles governing weather and climate with selected applications to small- and large-scale phenomena.

After PHYS 181 and MATH 120 or equivalents.

 
G&G  326a , Introduction to Earth and Planetary Physics .
MWF 10.30-11.20 KGL 119 Shun-ichiro Karato
Sc QR (0)  

An introduction to the structure and dynamics of Earth and other planets in the context of cosmic evolution. Review of basic physical principles and their applications to geophysics and planetary physics. Star formation and nucleosynthesis; planetary accretion and the birth of the solar system; heat flow, plate tectonics, and mantle dynamics; seismology and geodesy; core dynamics, geomagnetism, and planetary magnetism.

Prerequisites: PHYS 181b and MATH 120a or b, or equivalents.

 
G&G  333a , Paleogeography .
TTh 2.30-3.45 KGL 208A David Evans
Sc QR (0)  

Quantitative methods for measuring horizontal motions on Earth's surface. Histories of continental motions and supercontinents during the past three billion years. True polar wander. Study of the foundations of paleomagnetism, including experience with field sampling and laboratory data acquisition.

Prerequisite: G&G 110, 115, 201, or 212; or permission of instructor.

 
G&G  335a , Physical Oceanography .
MW 11.35-12.50 KGL 116 Alexey Fedorov
Sc QR (34)  

An introduction to ocean dynamics and physical processes controlling large-scale ocean circulation, the Gulf Stream, wind-driven waves, tsunamis, tides, coastal upwelling, and other phenomena. Modern observational, theoretical, and numerical techniques used to study the ocean. The ocean's role in climate and global climate change.

After PHYS 181 and MATH 120 or equivalents, or with permission of instructor.

 
G&G  342a , Introduction to Earth and Environmental Physics .
TTh 2.30-3.45 SPL 63 Steve Lamoreaux
Sc QR (0)  

A broad introduction to the physical, chemical, and biological processes that affect the climate and other features of the Earth. Emphasis on anthropogenic activity that affects the environment; attention to issues of energy extraction from natural resources and subsequent waste disposal. Recommended preparation: familiarity with basic calculus.

Prerequisite: PHYS 170, 171, or 180, 181, or 200, 201, or 260, 261, or permission of instructor.

 
G&G  355a , Extraordinary Glimpses of Past Life .
MW 11.35-12.50 ESC 210 Derek Briggs
Sc  (0)  

Study of exceptionally well-preserved fossil deposits (lagerstaetten) that contain nonmineralized animal skeletons and casts of the soft parts of organisms. Examples such as the Burgess Shale and Solnhofen limestones; what they can reveal about the history and evolution of life, ancient lifestyles and environments, and preservational processes.

After G&G 230.

 
G&G  362b , Observing Earth from Space .
TTh 9.00-10.15 ESC 110 Ronald Smith, Xuhui Lee
Sc QR (0)  
Permission of instructor required

A practical introduction to satellite image analysis of Earth's surface. Topics include the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, satellite-borne radiometers, data transmission and storage, computer image analysis, the merging of satellite imagery with GIS and applications to weather and climate, oceanography, surficial geology, ecology and epidemiology, forestry, agriculture, archaeology, and watershed management.

Prerequisites: college-level physics or chemistry, two courses in geology and natural science of the environment or equivalents, and computer literacy.

 
G&G  370b , Regional Perspectives on Global Geoscience .
MWF 11.35-12.25 KGL 116 Mark Brandon, David Evans
Sc  (0)  

Examination of the geological record of a specific region of the world. The region studied varies from year to year and is selected by interested students. Successful completion of the course earns priority eligibility status for attendance on a departmental field trip to the studied region.

Prerequisite: G&G 110, 115, or 212.

 
G&G  402b , Paleoclimates .
TTh 11.35-12.50 KGL 226 Mark Pagani
Sc  (24)  
Permission of instructor required

A study of the dynamic evolution of Earth's climate. Topics include warm (the Cretaceous, the Eocene, the PETM, the Pliocene) and cold (the "snowball Earth") climates of the past, glacial cycles, abrupt climate changes, the climate of the past thousand years, and the climate of the twentieth century.

After PHYS 181 and one course in meteorology or oceanography, or with permission of instructor.

 
G&G  421b , Geophysical Fluid Dynamics .
MW 11.35-12.50 KGL 226 Mary-Louise Timmermans
Sc QR (34)  
Permission of instructor required

Derivation of the equations of a geophysical fluid. Analysis of the most important dynamical phenomena common to all planetary atmospheres, oceans, and interiors, with emphasis on the roles of planetary rotation, gravitation, and thermal gradients.

After or concurrently with MENG 361 or equivalent and one course in meteorology or oceanography, or with permission of instructor.

 
G&G  456b , Introduction to Seismology .
MWF 9.25-10.15 KGL 226 Maureen Long
Sc QR (32)  

Earthquakes and seismic waves, P and S waves, surface waves and free oscillations. Remote sensing of Earth's deep interior and faulting mechanisms.

Prerequisites: MATH 120, 222, and PHYS 181, or equivalents.

 
G&G  487a , Individual Study in Geology and Geophysics .
HTBA David Evans
   (0)  
Permission of instructor required

Individual study for qualified undergraduates under faculty supervision. To register for this course, each student must submit a written plan of study, approved by the adviser, to the director of undergraduate studies.

May be taken more than once for credit.

 
G&G  487b , Individual Study in Geology and Geophysics .
HTBA David Evans
   (0)  
Permission of instructor required

Individual study for qualified undergraduates under faculty supervision. To register for this course, each student must submit a written plan of study, approved by the adviser, to the director of undergraduate studies.

May be taken more than once for credit.

 
G&G  488a , Research in Geology and Geophysics .
HTBA David Evans
   (0)  
Permission of instructor required

Individual study for qualified juniors and seniors under faculty supervision. To register for this course, each student must submit a written plan of study, approved by the adviser, to the director of undergraduate studies.

 
G&G  489b , Research in Geology and Geophysics .
HTBA David Evans
   (0)  
Permission of instructor required

Individual study for qualified juniors and seniors under faculty supervision. To register for this course, each student must submit a written plan of study, approved by the adviser, to the director of undergraduate studies.

 
G&G  490a , Research and Senior Thesis .
HTBA David Evans
   (0)  
Permission of instructor required

Two terms of independent library, laboratory, field, or modeling-based research under faculty supervision. To register for this course, each student must submit a written plan of study, approved by a faculty adviser, to the director of undergraduate studies by the end of the junior year. The plan requires approval of the full G&G faculty.

 
G&G  491b , Research and Senior Thesis .
HTBA David Evans
   (0) Credit/Year Only
Permission of instructor required

Two terms of independent library, laboratory, field, or modeling-based research under faculty supervision. To register for this course, each student must submit a written plan of study, approved by a faculty adviser, to the director of undergraduate studies by the end of the junior year. The plan requires approval of the full G&G faculty.

 
G&G  492a , The Senior Essay .
HTBA David Evans
   (0)  
Permission of instructor required

One term of independent library, laboratory, field, or modeling-based research under faculty supervision. To register for this course, each student must submit a written plan of study, approved by a faculty adviser, to the director of undergraduate studies at the beginning of the term in which the essay is to be written.

 
G&G  492b , The Senior Essay .
HTBA David Evans
   (0)  
Permission of instructor required

One term of independent library, laboratory, field, or modeling-based research under faculty supervision. To register for this course, each student must submit a written plan of study, approved by a faculty adviser, to the director of undergraduate studies at the beginning of the term in which the essay is to be written.