Listed in: Geology, as GEOL-111
Formerly listed as: GEOL-11
How well do you know the planet on which we live? In this course we will explore Earth from its core to its surface, from the mountains to the deep ocean basins, from the past and present to the future. The earth is an evolving and dynamic system, changing on time scales that range from seconds, to millennia, to eons: volcanos erupt, earthquakes vibrate the globe, continents separate and collide, and mountains rise only to be worn away and rise again. What physical processes drive this dynamism? How does the restless nature of Earth impact our residency? Studying active geologic processes will provide us with a means to decode the history of Earth as written in rocks; analyzing the rock record allows us to test hypotheses about the formation and continual modification of the planet. New England’s complex and varied geologic history — which includes continental collision and mountain building, the birth of an ocean, massive volcanic eruptions, and erosional sculpting of the landscape — provides a unique natural laboratory that the class will access on field trips. With a geologic understanding of your home planet, students will emerge from the course with an expanded notion of what it is to be human. This is a science course designed for all Amherst students.
Three hours of class and two hours of lab in which the student gains direct experience in the science through field trips, demonstrations, examination of earth materials, and projects.
Limited to 60 students with 20 students per lab. Spring semester: The Department.