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Courses in Geology (GEL)

Official UC Davis Earth and Planetary Sciences (GEL) class home pages are available on Canvas; access to the class sites may be restricted. 
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The information below is provided for your convenience. Official course information is published in the UC Davis General Catalog.

Spring Quarter 2017

Course Syllabus Title
GEL 1 The Earth
Lecture—3 hours; discussion—1 hour. Introduction to the study of the Earth. Earth’s physical and chemical structure; internal and surface processes that mold the Earth; geological hazards and resources. Not open for credit to students who have completed course 50. Only 2 units of credit to students who have completed course 2. GE credit: SciEng | SE, SL, WE.
GEL 16 The Oceans
Lecture—3 hours. Introductory survey of the marine environment. Oceanic physical phenomena, chemical constituents and chemistry of water, geological history, the seas biota and human utilization of marine resources. Not open for credit to students who have taken course 116. GE credit: SciEng | SE, SL.
GEL 17 Earthquakes and Other Earth Hazards
Lecture—2 hours. The impact of earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides and floods on Man, his structures and his environment. Discussion of the causes, effects, and solution of geologic problems in rural and urban settings. GE credit: SE, SL.
GEL 32 Volcanoes
Lecture—3 hours. Role of eruptions, and eruptive products of volcanoes in shaping the planet’s surface, influencing its environment, and providing essential human resources. GE credit: SciEng | SE.
GEL 36 The Solar System
Lecture—3 hours; discussion—1 hour. Nature of the sun, moon, and planets as determined by recent manned and unmanned exploration of the solar system. Comparison of terrestrial, lunar, and planetary geological processes. Search for life on other planets. Origin and evolution of the solar system. (Former course 113-113G.) GE credit: SciEng, Wrt | SE, VL, WE.

GEL 50

Physical Geology
Lecture—3 hours. Prerequisite: high school physics and chemistry. The Earth, its materials, its internal and external processes, its development through time by sea-floor spreading and global plate tectonics. Students with credit for course 1 or the equivalent may receive only 2 units for course 50. GE credit: SE.

GEL 81

Learning in Science and Mathematics
Lecture/discussion—2 hours; field work—2 hours. Exploration of how students learn and develop understanding in science and mathematics classrooms. Introduction to case studies and interview techniques and their use in K-6 classrooms to illuminate factors that affect student learning. Limited enrollment. (Same course as Education 81.) (P/NP grading only.) GE credit: SS, VL, WE.
GEL 103 Field Geology
Fieldwork and laboratory—9 hours; 7-8 days on weekends during quarter. Prerequisite: course 101L or consent of instructor. Field mapping projects and writing geological reports. Weekly classroom meetings devoted to preparation of maps, cross sections, stratigraphic sections, rock descriptions, and reports. GE credit: SE, VL, WE.

GEL 106

Earth Materials: Metamorphic Rocks
Lecture—2 hours; laboratory—6 hours. Prerequisite: course 105, Chemistry 2B, Mathematics 16A or 21A. Physical and chemical properties of metamorphic rocks; interpretation of metamorphic environments. Laboratory exercises emphasize the study of these rocks in hand specimen and thin section. GE credit: SciEng, Wrt | SE, WE.

GEL 107


Earth History: Paleobiology
Lecture—3 hours. Prerequisite: courses 3-3L or Biological Sciences 1B. The evolution and ecological structure of the biosphere from the origin of life to the present. GE credit: SciEng | SE
GEL 108 Earth History: Paleoclimates
Lecture—3 hours. Prerequisite: course 1 or Geology/Environmental Science and Policy 116; and Chemistry 2A; or consent of instructor. Geological and environmental factors controlling climate change, the greenhouse effect with a detailed analysis of the history of Earth’s climate fluctuations over the last 600 million years. Past and present climate records are used to examine potential future climatic scenarios. GE credit: SciEng, Wrt | SE, SL, WE

GEL 109

GEL 109L

Earth History: Sediments and Strata
Lecture—2 hours. Prerequisite: courses 50-50L. Principles of stratigraphic and sedimentologic analysis. Evaluation of historical and modern global changes in sedimentation within terrestrial and marine environments. Examination of the plate tectonic, climatic and oceanographic factors controlling the distribution and exploitation of economic fluids within sedimentary rocks. GE credit: SciEng | SE
GEL 120 Origins: From the Big Bang to Today
Lecture—3 hours. Limited enrollment. Long-term and large-scale perspectives on the origins of the universe, stars and planets, life, human evolution, the rise of civilization and the modern world. Multi-disciplinary approach to ‘Big History’ involving cosmology, astronomy, geology, climatology, biology, anthropology, archeology and traditional history. GE credit: SciEng | SE.
GEL 130

Non-Renewable Natural Resources
Lecture—3 hours. Prerequisite: course 1 or 50. Origin, occurrence, and distribution of non-renewable resources, including metallic, nonmetallic, and energy-producing materials. Problems of discovery, production, and management. Estimations and limitations of reserves, and their sociological, political, and economic effects. Offered in alternate years. GE credit: SciEng | SE, SL

GEL 132

Introductory Inorganic Geochemistry
Lecture—3 hours. Prerequisite: course 60 (can be concurrent); Chemistry 2B. Nucleosynthesis of chemical elements, physical and chemical properties of elements, ionic substitution, elemental partition, distribution and transport among planetary materials, basic thermodynamics and phase diagrams, isotopic geochronometers, stable isotope fractionation, mixing and dilution, advection and diffusion, geochemical cycles.

GEL 146

Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry
Lecture—3 hours. Prerequisite: Chemistry 2C, Physics 7C, and Mathematics 16C. Basic principles of nuclear chemistry and physics applied to geology to determine the ages of terrestrial rocks, meteorites, archeological objects, age of the Earth, to trace geological/environmental processes, and explain formation of the chemical elements in the Universe. GE credit: SciEng | QL, SE.

GEL 181 Teaching in Science and Mathematics
Lecture/discussion—2 hours; field work—2 hours. Prerequisite: major in mathematics, science, or engineering; or completion of a one-year sequence of science or calculus and consent of the instructor. Class size limited to 40 students per section. Exploration of effective teaching practices based on examination of how middle school students learn math and science. Selected readings, discussion and field experience in middle school classrooms. (Same course as Education 181.) (P/NP grading only.) GE credit: SS, WE.
GEL 183 Teaching High School Science and Mathematics
Lecture/discussion—2 hours; field work—3 hours. Prerequisite: course 81/Education 81 or course 181/Education 181 or consent of instructor. Exploration and creation of effective teaching practices based on examination of how high school students learn mathematics and science. Field experience in high school classrooms. Limited enrollment. (Same course as Education 183.) GE credit: OL, SS, WE
GEL 190 Seminar In Geology
Discussion—1 hour; seminar—1 hour; Presentation and discussion of current topics in geology by visiting lecturers, staff, and students. Written abstracts. May be repeated for credit. (P/NP grading only.) GE credit: SE.
GEL 198 Tectonic Systems
The crust and lithosphere define the interface between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere above and the asthenosphere below. Tectonic processes provide fundamental mechanisms by which these reservoirs communicate. This course seeks to understand tectonic systems by examining the nature and evolution of tectonic features of the Earth with emphasis on the geological and kinematic evolution of modern and ancient plate boundaries.  

Geology Class Research Projects