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The information below is provided for your convenience. Course schedules are subject to change. Official course information is published in the UC Davis General Catalog.

Geology (GEL) Upper Division Electives
Marine and Coastal Science (MCS) Undergraduate Courses

Spring 2020 | GEL Undergraduate Courses

NOTE:  Courses are subject to change. Last updated 3/24/2020.

GEL 001—The Earth (4)
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). 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 taken GEL 050; only 2 credits for students who have taken GEL 002. GE credit: SE, SL. Effective: 2019 Winter Quarter.

GEL 009—Geology Field Experience (1) CANCELED due to COVID-19
Fieldwork—1 session(s). Prerequisite(s): Consent of Instructor. At least one previous GEL class, or concurrent enrollment. Pass One open to non-Geology Majors only. Exposure to geologic features and earth processes in the field. Experiential instruction in earth-science concepts, spatial visualization, landscape evolution, deep time, critical thinking skills, and integrative scientific themes. One 4-5 day field trip.  May be repeated up to 1 time(s) when field trip destination differs. (P/NP grading only.) GE credit: SE. Effective: 2018 Fall Quarter.

GEL 012—Evolution and Paleobiology of Dinosaurs (2)
Lecture—2 hour(s). Introduction to evolutionary biology, paleobiology, ecology and paleoecology, using dinosaurs as case studies. GE credit: SE. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 017—Earthquakes and Other Earth Hazards (2)
Lecture—2 hour(s). Impact of earthquakes, tsunami, volcanoes, landslides, and floods on humans, structures, and the environment. Discussion of the causes and effects of disasters and catastrophes, and on prediction, preparation, and mitigation of natural hazards. GE credit: SE, SL. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 020—Geology of California (2)
Lecture—2 hour(s). The geologic history of California, the origin of rocks and the environments in which they were formed, the structure of the rocks and the interpretation of their structural history, mineral resources, and appreciation of the California landscape. Offered in alternate years. GE credit: SE, SL, VL. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 032—Volcanoes (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Role of eruptions, and eruptive products of volcanoes in shaping the planet's surface, influencing its environment, and providing essential human resources. GE credit: SE. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 035—Rivers (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Introduction to geomorphology, climate and geology of rivers and watersheds, with case examples from California. Assessment of impacts of logging, agriculture, mining, urbanization and water supply on river processes. Optional river field trips. GE credit: SE, SL. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 036—The Solar System (4)
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). 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: SE, VL, WE. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 050—Physical Geology (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): 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 GEL 001 or the equivalent may receive only 2 units for GEL 050. GE credit: SE, SL. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 050L—Physical Geology Laboratory (2)
Laboratory—6 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): GEL 050 (can be concurrent). Introduction to classification and recognition of minerals and rocks and to interpretation of topographic and geologic maps and aerial photographs. Students with credit for GEL 001L or the equivalent may receive only 1 unit for GEL 050L. GE credit: SE.Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.

GEL 056—Introduction to Geophysics (4)
Lecture/Discussion—3 hour(s); Laboratory—2 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): (GEL 001 or GEL 050); (PHY 007B or PHY 009B). Introduction to geophysical topics essential to all aspects of Earth and planetary sciences: theory of plate tectonics, gravitational field of planets, diffusion, rheology, seismology, and earthquakes. GE credit: QL, SE, VL. Effective: 2019 Spring Quarter.

GEL 081—Learning in Science and Mathematics (2)
Lecture/Discussion—2 hour(s); Fieldwork—2 hour(s). Limited to 26 students per section. 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. (Same course as EDU 081.) (P/NP grading only.) GE credit: SS, VL, WE. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 103—Field Geology (3)
Fieldwork; Laboratory. Prerequisite(s): GEL 101L; GEL 101; 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. Seven-eight days on weekends during quarter. GE credit: SE, VL, WE. Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.

GEL 107—Earth History: Paleobiology (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): GEL 003 or GEL 053 or BIS 002A or BIS 010. Evolution and ecological structure of the biosphere from the origin of life to the present. GE credit: SE. Effective: 2020 Winter Quarter.

GEL 107L—Earth History: Paleobiology Laboratory (2)
Laboratory—6 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): (GEL 003, GEL 003L) or GEL 053 or BIS 002B; GEL 107 (can be concurrent). Exercises in determining the ecological functions and evolution of individuals, populations, and communities of fossil organisms in field and laboratory. GE credit: SE. Effective: 2020 Winter Quarter.

GEL 109—Earth History: Sediments and Strata (2)
Lecture—2 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): GEL 050; GEL 050L. 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: SE. Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.

GEL 109L—Earth History: Sediments and Strata Laboratory (2)
Laboratory—6 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): GEL 109 (can be concurrent). Methods of stratigraphic and sedimentologic analysis of modern and ancient sediments. Identification of major sediment and sedimentary rock types. Outcrop and subsurface analysis of sedimentary basins. GE credit with concurrent enrollment in course 109. Includes four one-day field trips. GE credit: SE, WE. Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.

GEL 116N—Oceanography (3)
Lecture—2 hour(s); Laboratory—3 hour(s); Fieldwork. Prerequisite(s): GEL 001 or GEL 002 or GEL 016 or GEL 050. Advanced oceanographic topics: Chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes; research methods and data analysis; marine resources, anthropogenic impacts, and climate change; integrated earth/ocean/atmosphere systems; weekly lab and one weekend field trip. (Same course as ESP 116N.) GE credit: SE, SL. Effective: 2017 Winter Quarter.

GEL 120—Origins: From the Big Bang to Today (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). 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: SE. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 133—Environmental Geochemistry (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): CHE 002A; CHE 002B. Introduction to Earth surface processes with a focus on topics of current environmental interest such as nuclear power and waste disposal, acid mine drainage, carbon sequestration, history of polar ice sheets and sea level change. Effective: 2020 Spring Quarter.

GEL 144—Historical Ecology (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): Upper division course in environmental science or ecology, or an introductory course in paleobiology. Ancient ecosystems and the factors that caused them to change. Species, expansion, evolution of new modes of life, geologically induced variations in resource supply, and extinction provide historical perspective on the biosphere of future. GE credit: SE, WE. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 150A—Physical and Chemical Oceanography (4) Review all entries
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): (ESP 116N or GEL 116N); PHY 009B; MAT 021D; CHE 002C; and Consent of Instructor. Physical and chemical properties of seawater, fluid dynamics, air-sea interaction, currents, waves, tides, mixing, major oceanic geochemical cycles. (Same course as ESO 150A.) GE credit: QL, SE. Effective: 2017 Winter Quarter.

GEL 150A—Physical & Chemical Oceanography (4) Review all entries
Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): (ESP 116N or GEL 116N); (PHY 007B or PHY 009B); (MAT 016C or MAT 017C or MAT 021C); (CHE 002C or GEL 055); and Consent of Instructor. Physical and chemical properties of seawater, fluid dynamics, air-sea interaction, currents, waves, tides, mixing, major oceanic geochemical cycles. (Same course as ESP 150A.) GE credit: QL, SE. Effective: 2020 Winter Quarter.

GEL 181—Teaching in Science and Mathematics (2)
Lecture/Discussion—2 hour(s); Fieldwork—2 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): Consent of Instructor. Major in mathematics, science, or engineering; or completion of a one-year sequence of science or calculus. 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 EDU 181.) (P/NP grading only.) GE credit: SS, WE. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 183—Teaching High School Mathematics and Science (3) Review all entries
Lecture/Discussion—2 hour(s); Fieldwork. Prerequisite(s): Major in mathematics, science, or engineering; or completion of a one-year sequence of science or calculus and consent of the instructor. Limited to 40 students per section. 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. (Same course as EDU 183.) GE credit: OL, SS, WE. Effective: 2018 Fall Quarter.

GEL 186—Facilitating Learning in STEM Classrooms (1)
Lecture/Discussion—1 hour(s). STEM Learning Assistant Seminar. Theoretical and practical issues of effective teaching in discussion/labs: student-centered, active, cooperative learning environments, responsive teaching, and differentiated classroom instruction. GE credit: SS. Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.

GEL 190—Seminar in Geology (1)  CANCELED due to COVID-19
Discussion—1 hour(s); Seminar—1 hour(s). 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. Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.

GEL Graduate Courses

Geology Graduate Courses by Academic Year (pdfs)
2019-2020 | 2018-2019 | 2017-2018 | 2016-2017

NOTE: Courses are subject to change. Last updated June 2019

Fall 2019
  • GEL 219–Fracture and Flow of Rocks (3) Billen
    The class will have a combination of lectures on the theory and other background of brittle and viscous rheology and article-based discussions focused on review papers on the topics introduced in lecture. Includes two oral presentations by students. Topics include: rheology, stress & strain, brittle vs ductile deformation, plasticity, viscous deformation, grain growth and recrystallization, effect of melt and water on viscous rheology.
  • GEL 227–Stable Isotopes Biogeochemistry (4) units; Spero
    Discussion and application of stable isotope techniques for scientific research problems. Course emphasizes carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and sulfur isotopes. Laboratory will develop basic skills of cryogenic gas extraction and specific techniques for individual research using stable isotopes.
  • GEL 261–Topics in Paleobiology (3) Carlson
    Paleobiology Seminar: Evolutionary Aspects. Using a new book on Rates of Evolution, the seminar will build on previous classes on estimating time in the rock record and scales of analysis.
  • GEL 290– Seminar (1) TBD
  • GEL 294–Structure & Tectonics forum (1) Roeske
  • GEL 390–Methods of Teaching Geology (2) Mukhopadhyay
Winter 2020
  • GEL 206Carbonate Diagenesis & Geochemistry (3) Montañez
    This course will cover the span of the carbonate diagenetic environments, starting with syndepositional marine diagenesis through the meteoric (vadose and phreatic) to deep-burial diagenetic realms. We will also address non-marine carbonate formation & diagenesis (soils, lacustrine, palustrine, speleothems, travertines), dolomitization, and evaporates of a range of origins. Includes petrographic labwork on suites of samples.
  • GEL 230–Geomorphology and River Management (3) Pinter
    Application required for enrollmentThis graduate seminar is preparatory to the private and optional Grand Canyon field trip, March 10-28, 2020. Currently, ~40 million people rely on the water in the Colorado River, but changing precipitation patterns and increasing population and water demands are adding challenges to river management. The US Bureau of Reclamation recently published a study assessing supply and demand under various climate and demand scenarios. American Rivers listed the Colorado River as the most endangered river in the United States.
  • GEL 260–Paleontology (3) Vermeij
    Topic undecided; previous topics have explored symbiosis, the Pliocene, contingency & necessity, and the North Pacific biota.
  • GEL 290–Seminar (1) TBD
  • GEL 294–Structure & Tectonics forum (1) Roeske
Spring 2020
  • GEL 281N–Instrumental Techniques for Earth Scientists (3) Yin
    This course is designed to familiarize students with analytical facilities available in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and in other campus and regional facilities. Each week there will be a lecture providing background on one or more instruments, followed by hands-on demonstrations and instruction in the lab. Students are expected to attend all lectures and labs, and all participants must register for the course. In addition to the scheduled lectures and labs, each student will be required to participate in one of group research projects using a particularinstrument suite. Project results will be presented to the class and instructors by each group atthe end of the quarter.
  • GEL 298–Foundations of Geophysics (3) Rudolph and Stewart
    This course presents foundational concepts in geophysics at a level accessible to all graduate students in the EPS department. Topics to be covered include the geophysical constraints on the large-scale structure and dynamics of Earth and planetary interiors such as seismology, gravity, heat flow, magnetic field, and geodesy. We will explore the physics of the processes that shape planetary surfaces and interiors including impact events, differentiation, mantle convection, and tectonics. The course will include a computer laboratory with hands-on programming activities in Python that reinforce the concepts covered in lecture.
    Format: Lectures, weekly problem sets/labs, midterm, final.
    Note: This course is one of several regular 'core classes' being developed to strengthen our graduate curriculum.
  • GEL 290–Seminar (1) CANCELED due to COVID-19
  • GEL 294–Structure & Tectonics forum (1) Roeske