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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

Fall 2019 | GEL Undergraduate Courses

NOTE: Courses are subject to change. Last updated 7/8/2019

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 004—Evolution: Science and World View (3)
Lecture—2 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Introduction to biological evolution. Emphasis on historical development, major lines of evidence and causes of evolution; relationships between evolution and Earth history; the impact of evolutionary thought on other disciplines. GE credit: SE, SL, WE. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 009—Geology Field Experience (1)
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 010—Modern and Ancient Global Environmental Change (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Fundamental scientific concepts underlying issues such as global warming, pollution, and the future of nonsustainable resources presented in the context of anthropogenic processes as well as natural forcing of paleoenvironmental change throughout Earth's history. GE credit: SE, SL, VL. Effective: 2013 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 016—The Oceans (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). 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 GEL 116. GE credit: SE, SL. 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 025—Geology of National Parks (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Appreciation of the geologic framework underlying the inherent beauty of U.S. National Parks. Relationship of individual parks to geologic processes such as mountain building, volcanism, stream erosion, glacial action and landscape evolution. GE credit: SE, SL, VL. Effective: 2014 Winter 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 053—Introduction to Geobiology (3)
Lecture—2 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): GEL 001 or GEL 002 or GEL 050. Introduction to interactions between Earth and life with an emphasis on how metabolism, cellular processes, evolution and ecology emerged within natural environments and have changed Earth’s surface. GE credit: SE. Effective: 2019 Fall Quarter.

GEL 060—Earth Materials: Introduction (4)
Lecture—3 hour(s); Laboratory—3 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): CHE 002A; (MAT 016A or MAT 017A or MAT 021A); (GEL 001 or GEL 050, GEL 050L). Physical and chemical properties of rocks, minerals and other earth materials; structure and composition of rock-forming minerals; formation of minerals by precipitation from silicate liquids and aqueous fluids and by solid state transformations. GE credit: SE. Effective: 2016 Fall 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 107—Earth History: Paleobiology (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): GEL 003 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: 2016 Fall Quarter.

GEL 107L—Earth History: Paleobiology Laboratory (2)
Laboratory—6 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): (GEL 003, GEL 003L) 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: 2016 Fall Quarter.

GEL 131—Risk: Natural Hazards and Related Phenomena (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Risk, prediction, prevention and response for earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, floods, storms, fires, impacts, global warming.GE credit: SE, SL. Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.

GEL 148—Stable Isotopes and Geochemical Tracers (3)
Lecture—3 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): (CHE 002C or HYD 134); GEL 050; GEL 050L; GEL 060. Use of oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in defining hydrologic processes; carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur isotopes as indicators of exchange between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. Radiogenic, cosmogenic, and noble gas isotope tracers. Offered irregularly. GE credit: QL, SE. Effective: 2013 Fall Quarter.

GEL 160—Geological Data Analysis (3)
Lecture/Discussion—3 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): MAT 021A. Introduction to quantitative methods in analyzing geological data including basic principles of statistics and probability, error analysis, hypothesis testing, inverse theory, time series analysis and directional data analyses. Use of computer in lectures and homework. GE credit: QL, SE. Effective: 2016 Fall 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)
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 206–Carbonate 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) TBD
  • GEL 294–Structure & Tectonics forum (1) Roeske