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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 2020 | GEL Undergraduate Courses

NOTE:  Courses are subject to change.

Fall Quarter begins Monday, September 28, 2020.

GEL 001—The Earth (4) REMOTE
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 010—Modern and Ancient Global Environmental Change (3)  REMOTE
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)  REMOTE
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)  REMOTE
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)  REMOTE
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)  REMOTE
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)  REMOTE
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)  REMOTE
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 055—Introduction to Geochemistry (3)  REMOTE
Lecture—3 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): (GEL 001 or GEL 002 or GEL 050); (CHE 002A or CHE 002AH); (CHE 002B or CHE 002BH). Introduction to key geochemical principles in Earth & Planetary Sciences; chemical bonding, geochemical affinity of elements, redox & acid base equilibria in geological systems, radioactive decay, isotopic fractionation and paleoclimate records. GE credit: QL, SE, VL. Effective: 2020 Winter Quarter.

GEL 056—Introduction to Geophysics (4) REMOTE
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 060—Earth Materials: Introduction (4) Lecture: REMOTE | Lab: Earth & Physical Sciences 1316
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: REMOTE
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) REMOTE
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) REMOTE
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 109—Earth History: Sediments & Strata (3) REMOTE
Lecture—3 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): (GEL 001 or GEL 050); GEL 050L. Sediment formation, transport, and deposition. Interpretations of sedimentary processes across landscapes and through time in the context of environmental and geological problems. Reconstruction of ancient environmental change from sedimentary rocks. GE credit: SE. Effective: 2019 Fall Quarter.

GEL 109L—Earth History: Sediments & Strata Laboratory (2) REMOTE
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 GEL 109. Includes four one-day field trips. GE credit: SE, WE. Effective: 2016 Fall Quarter.

GEL 146—Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry & Cosmochemistry (3) REMOTE
Lecture—3 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): (CHE 002C or GEL 055); (PHY 007C or PHY 009C or GEL 056); (MAT 016C or MAT 017C or MAT 021C). 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. Offered irregularly. GE credit: QL, SE. Effective: 2020 Fall Quarter.

GEL 181—Teaching in Science and Mathematics (2) Lecture: REMOTE
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)  Lecture: REMOTE
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) REMOTE
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) REMOTE
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)
2020-2021 | 2019-2020 | 2018-2019 | 2017-2018 | 2016-2017

NOTE: Courses are subject to change. Last updated September 2020

Fall 2020

  • GEL 232: Oceans and Climate Change | Gold, Vriesman, Fish and Livsey
    This course is focused on the theme of biogenic calcite. Each week will cover a different sub-topic central to this theme: calcification, geochemistry, sclerochronology, morphology, microstructure, the evolution of biomineralization, and culturing. The course features a mix of student-led discussions, student-led activities, and talks from guest speakers who have expertise in each sub-topic. Students will be able to apply techniques and skills gained from this course to their own research disciplines and projects.
  • GEL 298: Foundational Topics in Paleobiology | Gold | CRN 35433
    This course covers basic principles of paleontology, evolution, ecology, and microbiology in order to provide graduate students with a common background. Students will learn how to recognize various modes of bias in the fossil record and develop testable hypotheses that account for these biases. An emphasis will be placed on computational tools, databases, and methodologies.
    Note: This course is one of several regular 'core classes' being developed to strengthenour graduate curriculum.
  • GEL 298: Coastal Ecogeomorphology | Pinter | Application required for enrollment
    Coastal Ecogeo is an interdisciplinary graduate seminar that will integrate the geology, ecology, and marine biology of Baja California Sur and the Sea of Cortez. The Sea of Cortez/Gulf of California is marginal sea that opened when the Baja California Peninsula was rifted off the western Mexican mainland at about 6 Ma. The Baja California margin of the Gulf of California makes an ideal natural laboratory for studying continental rifting and associated volcanic activity. The Gulf of California is also one of the most productive ecosystems in the world, thanks to upwelling of deep water from the Pacific into warm waters of the Gulf. This includes abundant fish, shrimp, sharks, sea lion and sea elephants, sea turtles, rays, and a wide variety of types of whales, as well as intertidal to shallow subtidal benthic marine invertebrates. The course will be followed by an optional, private kayaking trip along the eastern coast of Baja California in the vicinity of Loreto, Baja California Sur. Trip participants will be expected to help organize logistics for the field trip, including food, gear, transportation and field itineraries.

Winter 2021

  • GEL 214: Active Tectonics | Oskin
    Active Tectonics. This course examines tectonic processes through the lens of active orogens and surface processes. The course builds on foundational concepts in structural geology and geophysics, and introduces quantitative geomorphology as a means to characterize and measure tectonic deformation. The course is lecture and probemset based, culminating in a field trip and mapping exercises.
  • GEL 240: Foundations of Geophysics | 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 260: Paleontology | Vermeij
    This course will explore a broad topic of interest (still to be decided). We will read and discuss relevant papers and there will be a short final presentation and paper.
  • GEL 281N: Instrumental Techniques | 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 particular instrument suite. Project results will be presented to the class and instructors by each group at the end of the quarter.

Spring 2021

  • GEL 230: Geomorphology and River Management | Pinter
    The course is a multidisciplinary study of the ecology, geomorphology and management of rivers of the US West, and one river (TBD) in particular. The field of watershed science, including the study of rivers and streams, is inherently multidisciplinary, involving a broad array of physical, biological, and social sciences. Traditional education programs emphasize in-depth study within a specific discipline, whereas most careers in waterrelated science and management rarely are limited to a single discipline. The ability to work collaboratively with professionals from different backgrounds is fundamental to success in watershed science and management, and indeed in most applied-science fields. Comprised of upper-division undergraduate students and first-year graduate students, this course will bring together students from a range of biological and physical sciences to address the geology, ecology, and management of a targeted river and watershed, tentatively either the Snake, Rogue, and/or Klamath Rivers. The course will be followed by an optional, private rafting and research expedition on the study river. Trip participants will be expected to help organize logistics for the field trip, including food, gear, transportation and field itineraries.
  • GEL 298: Topics in Planetary Science | Sumner | CRN 45494.
    Habitable Planets - This class will focus on how the integration of different ideas and approaches are used to assess habitability for Earth, Mars, other solar system bodies, and exoplanets. It will consist of about 5 weeks of lectures, exercises and reading about basic concepts related to habitability on terrestrial planets and ocean worlds and about 5 weeks of discussion, reading and projects on special topics of interest to those in the class. Ideas covered will include: 1) Water on rocky planets, sources and formation of oceans; 2) Carbon and why we think that all life is likely based on carbon; 3) Roles of tectonics in carbon cycling; 4) Greenhouse gases, solar energy, tidal heating, and liquid water, e.g. "Habitable Zones"; 5) Energy sources for life, including energy harvesting at the origin of life vs energy harvesting after billions of years of evolution; 6) Life-planet co-evolution and sustained habitability (or not): and 7) Catastrophic events and the end of habitability
  • GEL 298: Microbial Photosynthesis | Sumner | and Grettenberger | CRN 45506
    Description TBD