THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA GRADUATE CATALOG
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6.11 DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES (GEO)

Chairperson: Professor Fred Andrus, Office: 2040 Bevill Building

 

Admission Requirements

Admission to the graduate program in geology is competitive. Applicants must satisfy the minimum admission requirements established by the Graduate School. An applicant to the MS program is normally required to have a bachelor's degree in geology or a related discipline (e.g., chemistry, mathematics, physics, or geological engineering) and to have completed at least one year each of college-level calculus, chemistry, and physics. Applicants with degrees in disciplines other than geology or with ancillary background deficiencies may be required to complete certain undergraduate requirements. An applicant to the PhD program is normally required to have a master's degree; however, an applicant with exceptional credentials may be admitted directly into the PhD program.

 

Additional information is in the Admission Criteria section of this catalog.

 

Degree Requirements

 

Master of science.  The MS program requires a minimum of 24 credit hours of coursework, participation in the graduate seminar (two semesters), and a thesis. A maximum of 3 credit hours of nonthesis research may be applied toward the 24-hour total. A thesis committee should be established by the end of the first semester of residence and a thesis project must be proposed by the end of the second semester of residence. Each MS candidate must pass a combined oral thesis defense and final examination. Additional information is given in the Department of Geological Sciences Graduate Handbook.

 

Doctor of philosophy.  The PhD program requires a minimum of 48 hours of coursework beyond the baccalaureate degree (including a maximum of 24 credit hours of approved graduate-level coursework transferred from a master's program and a maximum of 12 hours of nonthesis or nondissertation research), participation in the graduate seminar (four semesters), and a dissertation. A dissertation committee should be established by the end of the first semester of residence and a dissertation project should be established by the end of the third semester of residence. Each PhD candidate must also pass an oral dissertation proposal, an oral preliminary examination (after completion of all coursework), and an oral dissertation defense. Additional information is given in the Department of Geological Sciences Graduate Handbook

 

See the Degree Requirements section of this catalog for additional requirements that apply to all master's and doctoral degrees.

 

Course Descriptions

 

GEO 501 Climate Change. Three hours.
Prerequisite: MATH 126 and PH 102 or permission of the instructor.
Survey of the variability of global climate through geologic time and investigation of the mechanisms of change.
 
GEO 506 Hydrogeology. Three hours.
 Offered fall semester. Not open to students who have earned credit for GEO 406. Prerequisite: GEO 365 and GEO 367, or permission of the instructor.
Introduction to groundwater hydrology, including the theory of groundwater flow, groundwater exploration, and groundwater contamination.
 
GEO 512 Sedimentary Petrology: Carbonates. Four hours. Two lectures, one laboratory.
Prerequisite: GEO 210 or permission of the instructor. Offered according to demand.
Study of the depositional and diagenetic history of carbonate rocks.

 

 
GEO 513 Sedimentary Petrology: Clastics. Four hours.  Two lectures, one laboratory.
Prerequisite: GEO 210 or permission of the instructor. Offered according to demand.
Study of the depositional and diagenetic history of clastic rocks.
 
GEO 514 Advanced Igneous Petrology. Three hours.
Study of igneous processes, with emphasis on phase relations, geochemical evolution, and physicochemical conditions. Offered fall semester.
 
GEO 515 Metamorphic Petrology. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Study of metamorphic processes, types, textures, and petrogenesis and the use of metamorphic rocks for understanding tectonism.
 
GEO 516 Volcanology. Three hours. Offered according to demand.

Not open to students who have earned credit for GEO 416.
Rheologic properties of magmatic systems and application of these principles to the understanding of volcanic processes.
 
GEO 521 Well-Log Analysis. Three hours.  Two lectures, one laboratory. Offered according to demand.
Prerequisite: GEO 314 and GEO 367.
Analysis and interpretation of geophysical log data, including resistivity, porosity, gamma, and other newly developed logs. Geologic uses of log data and shaly sand interpretation are also discussed.
 
GEO 522 Sedimentary Basin Analysis. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Prerequisite: GEO 365 or GEO 367.
Examination of the evolution and development of sedimentary basins. Emphasis is on sedimentary, tectonic, and geochemical processes and their influence in petroleum generation, accumulation, and preservation.
 
GEO 525 Advanced Topics in Geology. One to Six credits. Offered according to demand.
Advanced topics in the following areas: economic geology, geochemistry, geohydrology, geophysics, geomorphology, mineralogy, paleontology, petrology, sedimentation, stratigraphy, structural geology, and tectonics.
 
GEO 530 Ore Deposits. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Introduction to sedimentary, hydrothermal, metasomatic, and magmatic ore deposits, including geologic setting and genesis.
 
GEO 534 Seminar in Tectonics. One hour. Offered fall and spring semesters.
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
Discussion of current research in Tectonics and related subjects. May be repeated for credit.
 
GEO 535/GEO 536 Graduate Seminar in Geology. One hour. Offered fall and spring semesters.
Oral presentations on current geological topics.
 
GEO 541 Applied Geophysics. Three hours. Offered fall semester.
Prerequisite: MATH 126 and PH 102:104 or equivalent.
The use of physical measurements to infer subsurface structure. Includes seismic reflection and refraction profiling, gravity and magnetic anomalies, electric and electromagnetic prospecting, and borehole geophysics.
 
GEO 542 Geodynamics. Three hours. Offered Spring semester.
Prerequisite: PH 102, PH 104, MATH 126, GEO 314, GEO 365, or permission of the instructor.
Introduction to the structure of the earth’s interior and theory of plate tectonics. Quantitative analysis of the physical processes governing the formation of major tectonic and magmatic features on the earth. Emphasis is on understanding geodynamic processes in orogenic belts, volcanic arcs, intraplate magmatism, sedimentary basins, and continental extensional provinces. 
 
GEO 545 Multichannel Seismic Processing. Four hours.
Prerequisite: Math 126 and PH 102:104.
Introduction to multi-channel seismic data acquisition, processing and interpretation. Includes the theory of wave propagation, time series analysis, and filtering. Problem-based lab using real-world data & examples.
 
GEO 546 Scientific Computing. Three hours.
Prerequisite: two 200 or 300 geoscience courses or by permission of the instructor. This course covers a broad range of computational methods used in the geosciences. Topics include data analysis, manipulation and image processing, using a variety of software packages.
 
GEO 555 Advanced Paleontology. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Prerequisite: GEO 355. Detailed examination of selected fossil groups.
 
GEO 557 Geologic History of the Vertebrates and Land Plants. Three hours. Offered alternate years.
Not open to students who have earned credit for GEO 457.
Prerequisite: GEO 102 or permission of the instructor.
Geologic history of vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants as they invaded the land and evolved through time.
 
GEO 559 Paleoecology. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Prerequisite: GEO 355 or permission of the instructor.
Examination of the relationships between fossil organisms and their depositional environments.
 
GEO 560 Watershed Hydrology. Three hours. 
Not open to students who have earned credit for GEO 460. Prerequisite: GEO 363 or permission of the instructor. Offered alternate spring semesters or on demand.
Analysis of hydrological processes in a watershed. Emphasis on applying hydrology concepts to evaluate runoff, erosion, fluvial processes, channel stability, ecological impact, and flood prediction in natural and altered watersheds.
 
GEO 561 Sequence and Seismic Stratigraphy. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Prerequisite: GEO 367.
A review of lithostratigraphic principles and an examination of the sequence stratigraphic paradigm. Students also study methods of using lateral and vertical changes in seismic facies to interpret the lithology and depositional history of subsurface stratigraphic units.
 
GEO 562 Quaternary Environments. Three hours. Offered alternate spring semesters or on demand.
Prerequisite: GEO 363 or permission of the instructor.
Examination of quaternary glaciations and environmental changes. Emphasis on sedimentologic, geomorphic, and biogeographic evidence of changes in geological, hydrological, and biological processes in response to climatic variations. Not open to students who have earned credit for GEO 462. Offered alternate spring semesters or on demand.

GEO 564 Structural Validation and Modeling. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Theory and techniques for validating and modeling maps and cross-sections. Includes balance and restoration of cross-sections, and derivation and use of predictive geometric and kinematic models. Practical problem solving is emphasized.
 
GEO 565 Comparative Structural Geology. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Analysis of the original literature on structural families and deformation-mechanism associations, emphasizing the low-temperature environment.
 
GEO 567 Clastic Depositional Environments: Processes and Facies.  Three hours. Offered according to demand.

Prerequisite: GEO 367.
An examination of the relationships between sedimentary processes and facies. Emphasis is on use of lateral and vertical changes in sediment composition, texture, and structures to identify environments of deposition within the various clastic depositional systems.

 
GEO 570 General Geochemistry. Four hours. Offered fall semester.
Prerequisite: GEO 314 or permission of the instructor. Not open to students who have earned credit for GEO 470.

Overview of the field of geochemistry (elementary chemical equilibria and thermodynamics, organic geochemistry, isotope geochemistry), with an emphasis on solving geologic problems.
 
GEO 571 Thermodynamics for Geologists. Three hours. Offered alternate fall semesters.
Prerequisite: MATH 126 or permissions of the instructor. Semi-derivational approach to understanding the thermodynamic relations most useful to geologists. Emphasis is on using the derived relations to solve common geologic problems.
 
GEO 575 Petrochemistry. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Principles and techniques in geochemical modeling of magmatic, hydrothermal, and metamorphic processes.
 
GEO 576 Analytical Geochemistry. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Theory, techniques, and applications of geochemical methods for the analysis of rocks, ores, and aqueous fluids.
 
GEO 577 Microanalysis in Geology. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Prerequisite: GEO 314 and GEO 470. Application of microprobe, scanning electron microscopy, and other microanalytical techniques in geology.

GEO 582 Advanced Stratigraphy. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Examines stratigraphic nomenclature, principles, and concepts. Lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, allostratigraphy, chronostratigraphy, and geochronology are studied.
 
GEO 583 Global Tectonics. Three hours.
Study of tectonics, plate motions, and tectonic environments. Includes discussion of controlling factors, driving forces, and resulting structures with emphasis on island arcs, trenches, backarc basins, transform boundaries, and continental margins. Offered alternate spring semesters or by demand.
 
GEO 590 Seminar in Regional Geology. One hour. Offered according to demand.
Prerequisite: GEO 314, GEO 365, and GEO 367.
Literature and field study of the geology of selected areas.
 
GEO 598 Research Not Related to Thesis. Variable credit. Offered according to demand.


GEO 599 Thesis Research. Variable credit.
 
GEO 607 Introduction to Groundwater Modeling. Three hours. Offered Spring semester.
Prerequisite: GEO 506, MATH 253, and CS 226; or permission of the instructor.
Introduction to the theory and application of groundwater modeling. 

 
GEO 608 Contaminant Hydrogeology and Modeling. Three hours. Offered Fall semester.
Prerequisite: GEO 607 or permission of the instructor.
Introduction to concepts and models in contaminant hydrogeology.
 
GEO 610 Fluvial Geomorphology. Three hours. Offered Fall semester.
Analysis of fluvial processes, channel morphology, and channel responses. Emphasis on flow hydraulics, sediment transport, depositional mechanics, geomorphic effectiveness, and channel form adjustment.

 
GEO 626 Advanced Topics in Geology. Variable credit. Offered according to demand.
Advanced topics in the following areas: economic geology, geochemistry, geohydrology, geophysics, geomorphology, mineralogy, paleontology, petrology, sedimentation, stratigraphy, structural geology, and tectonics.
 
GEO 634 Seminar in Tectonics. One hour. Offered Fall and Spring semesters.
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
Discussion of current research in Tectonics and related subjects. May be repeated for credit.
 
GEO 635/GEO 636 Graduate Seminar in Geology. One hour. Offered Fall and Spring semesters.
Oral presentations on current geological topics. Offered Fall and Spring semesters.

GEO 650 Isotope Geology. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
Principles of stable and radiogenic isotope geochemistry, and applications to economic geology, geochronology, petrology, and tectonics.

GEO 652 Isotope Hydrology. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Prerequisite: GEO 570.
Study of the distribution, production, and usage of naturally occurring and anthropogenically introduced stable and radioactive isotopes in the earth’s surficial environment. Emphasis will be place on the application of isotopes in solving hydrologic and geomorphic problems.
 
GEO 663 Structural Geology Seminar. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Prerequisite: GEO 564, GEO 565, or permission of the instructor. May be repeated for credit.
Topics in quantitative structural geology.
 
GEO 669 Carbonate Depositional Environments. Three hours.
Prerequisite: GEO 512 or permission of the instructor.
Study of modern and ancient carbonate depositional systems, with emphasis on facies analysis and depositional modeling.
 
GEO 673 Aqueous Environmental Geochemistry. Three hours.

Offered alternate Spring semesters.  Prerequisite: GEO 570.
Advanced treatment of the topics of low-temperature aqueous geochemistry important for understanding inorganic processes controlling the chemical quality of surface and subsurface waters. Emphasis is on solving problems in environmental geochemistry.
 
GEO 674 Organic Geochemistry. Three hours.
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
Study of the distribution, fate, and geochemical interactions of both natural and anthropogenic organic compounds in the environment.
 
GEO 676 Chemical Diagenesis. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Study of chemical processes controlling diagenetic changes in carbonate and clastic rocks. Topics include dissolution/precipitation, porosity modification, secondary porosity, biologic diagenesis, pressure solution, mineral alternation, dolomitization, artificial diagenesis, and applications to oil exploration and production.
 
GEO 681 Biostratigraphy and Paleobiogeography. Three hours. Offered according to demand.
Prerequisite: GEO 582 or permission of the instructor.
Examination of the principles and techniques of biostratigraphy and paleobiogeography using examples from the Paleozoic Era.
 
GEO 698 Non-Dissertation Research. Variable credit. Offered according to demand.

 

GEO 699 Dissertation Research. Variable credit.


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