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The College Catalogue

Earth and Oceanographic Science – Courses

Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced Courses

1105 {101} a - INS. Investigating Earth. Every fall. Fall 2014. Emily Peterman.

Dynamic processes, such as earthquakes, sea-floor spreading, subduction and volcanoes, shape the earth on which we live. Explores these processes and the rocks and minerals they produce from the framework of plate tectonics during class and laboratory sections. Weekly field laboratories investigate rocks exposed along the Maine coast. Students complete a research project on Maine geology.

1305 {104} a - MCSR, INS. Environmental Geology and Hydrology. Every spring. Spring 2015. Peter Lea.

An introduction to aspects of geology and hydrology that affect the environment and land use. Topics include lakes, watersheds and surface-water quality, groundwater contamination, coastal erosion, and/or landslides. Weekly labs and fieldwork examine local environmental problems affecting Maine’s rivers, lakes, and coast. Students complete a community-based research project. (Same as Environmental Studies 1104 {104}.)

1505 {102} a - INS. Oceanography. Every spring. Spring 2015. Collin Roesler.

The fundamentals of geological, physical, chemical, and biological oceanography. Topics include tectonic evolution of the ocean basins; deep sea sedimentation as a record of ocean history; global ocean circulation, waves, and tides; chemical cycles; ocean ecosystems and productivity; and the oceans’ role in climate change. Weekly labs and fieldwork demonstrate these principles in the setting of Casco Bay and the Gulf of Maine. Students complete a field-based research project on coastal oceanography. (Same as Environmental Studies 1102 {102}.)

2005 {200} a. Biogeochemistry: An Analysis of Global Change. Every fall. Fall 2014.
Philip Camill.

Understanding global change requires knowing how the biosphere, geosphere, oceans, ice, and atmosphere interact. An introduction to earth system science, emphasizing the critical interplay between the physical and living worlds. Key processes include energy flow and material cycles, soil development, primary production and decomposition, microbial ecology and nutrient transformations, and the evolution of life on geochemical cycles in deep time. Terrestrial, wetland, lake, river, estuary, and marine systems are analyzed comparatively. Applied issues are emphasized as case studies, including energy efficiency of food production, acid rain impacts on forests and aquatic systems, forest clearcutting, wetland delineation, eutrophication of coastal estuaries, ocean fertilization, and global carbon sinks. Lectures and three hours of laboratory or fieldwork per week. (Same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}.)

Prerequisite: One course numbered 1100–1999 {101–105} in earth and oceanographic science; or Biology 1102 {102} or 1109 {109}; or Chemistry 1102 {102} or 1109 {109}; or Environmental Studies 1102 {102}, 1104 {104} or 1515 {105}.

[2020 {205} a - INS. Earth, Ocean, and Society.]

[2110 {211} a - INS. Volcanoes.]

2115 a - INS. Volcanology. Fall 2014. Christian Schrader.

Volcanism is responsible for the crusts and atmospheres of all the rocky planets (and some of the icy ones as well), affects human civilization, serves as a probe into planetary interiors, and allows comparison across the solar system. Surveys volcanic rocks and landforms and the impacts of volcanism on human and Earth history and climate. Weekly laboratory sessions study volcanic rocks in hand-sample and thin-section volcanic deposits in the field and in maps and photos and investigate the links between magma eruptive style and composition. Not open to students who have credit for Earth and Oceanographic Science 2110 {211}.

Prerequisite: One of: Earth and Oceanographic Science 1105 {101}, 1305 {104} (same as Environmental Studies 1104 {104}), 1505 {102} (same as Environmental Studies 1102 {102}), 1515 {105} (same as Environmental Studies 1515 {105}), or 2005 {200}(same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}).

2125 {241} a - MCSR, INS. Field Studies in Structural Geology. Fall 2015. Rachel Beane.

Geologic structures yield evidence for the dynamic deformation of the earth’s crust. Examines deformation at scales that range from the plate-tectonic scale of the Appalachian mountains to the microscopic scale of individual minerals. A strong field component provides ample opportunity for describing and mapping faults, folds, and other structures exposed along the Maine coast. In-class exercises focus on problem solving through the use of geologic maps, cross-sections, stereographic projections, strain analysis, and computer applications.

Prerequisite: One course numbered 1100–1999 {101–105} in earth and oceanographic science or Earth and Oceanographic Science 2005 {200} (same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}); or Environmental Studies 1102 {102}, 1104 {104} or 1515 {105}.

[2145 {242} a - INS. The Plate Tectonics Revolution.]

2165 {262} a - INS. Mountains to Trenches: Petrology and Process. Spring 2015.
Emily Peterman.

Exploration of the processes by which igneous rocks solidify from magma (e.g., volcanoes) and metamorphic rocks form in response to changes in pressure, temperature, and chemistry (e.g., mountain building). Interactions between petrologic processes and tectonics are examined through a focus on the continental crust, mid-ocean ridges, and subduction zones. Learning how to write effectively is emphasized throughout the course. Laboratory work focuses on hand sample observations, microscopic examination of thin sections, and geochemical modeling.

Prerequisite: Earth and Oceanographic Science 2005 {200} (same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}).

2325 {206} a - INS. Environmental Chemistry. Spring 2015. Dharni Vasudevan.

Focuses on two key processes that influence human and wildlife exposure to potentially harmful substances—chemical speciation and transformation. Equilibrium principles as applied to acid-base, complexation, precipitation, and dissolution reactions are used to explore organic and inorganic compound speciation in natural and polluted waters; quantitative approaches are emphasized. Weekly laboratory sections are concerned with the detection and quantification of organic and inorganic compounds in air, water, and soils/sediments. (Same as Chemistry 2050 {205} and Environmental Studies 2255 {211}.)

Prerequisite: Chemistry 1109 {109}, placement in chemistry at the 2000 level, or a course numbered 2000–2969 {200–289} in chemistry.

2335 {220} a - INS. Sedimentary Systems. Every other fall. Fall 2015. Peter Lea.

Investigates modern and ancient sedimentary systems, both continental and marine, with emphasis on the dynamics of sediment transport, interpretation of depositional environments from sedimentary structures and facies relationships, stratigraphic techniques for interpreting earth history, and tectonic and sea-level controls on large-scale depositional patterns. Weekend trip to examine Devonian shoreline deposits in the Catskill Mountains in New York is required.

Prerequisite: One course numbered 1100–1999 {100–105} in earth and oceanographic science or Earth and Oceanographic Science 2005 {200} (same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}); or Environmental Studies 1102 {102}, 1104 {104} or 1515 {105}.

2345 {270} a. Landscapes and Global Change. Every other fall. Fall 2014. Peter Lea.

The Earth’s surface is marked by the interactions of the atmosphere, water and ice, biota, tectonics, and underlying rock and soil. Even familiar landscapes beget questions on how they formed, how they might change, and how they relate to patterns at both larger and smaller scales. Examines Earth’s landscapes and the processes that shape them, with particular emphasis on how future changes may both influence and be influenced by humans. Topics include specific land-shaping agents (rivers, glaciers, landslides, groundwater), as well as how these agents interact with one another and with changing climate, tectonics, and human activities. (Same as Environmental Studies 2270 {270}.)

Prerequisite: Earth and Oceanographic Science 2005 {200} (same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}).

[2355 {272} a. Glaciers and Ice Ages.]

2525 {252} a. Marine Biogeochemistry. Spring 2015. Michèle LaVigne.

Oceanic cycles of carbon, oxygen, and nutrients play a key role in linking global climate change, marine primary productivity, and ocean acidification. Fundamental concepts of marine biogeochemistry used to assess potential consequences of future climate scenarios on chemical cycling in the ocean. Past climate transitions evaluated as potential analogs for future change, using select case studies of published paleoceanographic proxy records derived from corals, ice cores, and deep-sea sediments. Weekly laboratory sections and student research projects focus on creating and interpreting new geochemical paleoclimate records from marine archives and predicting future impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on marine calcifiers. (Same as Environmental Studies 2251 {251}.)

Prerequisite: One course numbered 1100–1999 {100–105} in earth and oceanographic science or Environmental Studies 1102 {102}, 1104 {104}, or 1515 {105}; and Earth and Oceanographic Science 2005 {200} (same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}).

[2530 {287} a. Poles Apart: An Exploration of Earth’s High Latitudes.]

2540 a - INS. Equatorial Oceanography. Spring 2015. Michèle LaVigne.

The equatorial ocean is a region with virtually no seasonal variability, yet it undergoes the strongest interannual to decadal climate variations of any oceanographic province. This key region constitutes one of the most important yet highly variable natural sources of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere. Explores how circulation, upwelling, biological activity, biogeochemistry, and CO2 flux in this key region vary in response to rapid changes in climate. Particular emphasis on past, present, and future dynamics of the El Niño Southern Oscillation. In-class discussions are focused on the primary scientific literature.

Prerequisite: One earth and oceanographic science course numbered 1105-1515 {101-105] or Earth and Oceanographic Science 2005 {200} (same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}).

2550 a - INS. Remote Sensing of the Ocean: A View from the Top. Every other fall. Fall 2014. Collin Roesler.

In the 1980s, NASA’s satellite program turned some of its space-viewing sensors towards the Earth to better understand Earth’s processes. Since that time NASA’s Earth Observatory mission has yielded a fleet of satellites bearing an array of sensors that provide a global view of the Earth each day. Examines global ocean processes using lenses that target specific parts of the energy spectrum arising from the oceans, from ultraviolet light through microwaves, revealing such properties as ocean bathymetry, temperature, salinity, waves, currents, primary productivity, sea ice distribution, and sea level, among others. Now that satellite data records are exceeding thirty years in length, they can be used to interpret climate-scale responses of the ocean from space.

Prerequisite: One of: Earth and Oceanographic Science 1105 {101}, 1305 {104} (same as Environmental Studies 1104 {104}, 1505 {102} (same as Environmental Studies 1102 {102}), or 2005 {200} (same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}); and Mathematics 1600 {161}.

2585 {282} a - MCSR, INS. Ocean and Climate. Every other fall. Fall 2014. Collin Roesler.

The ocean covers more than 70 percent of Earth’s surface. It has a vast capacity to modulate variations in global heat and carbon dioxide, thereby regulating climate and ultimately life on Earth. Beginning with an investigation of paleoclimate records preserved in deep-sea sediment cores and in Antarctic and Greenland glacial ice cores, explores the patterns of natural climate variations with the goal of understanding historic climate change observations. Predictions of future polar glacial and sea ice, sea level, ocean temperatures, and ocean acidity investigated through readings and discussions of scientific literature. Weekly laboratory sessions devoted to field trips, laboratory experiments, and computer-based data analysis and modeling to provide hands-on experiences for understanding the time and space scales of processes governing oceans, climate, and ecosystems. Laboratory exercises form the basis for student research projects. Mathematics 1700 {171} is recommended. (Same as Environmental Studies 2282 {282}.)

Prerequisite: Earth and Oceanographic Science 1505 {102} (same as Environmental Studies 1102 {102}) or 2005 {200} (same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}), and Mathematics 1600 {161}.

2610 a. Planetary Geology. Fall 2014. Christian Schrader.

A survey of planetary bodies with an emphasis on the crusts of the rocky planets and moons. Solar system condensation and early differentiation, planet formation, comparative histories of the rocky planets, meteorites, and surface processes use new data and resources from spacecraft in orbit and on the surface of planetary bodies, augmenting text with historic and recent articles on meteorite studies and planetary modeling.

Prerequisite: One of: Earth and Oceanographic Science 1105 {101}, 1305 {104} (same as Environmental Studies 1104 {104}), 1505 {102} (same as Environmental Studies 1102 {102}), 1515 {105} (same as Environmental Studies 1515 {105}), or 2005 {200}(same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}).

2810 {257} a. Atmosphere and Ocean Dynamics. Every other fall. Fall 2015. Mark O. Battle.

A mathematically rigorous analysis of the motions of the atmosphere and oceans on a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Covers fluid dynamics in inertial and rotating reference frames, as well as global and local energy balance, applied to the coupled ocean-atmosphere system. (Same as Environmental Studies 2253 {253} and Physics 2810 {257}.)

Prerequisite: Physics 1140 {104} or permission of the instructor.

2970–2973 {291–294} a. Intermediate Independent Study in Earth and Oceanographic Science: Solid Earth. The Department.

2974–2977 {291–294} a. Intermediate Independent Study in Earth and Oceanographic Science: Surface Processes. The Department.

2978–2981 {291–294} a. Intermediate Independent Study in Earth and Oceanographic Science: Oceanography. The Department.

2982–2985 {291–294} a. Intermediate Independent Study in Earth and Oceanographic Science: Interdisciplinary. The Department.

2999 {299} a. Intermediate Collaborative Study in Earth and Oceanographic Science. The Department.

3020 {302} a. Earth Climate History. Spring 2015. Philip Camill.

The modern world is experiencing rapid climate warming and some parts extreme drought, which will have dramatic impacts on ecosystems and human societies. How do contemporary warming and aridity compare to past changes in climate over the last billion years? Are modern changes human-caused or part of the natural variability in the climate system? What effects did past changes have on global ecosystems and human societies? Students use environmental records from rocks, soils, ocean cores, ice cores, lake cores, fossil plants, and tree rings to assemble proxies of past changes in climate, atmospheric CO2, and disturbance to examine several issues: long-term carbon cycling and climate, major extinction events, the rise of C4 photosynthesis and the evolution of grazing mammals, orbital forcing and glacial cycles, glacial refugia and post-glacial species migrations, climate change and the rise and collapse of human civilizations, climate/overkill hypothesis of Pleistocene megafauna, climate variability, drought cycles, climate change impacts on disturbances (fire and hurricanes), and determining natural variability vs. human-caused climate change. (Same as Environmental Studies 3902 {302}.)

Prerequisite: Earth and Oceanographic Science 2005 {200} (same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}), or permission of the instructor.

3050 {357} a. The Physics of Climate. Every other spring. Spring 2015. Mark Battle.

A rigorous treatment of the earth’s climate, based on physical principles. Topics include climate feedbacks, sensitivity to perturbations, and the connections between climate and radiative transfer, atmospheric composition, and large-scale circulation of the oceans and atmospheres. Anthropogenic climate change also studied. (Same as Environmental Studies 3957 {357} and Physics 3810 {357}.)

Prerequisite: One of the following: Physics 2150 {229}, 2810 {257}, or 3000 {300}, or permission of the instructor.

3115 {315} a. Research in Mineral Science. Spring 2015. Christian Schrader.

Minerals are the Earth’s building blocks and an important human resource. The study of minerals provides information on processes that occur within the Earth’s core, mantle, crust, and at its surface. At the surface, minerals interact with the hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere and are essential to understanding environmental issues. Minerals and mineral processes examined using hand-specimens, crystal structures, chemistry, and microscopy. Class projects emphasize mineral-based research.

Prerequisite: Earth and Oceanographic Science 2005 {200} (same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}).

3140 {343} a. Tectonics and Climate. Spring 2015. Emily Peterman.

Exploration of the complex interactions between tectonics and climate. Discussion of current research is emphasized by reading primary literature, through class discussions and presentations, and by writing scientific essays. The emphasis on current research means topics may vary, but include: the rise of continents, the evolution of plate tectonics on Earth over the last 4.5 billion years, ancient mountain belts, supercontinents, the record of earth system processes preserved in the geologic record, predictions of how the modern earth system will be recorded in the future rock record, the topographic growth of mountain belts, and Cenozoic climate change. (Same as Environmental Studies 3943{343}.)

Prerequisite: Earth and Oceanographic Science 2005 {200} (same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}), or permission of the instructor.

3515 {351} a. Research in Oceanography: Topics in Paleoceanography. Fall 2014. Michèle LaVigne.

The ocean plays a key role in regulating Earth’s climate and serves as an archive of past climate conditions. The study of paleoceanography provides a baseline of natural oceanographic variability against which human-induced climate change must be assessed. Examination of the ocean’s physical, biological, and biogeochemical responses to external and internal forcings of Earth’s climate with focus on the Cenozoic Era (past 65.5 million years). Weekly labs and projects emphasize paleoceanographic reconstructions using deep-sea sediments, corals, and ice cores. Includes weekly laboratory sessions.

Prerequisite: Earth and Oceanographic Science 2005 {200} (same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}).

4000–4003 {401–404} a. Advanced Independent Study in Earth and Oceanographic Science: Solid Earth. The Department.

4004–4007 {401–404} a. Advanced Independent Study in Earth and Oceanographic Science: Surface Processes. The Department.

4008–4011 {401–404} a. Advanced Independent Study in Earth and Oceanographic Science: Oceanography. The Department.

4012–4015 {401–404} a. Advanced Independent Study in Earth and Oceanographic Science: Interdisciplinary. The Department.

4029 {405} a. Advanced Collaborative Study in Earth and Oceanographic Science. The Department.

4050–4051 a. Honors Project in Earth and Oceanographic Science: Solid Earth. The Department.

4052–4053 a. Honors Project in Earth and Oceanographic Science: Surface Processes. The Department.

4054–4055 a. Honors Project in Earth and Oceanographic Science: Oceanography. The Department.


Online Catalogue content is current as of August 1, 2014. For most current course information, use the online course finder. Also see Addenda.