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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 2013. 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. During the course, students complete a research project on Maine geology.

1305 {104} a - MCSR, INS. Environmental Geology and Hydrology. Every spring. Spring 2014. 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 landslides. Weekly labs and fieldwork examine local environmental problems affecting Maine’s rivers, lakes, and coast. Students complete a community-based research project on Maine water quality. (Same as Environmental Studies 1104 {104}.)

1505 {102} a - INS. Oceanography. Every spring. Spring 2014. Collin Roesler. Spring 2015. Michèle LaVigne.

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 2013. 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. Every spring. Spring 2014. Emily Peterman.

Explores the historical, current, and future demands of society on the natural resources of the earth and the ocean. Discusses the formation and extraction of salt, gold, diamonds, rare earth elements, coal, oil, natural gas, and renewable energies (e.g., tidal, geothermal, solar, wind). Examines how policies for these resources are written and revised to reflect changing societal values. Students complete a research project that explores the intersection of natural resources and society. (Same as Environmental Studies 2250 {205}.)

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}.

2110 {211} a - INS. Volcanoes. Fall 2013. Rachel Beane.

Volcanoes make the news for their human impact, and they reveal much about the inner workings of Earth. Examination of volcanic eruptions, landforms, products, and hazards. Exploration of tectonic influence and magmatic origins of volcanoes. Investigation into the impact of volcanoes on humans, climate, and earth history.

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}).

2125 {241} a - MCSR, INS. Field Studies in Structural Geology. Fall 2013. 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. Spring 2014. Emily Peterman.

Although only about forty years old, the theory of plate tectonics forever changed the way we view our earth, from static to dynamic. Plate tectonics provides a global framework to understand such varied phenomena as earthquakes, volcanoes, ocean basins, and mountain systems both on continents (e.g., the Himalaya, the Andes) and beneath the seas (e.g., the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the East Pacific Rise). In-depth analysis of plate boundaries, the driving forces of plate tectonics, global plate reconstructions, and the predictive power of plate tectonics. Lectures and three hours of laboratory or fieldwork per week.

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}.

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 pressure, temperature, and chemical changes (e.g., mountain building). Interactions between the 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 field 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 2014. David R. Griffith.

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. Fall 2013. 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. Spring 2015. 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: 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}.

2355 {272} a. Glaciers and Ice Ages. Spring 2014. Peter Lea.

Glaciers are both prolific sculptors of Earth’s landscapes and integral elements in the global climate system. Examines current and former glacier distribution and movement, and the processes and products of glacial erosion and deposition. Explores methods for reconstructing ice-age environments and climate change in the geologic record of ice sheets and linked nonglacial systems. Includes field investigations of Maine’s glaciated landscapes.

Prerequisite: One course numbered 1100 or higher in earth and oceanographic science. or Environmental Studies 1102 {102}, 1104 {104}, or 1515 {105}.

2525 {252} a. Marine Biogeochemistry. Spring 2014. 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. Every other fall. Fall 2013. Collin Roesler.

The polar regions undergo extreme seasonal variations that dominate the environmental and ecological patterns. Despite being the coldest regions on the planet they are most sensitive to the recent warming trends induced by anthropogenic increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide. In turn the cryospheric and oceanographic responses to warming have complex feedbacks to global climate. The tectonic evolution of modern polar geography, climate, glaciers and sea ice, ocean circulation and ocean biology of the Arctic and Antarctic regions are compared and contrasted. In addition to scientific readings (textbook chapters and journal articles), students will read an array of first-hand accounts of polar exploration from the turn of the twentieth century, such as Fridjof Nansen’s Farthest North, from which many important scientific discoveries were made. (Same as Environmental Studies 2287 {287}.)

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}.

2540 a - INS. Equatorial Oceanography. Spring 2014. 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}).

2585 {282} a - MCSR, INS. Ocean and Climate. Fall 2016. 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}.

2810 {257} a. Atmosphere and Ocean Dynamics. Fall 2013. 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 2014. 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 2014. Rachel Beane.

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}).

3515 {351} a. Research in Oceanography: Topics in Paleoceanography. Fall 2013. 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, 2013. For most current course information, use the online course finder. Also see Addenda.