Courses

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EOS 1105. Investigating Earth.
Dynamic processes, such as earthquakes and volcanoes, shape the earth on which we live. In-class lectures and exercises examine these processes from the framework of plate tectonics. Weekly field laboratories explore rocks exposed along the Maine coast. During the course, students complete a research project on Maine geology.
EOS 2005. Biogeochemistry: An Analysis of Global Change.
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.
EOS 2115. Volcanology.
Volcanism is responsible for the crusts and atmospheres of all the rocky planets (and some of the icy ones as well) and also affects human civilization. Survey of volcanic rocks and landforms and the impacts of volcanism on human and Earth history and climate. Volcanism serves as a probe into planetary interiors and allows comparison across the solar system. During weekly laboratory sessions students will examine volcanic rocks in hand sample and thin section, volcanic deposits in the field and in maps and photos, and investigate the links between a magma’s eruptive style and its composition. Not open to students with credit in Earth and Oceanographic Science 2110 (211).
EOS 2345. Landscapes and Global Change.
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.
EOS 2550. Remote Sensing of the Ocean: A View from the Top.
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 the Earth each day. This course will examine 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, 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.
EOS 2585. Ocean and Climate.
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 paleo-climate records preserved in deep-sea sediment cores and in Antarctic and Greenland glacial ice cores, the patterns of natural climate variations will be explored with the goal of understanding historic climate change observations. Predictions of 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 171 is recommended.
EOS 2610. Planetary Geology.
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. Students will use new data and resources from spacecraft in orbit and on the surface of planetary bodies, and we will augment our text with historic and recent articles on meteorite studies and planetary modeling.
EOS 3515. Research in Oceanography: Topics in Paleoceanography.
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. This course includes a laboratory and fulfills the 300-level research experience course requirement for the Earth and Oceanographic Science major.