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Spring 2024 Class Schedule

Spring 2024 class Schedule

Course Title Instructor Day/Time Lab(s)
101 Earth Science for the 21st Century  Jacobson TTh 11am-12:20pm 
201 Earth Systems Revealed  Sageman  MWF 12pm-12:50pm 

W 1pm-2:50pm 

W 3pm-4:50pm 

340 Physics of Weather & Climate  Horton  MW 3pm-4:30pm 
341 Quaternary Climate Change  Axford  TTh 11am-12:20pm 
390-08  R Data Science  Anderson  T 2pm-3:50pm  Th 2:pm-3:50pm 
390-12  Physics of Rock Deformation in Planetary Interiors  Mulyukova TTh 9:30am-10:50am 
450-04  Carbon Isotopes in Microbial Geobiology  Osburn  MW 1:30pm-2:50pm 


Spring 2024 course descriptions

EARTH 101 - Earth Science for the 21st Century 

Earth science encompasses the geology, chemistry, biology, and physics of our planet, while appreciating its beauty. Environmental degradation, natural resources, energy, climate change, and geologic hazards are among the most pressing issues facing society in the 21st century. This course introduces students to Earth science through topical lectures and discussion of current events and research in Earth science. Topics include formation, evolution, structure, and composition of the Earth, plate tectonics and the rock cycle, the water cycle, climate change, paleoclimate, peak oil and fracking, renewable energy, nuclear fuel cycle and policy, geology of the National Parks, and job prospects in Earth science. 

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EARTH 201 – Earth Systems Revealed 

Introduction to Physical Geology: The study of Earth systems and their interactions. This course will approach the study of Earth systems from two perspectives: 1) description and classification of Earth's features, including Earth materials, internal structure, and landforms and 2) description and explanation of the physical, chemical and biological processes that form and modify these features. Topics include minerals; sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks; the interior Earth, oceans, and atmosphere; solid Earth processes, such as volcanism, seismicity, and plate tectonics and their interactions with the atmosphere and hydrosphere to drive surface Earth processes, such as climate, weathering, and glaciation; geologic time; global change. This course includes a mandatory field trip to Baraboo, Wisconsin (see registration requirements for details). 

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EARTH 340 – Physics of Weather and Climate 

An investigation of atmospheric processes and the physical laws that govern them. Topics covered include atmospheric composition and structure, radiative transfer, thermodynamics, convection, precipitation, and the general circulation of the three-dimensional atmosphere. When possible course content will engage with contemporaneous atmospheric conditions, and provide students with a better understanding of their meteorological and climatic environments. Completion of introductory calculus and physics are required prior to enrollment. 

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EARTH 341 – Quaternary Climate Change: Ice Ages to the Age of Oil 

Methods for reconstructing and dating past environmental changes, causes of natural climate change, and major climate events of the Quaternary through the present. Their relevance for understanding current climate change. Prerequisite: At least one 200-level EARTH course; or consent of instructor. 

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EARTH 390-08 – R Data Science 

R Data Science: As we are in the era of ‘big data', the quantity and quality of data available for environmental, ecological and earth science research has exploded over the past few decades. The free and open-source R programming language has become a powerful tool in data analysis in scientific research. This course offers an introduction to the fundamentals of data science using the programming language, R. The course contents span from basic R programming skills to advanced skills including data management, visualization and analysis of spatial data such as weather and satellite imagery data. By conducting hands-on exercises and an extensive project, students will develop dynamic and reproducible outputs based on their own fields of interests. This course does not require prior coding experience. 

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EARTH 390-12 – Physics of Rock Deformation in Planetary Interiors 

Rock deformation governs many geological processes that shape the history and the future of terrestrial planets, including mantle convection, plate tectonics, earthquake cycles, volcanism, etc. Physics of rock deformation involves generation and motion of crystalline defects in minerals, such as vacancies, dislocations, and grain boundaries. This course provides an interdisciplinary treatment of the science of deformation of solid Earth with an emphasis on the materials science (microscopic) approach. We cover mechanical behavior over various time-scales, including the elastic, anelastic (viscoelastic), and plastic response, in addition to the applications of these results to important geological and geophysical problems. Special attention is given to high-temperature creep of olivine, the main constituent of the lithosphere and upper mantle. No previous knowledge of geology/geophysics or of materials science is assumed. The basics of continuum mechanics and thermodynamics are presented as far as they are relevant to the main topics of the course. 

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EARTH 450-04 – Carbon Isotopes in Microbial Geobiology 

This graduate level reading seminar will focus on the understand the use of carbon isotope ratios in geobiology, including the mechanisms of fractionation, reservoirs of isotopic information in modern and ancient systems, and specific environmental proxies. Students will read and present papers in addition to completing a final project on a topic of their choosing. Students intending to enroll should have a strong foundation in isotope geochemistry, geobiology, or permission from the instructor. 

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