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Earth Sciences

Undergraduate Officers
R.G Roberts, BFG 2112, ext. 3379
S. Schiff, BFG 2213, ext. 2473
J.F. Barker, BFG 2212, ext. 2103


  1. EARTH 121/122 or GEO E 126 is normally regarded as a prerequisite for any Major program in Earth Sciences.
  2. Second- third- and fourth-year courses may involve field trips in the fall. Normally, all those enrolled in Honours Earth Sciences programs are required to take a two-week field camp at the end of the third year (EARTH 390). The cost will range from $120-$150 per student.
  3. Regular Earth Sciences students are encouraged to seek geological employment in the summers.


EARTH 121 F 3C 0.5
The Planet We Live On
This course will be given in two parts: 1. Planet Earth: Structure of the Earth including plate tectonics, earthquakes, and volcanoes. 2. A Home for People: Natural processes operating on the Earth, e.g. erosion, mass wasting, glaciation permafrost, rivers, etc.
Coreq: EARTH 121L
Antireq: GEO E 126, EARTH 126

EARTH 122 W 3C 0.5
The Planet We Live Off
This course will be given in three parts: 1. A Planet for the Taking: Earth history; stratigraphic and paleontologic concepts; minerals and non-renewable earth resources and their exploitation. 2. The Planet Strikes Back: Natural hazards and global change. 3. Future Planet Earth: Primary considerations for survival; water, food and energy supplies, soil loss, waste disposal.
Prereq: EARTH 121 or permission of instructor
Coreq: EARTH 122L
Antireq: GEO E 126, EARTH 126

EARTH 121L F 3L 0.25
Introductory Earth Sciences Laboratory 1
For students taking EARTH 121. Laboratory exercises on selected topics from EARTH 121 lectures.

EARTH 122L W 3L 0.25
Introductory Earth Sciences Laboratory 2
For students taking EARTH 122. Laboratory exercises on selected topics form EARTH 122 lectures.

EARTH 123 F 3C,1T 0.5
Introductory Hydrology
Introduction to components of the hydrologic cycle, the interaction of these components and their revelance to current environmental concerns. Particular consideration will be given to geologic factors as they influence precipitation, surface runoff, urban runoff, streamflow generation, soil moisture, groundwater and surface water- groundwater interactions.
Antireq: EARTH 223

EARTH 126 S 2C,3L 0.5
Geological Engineering Concepts
An introduction to physical geology and earth processes. Geological time, introduction to earth, air and water processes including vulcanism, sedimentation, weathering, lithification, continental drift, radioactive dating, hydrogeology, pedology, resources, mass wasting, erosion.
Cross-listed as GEO E 126
Antireq: EARTH 121/122
Restricted to students in the Geological Engineering or with permission of instructor.


EARTH 221 W,S 3C,1T 0.5
Geochemistry 1
Origin, abundance and geochemistry of elements. Introduction to stable isotope geology and radiometric dating. Basic aqueous geochemistry.
Prereq: EARTH 121/121L, 122/122L or 126 or First Year
Chemistry or permission of instructor

EARTH 223 F 3C,1T 0.5
A review of the main components of the hydrologic cycle with a focus on quantitative analysis. The basic statistical treatment of hydrologic data and the evaluation of stream flow generation. Hydrologic processes related to land development and watershed management will be stressed. Prereq. EARTH 121/121L, 122/122L, MATH 107/108
Antireq: Earth 123

EARTH 231 F 2C,3L 0.5
Systematic mineralogy. Classification and interrelationships of chemical, structural and physical properties of the major rock-forming minerals. Elementary petrology of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks in outcrop and hand specimen.
Prereq: EARTH 121/121L, 122/122L or 126 (= GEO E 126), or permission of instructor

EARTH 232 W,S 2C,3L 0.5
An introduction to optical mineralogy. The study and occurrence of important rock forming minerals and their identification in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. The nature and origin of textural features of rocks.
Prereq: EARTH 231

EARTH 235 F 2C,3L 0.5
An introduction to the nature, origin and interpretation of stratified earth materials. Emphasis on principles and approaches.
Prereq: EARTH 121/121L, 122/122L

EARTH 236 F 2C,3L 0.5
Principles of Paleontology
The principles of paleontology with particular stress on the species concept and evolution; examples will be drawn primarily from the fossil record of plants and vertebrates. Laboratory work will include projects related to lecture topics.
Prereq: EARTH 121/121L, 122/122L

EARTH 238 W,S 3C,3L 0.5
Introductory Structural Geology
Major structural features of the earth. Concepts of stress and strain; elementary rock mechanics. The deformation of earth materials, continuous and discontinuous structures. Introduction to regional tectonics as applied to structures.
Prereq: EARTH 121/121L, 122/122L

EARTH 260 F 3C,2L 0.5
Applied Geophysics 1
An introduction to seismic, gravity, electric, electromagnetic and magnetic methods of exploration geophysics.
Prereq: PHYS 111/112 or 121/122 or consent of instructor


EARTH 331 F 2C,3L 0.5
Igneous Petrology
The principles and theories of igneous rock genesis. Silicate phase equilibria in magmatic systems. Magmatic differentiation; distribution and occurrence of magma types.
Prereq: EARTH 231232

EARTH 332 W 2C,3L 0.5
Metamorphic Petrology
Principles and theories of metamorphic rock genesis. Static, dynamic and polyphasal crystalloblastic growth. Processes of solid-state crystallization in metamorphic environments. Zonal and facies classifications; facies series and the place of metamorphism in global tectonics. Introduction to metasomatism.
Prereq: EARTH 232

EARTH 333 W 2C,3L 0.5
Introductory Sedimentology
The origin, transport and deposition of sediments. Size analysis and sedimentary structures. Recent sedimentary environments as a key to the interpretation of ancient sediments. Sedimentary petrology.
Prereq: EARTH 232, 235

EARTH 336 F 2C,3L 0.5
Advanced paleontology emphasizing morphology, classification, evolution, paleoecology and stratigraphic value of fossil invertebrates. Laboratory study of fossil collections.
Prereq: EARTH 236

EARTH 342 F 2C,3L 0.5
Applied Geomorphology
Physical processes, environmental impact and remediation. Development, erosion and engineering capabilities of soils and glacial drift. Permafrost. Fluvial processes. Flood control. Glacial deposits. Landslides. Coastal processes. Laboratory work involves field projects, air photo interpretation and terrain analysis.
Prereq: EARTH 121/121L, 122/122L or GEO E 126
Antireq: GEOG 201

EARTH 345 W 2C,2L 0.5
Historical Geology
A systematic review of the geological history of North America from the Precambrian to the Recent exemplified by regional geology. Laboratory work will include study of maps and cross sections.
Prereq: EARTH 235

EARTH 355 F 3C 0.5
Statistical Methods in Geology
Introduction to the principles of probability and statistics and their application in the earth sciences. Evaluation of quantitative data; statistical models.
Prereq: CS 100 or equivalent computing experience
Antireq: STAT 202, 204, 220 or 221, CIV E 224, ME 202, SY DE 213, 214

EARTH 358 W 3C,1T 0.5
Environmental Geology for Earth Scientists
The influence of geology on the natural environment with special emphasis on hazards and the role of groundwater; hydrogeology in the runoff cycle; groundwater resources development and subsurface waste disposal; environmental geology as a factor in health and disease.
Prereq: EARTH 121/121L or GEO E 126, CHEM 123 or equivalent

EARTH 359 F 3C,1T 0.5
Flow Through Porous Media
Quantitative introduction to the physical principles that govern the flow of fluids through porous and fractured geologic materials. Physical properties of fluids and porous media will be presented and conservation, flux and state equations will be developed. Physics of slow of immiscible fluids, including air-water and oil-water combinations will be included.
Prereq: EARTH 121/121L, 122/122L or GEO E 126 or CIV E 253, MATH 213A/B or equivalents

EARTH 360 W 2C,1T 0.5
Earth Physics and Plate Tectonics
Principles of seismology, geomagnetism, heat flow and gravity applied to problems such as earth structure and earthquake prediction. A quantitative discussion of plate tectonics.
Prereq: EARTH 121/121L, 122/122L or GEO E 126, PHYS 121/122 or equivalent

EARTH 370 W 3C,2L 0.5
Earth Resources
Diverse exploitable resources: metals, rocks, fuels, soils, and water, and their use by civilizations. Geology and occurrence of resources in the earth; concentration and exploitation. Impact of alternatives on society and environment. Laboratory involves geological applications, sampling methods, and ore mineral suites from mines and quarries.
Prereq: EARTH 231, 232

EARTH 390 W fldlab
Methods in Geological Mapping
Week long field study in Sudbury and Whitefish Falls area. Held at end of Winter term. Geological and geotechnical field techniques, map construction, report writing.
Prereq: EARTH 232, 235, 238


EARTH 421 F 2C,3L 0.5
Geochemistry 2
The application of chemical thermodynamics to geochemical problems. Development of the three laws of Thermodynamics; Gibbs free energy and equilibria constants. Introduction to various topics in aqueous geochemistry such as mineral equilibria, ion exchange and redox equilibria. Laboratory session will involve various experiments related to mineral solubility, chemical kinetics, acid-base equilibria and chemical modelling.
Prereq: First year chemistry, EARTH 221
Restricted to fourth-year and graduate students.

EARTH 427 W 2C,3S 0.5
Crustal Evolution
The application of geological knowledge and reasoning to significant contemporary earth science problems including that of global tectonics and global change.
Normally restricted to fourth-year Earth Sciences students.

EARTH 432 F 3C,2S 0.5
Precambrian Geology
The geology, tectonics, stratigraphy and history of the Canadian Precambrian Shield. The early evolution of the Earth's crust. The Precambrian time scale and problems of geochronology. Life, climate and physical conditions in Precambrian time.

EARTH 433 W 2C,3L 0.5
Applied Sedimentology
The source, migration and sedimentary environment of hydrocarbons, exploration, types of traps, extraction. Carbonate sediments and their diagenesis. The environmental impact and control of recent sedimentation.
Prereq: EARTH 333

EARTH 434 W 2C,3S 0.5
Methods of using paleontological data to solve stratigraphic problems. Faunal provinces in space and time. Effects of continental drift and climatic change on biogeography through the Phanerozoic.
Prereq: EARTH 336

EARTH 435 F 3C,2L 0.5
Advanced Structural Geology
The geometry, kinematics and dynamics of structural geology. The relationships of structures from the microscopic to the megascopic scale; statistical studies of structural elements.
Prereq: EARTH 238

EARTH 436A/B F/W 6L 0.5/0.5
Honours Thesis
Each student will work under the direction of a member of the Department on a short research project. The results of this will be presented in thesis form and will be critically examined by members of this and, where pertinent, other departments.
For Honours Earth Sciences students or consent of instructor

EARTH 437 F 2C,3L 0.5
Rock Mechanics
Review of stress and strain. Mohr's circle, strength theories, laboratory tests, classification of rocks. Rock mechanics considerations in the construction of shafts, drifts, tunnels, foundations and rock slopes. Laboratory exercises will deal with uniaxial, triaxial, flexure, hardness and tensile testing of rock. Problem sets will be assigned.
Prereq: A course in Statics and Mechanics of deformable materials, or consent of instructor

EARTH 438 W 2C,3wkshp 0.5
Engineering Geology
Review of basic concepts in soil and rock mechanics. Field and laboratory methods used to define and characterize the properties of geological materials and their use in selected engineering geologic design and construction problems. Laboratory assignments will focus on the determination of physical properties and site assessment problems.

EARTH 440 F 2C,3L 0.5
Quaternary Geology
Stratigraphy and history of the Quaternary Period with emphasis on glaciation. Laboratory studies on glacial deposits. Field trips. A previous course in geomorphology is recommended.
Not to be taken by third-year Earth Sciences students.

EARTH 441 W 2C,3L 0.5
Introductory Quaternary Ecology
An introduction to Quaternary ecology. The morphology, biostratigraphy, distribution and paleoecological significance of major plant and animal groups in the Quaternary sciences. Relationships of fossil assemblages to modern ecosystems. Students will be expected to arrange with the instructors a field trip in the preceding term.
Prereq: EARTH 440 or consent of instructors

EARTH 456 F 3C 0.5
Groundwater Modelling
An introduction to numerical techniques for groundwater modelling, focusing on the understanding of fundamental principles and an appreciation of the role of models. Finite difference, finite element, and particle tracing methods are studied and applied to the solution of problems in groundwater flow, aquifer mechanics, flownet generation, and advective-dispersive transport. Proper modelling approaches, error analysis, stability, discretization constraints, pitfalls, and model misuse are discussed. The student will write some simple FORTRAN programs, and obtain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art interactive groundwater models in the PC laboratory.
Prereq: CS 102, one of EARTH 359 or 458, or equivalent. MATH 125 is recommended.

EARTH 458 F,S 3C,1T 0.5
Physical Hydrogeology
An introduction to physical hydrogeology, including Darcy's law, the groundwater flow equations for steady-state and transient conditions, applications to flow nets, aquifer testing, groundwater resources evaluation, and construction-project dewatering. The role of groundwater in the hydrologic cycle is explored with emphasis on natural groundwater flow systems and their influence on stream flow, slope stability and soil drainage. Physical processes controlling groundwater contamination are introduced.
Prereq: EARTH 121/121L, 122/122L or GEO E 126 or CIV E 253. MATH 213A/B or equivalents are recommended.

EARTH 459 W 3C,1T 0.5
Chemical Hydrogeology
An introduction to the chemical side of hydrogeology with emphasis on groundwater quality and contaminants in the groundwater zone, the geochemical origin of major ions in natural groundwater, causes of hardness, groundwater age determination using isotopes, common causes of groundwater contamination; processes governing contaminant behaviour including dispersion, diffusion and adsorption, hydrogeologic aspects of site selection for waste disposal.
Prereq: EARTH 221 or CIV E 375 and EARTH 231 or permission of instructor, and EARTH 458

EARTH 460 W 3C,1T 0.5
Applied Geophysics 2
A detailed examination of selected topics in exploration geophysics, with an emphasis on data processing, time series analysis and computer modelling of geophysical responses.
Prereq: EARTH 260
Recommended: MATH 213A and an introductory course in computer programming.

EARTH 461 F 2C,1T,3L 0.5
Applied Geophysics 3
A field oriented course emphasizing current methodology in environmental geophysics, including waste management and hydrogeological applications.
Prereq: EARTH 260

EARTH 470 W 3C,2L 0.5
Metallic Mineral Deposits
The petrology and genesis of metalliferous ore deposits. The description of classic deposits; the stability of ore minerals; ore minerals in aqueous systems. The laboratory will include instruction and practice in ore microscopy.
Prereq: EARTH 370

EARTH 480 S fldlab 0.5
Field Study
Depending on the demand and the availability of an instructor, a six week field course may be offered in an area of unusual geological interest during the spring or summer. This course will consist of two weeks of classroom lectures and one month in the field location. Expenses are to be paid by the student.
Prereq: Consent of instructor

EARTH 490 F fldlab 0.0
Field Course
One or more geology field trips normally conducted at the beginning of the Fall term. These trips will emphasize field observations of a wide-ranging nature; some trips will augment field observations with study of specimens, core laboratory data, etc. Field exercises and reports may be part of the requirements. Enrolment limits will apply to all trips.
Honours Earth Sciences students are required to attend at least one of these trips. Open to other students only if places are available.
Field trip fees will apply; listing of current trips and respective costs available from department office.

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