EOS 0001 - The Dynamic Earth
Welcome to an exploration of the planet Earth! During the fall term we will
"travel" virtually to spectacular geological localities across the continent and
around the globe
Our goal will be to learn about the basic principles of geology and about
learning itself. We will sharpen our powers of observation in the canyons and
mountains of our national parks and will develop hypotheses which can explain
the origin of the rock and mineral formations we observe. We will test our
hypotheses in whatever ways this rather large, bulky earth allows. In short, we
will use basic scientific methods to unravel the history of our dynamic earth
and will try to predict the changes we can expect the earth's crust to undergo
in the future. One might call this geologic problem solving or "Geologic Logic".
We also will explore the origin and occurrence of our energy resources (coal,
oil, and natural gas) and both metallic and nonmetallic mineral resources.
Earthquakes along the San Andreas fault in California, as well as volcanic
eruptions in Yellowstone Park, Crater Lake, and Mt. St. Helens will lead to an
understanding of global geologic processes.
We hope these explorations challenge you to think in new ways about natural
processes, scientific methods, environmental issues, and, in particular, about
the dimension of geologic time and the relationship of human beings to the
framework of geological time and space.
EOS 1 is designed for students who are fulfilling the science requirement, but
also is relevant and useful as a related field to many disciplines. In addition,
a significant number of students take EOS 1 as a free elective.
EOS 0002 - Environmental Geology
Environmental geology is an introduction to geologic environments and the
processes that shape and modify Earth's surface. Of particular interest are the
roles of water, ice, wind, and gravity and their effects in materials and
climates. These modern surficial processes strongly influence humans and their
ability to live and interact with their surroundings. They also provide us with
much of the evidence for interpreting the recent as well as ancient geologic
past and to predict the changes we can expect Earth to undergo in the future.
Specific topics covered in environmental geology include an overview of earth
materials, groundwater, and processes of the hydrologic cycle. Also considered
from a geological and human perspective are weathering and erosion, landslides,
river systems, shorelines, marine sedimentary environments, glacial systems, and
climatic environments ranging from arid to periglacial (cold climate). The past
history of Earth is deciphered in terms of the evolution of the world ocean,
climate, and sea level change over geologic time, and the activity of modern and
The course has three lectures plus one lab period per week. Laboratories include
three field trips in the Boston area to investigate local sedimentary rock
sequences, glacial deposits, and modern coastal environments.
EOS 0005 - Introduction to Oceanography
The vastness and depths of the world ocean have intrigued and challenged people
for millennia. Yet only recently have marine scientists begun to understand the
complexities of oceanic systems. The ocean is not only an important resource for
humans, it is a critical link in the earth's atmospheric, climatic, and ecologic
structures. This course will emphasize the delicate balance and interrelations
of oceanic processes with many of these other global systems.
The oceanography course will begin with a survey of the plate tectonic processes
which form the rocks and surface features of the sea floor. A large part of the
remainder of the course will deal with the chemical, physical, biological, and
geological aspects of the sea water and sediments within this "bowl" of basaltic
sea floor. Waves, tides, surface and deep-ocean currents, ocean- atmosphere
interactions, organisms and their communities such as reefs, and sediment
deposition on the continental shelf, slope, and rise are examples of topics that
will be addressed.
Also, discussed will be the influence of human activity on coastlines, the
problems of pollution, and political boundaries that have been set up for
various parts of the ocean.
EOS 0011 - Mineralogy
Minerals and crystals have been prized since the dawn of civilization.
Egyptian tomb paintings depict smelting of ores and trading of malachite and
precious metals, as well as the fashioning of emerald and lapis gemstones.
Crystals of quartz were thought to possess special protective and healing
powers, beliefs which currently are being revived by mystics, mineral buffs, and
The science of mineralogy developed over the past 300 years and seeks to
understand the relationship between the external physical properties of minerals
and the internal atomic structures. It deals with field assemblages of minerals
as constantly changing geochemical systems within the earth's crust and is
fundamental to a full understanding of most disciplines in geology. Virtually
all rocks, sediments, soils, and solid earth and planetary materials are
composed of minerals, giving mineralogy numerous applications in archaeology,
engineering, oceanography, and astronomy.
The mineralogy course begins with a study of the symmetry of natural crystals
and the relationship between crystal forms and the internal atomic symmetry of
minerals. As the semester progresses, we will examine a variety of physical and
chemical properties which are useful for mineral identification. Students will
learn to use the polarizing microscope to identify minerals no larger than a
grain of sand and will learn the theory behind X-ray diffraction and
fluorescence, emission spectroscopy, and other methods of mineral analysis. By
the end of the term, students will have a broad appreciation and understanding
of the nature, origin, and occurrence of the most important economic and
The laboratory emphasis is on hand specimen and microscopic identification of
minerals and crystals; field recognition of minerals will be one of the major
goals of the semester. These field and lab techniques will be directly
applicable in: EOS 12 (Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology); SedimentologyEOS 42
(Sedimentology and Stratigraphy); Geology Summer Field Camp.
Prerequisites: EOS 1 and Chem 1 (may be concurrent, with permission of
EOS 0012 - Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
The history of our planet is recorded in the igneous, sedimentary and
metamorphic rocks that formed throughout the development of the earth. In these
rocks we find the evidence for ancient volcanic eruptions, shallow inland seas,
and extensive mineralogical and structural changes which occurred deep beneath
the earth's surface.
EOS 12 is the study of the igneous and metamorphic rocks and the processes which
form them. Together, these rocks comprise 95% of the earth's crust and are
exposed over approximately one-third of the continental land masses.
Petrology begins with a review of the classification of igneous rocks, followed
by a study of the field occurrences, mineralogy, textures, compositions and
origins for the major extrusive and intrusive rock associations. As the semester
proceeds, experimental evidence is evaluated which can shed light on the origin
and crystallization of magmas. During the second half of the term, metamorphic
rocks, processes, and structures are considered from a field, laboratory, and
experimental perspective. Igneous and metamorphic rocks and processes are
considered at all scales, from global plates, mountain ranges, large outcrops,
and hand-samples, through microscopic and submicroscopic observations.
Laboratory work emphasizes hand sample and microscopic analysis of rocks and
rock suites, often in the context of their natural field occurrences. Field
identification and interpretation of igneous and metamorphic rocks will be one
of the major goals of the course. Weather permitting, we will visit several
igneous and metamorphic rock localities late in the semester.
Prerequisite: EOS 0011
EOS 0015 - Mass Extinctions:
The Past, Present, and Future of Biodiversity
Extinction is the inevitable fate of all species. However, the pace of
extinction over geological time has not been steady. Earth's history is
punctuated by intervals of rapid species loss, so-called mass extinctions. Since
animals first evolved nearly 600 million years ago, there have been five major
mass extinctions. In this course, we will explore the historical development of
mass extinctions as a concept; compare and contrast the roles of volcanism,
meteorite impacts, global warming, ice ages, and the evolution of novel species
in causing mass extinctions; analyze the effects of mass extinctions of
biodiversity and ecosystem structure; and attempt to answer the question "Are we
in the midst of the 6th mass extinction?".
This is a seminar course in which very few lectures will be given by the
instructor. The bulk of your learning will take place through reading and
discussing scientific papers. Discussions will be student-led and every student
will be required to be a discussion leader at least once. In addition to
comparing and contrasting the causes and consequences of the major mass
extinction, you will learn how to read a technical scientific article, become
familiar with paleobiological data, and learn the methods used to study ancient
biodiversity and events in Earth's history.
Prerequisite: EOS 0001 or EOS 0002 or BIO 0014.
EOS 0022 - Structural Geology
Deformation of the earth's crust occurs on all scales, from microscopic crystal
lattice dislocations to huge structures such as the San Andreas Fault that are
hundreds of kilometers long. This course will address different aspects of
structural analysis, with the ultimate goal of understanding structures in hand
samples and outcrops as well as the regional and tectonic significance of
structurally deformed rocks.
The structure course is organized into three major sections and will begin with
methods of evaluating the strain or deformation in rocks. Quantification of
stretching or compression of geologic structures will be undertaken through
geometrical construction, as well as measurement and calculation. The array of
structures that can occur in rocks, including folds, faults, joints, and
cleavage, will be discussed in the second section of the course. Structural
information from folds, for example, can be gleaned from many characteristics,
such as the fold orientation and relative thickness of limbs and hinges. The
last section will be concerned with dynamic analysis of structures, the
orientations and magnitudes of stresses that produced deformation. Finally, the
tectonic context of structures will complete the semester.
Projects and problem sets will emphasize techniques for structural study and
Prerequisite: EOS 0001
EOS 0032 - Geomorphology
Geomorphology is the study of landforms and the processes which build and erode
the surface features of Earth. The morphology of Earth's surface is influenced
by the composition and structure of rocks and soils, the earth's internal and
external geological processes, and also the effects of time. The relationship of
these factors to the evolution of Earth will be examined in different terrains
and climatic regimes around the world. We will also examine how surface
processes vary in a single region over time as a result of changing climate and
tectonic activity. Of particular interest will be the processes of extreme
climates in the tropics, arid regions, and periglacial (cold) environments.
A major goal of the course will be to develop an understanding of how to
reconstruct the history of an area from relict surface deposits and features.
Unifying theories on the development of landscapes will also be discussed in
relation to the concept of equilibrium and modern plate tectonic theory.
The geomorphology course will include field trips and projects that examine
different landforms and processes in New England, including weathering, soil
development, river terraces and channel migration, sea level changes, mass
movement, and wind activity. The course includes a mapping project in the
Connecticut Valley of New Hampshire where students are introduced to surficial
geologic mapping, the description of stratigraphic sections, and the formulation
of past events from field data.
Prerequisite: EOS 0002
EOS 0038 - Historical Geology and Paleontology
One of the fascinating aspects of the Earth's history is the rich and varied
life forms that have inhabited our planet for the past 3.5 billion years.
Organisms with hard shells and skeletons that could easily be preserved as
fossils first appeared about 570 million years ago. As time passed, these early
life forms multiplied and diversified into a great variety of plants and
animals, many of which would flourish and then die out, and others which
continue to inhabit the earth up until the present day. The fossil record
provides a means of tracing the evolution and extinction of many groups of
organisms, and also supplies information about their ecology and community
structures. This course will cover aspects of the taxonomy and description of
the major fossil groups, evolutionary trends, and paleoecology, within the
context of the geological development of North America.
Prerequisites: EOS 1 and 2, or consent
EOS 0042 - Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
Sediments and sedimentary rocks form a thin veneer enveloping the earth, and
reveal a wealth of information about modern and ancient tectonic, climatic, and
oceanographic processes. The principles of sedimentology applied to observations
and interpretations of modern sediments allow geologists to decipher and model
ancient depositional environments and controls on sediment accumulation.
Stratigraphy encompasses the study of how these depositional environments change
in time and space. We will use information gathered from sedimentary rocks to
unravel the dynamics of environments and how they record events such as
mountain-building episodes, sea level changes, extinctions, and the splitting
apart of continents at rifts.
In this course, we will examine the major types of sediments and how strata are
arranged in depositional basins. Topics covered will include rock description
and classification, water and wind as transport agents, provenance and biogenic
sources of sediment, and statistical analysis of grain parameters, such as size,
sorting, and roundness. The identification and interpretation of sedimentary
structures as clues to depositional environments will be an integral part of the
course. We will also consider what happens to sediment after it is deposited, by
studying diagenesis - the complex processes by which unconsolidated sediments
are transformed into rock. Study of sediments and sedimentary rocks in hand
sample and thin section will be supplemented by field trips during the labs to
examine rocks in their natural setting.
We will address the types of depositional processes that operate in various
marine and continental environments, and we will integrate the tectonic,
climatic, and oceanographic processes and events that may lead to changes in the
environments. Stratigraphic studies require a detailed record of the timing of
sedimentary depositional units. A number of techniques can provide such age
constraints, such as isotopic compositions of certain fossils (isotope
stratigraphy), radiometric dating of interbedded volcanic units, the pattern of
polarity changes recorded in magnetic minerals (magnetostratigraphy), and
assemblages of fossils in the strata (biostratigraphy). These methods and others
will be studied to resolve sedimentary correlation problems and to evaluate the
effects of events such as change in sea level, from one location to another.
Prerequisite: EOS 0002
EOS 0051 Global Climate Change
An introduction to the workings of Earth's climate system to better understand
the causes of present and future climate change. Emphasis will be placed on
processes that control Earth's modern climate, such as global energy budgets and
the behavior of greenhouse gases. Important features of global and regional
climate systems such as El Nino South Oscillation will be studied. Having
completed the course, students will have a deepened understanding of how and why
climate changed in the recent past and the science behind forecasts of future
global climate change. Course material will be delivered through lectures and
problem-based classroom exercises.
Prerequisites: Students are expected to have some background knowledge of Earth
and Ocean Science.
EOS 0052 Paleoclimate
Examination of climate changes that took place on Earth during the last ~4
billion years with a focus on the proxy evidence of those changes and
understanding of the mechanisms that caused them. This journey begins with the
wrongly perceived "hell" of the Hadean and ends with Quaternary glaciations, the
Holocene, the "Hockey Stick", and a glimpse into the near future.
Prerequisite: EOS 51 or consent.
EOS 0091, 0092 - Geological Research
Guided laboratory and field research on one of a broad range of geological
topics. Five hours (half-credit option) to ten hours (full-credit option) are
required per week, including one hour of consultation with the research
supervisor. Final written or oral presentation. Does not count toward the
concentration in geology.
EOS 0115 - Quaternary and Glacial Geology
During the last 2.4 million years, often referred to as the "Ice Age", climate
has oscillated between extreme warm and cold conditions. In warm periods,
alligators migrated as far north as the Ohio Valley, and during cold episodes,
continent-sized ice sheets covered most of Europe and North America. What was
responsible for the roller coaster climate of the Quaternary and latest Tertiary
periods and how do we know about these dynamic conditions of the past?
Quaternary geology is the study of how rocks and sediments of the recent past
formed and how we decipher this geologic history. An important aspect of the
last 3 million years is the growth of glaciers and how their expansions and
contractions are recorded by deposits on land and in the ocean, as well as in
the thick piles of snow and ice that are still a part of modern ice caps. Some
of the topics that will be discussed are the mechanics and mass balance of
glaciers (glaciology), glacial geology (glacial deposits and landforms),
techniques for dating Quaternary sediments and fossils, isostatic and sea level
changes brought on by expanding and melting ice sheets, and other effects of
climatic change in areas near and removed from glaciated regions.
The course will include field trips to Quaternary geological features in the
Boston area, as well as excursions to the Connecticut River Valley in New
Hampshire and Vermont and the western Mohawk River valley of central New York,
where glacial and marine sediments from the last glaciation will be studied.
Prerequisite: EOS 0002
EOS 0131 - Groundwater
This course is all about groundwater hydrology (also known as hydrogeology), the
discipline that deals with the occurrence, migration, and development of all
subsurface water. It is about the geological environments that control the
occurrence of groundwater, and the physical laws that govern and describe the
flow of groundwater. It will also address the influence of humans on the natural
groundwater environment, and conversely the influence of natural groundwater
regimes on water resources development, agriculture, industry, economic
sustainability, and engineering infrastructures.
Geologists and engineers use the term "groundwater" traditionally to refer to
subsurface water that occurs beneath the water table, within soils, sediments,
and rock formations that are fully saturated. This classical definition will be
retained for this course and the focus of most lectures, but we will also
develop a more comprehensive understanding of subsurface water, from the
shallowest water found well above the water table in the unsaturated zone of
soils to the deepest water found in brine-saturated aquifers in the Earth's
Groundwater hydrology is interdisciplinary in nature, bridging fields of
geology, physics, chemistry, hydrology, and applied mathematics. This course
will introduce students to the physical properties of groundwater, the physical
laws and theory that govern its movement, the properties of geologic media that
control rates of flow and storage, and methods for modeling subsurface flow
patterns. Later in the course, the lectures focus on more practical topics, such
as methods for groundwater exploration, water-well drilling technology, the
hydraulics of pumping wells, aquifer mechanics, and groundwater resource
evaluation. Near the end of the course, we examine the role of groundwater in
watershed hydrology, geotechnical problems, and geologic processes.
Problem sets will be assigned regularly that involve calculations and use of
flow nets, and computer software for predictive modeling purposes will be
utilized. The class will also include 1 field trip to study hydrogeology in the
field and to see how production wells and piezometers are drilled and completed.
Cross-listed as CEE 0113.
Prerequisites: Intro courses in EOS, physics, and calculus strongly recommended.
EOS 0133 - Field Methods in Hydrogeology
This course will examine a variety of field aspects of geohydrology, groundwater
mapping and sampling, aquifer testing, well drilling, monitoring, and
instrumentation of boreholes. The course will blend lecture with basic field
methods to understand how monitoring and production wells are planned and
drilled, and what types of geologic, geophysical, and geochemical data can be
gathered for subsurface flow systems. A network of boreholes on the Tufts campus
will be used as field sites to characterize subsurface parameters in the
unsaturated and saturated zones, and study regional flow in an urban watershed.
Each class meeting will include time in the field, collecting observations and
geohydrologic data to be quantitatively analysed.
Prerequisites: EOS 2 and Physics 11 or equivalent; EOS 131/CEE113 highly
EOS 0191, 0192 - Selected Topics
Exploration of special topics in geology through seminars or guided individual
study. One-half or one course credit.
EOS 0193, 0194 - Senior Thesis
Intensive laboratory or field investigations designed and carried out by the
student, culminating in a written thesis and oral defense.
EOS 0287 - Subsurface Fluid Dynamics
Advanced theory in groundwater hydrology. Topics include: hydrodynamics of
groundwater flow; Darcy's Law in porous sediments and fractured rocks; fluid
potential; flow nets and hodographs; vorticity of inhomogeneous fluids; physics
of the unsaturated zone; two-phase flow in petroleum reservoirs and carbon
sequestration; flow in deforming media; aqueous mass transport in reactive
formations; fluid and heat transport in geothermal reservoirs.
Prerequisites: Graduate standing.
EOS 0288 - Groundwater Modeling
Numerical analysis of groundwater flow, with applications. Topics include:
numerical formulation of the governing equations using finite difference, finite
element, integrated finite difference, particle tracking, boundary element, and
discrete element techniques; matrix and iterative solutions; algorithms for 1-D,
2-D, and 3-D flow; stability and accuracy; applications using popular USGS
software in the public domain. Students will be expected to apply existing
Fortran programs for 1-D, 2-D, and 3-D solutions as part of computational
laboratory modeling assignments.
Prerequisites: Graduate standing.