EOS 0001 - The Dynamic Earth
Welcome to an exploration of the planet Earth! During the fall
term we will visit numerous interesting geological localities in the
Boston area and will "travel" via slides 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
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
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 ancient glaciers.
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
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 by men and women 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 posses 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 sophisticated 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 rock-forming minerals.
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.
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.
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. 3 credits.
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.
Weekly laboratory exercises or problem sets will emphasize
techniques for structural study and
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.
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.
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.
EOS 51, 151 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. Students are expected to have some
background knowledge of Earth and Ocean Science. Graduate students may take this
course as EOS 151 with extra assignments.
EOS 52, 152 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. Graduate students may enroll in 152 with extra assignments.
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
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.
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
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 crust.
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.
EOS 0132 - Groundwater Chemistry and Quality
Hydrogeologic processes affecting the chemistry and quality of
groundwater. Topics include: chemical principles; geochemical
thermodynamics; mineral solubility; oxidation-reduction; ion
exchange/sorption; isotopes and age dating; diffusion and dispersion
in soil, sediment and fractured rock; numerical modeling of
reactions and solute transport; geologic characterization; measures
of water quality; case studies of contamination, nuclear-waste
disposal, and carbon sequestration. Prerequisites:EOS 131 and Chem 1
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 recommended.
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
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.
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.
EOS 0289 - Geofluids
Study of groundwater flow in geologic processes. Topics include:
theory and equations governing coupled fluid flow with heat and mass
transport in deep geologic systems; continental-scale groundwater
flow; hydrogeologic applications in studies of weathering, sediment
diagenesis, petroleum migration, hydrothermal ore formation,
metamorphism, deformation and earthquake mechanics. This advanced
course will introduce students to current literature and software
for theoretical analysis of reactive hydrothermal flows in the