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EAS-Earth Science

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Course Descriptons By Program

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EAS100 - Introduction to Earth Science

This introductory laboratory-oriented earth science course designed to acquaint the student with the four general areas of the earth sciences: astronomy, geology, meteorology, and oceanography. Laboratory activities are designed to enhance student’s understanding of elementary scientific concepts in earth science. The course consists of two hours lecture and one hour of laboratory work. (3 crs.)

EAS104 - Introduction to Meteorology

This course deals with the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere as influenced by the earth-atmosphere interaction. The effects of the physical controls as they alter the elements are emphasized. Basic laws of Physics and Chemistry are emphasized. The construction and analysis of weather maps is an integral part of the laboratory component of the course. Students are expected to visualize, interpret, and investigate various weather phenomena as they relate to the current state of the atmosphere. Basic prediction of future weather conditions is the final culminating experience of the course, after extensive laboratory investigations in both manual and computer settings.

EAS105 - Extreme Weather

This course provides scientifically accurate description of extreme and unusual weather phenomena. Course discusses a variety of extreme weather phenomena in a descriptive style that does not require advanced mathematical knowledge. Course includes topics like thunderstorms, thunderstorm complexes, tornadoes, hurricanes, extreme snowfall events, blizzards, floods, droughts and downslope windstorms. Climatology of these events is also discussed. (3 crs.)

EAS131 - Introduction to Environmental Geology

This course deals with the interaction between man and his geologic environment. Emphasis is placed on the understanding of basic geologic principles and case studies of some of the classic examples of environment problems. Laboratory exercises and problems are an integral part of the course. This is intended as a survey course and a student needs only a limited background in geology. (3 crs.)

EAS142 - Climatology

In this course the elements and controls of climate are analyzed in a systematic fashion. The physical parameters controlling climate are reviewed, as they relate to physics and chemistry. Various methods and techniques of classifying climates are presented. Climatology is concerned not only with the most frequently occurring types, the average weather, but the infrequent and unusual types as well. Because climatology also analyzes climatic conditions at locations on the earth’s surfaces and its effect on human society and/or the environment, the course is geographical in nature. Climates of the past and potential future issues will be discussed. The student will be able to make an informed decision in the form of a research proposal about impending climate change and climate data analysis by the conclusion of the course.

EAS150 - Introduction to Geology

A survey course intended primarily for the non-major. Topics considered include the makeup of the earth, internal and external processes that occur within or on the earth, rocks and minerals, fossils, Earth's origin and evolution, and the origin and evolution of life on this planet. Laboratory work is an integral part of the course. (4 crs.)

EAS163 - Introduction to Oceanography

An introductory course in the study of the four main branches of oceanography: (1) geology of the oceanic basins (origins of the oceans, structure and geomorphology of the ocean's floor, methods of investigation); (2) chemistry of the oceans' waters; (3) physics of the oceans (currents, waves, tides, etc.); and (4) biology of the oceans (marine plants and animals). No preliminary studies required, but previous course work in EAS 100 or 150 recommended. (3 crs.)

EAS175 - Field Course in Earth Science I

This course provides the student with opportunities to study meteorological, climatological, geological and oceanographic phenomena in situ; to apply the scientific method; to acquire critical thinking skills by examining earth features and processes and anthropogenic effects on selected natural phenomena; to understand the value of selected earth processes and features; and to quantify natural phenomena. Students will participate in an excursion. (3 crs.)

EAS200 - Historical Geology

This course is a study of the geologic history of Earth and the succession of the major groups of plants and animals as based on the geologic interpretation of rock formations and fossils. Field trips are an integral part of the course. Prerequisites: EAS 100 or EAS 150 (4 crs.)

EAS210 - Introduction to Soils

This introductory course in soil science presents basic concepts of soils, including composition and genesis; physical, chemical and biological properties; soil water; classification and mapping; soil conservation; management practices; and soil fertility and productivity. It introduces the relation of soil to other environmental concerns such as environmental quality and non-agricultural land use. Prerequisites: EAS 100 or EAS 150 (3 crs.)

EAS230 - Earth Resources

This is a survey course focusing on the diversity of the geologic resources of Earth. Attention is paid to the interaction of all of Earth’s surficial systems, particularly the geosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. Special emphasis will be placed on the mineral and energy resources of Pennsylvania. Students will explore the relation of resources to society and their importance to global and local economies. Lab and field sessions provide additional time for discussion and illustration of topics, as well as providing hands-on experience with selected locales and rock and mineral samples. EAS 100 or EAS 150 (3 crs.)

EAS245 - Weather Analysis and Forecasting I

Introduction to the application of basic atmospheric concepts on real-time weather data. This course aims synthesize observational and numerical weather analyses in order to understand weather phenomena on synoptic scale. Topics include: analysis of forces, accelerated reference frames, conservation equations of mass, momentum and energy; scale analysis; pressure coordinates; geostrophic and gradient flow; thermal wind; kinematic description of the wind, trajectories; circulation, vorticity and potential vorticity. The last part of the course will introduce quasi-geostrophic theory applications in synoptic meteorology and introduce concepts of frontogenesis and atmospheric jets.

EAS250 - Volcanology

This course is the study of volcanic processes on Earth and the other terrestrial planets. Topics include a review of igneous materials and eruptive styles, eruption-triggering mechanisms, formation of lava and pyroclastic flos deposits, lahars, volcanic gas, volcanic hazards, and case studies of recent eruptions.

EAS290 - Planetary Geology

An introduction to the geology and geochemistry of the Solar System, with an emphasis on the rocky planets. The course includes an introduction to space exploration and uses imagery and data to present the origins of the solar system, the geology of the planets, asteroids, and their satellites, and how this relates to human advancement and future discovery.

EAS300 - Natural Hazards

This course examines the physical and social processes responsible for producing natural disasters. Specifically, the knowledge and theories learned in this course will provide the student with an understanding of the underlying science behind natural disasters and how socioeconomic factors contribute to the impact of disasters. Topics covered in the course include types of natural hazards, trends in the frequency and losses from natural hazard events, social vulnerability, and spatial variations in risk from natural hazards. These concepts will prepare the student for an understanding of where and why disaster events occur most frequently. The course will present and describe the mechanisms responsible for creating natural disasters and the how socioeconomic conditions make certain groups vulnerable to disasters. The values associated with how these vulnerable groups are treated and exposed to risk will be explored. How a social group or an individual's personal values impact their vulnerability to disasters through such variables as religious beliefs, perceptions of the environment or risk-averse attitudes will also be explored. (3 crs.)

EAS301 - Professional Development for Geologists

The course develops the students’ understanding of career opportunities and expectations in Geology and the sciences. Students learn about the different career tracks in Geological and Environmental industries. Graduate school topics are addressed such as logistics of preparing and applying, expectations, and sub-disciplinary program strengths around the country. Students create resumes, cover letters, and portfolios. They are introduced to networking opportunities and techniques, job search strategies, and interview protocols. The purpose of the course is to develop the whole student as a scientist, but also as a mature, well-prepared professional that can contribute to their employer on the first day on the job.

EAS303 - Hydrology

A survey course about the existence of water on Earth, topics include the occurrence and movement of water, physical and chemical characteristics of water, and climatologic and geologic considerations of surface and subsurface water. Prerequisite: EAS 150 (3 crs.)

EAS315 - Surface Geology for Land Management

This survey course presents fundamental concepts of soil science, hydrology and hydrogeology, and geomorphology within the broader context of geological surface processes. It combines the common physical principals of hydrologic and atmospheric processes and their interaction with Earth’s surface. It addresses soil types and formation, stream and groundwater flow and transport, and landscape development in a framework of historical and current geological processes. Content is presented within the specific context of land use and management especially as it relates to geological resource exploration and extraction, including coal, oil and natural gas, as well as human demands on water resources. Prerequisite: Minimum grade of C in EAS 150. (3 crs.)

EAS316 - Subsurface Geology for Land Management

This course focuses on evaluation of subsurface geologic conditions necessary for generating conventional and unconventional petroleum systems, coal deposits and other important earth resources. Included are discussions of how these systems form, how these systems are found and evaluated, and the environmental impacts inherent in extracting them. Prerequisite: Minimum grade of C in EAS 150. (3 crs.)

EAS323 - Atmospheric Instrumentation and Measurement

This upper-division course in meteorology deals with the specifics of data collection and instrument functionality. Time will be spent dealing with proper site selection, the physical mechanisms present within an automated sensor array, and quality control for data collected. Students taking this course should have a detailed understanding of the role each meteorological parameter has in making a weather forecast. Prerequisite: EAS 240 and MAT 281, or permission of instructor (3 crs.)

EAS331 - Mineralogy

Minerals make up nearly all of the solid part of our planet, providing us with critical resources. Their behavior, particularly their interactions with the fluid portions of the planet, determines an array of important environmental variables. This course will provide you with an opportunity to learn about minerals and mineral behavior. If you take full advantage of this opportunity, you should complete the course with the ability to apply mineralogical data and tools to geologic and environmental problems. The course is designed as an introduction to the morphology and internal structure of crystals and the chemical and physical characteristics of minerals. Laboratory time is devoted to the study of crystal models and the identification of selected mineral specimens.

EAS332 - Petrology

A complete survey of the major rock types (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic) forms the basis of this course. Consideration is given to their origin, description, and classification. Of particular importance is the relationship of the various rock types to the composition and historical development of the solid earth. Emphasis in laboratory is mostly hands-on specimen identification, but some microscopic thin-section work is also involved.

EAS333 - Geochemistry

Geochemistry is essential to all aspects of modern earth science. This course provides an introduction to geochemistry for undergraduates pursuing careers in geology, environmental science, and atmospheric sciences. The course combines two distinct topical groupings. The first is an introductory focus on essential geochemical principles of thermodynamics and kinetics, aquatic chemistry, isotope geochemistry, and trace element geochemistry. The second is a deeper pursuit to understand the Earth from a geochemical perspective and includes topics such as formation of the elements; formation of the Earth and solar system; evolution of the crust, mantle and core; weathering and stream chemistry; and ocean chemistry. Prerequisite: EAS 303 and CHE 101 or higher, or permission of instructor (3 crs.)

EAS342 - Dynamic Meteorology I

Introduction to description and theory of atmospheric motion; analysis of forces, accelerated reference frames, conservation equations of mass, momentum and energy; scale analysis; pressure coordinates; geostrophic and gradient flow; thermal wind; kinematic description of the wind, trajectories; circulation and vorticity. The last part of the course will introduce quasi-geostrophic theory.

EAS343 - Geomorphology

This course involves the study of the origin, history and characteristics of landforms and landscapes as they are produced by the processes of weathering, mass-wasting, fluvial, glacial, wind and wave erosion (or a combination of these) acting upon the geological materials and structures of Earth's crust. Prerequisite: EAS 100 or EAS 150 (3 crs.)

EAS346 - Tropical Meteorology

An upper-division meteorology course focused specifically on the weather and climate of tropical locations. Emphasis is placed on the structure and dynamics of tropical storm systems, their prediction, and understanding. Students will also focus on the prediction of monsoons and land/sea breezes. Large scale ocean-atmosphere interactions within the tropics, including El Nino and La Nina, are introduced as well as the tropical impact of global hydrology. Prerequisite: EAS 340 (3 crs.)

EAS365 - Remote Sensing: Satellite and Radar Interpretation

This course emphasizes the characteristics and scientific role of radar and satellite interpretation, as well as computer-assisted processing of spectral data acquired by satellites, as they relate to atmospheric analysis. (3 crs.)

EAS369 - Climate Dynamics and Modeling

The main goal for this course is to present the working of the climate system as a whole and its critical components (the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice, glaciers, land surface, etc), their complex interactions and feedbacks, and the mechanisms governing natural climate variability (e.g., ENSO) and the climate response to external perturbations (e.g., the increase in greenhouse-gas concentrations).

EAS391 - Geology of Northwestern U.S. Field Course

A field course focusing on regional geology of northwestern states, including but not limited to Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Montana. Students will visit and study geological features such as volcanoes, folds, faults, fossils, igneous intrusions, geysers and hot springs. Additional travel fees are required. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor (3 crs.)

EAS392 - Geology of Southwestern U.S. Field Course

A field course focusing on regional geology of southwestern states, including but not limited to Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado. Students will visit and study geological features such as volcanoes, folds, faults, fossils and dune fields. Additional travel fees are required. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor (3 crs.)

EAS393 - Geology of Eastern U.S. Field Course

This field course focuses on regional geology of eastern states. Trips will alternate between trips to the Great Lakes region, the Northeast (especially New England) and the Southeast. Students will visit and study geological features such as metamorphic terrains, folds, faults, fossils and glacial landscapes. Additional travel fees are required. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor (3 crs.)

EAS402 - Groundwater Hydrology

This course is designed as a follow-up course to Hydrology. It gives students the opportunity to study the principles governing the movement and occurrences of groundwater. Prerequisite: EAS 303 and MAT 281 or permission of instructor (3 crs.)

EAS414 - Synoptic Climatology

Synoptic climatology studies the relationship between the atmospheric circulation and the surface environment. The course draws on content from introductory climatology and indoctrinates the student in a physical environmental analysis via weather map patterns. The map pattern analysis requires use of simple to complex statistical procedures and appropriate research methods. The course will demonstrate how surface environmental variables, such as air/water quality, acid rain and drought, can be understood in terms of various atmospheric circulation states and synoptic weather types. Prerequisite: EAS 242 & EAS 340 or permission of instructor (3 crs.)

EAS419 - Applied Climatology

This course examines the effect of climate on the physical, biological, and cultural environments and includes both present-day and future (re: Climate change) relationships. Part of the course will examine current practices/methodological developments that represent the basic “tools” which underpin applied climatological research. Significant time will be spent investigating the relationship between climate/climate change and a wide range of human activities and responses. This course is a “writing intensive” course, as defined by California University of Pennsylvania. Therefore, many topical discussions, research investigations and climate diagnostic analyses will require writing with the opportunity for the student to revise their original work.

EAS423 - Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

An advanced course that focuses on sedimentary processes, sedimentary rock formation and stratigraphic interpretation. Students will use both quantitative and qualitative methods to identify, classify, and interpret the history of sediments, sedimentary structures, and sedimentary rocks and formations. Students will study rock units in the local outcrops, correlate these units within the stratigraphic framework and develop understanding of geological history of the region. The stratigraphy of the United States will be discussed.

EAS425 - Structural Geology

This course deals with the origin and analysis of geologic structures including folds, faults, and joints. Brittle and ductile deformation processes are examined in relation to fractures, faults, and folds. Geologic maps and cross-sections are formulated and analyzed.

EAS427 - Tectonics

This course evaluates tectonic theories within a framework of worldwide historical geology, with special attention given to the Appalachian and the North American Cordilleran orogenic events. Prerequisite: EAS 200 (3 crs.)

EAS429 - Petroleum Geology

This course deals with the processes that lead to generation of hydrocarbons and the accumulation of an economically sufficient amount of petroleum and/or natural gas to warrant extraction. Emphasis is placed on the economics of all types of hydrocarbon deposit including both conventional and unconventional accumulations of liquid, solid, and gaseous hydrocarbons. In addition to the science of formation, attention will also be given to the future societal impacts of reliance on hydrocarbons as a source of energy. This is intended as a course for geology or energy-related majors, and a student will need an understanding of basic geologic principles. Students will be introduced to all parts of the petroleum system and extraction process. Well log analysis and site evaluation activities will be an integral part of the course and will give students a well-rounded view of the science and economics of the petroleum system. Prerequisite: EAS 150. (3 crs.)

EAS431 - Digital Media Meteorology

The course is an introduction to television weather broadcasts and web-based “narrowcasts” with emphasis on creating accurate weather forecasts, climate outlooks and on the techniques of communicating weather information to various publics. The course consists of weekly lecture/lab meetings and one-on-one critiquing/coaching to develop and improve descriptive science language as well as the graphics that accompany the verbal discourse. Special emphasis is placed upon accurate weather forecasting from skills initiated in previous coursework. Extemporaneous speaking styles will be stressed with timed delivery of weather information. Analysis of a weather graphics presentation will be undertaken, and ultimately students will be expected to arrange their own weather “show” for presentation and evaluation by classmates. A history of meteorology in the media will also be examined in the context of changing technologies and public perceptions.

EAS432 - Practicum in Broadcast Meteorology II

A continuation of EAS 431, this practicum emphasizes studio performance of weathercasts. PRE REQ: EAS 431 (3 crs.)

EAS436 - Field Methods in Earth Science

This is a course designed to provide majors with knowledge of problems encountered in fieldwork and the techniques utilized to solve these problems. This course consists of planned trips. Lectures and discussions are used to supplement the trips. (3 crs.)

EAS437 - Field Methods in Geology

This course provides students with knowledge of geologic problems encountered in fieldwork and the techniques utilized to solve those problems. The student is exposed to geologic and topographic maps as well as various geologic instruments. The course consists of planned trips with overnight stays to areas of geologic interest. Summary reports, field exercises, and laboratory problems constitute the students’ work responsibility. (3 crs.)

EAS438 - Computer Applications in Earth Sciences

This is an upper-level course designed to provide students the opportunity to apply computer and mathematical procedures to the solution of earth and environmental science problems. Emphasis is placed on hydrologic systems, including groundwater, surface water and atmospheric water. Particular attention is paid to modeling natural systems using a range of techniques and software packages. Additional topics in the earth sciences may be addressed, including global climate and geophysical models. A written project will be required. Prerequisite: EAS 150 or permission of instructor (3 crs.)

EAS441 - Advanced Environmental Geology

This course deals with the natural environment, particularly geologic factors that may impact upon human life or way of life. Emphasis is placed on an in-depth study of environmental problems and possible alternative solutions to such problems. Basic engineering principles as applied to geological problems are considered. Laboratory exercises, problems and written reports are an integral part of the course. Prerequisites: EAS 303 or permission of instructor (3 crs.)

EAS442 - Dynamic Meteorology II

This course introduces advanced topics in dynamics of atmospheric motions. This course is a continuation of Dynamic Meteorology (EAS 342). Topics include: atmospheric oscillations and waves, synoptic scale instabilities, mesoscale instabilities and isentropic potential vorticity thinking. The last part of the course will introduce the dynamics of numerical modeling and prediction.

EAS445 - Weather Analysis and Forecasting II

Continuation of the concepts learned in Synoptic Meteorology course (EAS 340). The lecture part of the course examines frontal boundaries, evolution of mid-latitude cyclones, and applications of potential vorticity concepts to weather analysis and prediction. The laboratory part of this course is a forecasting lab where students independently analyze weather and forecast in a competitive setting.

EAS448 - Watershed Evaluation and Management

The purpose of this course is to analyze watershed characteristics. Physical and biotic watershed characteristics will be studied using lecture, illustrations and in-field demonstrations. A major component of the course is an extensive, written watershed study design. Prerequisite: EAS 303 or permission of instructor (3 crs.)

EAS449 - Mesoscale Meteorology

Introduction to the structure and dynamics of mesoscale weather phenomena. This course aims to synthesize observational and numerical modeling studies of mesoscale weather phenomena. Topics include: mesoscale instabilities, boundary layer dynamics, low-level jets, air mass boundaries, deep moist convection, supercell thunderstorms and tornadogenesis. The last part of the course introduces severe weather associated with deep moist convection. Prerequisite: EAS 340 and EAS 342 or permission of instructor (3 crs.)

EAS452 - Physical Meteorology

This course examines the role of thermodynamics and radiation in the atmosphere. Topics covered in the course include the First and Second Law of Thermodynamics, adiabatic and diabatic processes, thermodynamic diagrams, and stability. These concepts will prepare the student for understanding exactly how the earth is heated by solar radiation. Specifically, those principles in atmospheric radiation will be investigated, including solar and terrestrial radiation, blackbodies, absorption and emission, and scattering. Prerequisite: EAS 340 and MAT 282 or permission of instructor. (3 crs.)

EAS453 - Advanced Physical Meteorology

This course is a continuation of EAS 452. The physics relevant to the formation of droplets and precipitation, mixing and parcel theory, adiabatic lifting, nucleation, warm rain processes, cold rain processes, and the growth of hail are investigated. Finally, radiation concepts from EAS 452 are used to look at the impact of clouds on solar and terrestrial radiation. Prerequisite: EAS 452 or permission of instructor. (3 crs.)

EAS455 - Geochronology

This course focuses on the various techniques used in the earth sciences to provide accurate quantitative ages for terrestrial and extraterrestrial rocks and minerals. Earth and planetary science is gradually becoming more dependent on accurate ages from natural materials and essentially all sub disciplines in earth science can benefit directly from these analyses. An understanding of the limitations and advantages involved with the various styles of geochronologic dating is critical to the successful determination of which method to employ in each different setting. In addition, various techniques related to utilization of geochronologic datasets in tectonic reconstructions and planetary geology will also be emphasized. The ability to critically evaluate peer-reviewed literature utilizing geochronologic methodology will be a core component of the course.

EAS465 - Seminar in Atmospheric Science

This scientific writing and speaking course covers recent and historical developments in the atmospheric sciences. Students are required to participate in group presentations, complete two written research projects, and produce a critique of classmates' research projects. Prerequisite: ENG 217 (3 crs.)

EAS469 - Global Climate Change

Climate change has become the defining environmental issue for our global society. Its effects, however, are unequal in different regions of the world. These disparities are due to both natural processes in climate but also due to societal inequities and vulnerabilities caused in part due to historical inertia or geographic challenges. The course begins in describing the many ways in which global climate has and will change through time as a result of many years of scientific observation and understanding of physics and chemistry. Next the course will focus on how those changes have affected humans through the centruries and what influence future changes may have on a modern, globalized society. Related, the human need to consume energy places climate change mitigation efforts squarely in the realm of public policy debate. As such, all parts of the global society are affected-many times unequally. These global inequities in both human vulnerability and economiies raise a variety of ethical considerations that are a focus of discussion in the course. Students enrolling in this course should have a basic understanding of earth sciences concepts so as to frame their understanding of climate change adaptation/mitigation from a policy, economic, and/or moral standpoint.

EAS491 - Field Course in Earth Science

This course is designed for earth science students who desire to apply their classroom knowledge to specific sites and earth science field problems. Each semester will include trips to various sites at which geologic, meteorological or oceanographic processes, principles and phenomena can be studied. (Variable crs.)

EAS492 - Field Course in Geology

This course provides the opportunity for a student to identify an unanswered question regarding geologic phenomena including hydrologic, geochemical, structural, and petrographic studies and thoroughly answer that question using rigorous field methodology and efficient data analysis practices. Students will personally collect meaningful and original datasets to answer their self-defined research question, analyze their data, and disseminate the results to their peers and select professionals to gain experience with field methodologies and the processes of scientific research.

EAS496 - Seminar in Geology

In this scientific writing course students pursue a geologic topic through library or field research. Students learn to define a geologic problem, to obtain relevant literature, to gather raw data, and to write and present a research paper. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor (3 crs.)

EAS542 - Applied Climatology

This course examines the effect of climate on the physical, biological and cultural environments and includes an analysis of historical (paleo-climatic), present-day and future relationships. Part of the course will examine current practices/methodological developments which represent the basic "tools" that underpin applied climatological research, many of which are statistical in nature. Significant time will be spent investigating the relationship between climate and a wide range of human activities and responses. This is a writing-intensive course, as defined by California University of Pennsylvania. PRE REQ: EAS 242 (3 crs.)