Up to all Geology Courses for 2021-22 Show Filters

Geology (Ge) Graduate Courses (2021-22)

Ge 101. Introduction to Geology and Geochemistry. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Prerequisites: graduate standing or instructor's permission. A broad, high-level survey of geology and geochemistry with emphasis on quantitative understanding. Historical deduction in the geological and planetary sciences. Plate tectonics as a unifying theory of geology. Igneous and metamorphic processes, structural geology and geomorphology; weathering and sedimentary processes. Nucleosynthesis and chemical history of the solar system; distribution of the elements in the earth; isotopic systems as tracers and clocks; evolution of the biosphere; global geochemical and biogeochemical cycles; geochemical constraints on deep Earth structure. One mandatory overnight field trip, selected laboratory exercises, and problem sets. Instructor: Wernicke.
Ge 102. Introduction to Geophysics. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Prerequisites: Ma 2, Ph 2, or Ge 108, or equivalents. An introduction to the physics of the earth. The present internal structure and dynamics of the earth are considered in light of constraints from the gravitational and magnetic fields, seismology, and mineral physics. The fundamentals of wave propagation in earth materials are developed and applied to inferring Earth structure. The earthquake source is described in terms of seismic and geodetic signals. The following are also considered: the contributions that heat-flow, gravity, paleomagnetic, and earthquake mechanism data have made to our understanding of plate tectonics, the driving mechanism of plate tectonics, and the energy sources of mantle convection and the geodynamo. Instructors: Clayton, Gurnis.
Ge 103. Introduction to the Solar System. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Prerequisites: instructor's permission. Formation and evolution of the solar system. Interiors, surfaces, and atmospheres. Orbital dynamics, chaos, and tidal friction. Cratering. Comets and asteroids. Extrasolar planetary systems. Instructor: Ingersoll.
Ge 104. Introduction to Geobiology. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Prerequisites: instructor's permission. Lectures about the interaction and coevolution of life and Earth surface environments. We will cover essential concepts and major outstanding questions in the field of geobiology, and introduce common approaches to solving these problems. Topics will include biological fractionation of stable isotopes; history and operation of the carbon and sulfur cycles; evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis; biomineralization; mass extinctions; analyzing biodiversity data; constructing simple mathematical models constrained by isotope mass balance; working with public databases of genetic information; phlyogenetic techniques; microbial and molecular evolution. Instructors: Fischer, Kirschvink.
Bi/Ge/ESE 105. Evolution. 12 units (3-4-5): second term. Prerequisites: Completion of Core Curriculum Courses. Maximum enrollment: 15, by application only. The theory of evolution is arguably biology’s greatest idea and serves as the overarching framework for thinking about the diversity and relationships between organisms. This course will present a broad picture of evolution starting with discussions of the insights of the great naturalists, the study of the genetic basis of variation, and an introduction to the key driving forces of evolution. Following these foundations, we will then focus on a number of case studies including the following: evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis, origin of eukaryotes, multicellularity, influence of symbiosis, the emergence of life from the water (i.e. fins to limbs), the return of life to the water (i.e. limbs to fins), diversity following major extinction events, the discovery of Archaea, insights into evolution that have emerged from sequence analysis, and finally human evolution and the impact of humans on evolution (including examples such as antibiotic resistance). A specific focus for considering these issues will be the island biogeography of the Galapagos. Given in alternate years; offered 2021–22. Instructors: Phillips, Orphan.
Ge 106. Introduction to Structural Geology. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Prerequisites: Ge 11 ab. Description and origin of main classes of deformational structures. Introduction to continuum mechanics and its application to rock deformation. Interpretation of the record of deformation of the earth's crust and upper mantle on microscopic, mesoscopic, and megascopic scales. Introduction to the tectonics of mountain belts. Instructor: Avouac.
Ay/Ge 107. Introduction to Astronomical Observation. 9 units (1-1-7): first term. Prerequisites: CS1 or equivalent coding experience recommended. This hands-on, project-based course covers the design, proposal, and execution of astronomical observations, the basics of data reduction and analysis, and interacting with astronomical survey catalogs. In the first module, students will learn to use small, portable telescopes and find and image objects of interest using finder charts. In the second module, students will use Palomar Observatory to propose and execute their own research projects focused on astrophysical or planetary topics. In the third module, students will query and work with data from on-line archives and catalogs. The scope of the course includes imaging and spectroscopic observational techniques at optical and infrared wavelengths. The format centers on projects and practical skills but also includes a lecture and problem set component to establish the theoretical underpinnings of the practical work. The course meets once a week in the evening, and there are 1-2 required field trips to Palomar Observatory. Instructors: Hillenbrand, de Kleer.
Ge 108. Applications of Physics to the Earth Sciences. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Prerequisites: Ph 2 and Ma 2 or equivalent. An intermediate course in the application of the basic principles of classical physics to the earth sciences. Topics will be selected from: mechanics of rotating bodies, the two-body problem, tidal theory, oscillations and normal modes, diffusion and heat transfer, wave propagation, electro- and magneto-statics, Maxwell's equations, and elements of statistical and fluid mechanics. Instructor: Brown.
Ge 109. Oral Presentation. Units to be arranged: . Practice in the effective organization and the delivery of oral presentation of scientific results before groups. Units and scheduling are done by the individual options. Graded pass/fail. Instructor: Staff.
Ge 111 ab. Applied Geophysics Seminar and Field Course. 6 units (3-3-0); second term. Prerequisite: instructor’s permission. 9 units (0-3-6); spring break, third term. Prerequisite: Ge 111 a: . An introduction to the theory and application of basic geophysical field techniques consisting of a comprehensive survey of a particular field area using a variety of methods (e.g., gravity, magnetic, electrical, GPS, seismic studies, and satellite remote sensing). The course will consist of a seminar that will discuss the scientific background for the chosen field area, along with the theoretical basis and implementation of the various measurement techniques. The 4-5-day field component will be held in spring break, and the data analysis component is covered in Ge 111 b. May be repeated for credit with an instructor’s permission. Instructors: Clayton, Simons.
Ge 112. Sedimentology and Stratigraphy. 12 units (3-5-4): third term. Prerequisites: Ge 11 ab. Systematic analysis of transport and deposition in sedimentary environments and the resulting composition, texture, and structure of both clastic and chemical sedimentary rocks. The nature and genesis of sequence architecture of sedimentary basins and cyclic aspects of sedimentary accumulation will be introduced. Covers the formal and practical principles of definition of stratigraphic units, correlation, and the construction of a geologic timescale. Field trip and laboratory exercises. Given in alternate years; offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Grotzinger.
Ge 114 a. Mineralogy. 9 units (3-4-2): first term. Atomic structure, composition, physical properties, occurrence, and identifying characteristics of the major mineral groups. The laboratory work involves the characterization and identification of important minerals by their physical properties. Instructor: Rossman.
Ge 114 b. Mineralogy Laboratory. 3 units (0-2-1): first term. Prerequisites: concurrent enrollment in Ge 114 a or instructor's permission. Additional laboratory studies of optical crystallography, the use of the petrographic microscope, and optical methods of mineral identification. Not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Rossman.
Ge 115 a. Petrology and Petrography: Igneous Petrology. 9 units (3-3-3): second term. Prerequisites: Ge 114 ab. Study of the origin, occurrence, tectonic significance and evolution of igneous rocks with emphasis on use of phase equilibria and geochemistry. Given in alternate years; offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Stolper.
Ge 115 b. Petrology and Petrography: Metamorphic Petrology. 9 units (3-3-3): third term. Prerequisites: Ge 114 ab. The mineralogic and chemical composition, occurrence, and classification of metamorphic rocks; interpretation of mineral assemblages in the light of chemical equilibrium and experimental studies. Discussion centers on the use of metamorphic assemblages to understand tectonic, petrologic, and geochemical problems associated with convergent plate boundaries and intrusion of magmas into the continental crust. May be taken before Ge 115 a. Given in alternate years; offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Eiler.
Ge 115 c. Petrography Laboratory. 6 units (0-4-2): third term. Prerequisites: Ge 114 and either Ge 115 a or Ge 115 b. Laboratory exercises dealing with examination of igneous and metamorphic rocks and minerals in hand-sample and with the petrographic microscope and other mineral identification methods. Not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Staff.
Ge 116. Analytical Techniques Laboratory. 9 units (1-4-4): second term. Prerequisites: Ge 114 a or instructor's permission. Methods of quantitative laboratory analysis of rocks, minerals, and fluids in geological and planetary sciences. Consists of five intensive two-week modules covering scanning electron microscopy (imaging, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, electron backscatter diffraction); the electron microprobe (wavelength-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy); X-ray powder diffraction; optical, infrared, and Raman spectroscopy; and plasma source mass spectrometry for elemental and radiogenic isotope analysis. Satisfies the Institute core requirement for an additional introductory laboratory course. Instructors: Asimow, Jackson, Rossman.
Ge/Ay 117. Bayesian Statistics and Data Analysis. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Prerequisites: CS1 or equivalent. In modern fields of planetary science and astronomy, vast quantities of data are often available to researchers. The challenge is converting this information into meaningful knowledge about the universe. The primary focus of this course is the development of a broad and general tool set that can be applied to the student's own research. We will use case studies from the astrophysical and planetary science literature as our guide as we learn about common pitfalls, explore strategies for data analysis, understand how to select the best model for the task at hand, and learn the importance of properly quantifying and reporting the level of confidence in one's conclusions. Instructor: Knutson.
Ge/ESE 118. Methods in Data Analysis. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Prerequisites: Ma 1 or equivalent. Introduction to methods in data analysis. Course will be an overview of different ways that one can quantitatively analyze data, and will not focus on any one methodology. Topics will include linear regression, least squares inversion, Fourier analysis, principal component analysis, and Bayesian methods. Emphasis will be on both a theoretical understanding of these methods and on practical applications. Exercises will include using numerical software to analyze real data. Not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Staff.
Ge 119. Geology of the American Southwest. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. This course is a lecture-based course on the geologic history of the American Southwest (broadly defined as the southern parts of California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado, as well as, Arizona, New Mexico). Lectures will cover the geologic history in chronologic order and will highlight the important scientific studies that deciphered the geologic record of the region. offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Bucholz.
Ge 120 a. Field Geology: Introduction to Field Geology. 9 units (1-6-2): third term. Prerequisites: Ge 11 ab, Ge 106 (may be taken concurrently with Ge 106). A comprehensive introduction to methods of geological field mapping in preparation for summer field camp. Laboratory exercises introduce geometrical and graphical techniques in the analysis of geologic maps. Field trips introduce methods of geological mapping. Instructor: Bucholz.
Ge 120 b. Field Geology: Summer Field Camp. 15 units (0-15-0): summer term. Prerequisites: Ge 120 a or instructor's permission. Intensive three-week field course in a well-exposed area of the western United States covering techniques of geologic field observation, mapping, analysis, and report preparation. Field work begins in mid-June after Commencement Day. Instructor: Bucholz.
Ge 121 abc. Advanced Field Geology. 12 units (0-9-3): first, second, third terms. Prerequisites: Ge 120 or equivalent, or instructor's permission. Field mapping and supporting laboratory studies in topical problems related to the geology of the southwestern United States. Course provides a breadth of experience in igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary rocks or geomorphology. Multiple terms of 121 may be taken more than once for credit if taught by different instructors. Instructors: Lamb (a), Stock (b), Grotzinger (c).
Ge 122 abc. Field Geology Seminar. 6 units (1-3-2): first, second, third terms. Prerequisites: Ge 11ab or Ge 101, or instructor's permission. Each term, a different field topic in Southern California will be examined in both seminar and field format. Relevant readings will be discussed in a weekly class meeting. During the 3-day weekend field trip we will examine field localities relevant to the topic, to permit detailed discussion of the observations. Topic: tbd. Graded pass/fail. Offered 2021-2022 (third term only). Instructor: Stock.
Ge 123. Continental Crust Seminar. 3 units (1-0-2): second term. A seminar course focusing on a topic related to the continental crust, which will be decided depending on the interest of participating students. Potential topics include arc magmatism, the evolution of the composition of continental crust through time, formation of granites, or specific localities/regions that help shape our understanding of continental crust generation. The course will comprise weekly student-lead discussion of scientific journal articles. Instructor: Bucholz.
Ge 124 a. Paleomagnetism and Magnetostratigraphy. 6 units (0-0-6): third term. Application of paleomagnetism to the solution of problems in stratigraphic correlation and to the construction of a high-precision geological timescale. A field trip to the southwest United States or Mexico to study the physical stratigraphy and magnetic zonation, followed by lab analysis. Given in alternate years; not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Kirschvink.
Ge 124 b. Paleomagnetism and Magnetostratigraphy. 9 units (3-3-3): third term. Prerequisites: Ge 11 ab. The principles of rock magnetism and physical stratigraphy; emphasis on the detailed application of paleomagnetic techniques to the determination of the history of the geomagnetic field. Given in alternate years; not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Kirschvink.
Ge 125. Geomorphology. 12 units (3-5-4): first term. Prerequisites: Ge 11 a or instructor's permission. A quantitative examination of landforms, runoff generation, river hydraulics, sediment transport, erosion and deposition, hillslope creep, landslides and debris flows, glacial processes, and submarine and Martian landscapes. Field and laboratory exercises are designed to facilitate quantitative measurements and analyses of geomorphic processes. Given in alternate years; not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Lamb.
Ge 126. Topics in Earth Surface Processes. 6 units (2-0-4): second term. A seminar-style course focusing on a specific theme within geomorphology and sedimentology depending on student interest. Potential themes could include river response to climate change, bedrock erosion in tectonically active mountain belts, or delta evolution on Earth and Mars. The course will consist of student-led discussions centered on readings from peer-reviewed literature. Instructor: Lamb.
Ge/Ch 127. Nuclear Chemistry. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Prerequisites: instructor's permission. A survey course in the properties of nuclei, and in atomic phenomena associated with nuclear-particle detection. Topics include rates of production and decay of radioactive nuclei; interaction of radiation with matter; nuclear masses, shapes, spins, and moments; modes of radioactive decay; nuclear fission and energy generation. Given in alternate years; not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Burnett.
Ge/Ch 128. Cosmochemistry. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Prerequisites: instructor's permission. Examination of the chemistry of the interstellar medium, of protostellar nebulae, and of primitive solar-system objects with a view toward establishing the relationship of the chemical evolution of atoms in the interstellar radiation field to complex molecules and aggregates in the early solar system that may contribute to habitability. Emphasis will be placed on identifying the physical conditions in various objects, timescales for physical and chemical change, chemical processes leading to change, observational constraints, and various models that attempt to describe the chemical state and history of cosmological objects in general and the early solar system in particular. Given in alternate years; Offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Blake.
Ge 131. Planetary Structure and Evolution. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Prerequisites: instructor's permission. A critical assessment of the physical and chemical processes that influence the initial condition, evolution, and current state of planets, including our planet and planetary satellites. Topics to be covered include a short survey of condensed-matter physics as it applies to planetary interiors, remote sensing of planetary interiors, planetary modeling, core formation, physics of ongoing differentiation, the role of mantle convection in thermal evolution, and generation of planetary magnetic fields. Instructor: Stevenson.
Ge/Ay 132. Atomic and Molecular Processes in Astronomy and Planetary Sciences. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Prerequisites: instructor's permission. Fundamental aspects of atomic and molecular spectra that enable one to infer physical conditions in astronomical, planetary, and terrestrial environments. Topics will include the structure and spectra of atoms, molecules, and solids; transition probabilities; photoionization and recombination; collisional processes; gas-phase chemical reactions; and isotopic fractionation. Each topic will be illustrated with applications in astronomy and planetary sciences, ranging from planetary atmospheres and dense interstellar clouds to the early universe. Given in alternate years; not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Blake.
Ge/Ay 133. The Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Review current theoretical ideas and observations pertaining to the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Topics to be covered include low-mass star formation, the protoplanetary disk, accretion and condensation in the solar nebula, the formation of gas giants, meteorites, the outer solar system, giant impacts, extrasolar planetary systems. Instructor: Batygin.
Ge 136 abc. Regional Field Geology of the Southwestern United States. 3 units (1-0-2): first, second, or third terms, by announcement. Prerequisites: Ge 11 ab or Ge 101, or instructor's permission. Includes approximately three days of weekend field tri0s into areas displaying highly varied geology. Each student is assigned the major responsibility of being the resident expert on a pertinent subject for each trip. Graded pass/fail. Instructor: Kirschvink.
Ge/Ay 137. Planetary Physics. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Prerequisites: Ph 106 abc, ACM 95/100 ab. A quantitative review of dynamical processes that characterize long-term evolution of planetary systems. An understanding of orbit-orbit resonances, spin-orbit resonances, secular exchange of angular momentum and the onset of chaos will be developed within the framework of Hamiltonian perturbation theory. Additionally, dissipative effects associated with tidal and planet-disk interactions will be considered. Instructor: Batygin.
Ge/ESE 139. Introduction to Atmospheric Radiation. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Prerequisites: Ma 2, Ph 2, or instructor's permission. The basic physics of absorption and scattering of light by molecules, aerosols, and clouds. Theory of radiative transfer. Band models, correlated-k distributions and other approximate methods. Solar insolation, thermal emission, heating rates and radiances. Applications to Earth, Planets and Exoplanets. Not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Yung.
Ge 140 a. Stable Isotope Geochemistry. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. An introduction to the principles and applications of stable isotope systems to earth science, emphasizing the physical, chemical and biological processes responsible for isotopic fractionation, and their underlying chemical-physics principles. Topics include the kinetic theory of gases and related isotopic fractionations, relevant subjects in quantum mechanics and statistical thermodynamics, equations of motion of charged particles in electrical and magnetic fields (the basis of mass spectrometry), the photochemistry of isotopic species, and applications to the earth, environmental and planetary sciences. Taught in odd years; alternates with Ge 140b. Not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Eiler.
Ge 140 b. Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. An introduction to the principles and applications of radiogenic isotope systems in earth science, with emphasis on the applications of these systems, from dating to forensic. Topics to be covered include nucleosynthesis, radioactive decay phenomena, geochronology, geochronometry, isotopes as tracers of solar system and planetary evolution, extinct radioactivities, cosmogenic isotopes and forensic geochemistry. Taught in even years; alternates with Ge 140a. Offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Tissot.
Ge/ESE 140 c. Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Prerequisites: Ge 140a or equivalent. An introduction to the use of stable isotopes in biogeochemistry, intended to give interested students the necessary background to understand applications in a variety of fields, from modern carbon cycling to microbial ecology to records of Ancient Earth. Topics include the principles of isotope distribution in reaction networks; isotope effects in enzyme-mediated reactions, and in metabolism and biosynthesis; characteristic fractionations accompanying carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur cycling; and applications of stable isotopes in the biogeosciences. Offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Sessions.
Ge 141. Isotope Cosmochemistry. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Prerequisites: Instructor's permission. An introduction to the study of the origin, abundances and distribution of the elements and their isotopes in the Universe, with emphasis on the isotopic constraints into the conditions, events and processes that shaped our Solar System. Topics to be covered include: cosmology and the age of the Universe, the age of the Milky Way and the duration of nucleosynthesis, the fundamentals of isotopic fractionations, the key roles of isotopic anomalies in understanding Solar System dynamics, early Solar System chronology from short- and long-lived nuclei, chondritic meteorite components as clues to solar nebula and asteroid evolution, as well as planetary formation and chronology (e.g., Moon, Mars, Earth). Not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Tissot.
ESE/Ge 142. Aquatic Chemistry of Natural Waters. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Prerequisites: Ch 1 or instructor's permission. Inorganic chemistry of natural waters with an emphasis on equilibrium solutions to problems in rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Topics will include, acid-base chemistry, precipitation, complexation, redox reactions, and surface chemistry. Examples will largely be drawn from geochemistry and geobiology. Selected topics in kinetics will be covered based on interest and time. Instructor: Adkins.
Ge/ESE 143. Organic Geochemistry. 9 units (3-2-4): third term. Prerequisites: Ch 41 a or equivalent. Main topics include the analysis, properties, sources, and cycling of natural organic materials in the environment, from their production in living organisms to burial and decomposition in sediments and preservation in the rock record. Specific topics include analytical methods for organic geochemistry, lipid structure and biochemistry, composition of organic matter, factors controlling organic preservation, organic climate and CO2 proxies, diagenesis and catagenesis, and biomarkers for ancient life. A laboratory component (three evening labs) teaches the extraction and analysis of modern and ancient organic biomarkers by GC/MS. Class includes a mandatory one-day (weekend) field trip to observe the Monterey Formation. Not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Sessions.
Ge 145. Isotope-Ratio Mass Spectrometry. 9 units (1-4-4): first term. This class provides a hands-on introduction to the construction and operating principles of instrumentation used for isotope-ratio mass spectrometry. The class is structured as a 1-hour lecture plus 4-hour lab each week examining the major subsystems of an IRMS, including vacuum systems, ionization source, mass analyzer, and detector. Laboratories involve hands-on deconstruction and re-assembly of a retired IRMS instrument to examine its components. Course is limited to 6 students at the discretion of the instructor, with preference given to graduate students using this instrumentation in their research. Taught in odd-numbered years; Offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Sessions.
ME/CE/Ge/ESE 146. Computational Methods for Flow in Porous Media. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Prerequisites: ME 11abc, ME 12abc, ACM 95/100, ACM 106ab (may be taken concurrently). This course covers physical, mathematical and simulation aspects of single and two-phase flow and transport through porous media. Conservation equations for multiphase, multicomponent flow. Modeling of fluid mechanical instabilities such as viscous fingering, gravity fingering and gravity-driven convection. Coupling fluid flow with chemical reactions. Coupling single phase flow with poromechanics. Numerical methods for elliptic equations: finite volume methods, two-point flux approximations, finite difference, spectral method. Numerical methods for hyperbolic equations: high-order explicit methods, implicit method. Applications in hydrology, geological CO2 sequestration and induced seismicity, among others will be demonstrated. Instructor: Fu.
Ge/Bi/BE/CNS/ESE 147. Challenges and Opportunities in Quantitative Ecology. 3 units (3-0-0): third term. Prerequisites: none. Ecosystems are defined by dynamical interactions between groups of organisms, the communities they constitute, and the physical and chemical conditions and processes occurring in the environment. These dynamics are complex and multiscale across both length and time. This course will explore quantitative approaches that observe, measure, model, and monitor ecosystems and the services that they provide society-and the emerging opportunities that could employ these approaches to improve and strengthen global sustainability when it comes to our own ecology. This course will feature lectures each week from different members of the Caltech faculty working on ecological problems from different angles in order to illustrate how fresh insights can emerge by drawing on diverse ways-of-knowing. Instructor: Fischer (and a rotating cast of Caltech faculty).
Ge/ESE 149. Marine Geochemistry. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Prerequisites: ESE 102. Introduction to chemical oceanography and sediment geochemistry. We will address the question "Why is the ocean salty?" by examining the processes that determine the major, minor, and trace element distributions of seawater and ocean sediments. Topics include river and estuarine chemistry, air/sea exchange, nutrient uptake by the biota, radioactive tracers, redox processes in the water column and sediments, carbonate chemistry, and ventilation. Given in alternate years; Offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Adkins.
Ge/ESE 150. Planetary Atmospheres. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Prerequisites: Ch 1, Ma 2, Ph 2, or equivalents. A broad survey of the formation, evolution, and present-day properties of planetary atmospheres, drawing examples from both the solar system and extrasolar planet literature. We will cover topics including energy balance, radiative transfer, chemistry, cloud formation, dynamics, and escape. The goal of this class is to provide an overview of key concepts relevant to planetary atmospheres that can serve as a foundation for future coursework or research in this area. Instructor: Knutson.
Ge 151. Planetary Surfaces. 9 units (3-3-3): third term. We will review the mechanisms responsible for the formation and modification of the surfaces of solar system bodies, studying both composition and physical processes. Topics include exogenous processes (impact cratering, space weathering) and endogenous processes (tectonic, volcanic, weathering, fluvial, aeolian, and periglacial) that shape the surfaces of planets. Lectures, occasional labs, and one required field trip. Instructor: de Kleer.
Ge/ESE 154. Readings in Paleoclimate. 3 units (1-0-2): second term. Prerequisites: instructor's permission. Lectures and readings in areas of current interest in paleoceanography and paleoclimate. Instructor: Adkins.
Ge/ESE 155. Paleoceanography. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Prerequisites: ESE 102. Evaluation of the data and models that make up our current understanding of past climates. Emphasis will be placed on a historical introduction to the study of the past ten thousand to a few hundred thousand years, with some consideration of longer timescales. Evidence from marine and terrestrial sediments, ice cores, corals, and speleothems will be used to address the mechanisms behind natural climate variability. Models of this variability will be evaluated in light of the data. Topics will include sea level and ice volume, surface temperature evolution, atmospheric composition, deep ocean circulation, tropical climate, ENSO variability, and terrestrial/ocean linkages. Given in alternate years; not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Adkins.
Ge 156. Topics in Planetary Surfaces. 6 units (3-0-3): . Offered by announcement only. Reading about and discussion of current understanding of the surface of a selected terrestrial planet, major satellite, or asteroid. Important "classic" papers will be reviewed, relative to the data that are being returned from recent and current missions. May be repeated for credit.
Ge/EE/ESE 157 c. Remote Sensing for Environmental and Geological Applications. 9 units (3-3-3): third term. Analysis of electromagnetic radiation at visible, infrared, and radio wavelengths for interpretation of the physical and chemical characteristics of the surfaces of Earth and other planets. Topics: interaction of light with materials, spectroscopy of minerals and vegetation, atmospheric removal, image analysis, classification, and multi-temporal studies. This course does not require but is complementary to EE 157ab with emphasis on applications for geological and environmental problems, using data acquired from airborne and orbiting remote sensing platforms. Students will work with digital remote sensing datasets in the laboratory and there will be one field trip. Instructor: Ehlmann.
Ge/Ay 159. Astrobiology. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. We approach the age-old questions "Why are we here?" and "Are we alone?" by covering topics in cosmology, the origins of life, planetary habitability, the detection of biosignatures, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and humanity's future in space. Specific topics include: the emergence of life at hydrothermal vents; the habitable zone and the Gaia hypothesis; the search for ancient habitable environments on Mars; icy satellites like Europa, Enceladus, and Titan as astrobiological prospects; and the hunt for atmospheric biosignatures on exoplanets. Offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Yung.
Ae/Ge/ME 160 ab. Continuum Mechanics of Fluids and Solids. 9 units (3-0-6): first, second terms. Elements of Cartesian tensors. Configurations and motions of a body. Kinematics-study of deformations, rotations and stretches, polar decomposition. Lagrangian and Eulerian strain velocity and spin tensor fields. Irrotational motions, rigid motions. Kinetics-balance laws. Linear and angular momentum, force, traction stress. Cauchy's theorem, properties of Cauchy's stress. Equations of motion, equilibrium equations. Power theorem, nominal (Piola-Kirchoff) stress. Thermodynamics of bodies. Internal energy, heat flux, heat supply. Laws of thermodynamics, notions of entropy, absolute temperature. Entropy inequality (Clausius-Duhem). Examples of special classes of constitutive laws for materials without memory. Objective rates, corotational, convected rates. Principles of materials frame indifference. Examples: the isotropic Navier-Stokes fluid, the isotropic thermoelastic solid. Basics of finite differences, finite elements, and boundary integral methods, and their applications to continuum mechanics problems illustrating a variety of classes of constitutive laws. Instructors: Rosakis, Lapusta.
Ge 161. Plate Tectonics. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Prerequisites: Ge 11 ab or equivalent. Geophysical and geological observations related to plate tectonic theory. Instantaneous and finite motion of rigid plates on a sphere; marine magnetic and paleomagnetic measurements; seismicity and tectonics of plate boundaries; reference frames and absolute plate motions. Interpretations of geologic data in the context of plate tectonics; plate tectonic evolution of the ocean basins. Instructor: Stock.
Ge 162. Seismology. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Prerequisites: ACM 95/100 ab or equivalent. Review of concepts in classical seismology. Topics to be covered: basic theories of wave propagation in the earth, instrumentation, Earth's structure and tomography, theory of the seismic source, physics of earthquakes, and seismic risk. Emphasis will be placed on how quantitative mathematical and physical methods are used to understand complex natural processes, such as earthquakes. Instructor: Zhan.
Ge 163. Geodynamics. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Prerequisites: Ae/Ge/ME 160 ab. Quantitative introduction to the dynamics of the earth, including core, mantle, lithosphere, and crust. Mechanical models are developed for each of these regions and compared to a variety of data sets. Potential theory applied to the gravitational and geomagnetic fields. Special attention is given to the dynamics of plate tectonics and the earthquake cycle. Instructor: Gurnis.
Ge 164. Mineral Physics. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Prerequisites: Ge 11 ad or equivalent, or instructor's permission. Introduction to the mineral physics of Earth's interior. Topics covered: mineralogy and phase transitions at high pressures and temperatures; elasticity and equations of state; vibrational, electronic, and transport properties; application of mineral physics data to Earth and planetary interiors. Instructor: Jackson.
Ge 165. Geophysical Data Analysis and Seismic Imaging. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Prerequisites: basic linear algebra and Fourier transforms. Introduction to modern digital analysis: discrete Fourier transforms, filters, correlation, convolution, deconvolution and auto-regressive models. Imaging with seismic reflection and refraction data, tomography, receiver functions and surface waves. Instructor: Clayton.
Ge 166. Hydrology. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Prerequisites: Math 1 or equivalent. Introduction to hydrology. Focus will be on how water moves on earth, including in groundwater, rivers, oceans, glaciers, and the atmosphere. Class will be based in fluid mechanics, which will be covered. Specific topics will include the Navier-Stokes equation, Darcy's law, aquifer flow, contaminant transport, turbulent flow, gravity waves, tsunami propagation, geostrophic currents, Ekman transport, glacier flow laws, and the Hadley circulation. Not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Staff.
Ge 167. Tectonic Geodesy. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Prerequisites: a working knowledge of unix/linux or equivalent, linear algebra, and coursework in geophysics. An introduction to the use of modern geodetic observations (e.g., GPS and InSAR) to constrain crustal deformation models. Secular velocity fields, coseismic and time-dependent processes; volcano deformation and seasonal loading phenomena. Basic inverse approaches for parameter estimation and basic temporal filtering algorithms. Given in alternate years; offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Simons.
Ge 169 abcd. Readings in Geophysics. 6 units (3-0-3): first, second, third, fourth terms. Reading courses are offered to teach students to read critically the work of others and to broaden their knowledge about specific topics. Each student will be required to write a short summary of each paper that summarizes the main goals of the paper, to give an assessment of how well the author achieved those goals, and to point out related issues not discussed in the paper. Each student will be expected to lead the discussion on one or more papers. The leader will summarize the discussion on the paper(s) in writing. A list of topics offered each year will be posted on the Web. Individual terms may be taken for credit multiple times without regard to sequence. Instructor: Staff.
ESE/Ge/Ch 171. Atmospheric Chemistry I. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Prerequisites: Ch 1 or equivalent. A detailed course about chemical transformation in Earth's atmosphere. Kinetics, spectroscopy, and thermodynamics of gas-phase chemistry of the stratosphere and troposphere; sources, sinks, and lifetimes of trace atmospheric species; stratospheric ozone chemistry; oxidation mechanisms in the troposphere; aerosol chemistry. Instructors: Seinfeld, Wennberg.
ESE/Ge/Ch 172. Atmospheric Chemistry II. 3 units (3-0-0): first term. Prerequisites: ESE/Ge/Ch 171 or equivalent. A lecture and discussion course about active research in atmospheric chemistry. Potential topics include halogen chemistry of the stratosphere and troposphere; aerosol formation in remote environments; coupling of dynamics and photochemistry; development and use of modern remote-sensing and in situ instrumentation. Graded pass/fail. Given in alternate years; not offered 2021-2022. Instructors: Seinfeld, Wennberg.
CE/ME/Ge 173. Mechanics of Soils. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Prerequisites: Continuum Mechanics-Ae/Ge/ME 160a. Basic principles of stiffness, deformation, effective stress and strength of soils, including sands, clays and silts. Elements of soil behavior such as stress-strain-strength behavior of clays, effects of sample disturbance, anisotropy, and strain rate; strength and compression of granular soils; consolidation theory and settlement analysis; and critical state soil mechanics. Not offered 2021-22.
ME/CE/Ge 174. Mechanics of Rocks. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Prerequisites: Ae/Ge/ME 160a. Basic principles of deformation, strength, and stressing of rocks. Elastic behavior, plasticity, viscoelasticity, viscoplasticity, creep, damage, friction, failure mechanisms, shear localization, and interaction of deformation processes with fluids. Engineering and geological applications. Not offered 2021-2022.
Ge 177. Active Tectonics. 12 units (3-3-6): third term. Prerequisites: Ge 112 and Ge 106 or equivalent. Introduction to techniques for identifying and quantifying active tectonic processes. Geomorphology, stratigraphy, structural geology, and geodesy applied to the study of active faults and folds in a variety of tectonic settings. Relation of seismicity and geodetic measurements to geologic structure and active tectonics processes. Review of case studies of selected earthquakes. Offered in alternate years; offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Avouac.
Ge/ESE/Bi 178. Microbial Ecology. 9 units (3-2-4): second term. Prerequisites: either ESE/Bi 166 or ESE/Bi 168 recommended. Structural, phylogenetic, and metabolic diversity of microorganisms in nature. The course explores microbial interactions, relationships between diversity and physiology in modern and ancient environments, and influence of microbial community structure on biogeochemical cycles. Introduction to ecological principles and molecular approaches used in microbial ecology and geobiological investigations. Offered in alternate years; not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Orphan.
Ge 190. The Nature and Evolution of the Earth. Units to be arranged: Offered by announcement only. Advanced-level discussions of problems of current interest in the earth sciences. Students may enroll for any or all terms of this course without regard to sequence. Instructor: Staff.
Ge 191. Special Topics in Geochemistry. Units to be arranged: Offered by announcement only. Advanced-level discussions of problems of current interest in geochemistry. Students may enroll for any or all terms of this course without regard to sequence. Instructor: Staff.
Ge 192. Special Topics in the Geological Sciences. Units to be arranged: Offered by announcement only. Advanced-level discussions of problems of current interest in the geological sciences. Students may enroll for any or all terms of this course without regard to sequence. Instructor: Staff.
Ge 193. Special Topics in Geophysics. Units to be arranged: Offered by announcement only. Advanced-level discussions of problems of current interest in geophysics. Students may enroll for any or all terms of this course without regard to sequence. Instructor: Staff.
Ge 194. Special Topics in Planetary Sciences: Europa Seminar. Units to be arranged: first term. Advanced-level discussions of problems of current interest in planetary sciences. Students may enroll for any or all terms of this course without regard to sequence. Instructor: Brown.
Ge 195. Special Topics in Field Geology. Units to be arranged: . Offered by announcement. Field experiences in different geological settings. Supporting lectures will usually occur before and during the field experience. This course will be scheduled only when special opportunities arise. Class may be taken more than once. Instructor: Staff.
Ge 196. Special Topics in Atmospheres and Oceans. Units to be arranged: . Offered by announcement only. Advanced-level discussions of problems of current interest in atmospheric and ocean sciences. Instructor: Staff.
Ge 197. Special Topics in Geobiology. Units to be arranged: . Offered by announcement only. Advanced-level discussions of problems of current interest in geobiological sciences. Students may enroll for any or all terms of this course without regard to sequence. Instructor: Staff.
Ay/Ge 198. Special Topics in the Planetary Sciences. 6 units (2-0-4): third term. Topic for 2021-2022 is Extrasolar Planets. Thousands of planets have been identified in orbit around other stars. Astronomers are now embarking on understanding the statistics of extrasolar planet populations and characterizing individual systems in detail, namely star-planet, planet-planet and planet-disk dynamical interactions, physical parameters of planets and their composition, weather phenomena, etc. Direct and indirect detection techniques are now completing the big picture of extra-solar planetary systems in all of their natural diversity. The seminar-style course will review the state of the art in exoplanet science, take up case studies, detail current and future instrument needs, and anticipate findings. Instructor: Howard.
Ge 211. Applied Geophysics II. Units to be arranged: first term. Prerequisites: instructor's permission. Intensive geophysical field experience in either marine or continental settings. Marine option will include participation in a student training cruise, with several weeks aboard a geophysical research vessel, conducting geophysical measurements (multibeam bathymetry, gravity, magnetics, and/or seismics), and processing and interpreting the data. Supporting lectures and problem sets on the theoretical basis of the relevant geophysical techniques and the tectonic background of the survey area will occur before and during the training cruise. The course might be offered in a similar format in other isolated situations. The course will be scheduled only when opportunities arise and this usually means that only six months' notice can be given. Auditing not permitted. Class may be taken more than once. Not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Stock.
Ge 212. Thermodynamics of Geological Systems. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Prerequisites: Either Ch 21 abc, Ge 115 a, or equivalents. Chemical thermodynamics as applied to geological and geochemical problems. Classical thermodynamics, including stability criteria, homogeneous and heterogeneous equilibria, equilibria subject to generalized constraints, equations of state, ideal and non-ideal solutions, redox systems, and electrolyte conventions. Brief discussion of statistical foundations and an introduction to the thermodynamics of irreversible processes. Given in alternate years; offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Asimow.
Ge 214. Spectroscopy of Minerals. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Prerequisites: Ge 114 a, Ch 21 ab, or instructor's permission. An overview of the interaction of minerals with electromagnetic radiation from gamma rays to microwaves. Particular emphasis is placed on visible, infrared, Raman, and Mössbauer spectroscopies as applied to mineralogical problems such as phase identification, chemical analysis, site populations, and origin of color and pleochroism. Given in alternate years; not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Rossman.
Ge 215. Topics in Advanced Petrology. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Prerequisites: Ge 115 ab or instructor's permission. Lectures, readings, seminars, and/or laboratory studies in igneous or metamorphic petrology, paragenesis, and petrogenesis. The course may cover experimental, computational, or analytical methods. Format and content are flexible according to the needs of the students. Given in alternate years; not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Asimow.
Ge 217. Radiogenic Isotopes Seminar. 6 units (3-0-3): third term. Prerequisites: Ge 140b or permission of instructor. The course deals with advanced topics in radiogenic isotope geochemistry and builds on Ge 140b, addressing unconventional applications of radioisotopes as well as treating several conventional radiogenic systems in more detail. Topics to be covered will be guided by class interests. Given in alternate years. Offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Farley.
Ge 218. Stable Isotopes Seminar. 6 units (3-0-3): second term. Prerequisites: Ge 140 or permission of instructor. The course deals with advanced topics in stable isotope geochemistry and builds on Ge 140. The course will explore in depth the theory and applications of a subject in stable isotope geochemistry, selected by consensus of the enrolled students at or before the beginning of term. Example subjects could include: stable isotope thermometry; paleoclimate studies; paleoaltimetry; the early solar system; terrestrial weathering; photochemistry; or biosynthetic fractionations. The class will read and discuss classic papers in that subject area, supplemented with instructor lectures and broader background reading. All participants will lead discussions of papers and present one lecture on a relevant subject. Given in alternate years; offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Eiler.
Ge 219. Non-traditional Isotopes Seminar. 6 units (2-0-4): third term. Prerequisites: Ge 140a or b, or permission of instructor. The course deals with advanced topics in stable and radiogenic isotope geo-/cosmochemistry and builds on Ge 140a and b, with emphasis on non-traditional isotope systems (Mg, Fe, Ti, Mo, U, etc.). Starting with close examination of seminal papers, each topic will build up to a discussion of the remaining outstanding questions. Topics to be covered will be guided by class interests. Example subjects could include: the early solar system, nucleosynthetic anomalies, the early Earth, planetary differentiation, paleoredox reconstructions, medical use of stable isotopes. All participants will lead discussions of papers and present a lecture on a relevant subject. Grades will include participation, a review/proposal paper, and oral examination(s). Instructor: Tissot.
CE/Ge/ME 222. Earthquake Source Processes, Debris Flows, and Soil Liquefaction: Physics-based Modeling of Failure in Granular Media. 6 units (2-0-4): third term. A seminar-style course focusing on granular dynamics and instabilities as they relate to geophysical hazards such as fault mechanics, debris flows, and liquefaction. The course will consist of student-led presentations of active research at Caltech and discussions of recent literature. Not offered 2021-22.
Ae/AM/ME/Ge 225. Special Topics in Solid Mechanics. Units to be arranged: first, second, third terms. Subject matter changes depending on staff and student interest.
Ge/Bi 244. Paleobiology Seminar. 6 units (3-0-3): third term. Critical reviews and discussion of classic investigations and current research in paleoecology, evolution, and biogeochemistry. Instructor: Kirschvink.
Ge/Bi/ESE 246. Molecular Geobiology Seminar. 6 units (2-0-4): first term. Critical reviews and discussion of classic papers and current research in microbiology and geomicrobiology. As the topics will vary from year to year, it may be taken multiple times. Not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Orphan.
Ge/ESE/Bi 248. Environmental Justice. 6 units (2-0-4): second term. This seminar course will explore and discuss the unique intersection of environmental racism, environmental justice, and academia. Course material will primarily feature readings and videos on a case study-like basis and focus on bringing conversations typically had in humanities, social sciences and activism to the bio and geosciences. Topics will center around two primary approaches: an "outward-facing" component that looks at environmental racism through the lens of various activisms, and an "inward-facing" component addressing the biases/malpractices broadly employed in the biological and geosciences, as well as the apparent moral dilemmas of decisions involving multiple stakeholders. Out of class work will largely be based on assigned readings, some multimedia presentations, and occasional writings and thought exercises. This course is taught concurrently with Hum 61 and can only be taken once, as Ge/ESE/Bi 248 or Hum 61. Instructor: Orphan.
Ge 261. Advanced Seismology. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Continuation of Ge 162 with special emphasis on particular complex problems; includes generalizations of analytical methods to handle nonplanar structures and methods of interfacing numerical-analytical codes in two and three dimensions; construction of Earth models using tomographic methods and synthetics. Requires a class project. Instructor: Zhan.
Ge 263. Computational Geophysics. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Prerequisites: introductory class in geophysics, class in partial differential equations, some programming experience. Finite-difference, pseudo-spectral, finite-element, and spectral-element methods will be presented and applied to a number of geophysical problems including heat flow, deformation, and wave propagation. Students will program simple versions of methods. Given in alternate years; not offered 2021-2022. Instructors: Clayton, Gurnis.
Ge 264. Machine Learning in Geophysics. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Prerequisites: Ge 118 or equivalent. An overview of machine learning algorithms and their usage in current geophysical research. Both supervised and unsupervised learning will be covered. Algorithms include deep neural networks, ensemble learning, clustering, and dimensionality reduction. The course will address data requirements, current limitations, and the role of machine learning in the future of geophysics. Instructor: Ross.
Ae/AM/CE/ME/Ge 265 ab. Static and Dynamic Failure of Brittle Solids and Interfaces, from the Micro to the Mega. 9 units (3-0-6): first term. Prerequisites: Ae/AM/CE/ME 102 abc (concurrently) or equivalent and/or instructor's permission. Linear elastic fracture mechanics of homogeneous brittle solids (e.g. geo-materials, ceramics, metallic glasses); small scale yielding concepts; experimental methods in fracture, fracture of bi-material interfaces with applications to composites as well as bonded and layered engineering and geological structures; thin-film and micro-electronic components and systems; dynamic fracture mechanics of homogeneous engineering materials; dynamic shear dominated failure of coherent and incoherent interfaces at all length scales; dynamic rupture of frictional interfaces with application to earthquake source mechanics; allowable rupture speeds regimes and connections to earthquake seismology and the generation of Tsunamis. Not offered 2021-2022.
ME/Ge/Ae 266 ab. Dynamic Fracture and Frictional Faulting. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Prerequisites: Ae/AM/CE/ME 102 abc or Ae/Ge/ME 160 ab or instructor's permission. Introduction to elastodynamics and waves in solids. Dynamic fracture theory, energy concepts, cohesive zone models. Friction laws, nucleation of frictional instabilities, dynamic rupture of frictional interfaces. Radiation from moving cracks. Thermal effects during dynamic fracture and faulting. Crack branching and faulting along nonplanar interfaces. Related dynamic phenomena, such as adiabatic shear localization. Applications to engineering phenomena and physics and mechanics of earthquakes. Instructor: Lapusta.
Ge 270. Continental Tectonics. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Prerequisites: ACM 95/100 or ACM 113; Ge 11 ab, Ge 106, Ge 162, or Ge 161. The nature of nonplate, finite deformation processes in the evolution of the continental lithosphere, using the Alpine orogen as an example. Rheological stratification; isostatic and flexural response to near-vertical loads; rifting and associated basin development; collision and strike-slip tectonics; deep crustal processes. Given in alternate years; not offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Wernicke.
Ge 271. Dynamics of Seismicity. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. A comprehensive introduction to seismicity of the Earth. Topics covered: Empirical laws for seismicity; spatial and temporal evolution of earthquake sequences; earthquake location algorithms; seismicity in crustal fault zones, subduction zones, creeping faults, volcanoes, and intraplate regions; earthquake triggering; induced seismicity; tectonic tremor and low-frequency earthquakes. Requires a class project. Instructor: Ross.
Ge 277. Active Tectonics Seminar. 6 units (2-0-4): second term. Discussion of key issues in active tectonics based on a review of the literature. The topic of the seminar is adjusted every year based on students' interest and recent literature. Given in alternate years; offered 2021-2022. Instructor: Avouac.
Ge/ESE 298. Mentoring and Outreach. Units to be arranged, up to 12 units per year: . In consultation with a faculty advisor and the Caltech Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach, students may obtain credit for engaging in volunteer efforts to promote public understanding of science; to mentor and tutor young people and underserved populations; or to otherwise contribute to the diversity, equity, and inclusiveness of the scientific enterprise. Students may petition their option representative (graduate students) or academic advisor (undergraduate students) if they seek credits beyond the 12-unit limit. Instructor: Staff.

Please Note

The online version of the Caltech Catalog is provided as a convenience; however, the printed version is the only authoritative source of information about course offerings, option requirements, graduation requirements, and other important topics.