GPS Courses (2020-21)

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Earth's Climate

9 units (3-0-6)  |  third term
An introduction to the coupling between atmospheric composition and climate on Earth. How Earth's climate has changed in the past and its evolving response to the rapid increase in carbon dioxide and methane happening today. Model projections of future climate and associated risks. Development of climate policies in face of uncertainty in these projections and risks. Enrollment is limited. Satisfies the menu requirement of the Caltech core curriculum. Juniors and Seniors who have satisfied their menu course requirement should enroll in ESE 101.
Instructor: Wennberg

Earth and Environment

9 units (3-3-3)  |  third term
An introduction to the ideas and approaches of earth and planetary sciences, including both the special challenges and viewpoints of these kinds of science as well as the ways in which basic physics, chemistry, and biology relate to them. In addition to a wide-ranging lecture-oriented component, there will be a required field trip component. The lectures and topics cover such issues as solid Earth structure and evolution, plate tectonics, oceans and atmospheres, climate change, and the relationship between geological and biological evolution. Not offered on a pass/fail basis. Satisfies the menu requirement of the Caltech core curriculum.
Instructor: Asimow

Frontiers in Geological and Planetary Sciences

2 units (2-0-0)  |  second term
The course may be taken multiple times. Weekly seminar by a member of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences or a visitor to discuss a topic of his or her current research at an introductory level. The course is designed to introduce students to research and research opportunities in the division and to help students find faculty sponsors for individual research projects. Graded pass/fail.
Instructor: Thompson

Introduction to Earth and Planetary Sciences: Earth as a Planet

9 units (3-3-3)  |  first term
Systematic introduction to the physical and chemical processes that have shaped Earth as a planet over geological time, and the observable products of these processes-rock materials, minerals, land forms. Geophysics of Earth. Plate tectonics; earthquakes; igneous activity. Metamorphism and metamorphic rocks. Rock deformation and mountain building. Weathering, erosion, and sedimentary rocks. The causes and recent history of climate change. The course includes an overnight field trip and a weekly laboratory section focused on the identification of rocks and minerals and the interpretation of topographic and geological maps. Although Ge 11 abcd is designed as a sequence, any one term may be taken as a standalone course.
Instructor: Wernicke

Introduction to Earth and Planetary Sciences: Earth and the Biosphere

9 units (3-3-3)  |  second term
Prerequisites: Ch 1 a.
Systematic introduction to the origin and evolution of life and its impact on the oceans, atmosphere, and climate of Earth. Topics covered include ancient Earth surface environments and the rise of atmospheric oxygen. Microbial and molecular evolution, photosynthesis, genes as fossils. Banded iron stones, microbial mats, stromatolites, and global glaciation. Biological fractionation of stable isotopes. Numerical calibration of the geological timescale, the Cambrian explosion, mass extinctions, and human evolution. The course usually includes one major field trip and laboratory studies of rocks, fossils, and geological processes. Although Ge 11 abcd is designed as a sequence, any one term may be taken as a standalone course. Biologists are particularly welcome.
Instructors: Fischer, Kirschvink

Introduction to Earth and Planetary Sciences: Geophysics

9 units (3-0-6)  |  second term
Prerequisites: Ch 1, Ma 2 a, Ph 2 a.
An introduction to the geophysics of the solid earth; formation of planets; structure and composition of Earth; interactions between crust, mantle, and core; surface and internal dynamics; mantle convection; imaging of the interior; seismic tomography. Although Ge 11 abcd is designed as a sequence, any one term can be taken as a standalone course.
Instructors: Clayton, Gurnis

Introduction to Earth and Planetary Sciences: Planetary Sciences

9 units (3-0-6)  |  third term
Prerequisites: Ma 1 ab, Ph 1 ab.
A broad introduction to the present state and early history of the solar system, including terrestrial planets, giant planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and rings. Earth-based observations, observations by planetary spacecraft, study of meteorites, and observations of extrasolar planets are used to constrain models of the dynamical and chemical processes of planetary systems. Although Ge 11 abcd is designed as a sequence, any one term may be taken as a standalone course. Physicists and astronomers are particularly welcome.
Instructor: Ingersoll

Freshman Seminar: Earthquakes

6 units (2-0-4)  |  first term
Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions constitute some of the world's major natural hazards. What is the science behind prediction and/or rapid response to these events? We will review the current understanding of the science, the efforts that have been made in earthquake and volcano forecasting, and real-time response to these events. We will learn about advances in earthquake preparation in Southern California, and volcanic eruption forecasting and hazard mitigation elsewhere. There is a required field trip to visit faults and volcanoes somewhere in southern California. Freshmen only; limited enrollment.
Instructor: Stock

Freshman Seminar: The Unseen Microbial World in Plain Sight

6 units (2-0-4)  |  first term
To paraphrase a Caltech engineering colleague: "In terms of Earth and the Environment, although fascinating, until recently our species had been nothing more than the hood ornament on a really interesting car. We should be studying what's under the hood, the microbial world, if we want to understand the engine". We will examine striking examples of microbes and microbial activities in the environment. There is one required field trip to visit sites of microbial interest somewhere in southern California. Freshmen only; limited enrollment.
Instructor: Leadbetter

Special Problems for Undergraduates

Units to be arranged  |  any term
This course provides a mechanism for undergraduates to undertake honors-type work in the geologic sciences. By arrangement with individual members of the staff. Graded pass/fail.

Undergraduate Research and Bachelor's Thesis

Units to be arranged  |  first, second, third terms
Guidance in seeking research opportunities and in formulating a research plan leading to preparation of a bachelor's thesis is available from the GPS option representatives. Graded pass/fail.

Earth's Atmosphere

9 units (3-0-6)  |  first term
Introduction to the fundamental processes governing atmospheric circulations and climate. Starting from an overview of the observed state of the atmosphere and its variation over the past, the course discusses Earth's radiative energy balance including the greenhouse effect, Earth's orbit around the Sun and climatic effects of its variations, and the role of atmospheric circulations in maintaining the energy, angular momentum, and water balances, which determine the distributions of temperatures, winds, and precipitation. The focus throughout is on order-of-magnitude physics that is applicable to climates generally, including those of Earth's past and future and of other planets.
Instructor: Schneider
Hours: TTH 1:00 - 2:30 PM

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

Earth's Oceans

9 units (3-0-6)  |  first term
This course will provide a basic introduction to physical, chemical and biological properties of Earth's ocean. Topics to be covered include: oceanographic observational and numerical methods as well as the phenomenology and distribution of temperature, salinity, and tracers. Fundamentals of ocean dynamics, such as Ekman layers, wind-driven gyres, and overturning circulations. Ocean biology and chemistry: simple plankton population models, Redfield ratios, air-sea gas exchange, productivity and respiration, carbon cycle basics. Changes in ocean circulation over Earth's history and its impact on past climate changes.
Instructor: Thompson
Hours: MWF 11:00 - 12:00 PM

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, Gurni

Earth's Biogeochemical Cycles

9 units (3-0-6)  |  second term
Global cycles of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur. Photosynthesis, respiration and net primary production. Soil formation, erosion, and carbon storage. Ecosystem processes, metrics, and function. Nutrient supply and limitation. Microbial processes underlying weathering, decomposition, and carbon remineralization. Stable isotope tracers in the carbon and hydrologic cycles. The human footprint on the Earth.
Instructor: Frankenberg

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

Current Problems in Environmental Science and Engineering

1 unit  |  first term
Discussion of current research by ESE graduate students, faculty, and staff.
Instructor: Thompson
Hours: TH 12:00 - 1:00 PM

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

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; not offered 2020-21.
Instructors: Phillips, Orphan

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

Introduction to Astronomical Observation

9 units (1-1-7)  |  first term
Prerequisites: CS 1 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. Not offered 2020-21.
Instructors: Hillenbrand, de Kleer

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

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

Applied Geophysics Seminar and Field Course

6 units (3-3-0)  |  second, third terms
Prerequisites: 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

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; not offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Grotzinger

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

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.
Instructor: Rossman

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; not offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Stolper

Petrology and Petrography: Metamorphic Petrology

9 units (3-3-3)  |  second 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 2020-21.
Instructor: Eiler

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

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

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 2020-21.
Instructor: Staff

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. Not offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Bucholz

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

Field Geology: Summer Field Camp

15 units (0-15-0)  |  summer
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

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: Avouac (a), Kirschvink (b), Stock (c)

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 2020-21 (second term only).
Instructor: Stock

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

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; offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Kirschvink

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; offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Kirschvink

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; offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Lamb

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

Nuclear Chemistry

9 units (3-0-6)  |  third 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; offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Burnett

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; not offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Blake

Introduction to Atmosphere and Ocean Dynamics

9 units (3-0-6)  |  second term
Prerequisites: ESE 101/102 or instructor's permission.
Introduction to geophysical fluid dynamics of large-scale flows in the atmosphere. Governing equations and approximations that describe these rotation and stratification dominated flows. Topics include: conservation laws, equations of state, geostrophic and thermal wind balance, vorticity and potential vorticity dynamics, shallow water dynamics, atmospheric waves.
Instructor: Callies

Ocean Dynamics

9 units (3-0-6)  |  third term
Prerequisites: ESE 130 or instructor's permission.
This course gives an in-depth discussion of the fluid dynamics of the world ocean. Building on the concepts developed in ESE 130, this course explores the vertical structure of the wind-driven gyre circulation, thermocline theory, eddies and eddy parameterizations, the circulation of the deep ocean, ocean energetics, surface gravity waves, tides, internal waves, and turbulent mixing.
Instructors: Callies, Thompson

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

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; offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Blake

The Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems

9 units (3-0-6)  |  second 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

Cloud and Boundary Layer Dynamics

9 units (3-0-6)  |  third term
Prerequisites: ESE 130 or instructor's permission.
Introduction to the dynamics controlling boundary layers and clouds and how they may change with climate, from a phenomenological overview of cloud and boundary layer morphologies to closure theories for turbulence and convection. Topics include similarity theories for boundary layers; mixed-layer models; moist thermodynamics and stability; stratocumulus and trade-cumulus boundary layers; shallow cumulus convection and deep convection. Offered 2019-20.
Instructor: Schneider

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 trips 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

Polar Oceanography

9 units (3-0-6)  |  third term
Prerequisites: ESE 131 or instructor's permission.
This course focuses on high latitude processes related to the the Earth's oceans and their interaction with the cryosphere, including glaciers, ice shelves and sea ice. The course starts with introductory lectures related to regional circulation features, water mass modification and ice dynamics. A single topic will be selected to explore in detail through the scientific literature and through individual projects. Given in alternate years; Offered 2019-20.
Instructor: Thompson

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

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. Given in alternate years; not offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Yung

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. Offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Eiler

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. Not offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Tissot

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. Not offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Sessions

Isotopes 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).
Instructor: Tissot

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

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. Offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Sessions

Climate from Space

9 units (3-0-6)  |  second term
Introduction to satellite remote sensing. Earth's energy balance. Atmospherics physics and composition. Ocean dynamics and ice physics from space. The water, energy and carbon cycles. The Earth's biosphere from space. The climate system.
Instructors: Teixeira, Thompson

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; not offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Sessions

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; not offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Adkins

Planetary Atmospheres

9 units (3-0-6)  |  third term
Prerequisites: Ch 1, Ma 2, Ph 2, or equivalents.
Origin of planetary atmospheres, escape, and chemical evolution. Tenuous atmospheres: the moon, Mercury, and outer solar system satellites. Comets. Vapor-pressure atmospheres: Triton, Io, and Mars. Spectrum of dynamical regimes on Mars, Earth, Venus, Titan, and the gas giant planets.
Instructor: Knutson

Planetary Surfaces

9 units (3-3-3)  |  first 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: Ehlmann

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

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; offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Adkins

Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere and Biosphere

9 units (3-0-6)  |  first term
An introduction into methods to quantify trace gases as well as vegetation properties remotely (from space, air-borne or ground-based). This course will provide the basic concepts of remote sensing, using hands-on examples to be solved in class and as problem-sets. Topics covered include: Absorption spectroscopy, measurement and modeling techniques, optimal estimation theory and error characterization, applications in global studies of biogeochemical cycles and air pollution/quality. This course is complementary to EE/Ae 157ab and Ge/EE/ESE 157c with stronger emphasis on applications for the atmosphere and biosphere. Students will work with real and synthetic remote sensing data (basic knowledge of Python advantageous, will make use of Jupyter notebooks extensively).
Instructor: Frankenberg
Hours: TTH 3:00 - 4:30 PM

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.

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

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. Given in alternate years; offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Yung

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. Part a will be offered in 2020-21.
Instructor: Lapusta

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

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

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

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

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. Not offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Clayton

Microbial Physiology

9 units (3-1-5)  |  first term
Prerequisites: Recommended prerequisite: one year of general biology.
A course on growth and functions in the prokaryotic cell. Topics covered: growth, transport of small molecules, protein excretion, membrane bioenergetics, energy metabolism, motility, chemotaxis, global regulators, and metabolic integration.
Instructor: Leadbetter
Hours: MWF 9:00 - 10:00 AM

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 2020-21.
Instructor: Staff

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; not offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Simons

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

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.
Instructors: Seinfeld, Wennberg

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. Offered 2020-21.
Instructors: Seinfeld, Wennberg

Mechanics of Soils

9 units (3-0-6)  |  third term
Prerequisites: Continuum Mechanics-Ae/Ge/ME 160 a.
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.
Instructor: Asimaki

Mechanics of Rocks

9 units (3-0-6)  |  second term
Prerequisites: Ae/Ge/ME 160 a.
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.
Instructor: Lapusta

Physical Chemistry of Engineered Waters

9 units (3-0-6)  |  second term
Prerequisites: Ch 1 or instructor's permission.
This course will cover selected aspects of the chemistry of engineered water systems and related water treatment processes. Lectures cover basic principles of physical-organic and physical-inorganic chemistry relevant to the aquatic environment under realistic conditions. Specific topics include acid-base chemistry, metal-ligand chemistry, redox reactions, photochemical transformations, biochemical transformations, heterogeneous surface reactions, catalysis, and gas-transfer dynamics. The primary emphasis during the winter term course will be on the physical chemistry of engineered waters.
Instructor: Hoffmann

Physical Organic Chemistry of Natural Waters

9 units (3-0-6)  |  third term
This course will cover selected aspects of the chemistry of natural and engineered aquatic systems. Lectures cover basic principles of physical-organic and physical-inorganic chemistry relevant to the aquatic environment under realistic conditions. Specific topics that are covered include the principles of equilibrium chemistry in natural water, acid-base chemistry of inorganic and organic acids including aquated carbon dioxide, metal-ligand chemistry, ligand substitution kinetics, kinetics and mechanisms of organic and inorganic redox reactions, photochemical transformations of chemical compounds, biochemical transformations of chemical compounds in water and sediments, heterogeneous surface reactions and catalysis. Thermodynamic, transport, kinetics and reaction mechanisms are emphasized. The primary emphasis during the spring term course will be on the organic chemistry of natural waters emphasizing the fate and behavior of organic compounds and persistent organic pollutants in the global environment.
Instructor: Hoffmann

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; not offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Avouac

Microbial Ecology

9 units (3-2-4)  |  second term
Prerequisites: Either ESE/Bi 166 or ESE/Bi 168.
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; offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Orphan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Topics in the Planetary Sciences

9 units (3-0-6)  |  third term
Topic for 2020-21 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.
Instructors: Howard, Mawet

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 2020-21.
Instructor: Stock

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; not offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Asimow

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; offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Rossman

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; offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Asimow

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; not offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Eiler

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, extinct radioactivities, nucleosynthetic anomalies, the early Earth, 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

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 2020-21.

Special Topics in Solid Mechanics

Units to be arranged  |  first, second, third terms
Subject matter changes depending on staff and student interest.

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

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.
Instructor: Orphan

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

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 2020-21.
Instructors: Clayton, Gurnis

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

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. Not offered 2020-2021.

Integrative Projects in Microbial Science and Engineering

6 units (3-0-3)  |  second term
A project-based course designed to train students to integrate biological, chemical, physical and engineering tools into innovative microbiology research. Students and faculty will brainstorm to identify several "grand challenges" in microbiology. Small teams, comprised of students from different graduate programs and disciplinary backgrounds (e.g. a chemical engineer, a computer scientist and a biologist) and a faculty member, will work to compose a project proposal addressing one of the grand challenges, integrating tools and concepts from across disciplines. Student groups will present draft proposals and receive questions and critiques from other members of the class at check-in points during the academic term. While there will not be an experimental laboratory component, project teams may tour facilities or take field trips to help define the aims and approaches of their projects. At the end of the course, teams will deliver written proposals and presentations that will be critiqued by students and faculty. Not offered 2020-21.
Instructor: CEMI Faculty

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; offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Wernicke

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; not offered 2020-21.
Instructor: Avouac

Advanced Study

Units to be arranged  | 

Thesis Research

  | 
Original investigation, designed to give training in methods of research, to serve as theses for higher degrees, and to yield contributions to scientific knowledge.

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.