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Undergraduate Bulletin 2007-2008
 
Bulletin Homepage |College of Arts & Sciences | Environmental Science Courses

Courses in Environmental Science

A Env 105 (=A Geo 105) Introduction to Environmental Science (3)

Survey of contemporary environmental issues related to health and disease, nuclear waste disposal, water resources, energy use and conservation, land reclamation, global climate change, and industrial pollution. Scientific principles and data needed for gaining an understanding of environmental challenges on local, regional, and global scales will be emphasized. Three lectures per week. Fall semester only. [NS]

A Env 175H Dinosaurs in Jurassic Environments (4)

Analysis of dinosaur footprints, and the geochemistry of the Jurassic sediments that contain them, to infer: (i) mechanical and behavioral aspects of theropod dinosaurs, and (ii) the Jurassic environments in which those dinosaurs lived. Two field trips to dinosaur footprint localities in Massachusetts and Connecticut occur during the semester to collect data that provide the basis for two 15-page papers. Fall semester [NS, WI]. Prerequisite: Open to all students in the University Honors Program, regardless of their majors.

A Env 201 (= A Geo 201 &  A Gog 201) Environmental Analysis (3)

Uses laboratory work and local field excursions to give students “hands-on” experience in physical geography and environmental sciences. Focuses on human impacts on the environment and on problems of environmental contamination. Prerequisite or co-requisite: A Env 105 or A Gog 101. [NS]

A Env 210 (=A Geo 210) Earth Materials (3)

An introduction to the study of major rock- and soil-forming minerals at atomic to macroscopic scales. Major topics include the physical properties, structure, and crystal chemistry of minerals;  mineral-forming processes and transformations; minerals as environmental and geological indicators; and reactions among biota, minerals, and natural waters. Three lectures per week. Prerequisite(s): A Env 105; A Chm 120 or 130 or permission of instructor. Fall semester only.

A Env 211 (=A Geo 211) Optical Mineralogy Laboratory (1)

Introduction to the petrographic microscope. Optical properties of minerals and their use for mineral identification. One lab each week. Co-requisite(s): A Geo 210 or permission of instructor. May not be offered in 2007-2008.

A Env 212 (=A Geo 212) Earth Materials Laboratory (1)

Mineral properties and identification in hand-sample and in thin section with the petrographic microscope. Two laboratory hours per week. Co-requisite(s): A Env 210 or permission of instructor. Fall semester only.

A Env 230 (=A Geo 230) Stratigraphy and Sedimentology  (3)

Stratigraphic principles and correlation, identification and classification of sedimentary rocks. Three lectures and one lab each week. Students must also register concurrently for either A Env 231 or A Env 231Z, Field Excursions in Stratigraphy. Prerequisite(s): A Env 105, or permission of instructor. Fall semester only.

A Env 231 (=A Geo 231) Field Excursions for Stratigraphy (1)

One lab per week and five full-day weekend field trips to be taken concurrently with A Env 230 Stratigraphy. Co-requisite(s): A Env 230 or permission of instructor. Fall semester only.

A Env 231Z (=A Geo 231Z)  Field Excursions for Stratigraphy (2)

One lab per week and five full-day weekend field trips to be taken by Geology and Earth Science BS majors concurrently with A Geo 230 Stratigraphy. Extended written and illustrated reports must be submitted based on the observations made on each trip. A Geo 231Z is the writing intensive version of A Geo 231; only one may be taken for credit. Co-requisite(s): A Geo 230 or permission of instructor. [WI]. Fall semester only.

A Env 250 (=A Geo 250) Energy and  Resources (3)

Examination of energy production using non-renewable (coal, oil, natural gas, uranium) versus renewable resources (hydroelectric, solar, wind, geothermal) relative to present and future environmental and societal impacts. Fields trips to energy producing facilities (e.g., Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Plant; Fenner Wind Power Project). Prerequisites; A Env 105 or A Atm 100; A Chm 120 or 130 or A Phy 105; A Mat 111. Spring semester only.

A Env 327 Meteorological and Environmental  Measurement (3)

Basic exposition of principles involved in the measurement of primary meteorological and environmental parameters. Topics to be covered include measurement uncertainty and the propagation of errors. Instruments for measuring temperature, pressure, humidity, wind field, solar and terrestrial radiation, precipitation, atmospheric aerosols, soil moisture, water quality, and data logging will be examined. Two lectures and one laboratory or demonstration per week. Prerequisites: A Mat 113 or 119; A Phy 105 or 140 or 141. Spring semester only.

A Env 350Y (=A Geo 350Y)  Environmental Geochemistry (4)

Contemporary topics are used to develop concepts of geochemical processes operating in Earth’s environmental system. These topics (a) PCBs in the Upper Hudson River, (b) biogeochemical cycles in the global climate system, and (c) geochemical constraints on long-term disposal of high-level, nuclear wastes. 3 hours per week in classroom setting + 1 hour per week of oral presentations by students. Prerequisite(s): A Env 250. Satisfies the University’s oral discourse requirement [OD]. Spring semester only.

A Env 395Z (=A Geo 395Z) Writing in Environmental Science (1)

May be taken with any A Env course at the 300 or 400 level to fulfill a writing intensive version of that course. Students will have an opportunity for assistance during writing and revision of written material with the help of editorial assignments from the instructor. Co-requisite(s): any A Env 300 or A Env 400 level course. Fall and Spring semesters. [WI]

A Env 420  (=A Geo 420) Instrumental Analysis in Environmental Science (3)

Hands-on application of instrumental analysis to problems in Geology and Environmental Science. Major topics include emission and absorption spectroscopy, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, sampling methodology, error estimation, and quality control. Two classroom hours and two laboratory hours per week. Prerequisite(s): A Env 210 and A Env 350.

A Env 435 (=A Geo 435) Geohydrology (3)

Introduction to surface water hydrology and ground water hydrogeology. Topics to be covered include, stream hydrograph analysis, flood plain determination, drainage basin analysis, aquifer characterization, pump test analysis, groundwater chemistry and tracers, contaminant hydrogeology, regulatory policy, and introduction to groundwater modeling. . Prerequisite(s): A Mat 112, A Chm 120 or 130 or permission of instructor. Spring semester only.

A Env 450 (=A Geo 450) Climate Change (4)

Introduction to the field of Paleoclimatology. Focus will be on the use of sediments and other biological and geological archives to reconstruct environmental, climatic, and oceanographic change over a range of time scales. Lecture will also provide an introduction to the fields of climatology, age dating techniques, climatic/ environmental proxies (tracers), micropaleontology, and time-series analysis. In addition to lectures, the class will involve review of current scientific studies, class presentations by each student, and a review paper on a relevant topic of choice. 3 lectures each week and 2 hours each week of oral presentations by students; Prerequisite(s): A Chm 120 or 130, A Mat 108, or permission of the instructor. Fall semester only.

A Env 455 (=A Geo 455) Special Topics (2-3)

A structured program of reading and seminars leading to an in-depth understanding of a chosen topic in environmental science. Prerequisite: A Env 210 and 230, and permission of instructor. Students may repeat course once for an additional two or three credits. Fall or Spring semester.

A Env 466 (=A Geo 466) Marine/Estuary Systems (3)

Interdisciplinary study of marine and estuary systems with a focus on marine/estuary sedimentology and biogeochemistry. Additional study of lacustrine systems will be integrated into the class. In addition to lectures, the class will involve review of current scientific studies, a class presentation by each student, and a review paper on a relevant topic of choice. 3 lectures each week. Prerequisites: A Env 105, A Chm 120 or 130, A Env 210, or permission of the instructor.

A Env 470 (=A Geo 470) Tectonics (4)

Seismologic basis for plate tectonics, kinematics of plate motions, paleomagnetism. Study of modern mid-ocean ridges, magmatic arcs, transforms, and collisional belts. Three lectures and one lab per week. Prerequisite(s): A Env 230 or permission of instructor. Fall semester only.

A Env 490 Major Topics in Environmental Science (3)

A required course for environmental science majors in their senior year that brings together students from all four concentrations (biology, geology, atmospheric science, and geography) to address major topics in environmental science. Formal presentations by faculty, students, and invited speakers will promote discussion and debate from multi-disciplinary perspectives. Prerequisite(s): A Env 105, 201, 250, and A Atm 301, or permission of the instructor.

A Env 496 Environmental Internships (3-6)

Provides students with practical work experience in environmental science through placements with federal, state, or local government agencies, or private firms. The supervisor’s reference and final report are required. Internships are open to qualified juniors and seniors having overall grade point average of >2.75, and GPA>3.25 in Environmental Science major. S/U graded.

A Env 497 (=A Geo 497) Independent Study (1-3)

Field or laboratory investigation of a chosen environmental problem, including the writing of a research report to be undertaken during the senior year. Prerequisite(s): permission of instructor. Students may repeat this course once for additional credits. Fall or Spring semesters.

A Env 498 (=A Geo 498) Undergraduate Honors Research (3)

Supervised research for undergraduates admitted to the Department Honors Program. To be taken summer and/or fall semester at beginning of senior year. Written proposal for research must be approved no later than end of spring semester of junior year. Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and chair. Fall or Spring semesters.

A Env 499 (=A Geo 499) Seminar in Geology (1)

Oral presentation by students of a research topic: attendance at weekly seminar given by other students in this course, and A Geo 500, and regular attendance at geological science seminars given by outside speakers [approximately once weekly in semester]. Students admitted to the Departmental Honors Program must take this course in the last three semesters of their degree program. Fall or spring semesters. May be repeated for up to 3 credits.

 

Geology Courses

A Geo 105 (=A Env 105) Introduction to Environmental Science (3)

Survey of contemporary environmental issues related to health and disease, nuclear waste disposal, water resources, energy use and conservation, land reclamation, global climate change, and industrial pollution. Scientific principles and data needed for gaining an understanding of environmental challenges on local, regional, and global scales will be emphasized. Three lectures per week. Fall semester only. [NS]

A Geo 106 Physical Geology Laboratory (1)

Elementary classification of minerals and rocks, and their identification in hand specimen. Introduction to geological maps and sections, both as sources of geological information and as aids in the solution of practical problems. Guided and self-guided field trips to building stones of downtown Albany. This course is required for majors in Geology and Earth Science. One lab each week. Co-requisite(s): A Env 105. Fall or spring semesters.

A Geo 201 (=A Env 201 & A Gog 201) Environmental Analysis (3)

Uses laboratory work and local field excursions to give students “hands-on” experience in physical geography and environmental sciences. Focuses on human impacts on the environment and on problems of environmental contamination. Prerequisite or co-requisite: A Gog 101. [NS]

A Geo 210 (=A Env 210) Earth Materials (3)

Crystal structures and crystal chemistry, with emphasis on the major rock- and soil-forming mineral groups. Selected minerals of commercial importance. Examples of mineral-forming processes, and use of mineral properties as indicators of geological conditions. Three lectures each week. Prerequisite(s): A Env 105, A Geo 106; or permission of instructor. Fall semester only.

A Geo 211 (=A Env 211) Optical Mineralogy Laboratory (1)

Introduction to the petrographic microscope. Optical properties of minerals and their use for mineral identification. One lab each week. Co-requisite(s): A Geo 210 or permission of instructor. May not be offered in 2007-2008.

A Geo 212 (=A Env 212) Earth Materials Laboratory (1)

An introduction to the study of minerals. Major topics include the formation, physical properties, structure, symmetry, and classification of minerals with emphasis on rock-forming minerals. In laboratory, students will gain hands-on experience with mineral identification of hand samples and mineral properties. The course also introduces more advanced topics in mineral transformations, crystal chemistry, and crystallography.
 
A Geo 230 (=A Env 230) Stratigraphy, Sedimentology, and the Fossil Record (3)

Stratigraphic principles and correlation, identification and classification of sedimentary rocks, introduction to paleontology and historical geology. Three lectures and one lab each week. Geology BS and Earth Science BS majors must also register concurrently for either A Geo 231 or A Geo 231Z, Field Excursions in Stratigraphy. Prerequisite(s): A Env 105, A Geo 106; or permission of instructor. Fall semester only.

A Geo 231 (=A Env 231) Field Excursions for Stratigraphy (2)

One lab per week and five full-day weekend field trips to be taken by Geology BS and Earth Science BS majors concurrently with A Geo 230 Stratigraphy. Co-requisite(s): A Geo 230 or permission of instructor. Fall semester only.

A Geo 231Z (=A Env 231Z)  Field Excursions for Stratigraphy (2)

One lab per week and five full-day weekend field trips to be taken by Geology and Earth Science BS majors concurrently with A Geo 230 Stratigraphy. Extended written and illustrated reports must be submitted based on the observations made on each trip. A Geo 231Z is the writing intensive version of A Geo 231; only one may be taken for credit. Co-requisite(s): A Geo 230 or permission of instructor. [WI]. Fall semester only.

A Geo 250 (=A Env 250) Energy and Resources (3)

Examination of energy production using non-renewable (coal, oil, natural gas, uranium) versus renewable resources (hydroelectric, solar, wind, geothermal) relative to present and future environmental and societal impacts. Fields trips to energy producing facilities (e.g., Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Plant). Prerequisites; A Env 105 or A Atm 100; A Chm 120 or 130 or A Phy 105; A Mat 111.

A Geo 330 Structural Geology I (3)

Descriptive structural geology, with emphasis on features seen at outcrop and map scales. Selected examples of rock microstructures and their interpretation. Three lectures each week. Prerequisite(s): A Geo 100 or 100Z, 106. Spring semester only. May not be offered in 2007-2008.

A Geo 331 Field Excursions for Structural Geology I (1)

Five full-day weekend field trips to be taken by Geology and Earth Science BS majors concurrently with Structural Geology I. Several written and illustrated reports must be submitted based on the observations made. Prerequisite(s): permission of instructor; co-requisite: A Geo 330. Offered spring semester only. May not be offered in 2007-2008.

A Geo 332 Structural Geology Laboratory (1)

Structures on maps, on images, and in rock specimens; computer-based presentation of data. One lab each week. Co-requisite(s): A Geo 330. Spring semester only. May not be offered in 2007-2008.

A Geo 350Y (= A Env 350Y) (formerly A Geo 415) Environmental Geochemistry (4)

Contemporary topics are used to develop concepts of geochemical processes operating in Earth’s environmental system. These topics (a) PCBs in the Upper Hudson River, (b) biogeochemical cycles in the global climate system, and (c) geochemical constraints on long-term disposal of high-level, nuclear wastes. 3 hours per week in classroom setting + 2 hours per week of oral presentations by students. [OD]

A Geo 395Z (= A Env 395Z) Writing in the Geological Sciences (1)

May be taken with any Geo course at the 300 or 400 level to fulfill a writing intensive version of that course. Students will have an opportunity for assistance during writing and revision of written material with the help of editorial assignments from the instructor. Co-requisite(s): any A Geo 300 or 400 level course. Fall and Spring semesters. [WI]

A Geo 400 Field Mapping (4)

Supervised geological mapping. Three weeks of field work (off campus) followed by independent study and laboratory sessions for preparation of report (in Albany). Field work starts in early August; laboratory sessions once a week in first quarter of Fall semester. Prerequisite(s): A Geo 230, 330; or permission of instructor.

A Geo 420 (=A Env 420) Instrumental Analysis in Environmental Science (3)

Hands-on application of instrumental analysis to problems in Geology and Environmental Science. Major topics include emission and absorption spectroscopy, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, sampling methodology, error estimation, and quality control. Two classroom hours and two laboratory hours per week. Prerequisite(s): A Env 210 and A Env 350.

A Geo 435 (=A Env 435) Geohydrology (3)

Introduction to surface water hydrology and ground water hydrogeology. Topics to be covered include, stream hydrograph analysis, flood plain determination, drainage basin analysis, aquifer characterization, pump test analysis, groundwater chemistry and tracers, contaminant hydrogeology, regulatory policy, and introduction to groundwater modeling. Prerequisite(s): A Mat 112, A Chm 120 or 130 or permission of instructor. Spring semester only.

A Geo 450 (=A Env 450) Climate Change (4)

Introduction to the field of Paleoclimatology. Focus will be on the use of sediments and other biological and geological archives to reconstruct environmental, climatic, and oceanographic change over a range of time scales. Lecture will also provide an introduction to the fields of climatology, age dating techniques, climatic/ environmental proxies (tracers), micropaleontology, and time-series analysis. In addition to lectures, the class will involve review of current scientific studies, class presentations by each student, and a review paper on a relevant topic of choice. 3 lectures each week and 2 hours each week of oral presentations by students; Prerequisites: A Chm 120 or 130, A Mat 108, or permission of the instructor. This course satisfies the General Education requirement in Oral Discourse. Fall semester only.

A Geo 455 (=A Env 455) Special Topics (2-3)

A structured program of reading and seminars leading to an in-depth understanding of a chosen topic in geology. Prerequisite(s) A Geo 210, 230, or 230Z; and permission of instructor. Students may repeat course once for an additional two or three credits. Fall or Spring semester.

A Geo 466 (= A Env 466) Marine/Estuary Systems (3)

Interdisciplinary study of marine and estuary systems with a focus on marine/estuary sedimentology and biogeochemistry. Additional study of lacustrine systems will be integrated into the class. In addition to lectures, the class will involve review of current scientific studies, a class presentation by each student, and a review paper on a relevant topic of choice. 3 lectures each week. Prerequisites: A Env 105, A Chm 120 or 130, A Geo210, or permission of the instructor.

A Geo 470 (= A Env 470) Tectonics (4)

Seismologic basis for plate tectonics, kinematics of plate motions, paleomagnetism. Study of modern mid-ocean ridges, magmatic arcs, transforms, and collisional belts. Three lectures and one lab per week. Prerequisite(s): A Geo 230, 330; or permission of instructor. Fall semester only.

A Geo 497 (= A Env 497) Independent Study (1-3)

Field or laboratory investigation of a chosen geologic problem, including the writing of a research report to be undertaken during the senior year. Prerequisite(s): permission of instructor. Students may repeat this course once for additional credits. Fall or Spring semesters.

A Geo 498 (= A Env 498) Undergraduate Honors Research (3)

Supervised research for undergraduates admitted to the Department Honors Program. To be taken summer and/or fall semester at beginning of senior year. Written proposal for research must be approved no later than end of spring semester of junior year. Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and chair. Fall or Spring semesters.

A Geo 499 (=A Env 499) Seminar in Geology (1)

Oral presentation by students of a research topic: attendance at weekly seminar given by other students in this course, and A Geo 500, and regular attendance at geological science seminars given by outside speakers [approximately once weekly in semester]. Students admitted to the Departmental Honors Program must take this course in the last three semesters of their degree program. Fall or Spring semesters. May be repeated for up to 3 credits.