Gray plagioclase , tan and blue pyroxene in thin section, cross-polarized light.
Plagioclase and clinopyroxene in an anorthosite from the Stillwater Complex, Montana.

Coming Autumn 2017: Earth Materials!

Are you curious about how volcanoes work, what’s inside a mountain belt, and what would happen if the oceans dried up?

Earth Materials (T GEOS 347, SLN 22043) explores the rocks and minerals that make up our planet: how they form, what they mean, where they’re found, and how we analyze them. We will investigate all parts of the rock cycle, through our focus will mostly be on igneous and metamorphic rocks, the processes that make them, and the minerals in them.

Earth Materials is a prerequisite for many graduate programs in geoscience, as well as a required course for a WA professional geologist’s license. It counts as a geoscience lab course (“List G”) for the Geoscience Option in the Environmental Science BS curriculum.

Things you will get to do in Earth Materials:

  • 3-D print crystal models
  • Examine thin sections – paper-thin slices of rock – in a polarized light microscope
  • Make your own thin sections
  • Wow your friends by being able to identify hundreds of minerals and rocks
  • Use an electron microscope and an x-ray diffractometer
  • Walk on Earth’s mantle and ocean crust (field trip!)
  • Distinguish between types of asbestos
  • Tell a countertop salesperson which slabs are really granite
  • Expand your knowledge of geology by connecting it with physics and chemistry

Earth Materials has T GEOS/TESC 117 (Physical Geology), TESC 151/ T CHEM 152 (Chem II), and T MATH 110 (Intro Stats) as prerequisites. Contact me if you are enrolled in Chem II or Stats and want to take the course.

Here is a tentative course schedule:

The class meets Tu/Th 12:50-2:55 in SCI 209, and F 1:30-4:00 for lab. Please register ASAP so that we can make sure that the class fills!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *