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Graduate Catalog

Department of the Earth Sciences

(585) 395-2636, (585) 395-2416 fax

Chairperson and Associate Professor: Jose A. Maliekal, PhD, University of Hawaii; Associate Professors: Judy A. Massare, PhD, The Johns Hopkins University; Robert Weinbeck, PhD, Iowa State University. Assistant Professors: Whitney J. Autin, PhD, Louisiana State University; Mark R. Noll, PhD, University of Delaware; Scott M. Rochette, PhD, St. Louis University; James A. Zollweg, PhD, Cornell University.

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While the Department of the Earth Sciences does not have a graduate degree program, its graduate course offerings may be applied as requirements and/or electives in degree programs as determined through the advisement process.

Earth Sciences Courses

ESC 511 Hydrology Lab (A). Prerequisite or corequisite: ESC 512. Examines measurement of water in streams, stream basins, and other parts of the water cycle, firsthand in the field and laboratory. Provides understanding of the use of hydrologic equipment, measurement techniques and analytical skills through investigation and field trips to evaluate stream discharge, dams and reservoirs, evapotranspiration, snow survey, water quality, and sediment yield. 1 Cr. Fall.

ESC 512 Hydrology. Prerequisite: ESC 350, MTH 201 or instructor's permission. Explores the water cycle, including precipitation, runoff, streams and lakes, groundwater, snow and other hydrologic topics. Covers water storage and processes, analytical skills dealing with hydrologic events, and the utilization and conservation of water resources in terms of its distribution, quality and flow. 3 Cr. Fall.

ESC 515 Physical Meteorology. Prerequisites: ESC 311 and 350, MTH 201 and PHS 201. Covers atmospheric thermodynamics; physical processes of condensation and radiation; electrical, optical, and acoustical phenomena in the atmosphere; uses of weather radar and meteorological satellites; and methods of probing the atmosphere. 3 Cr. Alternate Fall.

ESC 516 Thermodynamics and the Boundary Layer. Prerequisites: ESC 311 and 350, MTH 201 and PHS 201. Investigates thermodynamic processes and stability in the lower atmospheric layers; transfers of mass, energy and momentum in the boundary layer; and atmospheric dispersion and modeling. 3 Cr. Alternate Fall.

ESC 517 Dynamic Meteorology. Prerequisites: ESC 312 and 350, PHS 201, and MTH 203 or 455 or PHS 301. Covers development of the governing equations of motion, and simplifications, introduction of concepts of divergence, circulation, vorticity; mid-latitude synoptic scale motions; and numerical methods and linear perturbation theory. 3 Cr. Fall.

ESC 518 Watershed Sciences. Prerequisites: ESC 350 and 412 or GEL 462 or instructor's permission. Explores the art and science of evaluating water, air and land resources in a watershed to provide scientific information for management policy decisions. Covers utilization of maps and other physical resources information, sampling, data processing, and analysis. 3 Cr. Spring.

ESC 520 Atmospheric Sensing Methods. Prerequisites: ESC 211 and 350. Examines theory of atmospheric sensing equipment: conventional environmental instrumentation, traditional radar propagation and interpretation, Doppler and profiler implementations, and satellite imagery interpretation. Emphasizes applications to National Weather Service networks and weather forecasting. 3 Cr. Alternate Spring.

ESC 521 Air Pollution Meteorology. Prerequisites: ESC 211 and 350. Studies the way the atmosphere transports and diffuses pollutants. Lays a groundwork through a study of fundamental meteorology, including stability, turbulence, wind and local circulations. Also studies diffusion through mathematical models of both point sources and area sources. 3 Cr. Alternate Spring.

ESC 527 Geotechniques of Hazardous Wastes Operations (A). Prerequisite: At least one field course in the earth sciences or equivalent. Covers principles and practices of field hydrogeology specializing in hazardous waste-site investigations, monitoring, and remediation including (1) OSHA 40-hour certified training; (2) emergency spill response; (3) personal protection equipment; (4) groundwater sampling design, equipment and procedures; (5) quality control and quality assurance programs; and (6) remediation techniques and equipment. 3 Cr.

ESC 530 Geo Information Systems. Prerequisites: ESC 350 or instructor's permission, PC-computer literacy and GEL 101 or ESC 211. Provides an introduction to the use of computer geographic information systems (GIS). Examines the geographic and information data-processing methods associated with Earth systems sciences studies. Includes topics such as geographic data selection, analysis and presentation using spatial data-processing hardware and software techniques. Uses Earth systems data to develop an individual hands-on study application. 3 Cr. Fall.

ESC 532 Tropical Meteorology. Prerequisites: ESC 311 and 350, MTH 201 and PHS 201. Provides a comprehensive understanding of weather systems and climatic fluctuations of the tropics. Also covers the atmosphere-ocean interaction at various time scales and discusses the possible influence of the tropical tropospheric events on the weather and climate of the middle latitudes. 3 Cr. Alternate Spring.

ESC 552 Mesoscale Meteorology. Prerequisites: ESC 312 and 350, MTH 201 and PHS 201. Examines atmospheric circulations on the mesoscale as defined by observations of meteorological phenomena, the spatial resolution of observational net works, and theory. Atmospheric motion classified in this way will be studied within the spectrum of the broader atmospheric variability. Perturbations on the mesoscale will be defined on the basis of physical characteristics and temporal evolution. Gives particular attention to the development and forecasting of severe storms. 3 Cr. Alternate Spring.

ESC 555 Introduction to Soils Science (A). Prerequisites: ESC 350, GEL 101 and CHM 205, or instructor's permission. Explores the formation, properties and characterization of soils, especially those of New York state; measurement of physical and chemical properties in field and classroom; and management, conservation, and applications of soil survey. 3 Cr. Fall.

ESC 557 Marine GeologyBahamas. Prerequisite: ESC 200 or instructor's permission. Entails studies of the geology and ecology of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Topics to be investigated by advisement. Requires a written report. A two-week course off campus during winter intersession. 3 Cr. Winter.

ESC 599/699 Independent Study in Earth Science. Prerequisite: ESC 350. Defined in consultation with the instructor sponsor prior to registration. 1-3 Cr.

ESC 636 Water Resources Topics. Covers the study of selected topics in water dealing with its sensing, analysis, causes, impacts, and prediction. 3 Cr.

ESC 671 Selected Weather Topics. Covers the study of selected topics in weather, dealing with its sensing, analysis, causes, impacts, and prediction. 3 Cr. Fall.

ESC 672 Selected Oceanography Topics (A). Allows for study of selected topics in physical oceanography, dealing with its sensing, analysis, causes, impacts, and prediction. 3 Cr. Fall.

ESC 675 Real-time Weather Studies (A). Develops principles of meteorology from analysis of electronically delivered current environmental data and learning activities. Relies on computer receipt, analysis, and display of geoscience data with classroom applications. A distance-learning course. 3 Cr. Fall, Spring.

Geology Courses

GEL 508 Structural Geology (A). Prerequisites: ESC 350 and GEL 302. Covers the principles of mechanical behavior of rocks during deformation, theories of origin of major and minor rock structures (folds, faults, rock cleavage, etc.) and their relationships to each other. Also covers plate tectonics models for some major crustal structures. Emphasizes laboratory techniques of analyzing and solving three-dimensional problems gathering structural data in the field. Requires a weekend field trip and report. 4 Cr. Alternate Spring.

GEL 511 Stratigraphy and Sedimentology (A). Prerequisites: ESC 350 and GEL 302. Investigates physical, chemical and biological characteristics of sedimentary materials, sedimentary environments and geologic time. Allows for the application of stratigraphic principles to a variety of problems involving sedimentary rocks in the geologic record. Covers techniques and instruments used in stratigraphy and sedimentology. Requires advanced field or laboratory investigation. 4 Cr. Alternate Fall.

GEL 515 Geomorphology (A). Prerequisites: ESC 350 and GEL 101 or equivalent. Explores surface features of Earth and their origin. Emphasizes processes, both internal and external, which interact to produce land forms. Takes an analytical approach stressing formulation of valid inferences based on accurate observations. Requires a weekend field trip, and a term paper based on research of project involving landform recognition, description, and genetic analysis using maps and/or other imagery. Project topic is tailored to student's specific professional interests. 3 Cr. Fall.

GEL 516 Landform Analysis Laboratory (A). Prerequisite or corequisite: GEL 515. Focuses on the recognition and interpretation of landforms in a variety of geologic and climatic settings. Uses topographic contour maps, air photos, radar and false color images of Earth's surface obtained from air craft and satellites. Correlates landforms with occurrence of geologic materials. Illustrates applications of geologic principles to human problems. 1 Cr. Fall.

GEL 531 Petrology (A). Prerequisites: ESC 350 and GEL 312. Covers the study of processes by which igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks form and the principles of rock examination which reveal the operation of those processes. Explores the relationships of rock-forming processes to plate tectonics. Emphasizes recognition, description and interpretation of mineralogic and textural features in hand specimens. Requires a weekend field trip and a library research paper. 4 Cr. Alternate Spring.

GEL 556 Topics in Field Geology of the Northeast (A). Prerequisite: Instructor's permission. Presents aspects of geology of selected regions of the northeastern U.S. from field observations. Techniques of gathering and recording geologic data in the field, interpretation of topographic and geologic maps, and identification/examination of rocks and structures in the field. Requires a two-week field trip with short field projects. Can be repeated for credit with instructor's permission. 3 Cr.

GEL 557 Geochemistry (A). Prerequisites: ESC 350, GEL 101 and CHM 205 and 206. Applies basic chemical principles of thermodynamics, kinetics, and equilibrium to the investigation of common geologic problems ranging from the crystallization of silicate melts to surface reactions on soil minerals. Focuses on application of good laboratory practices to wet chemical and instrumental techniques involving geologic materials. 4 Cr. Alternate Fall.

GEL 562 Groundwater (A). Prerequisites: ESC 350 and GEL 101 or equivalent. Studies groundwater, its occurrence, movement and use, and its place in the hydrologic cycle. Examines the origin and analysis of aquifers, use and effects of wells, and water quality and groundwater problems. 4 Cr. Spring.

GEL 599/699 Independent Study in Geology. Prerequisite: GEL 302. Arranged in consultation with the instructor-sponsor prior to registration. 1-3 Cr.