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Geology 365

GEOL 365

Catalog Entry

GEOL 365. Oceanography
Three hours lecture; two hours laboratory (4).

Prerequisites: Eight hours of any of the following natural sciences: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Meteorology, Physical Science Processes, or Physics

Introduction to the physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes in the marine environment and their interaction. Includes analysis of topical issues such as global climate and sea level changes, mineral and energy resources from the sea, marine pollution, and law of the sea. Student may not receive credit if previously taken GEOL 361 and GEOL 362.


Detailed Description of Course

a. Content

Lecture Outline

1. Introduction

- What is Oceanography?
- History of Oceanography
- Modern Oceanography: Trends and Careers

2. Earth: The Water Planet

- Origin of Earth, Atmosphere, and Oceans
- Earth's Basic Features: Size, Shape, Water Cycle, Distribution of Land and Seas

3. Plate Tectonics

- Earth's Structure and Isostasy
- Geophysics of the Seafloor
- Principles of Plate Tectonics

4. Characteristics of the Seafloor

- Continents vs. Ocean Basins
- Continental Margins
- Deep Seafloor
- Ridges, Rises, and Trenches

5. Marine Sediments

- Types of Sediments: Lithogenous, Biogenous, Hydrogenous, Cosmogenous
- Patterns of Deposition
- Paleoceanography

6. Oceanographic Techniques

- Measuring the Depths
- Collecting Seafloor Samples
- Measuring Water Properties
- Seismic Analysis

7. Properties of Water

- Structure of the Water Molecule
- Basic Physical Properties of Water
- Ice in the Oceans

8. Chemical Constituents of Seawater

- Chemistry of Seawater
- Gases in Seawater
- Vent Environments Along Mid-Ocean Ridges

9. Structure of the Oceans

- Heating and Cooling of Earth's Surface
- Density Structure and Vertical Circulation
- Upwelling and Downwelling
- The Layered Oceans

10. Atmosphere and Surface Circulation of the Oceans

- Atmospheric Circulation
- Coriolis Effect and Wind Bands
- Major Surface Currents in the World's Oceans

11. Waves

- Physics of Wave Motion
- Deep- and Shallow-water Waves
- Tsunamis and Other Types of Waves

12. Tides

- Tide-generating Forces
- Equilibrium and Dynamic Theories of Tides
- Tidal Currents

13. Shoreline Geology

- Types of Coasts
- Beaches
- Bays, Estuaries, and Deltas

14. Marine Biology

- Life Environment in the Oceans
- Production and Life
- Plankton: The Floaters
- Nekton: The Swimmers
- Benthos: The Bottom-dwellers

15. Resources of the Oceans

- Mineral Resources
- Energy Resources
- Biological Resources

16. Marine Pollution

- Domestic, Industrial, and Agricultural Pollution
- Oil in the Marine Environment
- Radioactive Waste

17. Climate, the Ocean, and Global Change

- Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming
- The Ozone Problem
- Sea Level Changes: Eustatic and Tectonic

Laboratory Activities

1. Bathymetry – the Shape of the Sea Floor
2. Sea-floor spreading and Plate Tectonics
3. Geography of the Oceans
4. Materials of the Sea Floor
5. Temperature and Salinity
6. Surface Currents
7. Waves at Sea
8. Waves in Shallow Water and Beach Erosion
9. Tides
10. Estuaries


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The following instructional strategies will be utilized: (1) lecture by professor with classroom discussion encouraged; (2) laboratory activities in which students may work alone or in teams to complete exercises on topics supplemental to the material presented in lecture; and (3) use of audiovisual materials such as videos and slides. Occasionally, an extra reading assignment beyond the required textbook and workbook will be required involving a journal article on an especially new or relevant topic.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

 Having successfully completed the course, the student will:

1. have a basic understanding of the origin and uniqueness of Earth's oceans.
2. be familiar with the principal techniques used to study the oceans.
3. know the basic biological, chemical, geological, and physical processes operating in the marine environment and how they interact.
4. develop a deeper understanding of the crucial environmental and legal issues arising from human interaction with the oceans, including management and development of shorelines, extraction of mineral, biological, and energy resources from the sea, and marine pollution.
5. have used a systems analysis approach to study the linkages between Earth's hydrosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere.


Assessment Measures.

 1. Lecture written examinations
2. Laboratory workbook activities


Other Course Information

1. GEOL 365 is a required course for the Earth Sciences Concentration (Teaching Licensure) for a B.S. degree in geology.
2. Bibliography:

  • Abel, D. C., McConnell, R. L., and Koepfler, E., 2001, Issues in Oceanography: Upper Saddle River, NJ, Prentice Hall, 40 p.
  • Duxbury, A. C., Duxbury, A. B., and Sverdrup, K. A., 2000, An Introduction to the World's Oceans: Dubuque, Iowa, McGraw-Hill Pub., 528 p.
  • Garrison, T., 1996, Working in Marine Science in Oceanography, an Invitation to Marine Science, 2 nd ed: Belmont, CA, Wadsworth Pub. Co., 552 p.
  • Pilkey, O. H., 1989, The Engineering of Sand: Jour. Geol. Education, v. 37, p. 308-311.
  • ___, 1990, The Beaches Are Moving: Chapel, NC, Environmental Media, (video).
  • ___, 1994, Mathematical Modeling of Beach Behavior Doesn't Work: Jour. Geol. Education, v. 42, p. 358-361.
  • Pipkin, B. W., Gorsline, D. S., Casey, R. E., Dunn, D. A., and Schellenberg, S. A., 2001, Laboratory Exercises in Oceanography: New York, W. H. Freeman and Co., 270 p.
  • Ross, D. A., 1995, Introduction to Oceanography: New York, Harper Collins, 496 p.
  • Titus, J. G., Johnson, Z., Harrison, S., Doyle, R. E., Ardito, T., Rosher, K., and Kachmar, J., 1999, Rising seas, coastal erosion, and the takings clause: How to save wetlands and beaches without hurting property owners: Coastlines, Dec., 1999, Issues 9.6, 16 p.


Approval and Subsequent Reviews  

Date Action Reviewed by
August 2005 Reviewed and updated Stephen W. Lenhart, Chair