Montana State University
MSU Catalog > Geology Courses

Course Equivalency Tool (Montana University System Common Course Changes)

GEO
Geology


GEO 101IN  INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICAL GEOLOGY

GEO 103CS  INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY

GEO 105IN  OCEANOGRAPHY

GEO 111IN  DINOSAURS

GEO 140IN  PLANETARY GEOSCIENCE

GEO 205    MINERALOGY

GEO 211    EARTH HISTORY AND EVOLUTION

GEO 290R   UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH

GEO 291    SPECIAL TOPICS

GEO 309    SEDIMENTATION AND STRATIGRAPHY

GEO 310    INVERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY

GEO 312    DINOSAUR PALEONTOLOGY

GEO 315    STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY

GEO 330    PALEONTOLOGY LAB TECHNIQUES

GEO 411    VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY

GEO 413    MACROEVOLUTION/FOSSIL RECORD

GEO 417    TAPHONOMY:FOSSIL PRESERVATION

GEO 419    FIELD PALEONTOLOGY

GEO 429    FIELD GEOLOGY

GEO 433    GL0BAL TECTONICS

GEO 439    GEOPHYSICS

GEO 440    VOLCANOLOGY

GEO 445    GLACIAL GEOLOGY

GEO 448    SEDIMENTARY PETROLOGY

GEO 449    METAMORPHIC PETROLOGY

GEO 450    IGNEOUS PETROLOGY

GEO 490R   UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH

GEO 491    SPECIAL TOPICS

GEO 492    INDEPENDENT STUDY

GEO 494    SENIOR GEOLOGY SEMINAR

GEO 497    GEOLOGY INSTRUCTION

GEO 498    INTERNSHIP

GEO 499    SENIOR THESIS/CAPSTONE

GEO 508    DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS

GEO 510    IGNEOUS GEOCHEMISTRY

GEO 515    STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY

GEO 517    TAPHONOMY: DECIPHERING THE FOSSIL RECORD

GEO 520    ANCIENT OCEAN SYSTEMS

GEO 521    HELL CREEK PALEONTOLOGY

GEO 522    DINOSAUR PALEONTOLOGY II

GEO 530    TECTONICS OF SEDIMENTARY BASINS

GEO 533    GLOBAL TECTONICS

GEO 535    ADVANCED STRATIGRAPHY

GEO 540    VOLCANOLOGY

GEO 542    COMPARATIVE OSTEOLOGY

GEO 550    GRADUATE IGNEOUS PETROLOGY

GEO 581    QUATERNARY ENVIRONMENTS

GEO 583    APPLIED GEOLOGICAL HYDROLOGY

GEO 591    SPECIAL TOPICS

GEO 592    INDEPENDENT STUDY

GEO 594    SEMINAR

GEO 598    INTERNSHIP


Course Equivalency Tool (Montana University System Common Course Changes)

GEO 101IN INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICAL GEOLOGY
F,S,Su 4 cr. LEC 3 LAB 1
-- Examination of basic geologic processes, Earth and planets through geologic time, internal geosystems, and surficial geosystems.

GEO 103CS INTRODUCTION ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY
F 4 cr. LEC 3 LAB 1
-- Application of geologic principles to topical problems in environmental and resource geology. Topics include analysis of environmental issues such as earthquake disaster preparedness, landslides, land use, floods and human occupation, ground water withdrawal and contamination issues, volcanic and coastal hazards, and the response of landscapes and people to resource development (minerals/air/water/energy). Laboratories will be used to analyze and debate data relevant to environmental problems from a geologic perspective.

GEO 105IN OCEANOGRAPHY
F alternate years, to be offered even years 3 cr. LEC 3
-- Introduction to the formation, distribution, history, and resources of the oceans of the world. Emphasis is on the geologic, physical, chemical and biological processes operating in the ocean system, distribution of life in marine ecosystems, effects of human activity on ocean resources and the interdisciplinary perspective necessary to understand ocean dynamics.

GEO 111IN DINOSAURS
F alternate years, to be offered odd years 3 cr. LEC 2 RCT 1
-- This course provides an introduction to dinosaur paleontology. Students will learn how hypotheses about extinct animals are formulated and tested, with comparisons to modern sedimentary environments and living animals. Recitation sections allow discussion of current research and hands-on experience with sedimentary rocks and fossils. Field trips provide additional education opportunities.

GEO 140IN PLANETARY GEOSCIENCE
F alternate years, to be offered odd years 3 cr. LEC 3
-- Introduction to the formation, geochemical development, interior and surficial processes, and exobiology of the planets, moons, and other objects of our solar system, as well as known exoplanets. Observations and data relative to planetary interiors, surfaces, and atmospheres, using principles derived from integration of chemical, physical, geologic, biologic, and engineering sciences are addressed.

GEO 205 MINERALOGY
S 4 cr. LEC 2 LAB 2
PREREQUISITE: GEO 101, CHMY 143.
-- Identification, properties, occurrence, and associations of the rock-forming minerals; introduction to crystallography (crystal classes, lattice types, and external morphology) and crystal chemistry (bonding and crystal structure types); analytical techniques including mineral optics, x-ray, and SEM analysis. Laboratory fee included.

GEO 211 EARTH HISTORY AND EVOLUTION
S 3 cr. LEC 3
PREREQUISITE: GEO 101.
-- Evolution of the earth and its life from origin to present configuration. Role of plate tectonic processes in the geologic development of the continents and ocean basins. Major evolutionary developments and crises in the history of life.

GEO 290R UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH
F,S 1-6 cr. IND may be repeated
-- Directed undergraduate research/creative activity which may culminate in a written work or other creative project. Course will address responsible conduct of research.

GEO 291 SPECIAL TOPICS
On Demand 1 - 4 cr. Maximum 12 cr.
PREREQUISITE: None required but some may be determined necessary by each offering department.
-- Courses not required in any curriculum for which there is a particular one-time need, or given on a trial basis to determine acceptability and demand before requesting a regular course number.

GEO 309 SEDIMENTATION AND STRATIGRAPHY
S 4 cr. LEC 3 LAB 1
PREREQUISITE: GEO 211, GEO 307, M 182.
-- Physical, chemical, and biological processes and their effects on sediment dispersal, deposition, and diagenesis. Geometry and lateral and vertical relationships between sedimentary rock bodies. Labs emphasize the description and analysis of sedimentary rock bodies.

GEO 310 INVERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY
F alternate years, to be offered odd years 3 cr. LEC 2 LAB 1
PREREQUISITE: GEO 211.
-- Investigation of invertebrate organisms and their evolution through time as preserved in the sedimentary rock record. Emphasis is on the morphology, paleoecology, evolution, and stratigraphic and environmental significance of important fossil groups. Labs stress fossil recognition.

GEO 312 DINOSAUR PALEONTOLOGY
F alternate years, to be offered odd years 3 cr. LEC 2 LAB 1
PREREQUISITE: GEO 211 and BIOB 170.
-- Dinosaur Paleontology covers the origin, evolution and extinction of dinosaurs. Topics of special emphasis include phylogeny, the origin of birds, and functional adaptations. Labs examine dinosaur skeletons, their novel adaptations and role in developing evolutionary trees.

GEO 315 STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY
S 3 cr. LEC 2 LAB 1
PREREQUISITE: GEO 211; GEO 448 or GEO 450.
-- Geometry, kinematics, and dynamics of natural rock deformation. Laboratory will focus on analytical and graphical techniques of modern structural analysis. Field trip fee required.

GEO 330 PALEONTOLOGY LAB TECHNIQUES
F alternate years, to be offered odd years 2 cr. LEC 1 LAB 1
COREQUISITE: GEO 211
-- Provides laboratory and research experience in vertebrate paleontology, including: training in fossil preparation, identification of osteological specimens, documentation (photographic and scientific illustration), molding and casting, specimen curation, and other skills necessary for professional presentation of research.

GEO 411 VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY
S alternate years, to be offered even years 3 cr. LEC 2 LAB 1
PREREQUISITE: GEO 211, and BIOB 170.
-- This course traces the history of vertebrates from the earliest chordates to synapsids, dinosaurs, and hominids. Lectures and labs emphasize phylogeny, anatomy, novel adaptations, and major evolutionary events such as the conquest of land, flight, and mass extinctions.

GEO 413 MACROEVOLUTION/FOSSIL RECORD
S alternate years, to be offered odd years 3 cr. SEM 3
PREREQUISITE: GEO 310 or GEO 312 or BIOB 375.
-- Macroevolution explores major trends in evolution through geologic time. The course examines such topics as whether communities evolve, cladogenesis, mass extinctions, rates of speciation and extinction, controls of biodiversity, and the role of sex and body size in evolution.

GEO 417 TAPHONOMY:FOSSIL PRESERVATION
F alternate years, to be offered even years 3 cr. LEC 2 SEM 1
PREREQUISITE: GEO 309 or GEO 448.
-- Scattered dinosaur bones lie entombed in a rock; what do they mean? Taphonomy examines the processes that act on an organism from the time of its death until its discovery and how these processes bias or help in fossil interpretation.

GEO 419 FIELD PALEONTOLOGY
Su alternate years, to be offered even years 2 cr. LEC 1 LAB 1
PREREQUISITE: GEO 204.
-- This two-week class provides field experience in vertebrate paleontology, including sedimentology, facies analysis, measuring stratigraphic sections, microsite screening, field identification of vertebrate and invertebrate fossils, excavation of fossil specimens, and taphonomic data collecting.

GEO 429 FIELD GEOLOGY
Su 6 cr. LAB 6
PREREQUISITE: ERTH 307, GEO 211, GEO 307, GEO 309, GEO 315. Must receive a minimum grade of "C" in these areas.
-- A senior capstone course for the geology, geohydrology and paleontology options. Early summer field course with application of field procedures and mapping techniques to a variety of field problems and exercises. Extensive hiking and outdoor physical challenges require that students be physically fit. A fee for supplies, transportation, and other logistical expenses is required.

GEO 433 GLOBAL TECTONICS
F 3 cr. LEC 3
PREREQUISITE: GEO 315.
-- History of tectonic theory; modern view of plate tetonics; in-depth case studies of orogenic belts; neotectonics; geophysics.

GEO 439 GEOPHYSICS
On Demand 3 cr. LEC 3
PREREQUISITE: GEO 205, GEO 211, M 171.
PREREQUISITE: PHSX 207.
-- Geophysical surveying, seismology, gravity, isostasy, magnetism and paleomagnetism, electrical methods, radioactivity, geothermics, applications of geophysics.

GEO 440 VOLCANOLOGY
F alternate years, to be offered even years 3 cr. LEC 2 LAB 1
PREREQUISITE: GEO 204 and GEO 302.
-- Overview of current ideas concerning volcanic eruptions and their resulting deposits, concentrating on examination of processes as elucidated from the study of modern volcanic environments. Required weekend field trip and field trip fee.

GEO 445 GLACIAL GEOLOGY
S alternate years, to be offered odd years 3 cr. LEC 1 LAB 1 SEM 1
PREREQUISITE: ERTH 307
-- In-depth study of the processes of glaciation and the resulting land forms. Includes class and library readings, quantitative laboratory exercises and modeling, and field examination of features of mountain and continental glaciation.

GEO 448 SEDIMENTARY PETROLOGY
F 3 cr. LEC 2 LAB 1
PREREQUISITE: GEO 302.
-- Detailed analysis and interpretation of the mineralogy, fabric, and genesis of terrigenous clastic and carbonate sedimentary rocks. Use of thin-section microscopy, the scanning electron microscope, and x-ray diffraction techniques are emphasized in the laboratory.

GEO 449 METAMORPHIC PETROLOGY
S alternate years, to be offered even years 3 cr. LEC 2 LAB 1
PREREQUISITE: GEO 302.
-- Introduction to the principles of metamorphic petrology; metamorphic facies, reactions, phase equilibria, processes, petrographic analysis, deformation, and interpretation of metamorphism in the context of global tectonics.

GEO 450 IGNEOUS PETROLOGY
F 3 cr. LEC 2 LAB 1
PREREQUISITE: GEO 204 and GEO 302.
-- Introduction to the distribution, mineral associations, and chemical compositions of igneous rocks in the earth's crust and upper mantle. Emphasis is on the use of petrographic features and chemistry to identify igneous rocks and interpret rock-forming processes.

GEO 490R UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH
F,S,Su 1 - 6 cr. IND May be repeated. Max 12 cr.
-- Directed undergraduate research/creative activity which may culminate in a research paper, journal article, or undergraduate thesis. Course will address responsible conduct of research.

GEO 491 SPECIAL TOPICS
On Demand 1 - 4 cr. Maximum 12 cr.
PREREQUISITE: Course prerequisites as determined for each offering.
-- Courses not required in any curriculum for which there is a particular one-time need, or given on a trial basis to determine acceptability and demand.

GEO 492 INDEPENDENT STUDY
On Demand 1 - 3 cr. IND Maximum 6 cr.
PREREQUISITE: Junior standing, consent of instructor, and approval of department head.
-- Directed research and study on an individual basis.

GEO 494 SENIOR GEOLOGY SEMINAR
On Demand 1 cr. SEM 1 Maximum 4 cr.
PREREQUISITE: Junior standing and as determined for each offering.
-- Topics at the upper division level not covered in regular courses. Students participate in preparing and presenting discussion material.

GEO 497 GEOLOGY INSTRUCTION
F,S,Su 1-2 cr. LAB
PREREQUISITE: Junior or senior standing in geology and consent of instructor and Department Head.
-- Student works as a tutor and undergraduate teaching assistant in a teaching laboratory under close academic supervision. Weekly meeting focuses on geology, teaching, organization of class materials, and student supervision. Weekly lab emphasis on applying active learning concepts in a geologic laboratory context.

GEO 498 INTERNSHIP
On Demand 2 - 12 cr. IND
PREREQUISITE: Junior standing, consent of instructor, and approval of department head.
-- An individualized assignment arranged with an agency, business or other organization to provide guided experience in the field.

GEO 499 SENIOR THESIS/CAPSTONE
F,S 3 cr. RCT 3
PREREQUISITE: Senior standing; minimum 3.0 cum gpa; faculty recommendation.
-- Senior thesis provides an opportunity to conduct research under the supervision of a faculty member leading to the production of a research paper ("mini-thesis") and an oral presentation to the department or at a professional meeting. Excellent preparation for graduate school and professional work.

GEO 508 DEPOSITIONAL SYSTEMS
S alternate years, to be offered odd years 3 cr. SEM 3 cr
PREREQUISITE: GEOL 309.
-- Facies models for terrestrial and marine depositional environmentals and their application to interpreting the stratigraphic record.

GEO 510 IGNEOUS GEOCHEMISTRY
On Demand 3 cr. LEC 3
PREREQUISITE: GEO 306, consent of instructor.
-- Major element, trace element, and isotopic distribution in igneous rocks obtained from natural and experimental systems. Emphasis on models describing the origin of compositional diversity in rock suites.

GEO 515 STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY
On Demand 3 cr. LEC 2 LAB 1
PREREQUISITE: GEO 315 or equivalent.
-- Techniques of modern structural analysis, including strain analysis, folds and fractures, and applications of continuum mechanics.

GEO 517 TAPHONOMY: DECIPHERING THE FOSSIL RECORD
F alternate years, to be offered even years 3 cr. LEC 2 SEM 1
PREREQUISITE: Graduate standing and GEO 307 or GEO 309 and GEO 310 or GEO 312 or GEO 411 or their equivalents.
-- Before one can ask questions about a fossil organism's anatomy, paleoecology or evolution, one must clearly understand its geologic context. Taphonomy investigates the death to discovery history of fossils and the biases created by post-mortem processes to the fossil record.

GEO 520 ANCIENT OCEAN SYSTEMS
S alternate years, to be offered even years 3 cr. SEM 3
PREREQUISITE: Course limited to graduate students or senior undergraduates with permission.
-- Seminar on marine geology with emphasis on ancient deep-marine outcrops.

GEO 521 HELL CREEK PALEONTOLOGY
Su 2 cr. LEC 2
PREREQUISITE: GEO 111 and consent of instructor.
-- This course is an introduction to Dinosaur Paleontology and Hell Creek Formation of Eastern Montana. It will provide information and hands-on experience in field techniques used in vertebrate paleontology, including interpretation of sedimentary environments and taphonomy.

GEO 522 DINOSAUR PALEONTOLOGY II
Su 2 cr. LEC 1 LAB 1
PREREQUISITE: GEO 521 and consent of instructor.
-- This course builds on experience and field techniques acquired from GEO 521 through hands-on participation in on-going paleontology research. Students acquire greater understanding of field data collection and formulation and testing of hypotheses; and advanced knowledge of paleoenvironments and geological processes.

GEO 530 TECTONICS OF SEDIMENTARY BASINS
On Demand 3 cr. SEM 3
PREREQUISITE: GEO 307 and GEO 309 and GEO 315.
-- This course examines the plate tectonic setting and controls on development of modern and ancient sedimentary basins. Includes investigation of sediment provenance, facies patterns, methods of basin analysis, and subsidence history.

GEO 533 GLOBAL TECTONICS
F 3 cr. LEC 3
PREREQUISITE: GEO 315.
-- History of tectonic theory; modern view of plate tectonics; in-depth case studies of orogenic belts; neotectonics; geophysics. Graduate students will be required to present a term paper and oral presentation on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor.

GEO 535 ADVANCED STRATIGRAPHY
F alternate years, to be offered odd years 4 cr. LEC 3 LAB 1
PREREQUISITE: Graduate standing.
-- Weekly lecture and lab, including one-week field excursion, examines different approaches in stratigraphy used to reconstruct ancient terrains. Course emphasizes advanced correlation techniques and interpretation methods applied in sedimentary geology.

GEO 540 VOLCANOLOGY
PREREQUISITE: GEO 204 and GEO 302.
F alternate years, to be offered even years 3 cr. LEC 2 LAB 1
-- Understand processes by which magma and associated gases rise into the crust and are extruded onto the Earth's surface and atmosphere, interpret the forms of volcanoes and their magmatic products, and provide the necessary background to perform research in volcanology.

GEO 542 COMPARATIVE OSTEOLOGY
On Demand 3 cr. SEM 3
PREREQUISITE: BIOO 310, BIOL 504.
-- Fossil bone histology and comparative osteology including encochondral ossification, epiphysedal ontogeny, cortical ossification, bone remodeling, special bone tissues, fossil bone content, bone architecture and biomechanics, bone chemistry and diagenesis, comparative bone morphology, and functional anatomy.

GEO 550 GRADUATE IGNEOUS PETROLOGY
F alternate years, to be offered even years 3 cr. LEC 2 LAB 1
PREREQUISITE: GEO 204 and GEO 302.
-- Emphasis on the distribution, mineral associations, and chemical compositions of igneous rocks in the earth's crust and upper mantle. Emphasis is on the use of petrographic features and chemistry to identify igneous rocks and interpret tock-forming processes.

GEO 581 QUATERNARY ENVIRONMENTS
On Demand 3 cr. LEC 2 RCT 1
PREREQUISITE: ERTH 307.
-- The last two million years of earth history as interpreted from geologic, biologic, and pedologic proxy data. Includes both global and regional analyses of changing climates and their effects on earth surface processes and land forms.

GEO 583 APPLIED GEOLOGICAL HYDROLOGY
On Demand 3 cr. LEC 2 LAB 1
PREREQUISITE: Graduate standing or GEO 420.
-- Application of ground-water principles to ground-water resource, contamination and remediation problems.

GEO 591 SPECIAL TOPICS
On Demand 1 - 4 cr. Maximum 12 cr.
PREREQUISITE: Upper division courses and others as determined for each offering.
-- Courses not required in any curriculum for which there is a particular one time need, or given on a trial basis to determine acceptability and demand before requesting a regular course number.

GEO 592 INDEPENDENT STUDY
On Demand 1 - 3 cr. IND Maximum 6 cr.
PREREQUISITE: Graduate standing, consent of instructor, approval of Department Head and Dean of Graduate Studies.
-- Directed research and study on an individual basis.

GEO 594 SEMINAR
On Demand 1cr. SEM 1 cr.
PREREQUISITE: Graduate standing or seniors by petition. Course prerequisites as determined for each offering.
-- Topics offered at the graduate level which are not covered in regular courses. Students participate in preparing and presenting discussion material.

GEO 598 INTERNSHIP
On Demand 2 - 12 cr. IND
PREREQUISITE: Graduate standing, consent of instructor and approval of department head.
-- An individualized assignment arranged with an agency, business or other organization to provide guided experience in the field.

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