Apr 25, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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GEOL 425 - Environmental Geochemistry

Global geochemical cycles, influences of rocks and soils on water chemistry, behavior of isotopes and trace elements. Includes class project studying local environmental geochemistry topic. Three lectures plus one three-hour lab per week. GEOL 425 and GEOL 525 are layered courses; students may not receive credit for both.

Prerequisites: CHEM 181, and CHEM 181LAB, and CHEM 182, and CHEM 182LAB and MATH 153.

Credits: (5)

Learner Outcomes:
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Describe geochemical cycles of water and carbon in terms of their principle reservoirs, residence times in those reservoirs and fluxes between major reservoirs. They can differentiate between long-timescale processes (such as silicate weathering) an1 short-timescale processes (such as anthropogenic increase in atmospheric CO2).
  • Have a basic knowledge of acids and bases, their properties and behavior. Students understand the relative strengths of acids and bases and related equilibria.
  • Comprehend and can describe in their own words the laws of thermodynamics. They understand how the equilibrium constant of a reaction can be derived from expressions for chemical potential and Gibbs free energy.
  • Understand the relationship between minerals and natural wate1 in terms of solubility equilibria, and know how factors such as temperature and pH will effect mineral solubility.
  • Have basic laboratory skills necessary to carry out a supervised geochemical study (e.g. can perform Gram titration of waters in field, can collect water samples using clean methods, can measure water content, textures and LOI of soils, etc.)
  • Have basic knowledge of water and soil chemistry, controls on pH, cation and anion concentrations.
  • Understand the role of the oceans in geochemical cycles and as buffers for our environment. They know the controls on ocean chemistry.
  • Given an environmental geochemical problem, students are aware of geochemical techniques (isotopes, trace elements, etc.) which might be used to address that problem.
  • Be aware of current topics of research in environmental geochemistry and can read and critically discuss a research article.

Learner Outcomes Approval Date:

Anticipated Course Offering Terms and Locations:

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