GEOS 105(F) Geology Outdoors (W)

An introduction to geology through student field projects. The mountains, lakes, rivers, and valleys of the Williamstown area provide unusual opportunities for learning geology in the field. Student projects will include the study of streams as active agents of erosion and deposition, the effects of glaciation on the New England landscape, and the history of mountain building in the Appalachians. Following several group projects introducing the techniques of field geology, students will pursue independent projects on subjects of particular interest to them. This course departs from the standard science course format with three lectures and a required lab each week. Instead, emphasis is placed on learning through active participation in field projects and presentation of results through high quality writing. The class will meet two afternoons each week from 1:00 to 3:45 p.m. There will be two all day field trips. This course is designed for students who have a serious interest in geology or other natural and environmental sciences, the outdoors, and writing. Format: discussion/field laboratory, six hours per week. Evaluation will be based on participation in field work and discussions, five 8-page papers based on field projects, and an oral presentation of independent projects. Students will use detailed comments on their papers to improve their writing style in successive assignments. No prerequisites; no previous knowledge of geology required. Open only to first-year students. Enrollment limit: 12 (expected:12).