Geology (GEOL) Courses

College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)

Field trips are sometimes conducted outside of class hours.

See How to read course descriptions for information about the formatting used.

GEOL 100 Environmental Earth Science (3) Introduction to geology for non-science majors with an emphasis on the interaction between the Earth and its human population. The focus is on the solid Earth, natural hazards, natural resources, and pollution. Note: Geology students with an interest in environmental geology are encouraged to take GEOL 300. (Attributes: ALEX, GCC)

GEOL 100L Environmental Earth Sci Lab (1) (lab) Application of basic geological principles toward the understanding of man's relationship with the environment. Laboratory experiences in hazards mapping and assessment, environmental pollution, global change, and management of our geological resources. Develops skills in interpreting maps and remote sensing images. Pre: GEOL 100 or GEOL 300, which may be taken concurrently.

GEOL 111 Understanding the Earth (3) The study of the Earth, with emphasis placed on the materials, surface features, structures, various erosional and depositional processes, and the role of plate tectonics. Prepares students for further studies in geology.

GEOL 111L Understanding the Earth Lab (1) (lab) Investigation of geological processes using observational techniques. Covers plate tectonics, identification and classification of earth materials, analysis of geological hazards, evaluation of natural resources, and development of map interpretation skills. Field trips highlighting Hawaiian geology. Pre: Concurrent or previous enrollment in either GEOL 100 or GEOL 111, or instructor's consent.

GEOL 112 Hist of the Earth & Its Life (3) The evolution of the earth from the origin of the solar system to the present. Emphasis on plate tectonics, the history of life, and techniques used to reconstruct past events from geologic evidence. Pre: GEOL 111 or consent.

GEOL 112L History of the Earth Lab (1) (lab) Includes topics on fossils and fossilization, measurement of geologic time, stratigraphy, biostratigraphy, geotectonics, paleoecology, sedimentology, and the interpretation of geologic maps. Recommended: GEOL 111L. Pre: GEOL 112, which may be taken concurrently.

GEOL 170 Volcanoes and Earthquakes (3) Systematic study of volcanic eruptions and damaging earthquakes. Applications of the scientific method to understanding their underlying causes. Case studies illustrate how catastrophic eruptions and earthquakes impact climate, the environment and society.

GEOL 195 Introductory Field Experience (1) (other) Pre- or post-semester field trip (1-2 weeks) to exceptional geologic localities. During the semester students will become familiar with the geologic formations, structure, and history of the area to be visited. Pre: prior course in geology. CR/NC grade. Repeatable for credit. Offered in Spring semester only, alternate years.

GEOL 205 Geology Of Hawaiian Islands (3) A survey of the geological phenomena particular to the Hawaiian Islands, including volcanism, rock and mineral occurrences, landform development, and water resources. (Attributes: GAHP, HPP)

GEOL 212 Earth Materials I: Minerals (4) (lecture/lab) A systematic study of the common minerals involving crystallography, optical properties, crystal chemistry, and occurrence. Laboratory work stresses identification of minerals in hand specimen and using the petrographic microscope. Pre: GEOL 111 and either CHEM 151 or 161, or instructor's consent.

GEOL 300 Adv Environmental Earth Sci (3) In-depth study of the interactions between the human population and our planet. Natural resources, pollution and natural hazards, current issues such as the food supply and the energy crisis. Community concerns such as waste, natural hazards and environmental legislation. Pre: upper division standing and GEOL 100 or GEOL 111 or GEOL 170 or GEOG 101 or ENSC 100 or MARE 201. (Attributes: ALEX, GCC)

GEOL 320 Erth Mat II: Igneous/Meta Rock (4) (lecture/lab) An introduction to the study of rocks, including their origin, occurrence, composition and classification. Laboratory work involves the identification of rocks in hand specimen and thin section by means of composition and texture. Emphasis on igneous and metamorphic rocks. Pre: GEOL 212 or consent of instructor.

GEOL 330 Deformation of the Earth (4) (lecture/lab) Effects and mechanics of deformation of the earth's crust, involving the description, classification, and origin of geologic structures. Aspects of geotectonics are considered. Pre: GEOL 112 and prerequisites listed for MATH 205, or consent of instructor.

GEOL 340 Sedimentary Processes (4) (lecture/lab) Emphasis on sedimentary processes, properties or sediments and sedimentary rocks, environmental interpretation, and stratigraphic principles and nomenclature. Required field trips. Pre: GEOL 112

GEOL 342 Earth Surface Processes (3) Processes of landform development at large and small scales. Theoretical and applied aspects including human environment considerations. Pre: GEOG 101 or GEOL 111 or equivalent. (Same as GEOG 320)

GEOL 344 Coastal Geology (3) Systematic study of coastal processes and the structure and morphology of the world's coastlines. Topics include tectonic, oceanographic, biologic and anthropogenic influences, hazards, and current issues. Required weekend field trips. Pre: GEOL 111 or MARE 201 or GEOG 101 or instructor's consent.

GEOL 352 Comparative Planetology (3) Planets and Exoplanets (3) Study of the geology and geophysics of Earth-like planets and satellites in the Solar System, with emphasis on understanding terrestrial geology in a broader, astronomical context and applications to exoplanet research. Study of the atmospheres of Solar System planets and satellites, and also the formation and evolution of the Solar System and extrasolar planetary systems. Pre: GEOL 111 Understanding the Earth (3), ASTR 180 Princ Of Astron I (3), PHYS 151 College Physics I (3) or PHYS 170 Gen Phys I: Mechanics (4). (Same as ASTR 352 Plants and Exoplanets (3)).

GEOL 360 Surface Water (3) Introduction to surface hydrology. Topics include streamflow hydraulics, flooding, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, and stream water quality. Introduction to measurement technique, quantitative descriptions of hydraulic phenomenon and practical applications. Pre: GEOL 111 and competence in algebra or instructor's consent.

GEOL 370 Field Methods (3) (lecture/lab) Familiarization with field instrumentation and techniques. The study of methods used to collect, graphically represent, and interpret geological field data. For the last third of the class, students choose between a post-semester geological mapping project in California, or a geologic mapping project in Hawaiʻi. Pre: GEOL 330 or consent of instructor. (Attributes: ALEX, GCC)

GEOL 431 Geology Of North America (3) Survey of the structure, stratigraphy, and tectonic evolution of the North American continent from Precambrian to recent. Pre: GEOL 112 or instructor's consent.

GEOL 432 Plate Tectonics (3) Theory and working principles of plate tectonics. Includes quantitative solutions of plate velocities and rotations on a sphere and reconstructions of past plate movements. Pre: GEOL 111.

GEOL 445 GIS for Geology (3) (lecture/lab) Introduction to the use of Geographical Information Systems for storing, displaying, and analyzing geospatial data. Theories, applications in earth and environmental sciences, databases, and data analysis. Pre: GEOL 111 and upper division standing or consent of instructor. Basic computer skills are strongly recommended.

GEOL 450 Geological Remote Sensing (3) (lecture/lab) Application of remote sensing to volcanic hazards, global change, and geologic mapping. Exploration of both satellite and airborne sensor imagery with laboratory exercises focused on modern remote sensing visualization tools and interpretation of optical, thermal and thematic data suites. Pre: any lower division geology class.

GEOL 460 Groundwater (3) Introduction to groundwater hydrology. Topics include: aquifer properties, principles of groundwater flow, quantity and quality of groundwater resources, water chemistry, groundwater contamination and the role of groundwater in geologic processes. Quantitative focus. Pre: GEOL 111, 111L, prior course in chemistry at the high school or college level, and MATH 125 or 205 or instructor's consent.

GEOL 470 Volcanology (3) (lecture/lab) In-depth study of volcanic processes, products and phenomena, including the classification of volcanic eruptions, evaluation of volcanic hazards, and an introduction to eruption monitoring. Pre: GEOL 320 or instructor's consent.

GEOL 471 Volcano Monitoring (3) Survey of deformation, seismological, geochemical, and field mapping methods of monitoring active volcanoes, and their use in forecasting eruptions. Emphasis on field applications. Pre: Previous college credit in geology, mathematics, and other physical sciences, or consent of the instructor.

GEOL 472 Volcano Seismology & Geodesy (3) Investigation of seismotectonic processes of active volcanoes including sources of earthquakes, volcanic tremor, seismic tomography, and seismic methods for volcanic monitoring. Geodetic Investigations of volcanic processes including both earth and space-based methods, data analysis and modeling. Pre: GEOL 111, 111L and MATH 125 or MATH 205 or consent of instructor. Field trips are sometimes conducted outside of class hours.

GEOL 485 Advanced Field Mapping (1) (other) An elective course consisting of 10-14 days of intensive field mapping in selected regions of the United States. Students construct a finished geologic map, including a cross-section, explanation, and a summary of geologic history. Additional fees apply. Pre: GEOL 330.

GEOL 495A Seminar (1) (other) Seminar presentations of topics in the physical sciences by faculty, enrolled students and invited speakers. The first semester (495A) is taken CR/NC; in the second semester (495B), students are required to present a seminar for a letter grade. Pre: senior standing or instructor's consent. (Same as ASTR 495A-495B, PHYS 495A-495B and MATH 495A-495B).

GEOL 495B Seminar (1) (other) Seminar presentations of topics in the physical sciences by faculty, enrolled students and invited speakers. The first semester (495A) is taken CR/NC; in the second semester (495B), students are required to present a seminar for a letter grade. Pre: senior standing or consent of instructor. (Same as ASTR 495A-495B, CHEM 495A-495B, PHYS 495A-495B and MATH 495A-495B).

GEOL 496 Tchg Assist & Tutoring Geology (1) Please contact the department or division office for more information about this course.


GEOL x94 Special Topics in Subject Matter (Arr.) Special topics chosen by the instructor. Course content will vary. May be repeated for credit, provided that a different topic is studied. Additional requirements may apply depending on subject and topic.

GEOL x99 Directed Studies (Arr.) Statement of planned reading or research required. Pre: instructor’s consent.