Geology and Geological Engineering

Dr. Sarah W. Keenan
Geobiology in Modern and Ancient Systems
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Teaching synopsis

Specific courses include:
  • GEOL 773: Quantitative Methods in Paleontology, 3 credits, Graduate-level (Fall, even)
    The course will cover quantitative methods commonly used in paleoecological, morphometric, evolutionary, and paleoenvironmental studies. Students will learn to evaluate statistical methods for their appropriateness and conduct statistical analyses. Directed readings from the scientific literature will provide examples of these methods as they are used by the geoscience community.

  • GEOL 774: Paleoenvironments, 2 credits, Graduate-level (Spring, odd)
    This course will cover geochemical (stable isotope, trace element, REE) and biological (faunal, biomarker) proxies in used in paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatological studies in marine and terrestrial sedimentary environments. Students will learn the chemical/biological basis of each proxy, how to appropriately interpret the proxies, and what each proxy can reveal about past climates and environments. Format will be a mix of directed readings with discussion and short lectures.

  • GEOL 421/521: Aqueous Geochemistry, 3 credits, Undergraduate and Graduate-level (Fall, starting 2021)
    This course will cover fundamental geochemical principles and applications for aqueous systems, including water quality, mass transport, weathering, and diagenesis. Topics will include thermodynamics, mineral solubility and stability, chemical speciation and redox state of natural waters, organic geochemistry, and geochemical signatures of past environments. Water quality issues, water budgets, and environmental policy with respect to water will also be examined. Geochemical modeling software will be used in projects.

  • GEOL 435/535: Geomicrobiology, 3 credits, Undergraduate and Graduate-level (Spring, even)
    Microorganisms control important geological processes, including mineral dissolution and precipitation, as well as nutrient cycling. Microbes shape their surrounding environment through geochemical and physical interactions, and over time, these changes control microbial community composition and evolution. This course will explore how microbes control geochemistry, how geochemistry influences microbes, how we characterize microbial communities, and how communities have changed over geologic time. This course will cover topics including biogeochemistry, mineralogy, and microbial ecology.

  • GEOL/GEOE/MEM 110L: Introduction to Geology, Geological Engineering, and Mining Engineering/Lab, 1 credit, Undergraduates, incoming freshman (Fall)
    An introductory course for incoming freshman in geology, geological engineering and mining engineering covering fundamental science and engineering practices. The course will include short field exercises, hands-on practical exercises, group projects, problem solving (using spreadsheets and other current methods), and science and engineering ethics. When applicable, experts from industry and academia will be invited as guest lecturers to discuss current trends and practices.

  • GEOL 201/L: Physical Geology, 3 credit class/1 credit lab, Undergraduates (Fall 2020 and Spring 2021)
    An introductory course covering basic concepts in the study of the earth and its history. Brief introduction of the earth's place in the universe and solar system and the evolution, composition, and structure of the earth. Introduction to minerals, and rock-forming groups. Survey of geological processes acting at the surface of earth such as wind, rivers, glaciers, groundwater, and the ocean; introduction to internal processes regarding plate tectonics and growth of mountains. Societal implications of geological processes are emphasized throughout the course.

Contact: Dept. of Geology and Geological Engineering, 501 E. Saint Joseph St., SDSMT, Rapid City, SD 57701
Phone: (605)394-2461 / Fax: (605)394-6703 / Email: / Updated: 20 April 2021