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Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Core Courses

The materials, structures, and surface features of the earth, and the processes which have produced them. 3 LECT. HR./WK.; 3 CR.

An introduction to the processes and phenomena of our atmosphere. Topics include clouds, sky color, greenhouse effect, storms, climates and Ice Ages. 3 LECT. HR./WK.; 3 CR.

An introduction to the geological aspects of environmental issues ad sustainability for non-science majors. Presents the basic concepts of geology, followed by discussion of selected environmental issues, such as mineral and energy production; water supplies and pollution; flooding and erosion; earthquake and volcanic hazards. 3 LECT. HR./WK.; 3 CR.

Provides a concise and current view of the factors governing global warming and climate change and its implications for society as a whole. The use of climate models and data analysis build an understanding of the quantitative elements of the cliamte system and demonstrate how climate change is measured. Topics include: Earth's energy balance, measuring climate change, statistical significance of cycles, natural and anthropogenic sources of climate change, consequences of climate change, and modeling and predicting climate change. This course is recommended for non-EAS majors with an interest in learning the science behind the climate change debate. 3 LECT., 1 LAB HR./WK.; 3 CR.

A systematic global view of the features, processes, and underlying scientific concepts of the earth, atmosphere, and oceans, emphasizing environmental applications. 3 LECT., 3 LAB. HR./WK.; 4 CR.

Advanced Courses

Analysis and modeling of the grand cycles and systems in the Earth Sciences including plate tectonics and climate change by incorporating the underlying physical, chemical and biological principles. Physical and chemical properties of earth materials are examined. EXCEL, Visual Basic and PowerPoint are all used extensively.

Prereq.: EAS 10600 or 21300, Physics 20300 or Chemistry 10300 or equivalent; coreq.: Sci 20000. (W) 3 LECT., 2 LAB. HR. WK.; 4 CR.

Geometry of elementary earth structures, especially faults and fractures, their modes of origin, stress analyses, and models. The mechanics of naturally occurring structures and their relationship to human-made structures. Includes earthquake mechanics and development of geological maps.
Prereq.: EAS 10000, 10600 or 21300. 3 LECT., 2 LAB. HR./WK.; 4 CR.

Introduces general concepts of mineralogy, including descriptive mineralogy, classification, crystallography, crystal chemistry, analytical and imaging methods, and some information of the geological occurrence. Prereq.: EAS 21700. 3 LECT., 2 LAB., HR.WK.; 4 CR.

30100-30400: Honors I-IV

Research and studies in Earth Systems Science. Approval of Dean and Department required. Apply in J1328, no later than December 10 in the Fall term or May 1 in the Spring term. VARIABLE CR., USUALLY 3 CR./SEM.

30800: ESS: Modeling/Databases

Applications of the principles of ESS to the diagnosis and modeling of global and local environmental problems. Introduction to remote sensing techniques, processing, and analyses of global data sets, and computer models of Earth Systems.
Prereq.: EAS 21700, or permission of the instructor. (W) 3 LECT., 1 LAB. HR./WK.; 3 CR.

An introductory survey to the field of Atmospheric Science, with special attention given to thermodynamics and dynamics. Atmospheric science is a complex field of study that builds on physics, chemistry and math, hence the prerequisites. This course covers rudimentary components of radiation, chemistry and cloud microphysics and in depth details of thermodynamics and dynamics. This course is intended to provide an introductions and solid foundation for students interested in atmospheric physics. Prereq: MATH 20300 and PHYS 20700 or equivalent. 2 LECT./WK.; 3 CR.

31000: Independent Study

Individual laboratory, field or library investigation of a problem in Earth Systems Science.
Approval of instructor required. 1-4 CR./SEM.

31100-31500: Selected Topics in Earth Systems Science
Current topics and problems with emphasis on aspects not treated in regular courses.
Department permission required. 3 LECT. OR REC. HR./WK.; 3 CR./SEM.

Study of important, naturally-occurring, destructive phenomena, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides and coastal flooding. Long-term causes and remediation of these problems. Topics will focus on consequences to urban environments. 3 LECT. HR./WK.; 3 CR.

33000: Geographic Information Systems

Introduction to Geographic Information Systems using ArcGIS. Analysis of spatial data based on location. Hands-on work with downloading databases from the Internet, modification of formats, editing, and data analyses. Visual representation of data will emphasize different data types (point, linear, and spatial) and use of various analytical tools (IDW, spline, nearest neighbor, quadratic analysis, and different pattern types, such as random, clustered, uniform, bi-modal, etc. Environmental Applications are stressed in class and include: Earthquake Patterns and Risk Analysis, Vegetation Patterns and Changes over Time, Patterns of Sea Level Change due to Global Warming, remote sensing of fracture patterns, aerosol dispersal over time, pollution plumes in subsurface groundwater. 3 HR./WK.; 3 CR.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to good commercial and customary practices in the United States of America for conducting environmental site assessments (ESA) of commercial or residential properties with respect to hazardous substances and petroleum products. A Phase I ESA is the process for determining the presence of an existing release, a past release, or a material threat of a release of any hazardous substances or petroleum products into the ground, ground water, surface water of the property, or into structures on the property. Successful completion of this course will benefit those seeking professional employment in the environmental engineering consulting industry, as well as students seeking advanced academic degrees in disciplines that involve subsurface characterization. Students are automatically enrolled in the 10-hour OSHA Outreach Training Program for General Industry, which is intended for entry level workers. The 10-hour outreach course provides basic awareness training on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of workplace hazards.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to good commercial and customary practices in the United States of America for conducting Phase II environmental site assessments (ESA). A Phase II ESA is an evaluation process for confirming and quantifying the presence of hazardous substances or petroleum products in environmental media (i.e., soil, rock, groundwater, surface water, air, soil gas, sediment) throughout a contaminated site. A Phase II ESA typically includes a determination through field screening and chemical testing of the geological, hydrogeological, hydrological, and engineered aspects of the site that influence the presence of hazardous substances or petroleum products (e.g., migration pathways, exposure points) and the existence of receptors and mechanisms of exposure. Students are automatically enrolled in the 40-hour OSHA HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard) certification program, which applies to employees who are engaged in clean-up operations that are conducted at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.

Introduction to hydrological data, the hydrologic cycle. Precipitation, streamflow, evaporation, and runoff. Emphasis is on their interactions and processes. Prereq.: Math 20300 or 20800, Physics 20800, or permission of the instructor. 2 LECT., 2 LAB. HR./WK.; 3 CR.

36500: Coast and Ocean Processes

Principles governing atmosphere-coast-ocean interactions. The role of the world's oceans in current global warming/cooling models will be examined. Topics also include: bathymetric features, origins of the hydrosphere, sea-level change, wave formation, temperature, salinity, and density of the ocean water, and remote sensing of oceanic/atmospheric data from space. Prereq.: EAS 10600 or BIO 10200, or permission of instructor. 3 LECT. HR./WK.; 3 CR.

A traditional geochemistry survey course that emphasizes earth system science considerations. The survey includes groundwater systems, the ocean system, carbon-silicon cycle relative to these systems, stable and radioisotope geochemistry, trace metal distribution theory and applications, and an introduction to igneous and metamorphic petrology. Hands-on exercises in x-ray fluorescence and x-ray diffraction spectrometry complement lecture materials. Prereq.: EAS 21700 or permission of the instructor; pre- or co-req. Chem 10401. (W) 3 LECT., 1 LAB. HR./WK.; 3 CR.

Satellites have become an increasingly important tool for studying and monitoring the Earth's weather and climate. Topics include orbits of meteorological satellites, instruments they carry, fundamentals of atmospheric radiation and remote sensing, meteorological parameters that can be retrieved from satellites, and applications. Matlab is used to analyze satellite data. Prereq.: MATH 201300, and PHYS 20800, or permission of instructor. 3 LECT. HR./WK.; 3 CR.

Remote sensing of the environment is a course devoted to the study of earth system interactions through downloading and manipulating satellite data. The course reviews the historical creation of satellite platforms, current usages of satellite data in the earth sciences, and emphasizes image analytical techniques used to highlight important data sets. Lecture and laboratory work emphasizes the use of Interactive Data Language (IDL) programming to perform image manipulations.
Prerequisites: undergraduate course in computer science or permission of instructor. 3 LECT. HR./WK.; 3 CR.

43900: Minerals and Energy Resources

Minerals in Earth Systems Science: principles of mineral stability and mineral associations; identification and recovery of earth resources. Mineral issues in human terms: toxic waste sites, climatology, and slope stability. Course introduces mineral optics and x-ray diffraction.
Prereq.: EAS 21700 or permission of the instructor. 2 LECT., 4 LAB. HR./WK.; 4 CR.

Occurrence of ground water. Basic equations and concepts of groundwater flow. Flow nets. Methods of groundwater investigation. Prereq.: Math 20300 or 20800, Physics 20800, EAS 10600 or 21300, or by permission. 2 LECT., 2 REC. HR./WK.; 3 CR.

45000: Environmental Field Methods

This course introduces basic field concepts and applications related to the environmental evaluation of water, soil, and sediment quality. It focuses on various environmental sampling and monitoring techniques, laboratory chemical analyses,and data reporting. Topics will include surface/ground water sampling, soil sampling, sediment sampling, stream gauging, groundwater level monitoring, monitoring well installation, etc. The class consists of lectures, field trips, and labs. Each student will prepare field reports, and carry out a small project of his/her choice. Prereq.: CHEM 10401, PHYS 20800, and EAS 44600, or permission of instrucotr. 3 HR./WK.; 3 CR.

47200: Environmental Project

Senior-level project utilizes field data to solve an urban environmental problem. Can be taken in the spring semester or in the summer. Also open to post-graduates in the environmental fields, by permission. Prereq.: EAS 21700 and 22700; coreq.: EAS 30800, or permission of the instructor. (W) 4 WEEKS IN FIELD PLUS LAB. ANALYSES; 6 CR.

This course links processes and interactions of the atmosphere, ocean, and solid earth and their impact on climate and climate change. Topics include the physical principles of climate; climates of the past and present; Ice Age theories; the Greenhouse Effect; and human impact on climate.

Prereq.: EAS 10100 or 10600; one semester of college math. 3 LECT., 2 LAB. HR./WK.; 4 CR.

52800: Plate Tectonics/Geodynamics
This course treats the processes that change the face of the earth. It includes the concepts of mantle convection, continental drift, leading to the modern theory of plate tectonics. The perspective is global and process-oriented, with examples from nearby active plate boundaries. The plate tectonic model explains global distributions of earthquakes, volcanoes, mineral deposits, and long-term climate patterns. 3 LECT. HR./WK.; 3 CR.

This course covers the physical principles that govern the behavior and techniques used to infer the earth’s internal structure, composition, and mineral resources. It provides earth scientists and engineers with the techniques to determine earth structures, locate environmental pollutants, and prospect for natural resources from remote locations. Topics include: seismology, geodesy, gravity, magnetics, and thermal properties of the earth.
Prereq.: EAS 10600 or 21300 and Physics 20800. 3 LECT. HR./WK.; 3 CR.

The application of geophysics to environmental and engineering problems. Hands on work and demonstrations on seismic, electrical, electromagnetic and magnetic instruments and techniques. Survey design and execution. Computer analysis of survey results.


Deep earth involvement in Earth Systems Science: plutonism and volcanism; isotopic age dating; non-radiogenic isotope systematics; and trace metal characteristics of evolving earth systems. Course introduces petrography and x-ray fluorescence. 3 LECT. HR./WK.; 3 CR.


Qualified undergraduate students may take, with permission of department, courses available in the Master’s Program in Earth Systems Science (see Graduate catalogue) or at Lehman College or other CUNY campuses.