Nepal: Geoscience in the Himalaya (Summer)
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At least two upper division (above the 100-level) geoscience, environmental science, or physical geography courses.
The setting of the Himalaya provides an unparalleled opportunity to study the Earth sciences. Students will study classic Earth science field skills and gain the ability to apply geoscience observations to better understand how geohazards impact societies and what can be done to reduce risk.
Coursework—listed below—will cover traditional geoscience field skill development (geologic history deduction, structural geology, stratigraphy, and mapping) and geohazard analysis and solutions in the context of Nepali society. Students will develop Earth science field skills as applied to understanding both the geological history and ongoing interactions between humans and Earth systems in the Himalaya.
Actual course content may vary somewhat from year to year to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities. Syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
Earth Science Field Methods - syllabus (PDF)
(GEOL 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
In this course students will develop geoscience field skills within the setting of Earth’s highest and most extensive mountain range. Field observations underpin many Earth and environmental science disciplines. In a grand traverse of the Himalayas along the Kali Gandaki gorge, students will learn to reconstruct the geologic past and interpret ongoing Earth processes in strict observance of scientific ethics. This course and itinerary incorporate most of the major Himalayan rock formations and climatic zones, giving students broad experience with different types of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks as well as structural and geomorphic features. In this process of constructing and justifying a plausible geologic history through cross sections and maps, students will learn how to synthesize a wide range of observations to better understand our planet’s dynamic processes.
Geohazards in the Himalaya - syllabus (PDF)
(GEOL 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course focuses on environmental geohazards as a perspective through which to study the interactions between human and Earth systems in the Himalaya. The rugged terrain of an active mountain range limits habitation and travel but also contributes to diverse and multifaceted societies within a concentrated region. The sediments and soils that come from the mountains provide rich agricultural lands; but settlements are precariously balanced on steep slopes or beside rushing rivers and are subject to geohazards such as landslides, floods, and earthquakes. Furthermore, the climate system is rapidly changing due to practices of industrialized nations, leading to additional challenges. Students will investigate how Earth systems affect and influence society and how human decisions and actions bear consequences on the environment and determine societal risk in the face of geohazards. Particular emphasis will be given to the study of low cost and technologically simple solutions that dovetail with other sustainable development practices.
Geology Field Study Project - syllabus (PDF)
(GEOL 3060 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Field Study allows students to grapple with the complexity of a single topic in more depth. Students will maintain a journal of interests and research ideas during the first portions of the program. As the field study portion of the program approaches, each student or team of students will meet with an advisor to refine ideas to a focused research question that addresses aspects of either or both of the preceding field courses. After writing a brief proposal that articulates a viable research design, students will carry out an independent field study project for ten days. The final days of the program will be spent reporting on projects and will include final debriefing sessions in Kathmandu.
Duration: 7 weeks
Program Base: Kathmandu
Prerequisites: At least two upper division (above the 100-level) geoscience, environmental science, or physical geography courses. Read more...
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