Geology/Geography

Division: Science
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Geology is the science that studies the structure, mechanics, interactions and evolution of the outer crust of the Earth. Students completing a degree in this discipline will have an introductory foundation for the field of Geology through the study of the scientific method, Earth materials, Earth processes, and Earth history. They will acquire skills, knowledge, and abilities that enable students to use a scientific approach incorporating basic chemistry and mathematics to the study of the Earth; identify common minerals, rocks, and geomorphic features of Earth; describe the materials and elucidate the processes that comprise the dynamic Earth system; describe the evidence for and occurrence of major events in Earth History.

Geography, Earth Science, and Meteorology courses are housed in the Geology department.  Although no degrees are currently being offered in these subjects, these courses can be used to complete General Education or transfer requirements.

  • Meteorology is the science that studies the atmosphere, its structure, interactions and anthropogenic modification. 
  • Earth Science studies the structure, mechanics, interactions and evolution of the earth’s crust, atmosphere and oceans.
  • Geography is the natural and social science that studies the distribution and relationships between physical, geological, political and cultural entities

The most common career opportunities with a baccalaureate degree include entry-level field technician/geologist, industrial employment  (mining, oil, environmental consulting), and governmental agencies (Department of Natural Resources, Geological Surveys, and National Parks).

Transfer requirements in Geology are available in the Counseling Department. In all cases, students should consult with a counselor for specific transfer requirements.

Contact Information

Science Division Chair

Julie Rodriguez | (559) 730-3875 | julier@cos.edu
John Muir: 236 | Visalia Campus

Dean of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering

Robert Urtecho, Ph.D. | (559) 730-3942 | robertur@cos.edu
John Muir: 133 | Visalia Campus

ESCI 001 Introduction to Earth Science 4 unit(s)
Hours: 3 Lecture/Discussion
3 Lab
Equivalent Course: ESCI 100
This course provides students with the scientific background to teach earth science at kindergarten through 8th grade levels. It emphasizes the application of the scientific method to the study of Earth systems. Topics include: geology (minerals, rocks, earthquakes, volcanoes, rivers, glaciers, the fossil record), oceanography (ocean composition, currents, tides, coastlines), meteorology (atmospheric composition, weather, storms), and astronomy (phases of the moon, eclipses, the solar system).
Advisory on Recommended Preparation: ENGL 251 or equivalent college course with "C" or better AND MATH 200 or equivalent college course with "C" or better
GEOG 001 Physical Geography 3 unit(s)
Hours: 3 Lecture/Discussion
An investigation of weather, climate, landforms, and maps. An emphasis is placed on using the methodologies of scientific inquiry to explain the distribution of physical phenomena on the surface of the earth and on examining the relationship between man and the natural environment. (C-ID GEOG110)
Advisory on Recommended Preparation: ENGL 251 or equivalent college course with "C" or better or eligibility for ENGL 1 as determined by COS Placement Procedures AND MATH 200 or equivalent college course with "C" or better or eligibility for MATH 230 as determined by COS Placement Procedures.
GEOG 001L Physical Geography Lab Class 1 unit(s)
Hours: 3 Lab
Observations, computer projects, experiments, and a field trip are designed to familiarize students with techniques used in physical geography. (C-ID GEOG111)
Corequisites: GEOG 001
GEOG 002 World Regional Geography 3 unit(s)
Hours: 3 Lecture/Discussion
Aspects of physical and cultural geography such as landforms, climate, vegetation, natural resources, demography, cultural diversity, and political and economic organization are applied to various world regions. An emphasis is placed on examining man-land relationships, multicultural issues, and understanding world problems from a geographic perspective. (C-ID GEOG125)
Advisory on Recommended Preparation: ENGL 251 or equivalent college course with "C" or better, or eligibility for ENGL 1 determined by COS Placement Procedures.
GEOL 001 Physical Geology 4 unit(s)
Hours: 3 Lecture/Discussion
3 Lab
An introduction to the principles of geology with emphasis on Earth processes. This course focuses on the internal structure and origin of the Earth and the process that change and shape it. The laboratory component focuses on the identification of rocks and minerals, topographic and geologic map exercises demonstrating the work of water, wind, ice and gravity and effects of tectonic activity. (C-ID GEOL101)
Advisories on Recommended Preparation: ENGL 251 and MATH 200 or equivalent college courses with "C" or better or eligibility for ENGL 001 and MATH 230 as determined by COS Placement Procedures.
GEOL 005 Earth History 4 unit(s)
Hours: 3 Lecture/Discussion
3 Lab
Equivalent Course: GEOL 105
This course examines the geologic evidence for the major events in Earth's history, including: the formation of the crust, atmosphere, and oceans; the tectonic history of the continents; and mass extinctions and the record of life on Earth. Course topics are reinforced by the analysis of rock specimens, fossils, and geologic maps during laboratory sessions. (C-ID GEOL111)
Advisories on Recommended Preparation: ENGL 251 or eligibility for ENGL 001 and MATH 360 or eligibility for MATH 200 or equivalent college courses with "C" or better.
GEOL 012 Environmental Geology 3 unit(s)
Hours: 3 Lecture/Discussion
Geologic hazards, natural resources, and pollution constitute the core themes of this study of man’s interactions with earth systems. The consequences of human modification of natural systems and the geological underpinnings of modern society are emphasized. Topics include flooding, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, plate tectonics, energy resources, water resources, mineral resources, climate change, the greenhouse effect, waste disposal, water pollution, and the carbon, nitrogen, and water cycles. Scientific and sociopolitical approaches to environmental issues are explored. (C-ID GEOL 130)
Advisory on Recommended Preparation: ENGL 251 or equivalent college course with "C" or better, or eligibility for ENGL 1 as determined by COS Placement Procedures and MATH 200 or equivalent college course with a "C" or better, or eligibility for MATH 230 as determined by the COS Placement Procedures.
GEOL 150 Geology of Kings Canyon NP 0.5 unit(s)
Hours: 0.5 Lecture/Discussion
0.5 Lab
This field trip course explores the geology of Kings Canyon National Park. Major themes include: rivers and valley development, glaciers and climate change, the formation of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the rocks therein, plate tectonics and the geologic history of California.
Advisory on Recommended Preparation: ENGL 251 or equivalent college course with "C" or better or eligibiity for ENGL 1 determined by COS Placement Procedures
GEOL 151 Geology of the Mojave Desert 1 unit(s)
Hours: 1 Lecture/Discussion
0.5 Lab
Equivalent Course: GEOL 251
This field trip course introduces the geology and natural resources of the Mojave Desert. Major themes include tectonics and structure, mineral resources and mining, and energy resources. Some geologic features will be discussed en route, while extended stops, that include some hiking, allow closer examination of phenomena such as faults, volcanoes, mines, and solar power plants.
Advisory on Recommended Preparation: ENGL 251 or equivalent college course with "C" or better
GEOL 152 Geology of the Central Coast 1 unit(s)
Hours: 1 Lecture/Discussion
0.5 Lab
Equivalent Course: GEOL 252
This field trip course introduces the geology of the Central Coast. Major themes include tectonics, geologic hazards, energy and water resources, pollution, and coastline and surficial processes. Some features will be discussed en route. Extended stops that include some hiking allow closer examination of phenomena (e.g., the San Andreas Fault and Morro Rock).
Advisory on Recommended Preparation: ENGL 251 or equivalent college course with "C" or better or eligibility for ENGL 1 determined by COS Placement Procedures
GEOL 153 Granite, Glaciers, and Gold 1 unit(s)
Hours: 1 Lecture/Discussion
0.5 Lab
This field trip course explores the geology of the central Sierra Nevada. Primary topics include: the formation and evolution of Yosemite Valley, the Mother Lode gold deposits, and the central Sierra foothills (the Western Metamorphic Belt).
Advisory on Recommended Preparation: ENGL 251 or equivalent college course with "C" or better or eligibility for ENGL 1 determined by COS Placement Procedures
GEOL 154 Volcanoes of Northern CA 2 unit(s)
Hours: 1.5 Lecture/Discussion
1.5 Lab
This extended field trip explores northern California's sleeping volcanoes: Mt Shasta, Medicine Lake Volcano and Mt Lassen. Volcanic features, landforms, processes, and hazards constitute the major themes of this class.
Advisory on Recommended Preparation: ENGL 251 or equivalent college course with "C" or better or eligibility for ENGL 1 determined by COS Placement Procedures
MET 001 Elementary Meteorology 3 unit(s)
Hours: 3 Lecture/Discussion
An introductory course designed to provide insights into physical processes and laws that underlie the phenomena of weather and climate. An emphasis is placed on understanding the methodologies of scientific inquiry and understanding current meteorological-environmental problems. (C-ID GEOG130)
Advisory on Recommended Preparation: ENGL 251 or equivalent college course with "C" or better, or eligibility for ENGL 1 determined by COS Placement Procedures; and MATH 200 or equivalent college course with "C" or better, or eligibility for MATH 230 determined by COS Placement Procedures.

Geology/Geography

Hetherington, Eric, Ph.D.
B.A., Franklin And Marshall College
Ph.D., University Of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Howell, David
A.A., Long Beach City College
B.A., California State University, Dominguez Hills
M.A., California State University, San Diego