Local Geology

Earth and Space Science Courses

The Earth and Space Sciences faculty offer courses in astronomy, physical geography, and geology that meet the needs of general education students, Earth science majors, and members of community who would like to learn more about the physical environment of the Klamath-Cascade region. Brief descriptions of all of the program's courses are given below, and you can learn more about any individual course by following the link to its website.


ASTR 1110 titleAstronomy (ASTR 1110) introduces physical models for gravity and light and then builds on our understandings of these phenomena to interpret the motions, properties and histories of celestial objects that range from nearby planets and stars to distant galaxies and the Universe itself.

Physical Geography

GEOG 1110 titlePhysical Geography (GEOG 1110) introduces the major elements of Earth’s environment—atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere—and explores how they interact with one another to influence the distribution of climates, soils, landforms, and life on Earth.


GEOL 1110 titleEnvironmental Geology (GEOL 1110) explores how humans interact with the Earth, including coping with geologic hazards, managing the planet's resources, and dealing with the waste and pollution produced by human activities.

GEOL 1120 titleGeology of the National Parks (GEOL 1120) explores how the geologic processes that operate in different tectonic settings have shaped America's national parklands and how they have interacted through time to build the North American continent.

GEOL 1210 titlePhysical Geology (GEOL 1210) introduces the processes shaping Earth today—from tectonic and igneous activity driven by the planet's internal heat to the sculpting of its surface by flowing air, water, and ice. Lab activities include rock and mineral identification, map interpretation and regional field trips.

GEOL 1220 titleHistorical Geology (GEOL 1220) explores how Earth and the life it supports have changed through time. Geologic principles are used to reconstruct Earth's physical history and fossils to trace the histories of living communities. Lab activities include studies of rocks and fossils as well as regional field trips.

GEOL 1130 titleGeology of California (GEOL 1130) explores how the state's diverse landscape has been shaped by processes occurring along an ancient passive margin and a modern active one, and examines the roles that these processes have played in creating California's mineral resources and geologic hazards.

GEOL 1140 titleOceanography (GEOL 1140) introduces the physical and biological features of Earth's oceans and explores their relationships, from the geologic processes that create ocean basins and the movements of air and water that shape climates and coasts, to the nature of marine life and human impacts on the sea.

GEOL 0800 titleGeology of Mount Shasta (GEOL 0800) introduces the tectonic setting, eruptive and non-eruptive activity, geologic history and potential hazards associated with this prominent stratovolcano during two evening presentations and a Saturday field trip.

GEOL 0810 titleGeology of the Medicine Lake Volcano (GEOL 0810) introduces the tectonic setting, diverse eruptive styles, geologic history, and potential hazards associated with this large shield volcano during two evening presentations and a Saturday field trip.

GEOL 0820 title Geology of Lassen National Park (GEOL 0820) introduces the park's geologic setting, the volcanic and erosional processes that have shaped it, and the potential hazards posed by future eruptive and non-eruptive events during two evening presentations and a Saturday field trip.

GEOL 0830 titleGeology of Crater Lake (GEOL 0830) introduces Mount Mazama's geologic setting, the history of activity that preceded and followed the formation of Crater Lake caldera, and the potential hazards posed by future activity during two evening presentations and a Saturday field trip.

GEOL 0840 titleGeology of the Eastern Klamath (GEOL 0840) introduces the geologic setting of the Klamath Mountains, the history of terrane accretion that assembled the range, and the processes that have produced its mineral deposits via an evening presentation and Saturday field trip.

GEOL 0850 titleGeology of Lava Beds National Monument (GEOL 0850) introduces the geologic setting of Lava Beds National Monument, the history of its volcanic and hydrovolcanic activity, and the potential hazards that future activity may pose during two evening presentations and a Saturday field trip.

GEOL 0860 titleGeology of the Sacramento River Canyon (GEOL 0860) introduces the geologic setting and history of the Sacramento River Canyon, its mineral deposits and potential geologic hazards, and the origins of Castle Crags and Lake Shasta Caverns during two evening presentations and a Saturday field trip.