Principles of Environmental Geology

Bruce Herbert
Geology & Geophysics, Texas A&M University


This course explores the nature, dynamics and human interactions with near-surface geologic environments including aquifers, watersheds, coastlines and wetlands. We will also explore how specific techniques, including geophysical and geochemical techniques, field mapping, geographical information systems and remote sensing can be used to monitor human-geosphere interactions as well as be used to develop solutions or management plans for environmental problems.

Course URL:
Course Size:

Course Format:
Lecture and lab

Institution Type:
University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs

Course Context:

This course is an upper division course for geology majors (elective) and environmental geosciences major (required).

Students enter the course with a wide range of backgrounds because the philosophy and prerequisites for the two majors.

Course Content:

This course uses a complex systems framework to support student understanding of the functioning of near-surface geologic environments as well as the development of solution or management plans that address major environmental problems including land use management, water resources, acid-mine drainage, contaminant remediation and risk assessment, and watershed management.

Our systems framework includes the following concepts: (1) systems, boundaries, components, and inputs/outputs; (2) interactions including cycling; (3) transformations and feedback mechanisms; and (4) system state, equilibrium, entropy, thresholds, bifurcations, and organization.



Geol 420, Environmental Geology syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 115kB Apr15 10)

References and Notes: