Department Website:


  • Professor Mathur (Chair) - ext. 3725
  • Professor Mutti - ext. 3601
  • Associate Professor Powell - ext. 3602

Background Information:

Geology is the science that explores the dynamic processes and history of the earth. Juniata’s geology students gain skills necessary to enter a wide variety of professional arenas, including: environmental services and consulting, geotechnical engineering services, state and federal agencies, mineral and petroleum exploration, natural resource management, planetary science, education, and natural hazards management and mitigation. Upon completion of undergraduate degrees, many Juniata geology students continue their education through graduate studies, while others enter directly into professional careers.

Special programs, facilities, or equipment:

  • “Hands on experience” starting at the introductory level, through numerous local field trips exploring spectacular geologic sites in the Appalachians
  • Extended field trips (2 to 7 days) associated with most upper-level courses
  • Remote Field Course in the American Southwest, taught collaboratively with faculty in Biology, Environmental Science and Studies, Anthropology, and Physics
  • Hydrogeological investigations at Juniata’s 665-acre Raystown Field Station
  • Exceptional collections of minerals, fossil, and rock specimens
  • Analytical scanning electron microscope (SEM) with cathodoluminesence
  • Research quality petrographic and stereo-zoom microscopes with photographic and digital imaging capabilities
  • Automated powder x-ray diffractometer
  • Fluid inclusion analysis laboratory
  • Ion chromatograph and portable spectrophotometer for water quality analysis laboratory, operated cooperatively with Chemistry and Biology departments
  • Rock, fossil, microfossil, and mineral preparation laboratories.
  • Extensive field supplies including Brunton compasses, rock sampling equipment, safety gear, camping supplies for large groups, and college-supplied vans

Programs of Emphasis:

  • Geology
  • Earth and Space Science/Secondary Education
  • Environmental Science, with emphasis in geology
  • Environmental Geology

Secondary Emphasis:

  • Requirements: 18 credits in geology, those credits having been selected in consultation with a geology professor as one of the student’s advisors. At least 7 of these credits must be completed in regularly taught geology courses at the 300 level or above.

Internship/Research Experiences:

  • Most students complete at least one original research or external internship experience.
  • In recent years, students have completed internships with theUS Geological Survey, National Museum (Smithsonian), NASA, PA Department of Environmental Protection, PA Department of Transportation, National Parks Service, and numerous private sector firms.
  • Recent original research projects have focused on: geochemical investigations of the Juniata River watershed, Paleozoic litho- and biostratigraphy of eastern North America, sedimentary petrology of syntectonic sandstone and conglomerate, and fluid inclusion microthermometry of sulfide-bearing mineral deposits.


GL-100   Intro to Physical Geology (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; N) An introduction to the principles and methods of geology. Emphasis is placed on the geologic forces at work in our physical environment. Topics covered include internal processes such as volcanism, earthquakes, mountain building and the flow of groundwater as well as external processes such as landslides, flooding, erosion and landscape formation. Emphasis is given to the interaction of human activities with these physical processes as well as the processes themselves.

GL-100A   Environmental Geology (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; N) Student perceptions of what constitutes geology have shifted. Contemporary students need to be made aware that geology IS the study of the physical environment of the earth and that a central part of what geologists do entails an exploration of how humans and the built environment both affect and are affected by the earth's physical/environmental system. While our previous title and description for this course, Introduction to Physical Geology, carried these implicit understandings, we find it important now to draw students' attention explicitly to the environmental character of our study of Earth.

GL-101   Physical Geology Lab (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 1.00 Credit; N) This course provides opportunities to study geology in the laboratory and field. Concepts and methods covered in the lecture are reinforced. Specifically covered are mineral and rock identification, map interpretation and study of examples of earth processes from maps and in the field. Some field trips are required and a special fee is assessed. Corequisite or Prerequisite: GL100A.

GL-111   Oceanography (Fall; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; N) A survey of the physical, chemical, biological and geological environments of the ocean. Included are sea floor topography, composition and circulation of sea water and the life existing in the oceanic environments. Field experience is offered and a special fee is assessed.

GL-114   Catastrophe (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; N,WK-SP) This Scientific Process course explores the geological processes and hazards that lead to large and destructive natural disasters. Students will explore and work with interdisciplinary scientific data to understand the importance and societal relevance of earth processes in everyday decision making. Pre-req: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109.

GL-123   Expedition: Earth (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits) This course explores the full range of geologic studies through weekly meetings in the spring semester to prepare for a two to three-week field expedition in May-June. The field trip is supported by the Geology Alumni Field Trip fund. Each year, the class will travel to a different region in the US or internationally.

GL-126   Environmental Geochemistry (Variable; Variable; 3.00 Credits; N) This course will introduce fundamental geologic process through a geochemical lens. Basic geochemical reactions involving water-rock interactions at both high and low temperatures will be considered. The class will focus on the environmental problems in atmosphere and continents. Prereq: CH114.

GL-130   Introduction to Soils (Fall; Variable; 4.00 Credits; N) Introduction to Soils is an experience-driven overview of the most important distinctions among soils and to the factors that contribute to agricultural productivity of soils. Through in-class activities students will learn to be observers of soil characteristics, and will come to understand soil as the interface between the worlds of rocks, plant and animal life, the water cycle and the atmosphere. Attention will be drawn to natural and disturbed soils, and soils' role in global health. No prerequisites.

GL-172   Geology of National Parks (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; N,WK-SP) A Scientific Process course that explores geological processes that formed the landscape of the United States through the lens of our national parks. Students will learn how to read, use, interpret, and collect earth science data to approach scientific problems and public policy decisions. Field trip to National Park required unless course is taken online; special fee assessed for field trip. PRE-REQ: FYC 101.

GL-199   Special Topics (Variable; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits) An examination of an area not regularly studied in the departmental offerings. Examples have been Geomorphology, Petroleum Geology, and Case Studies in Environmental Geology. Note: abbreviate ST: (title) students may take each ST: Course for credit.

GL-204   History of Earth (Variable; Yearly; 4.00 Credits; N,WK-SP) This course examines the history of the planet Earth since its origin to the present day and the methods that geologists use to uncover that history. The course includes specific consideration of the social context of geosciences, and ways that art and science have contributed to human understanding of Earth. Pre-req: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109

GL-210   Minerals (Variable; Yearly; 4.00 Credits; N,WK-SP) This course explores the building blocks of the Earth: minerals. Students will master mineral identification in hand-specimen and by optical microscope methods to conduct scientific inquiry. Emphasis is placed on mineral classification, crystal structure, chemical composition, physical properties, and stability. We also investigate the role of minerals in society and public policy. A lab fee is assessed. Pre-req: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109.

GL-213   Minerals, Economics, Politics and Law (Either Semester; Odd Years; 3.00 Credits; I) Introduces mineral deposits and examines the distribution and exploitation. Explores historical patterns in mineral resource utilization and considers the extractive industries in the context of economic patterns and government policies. Emphasizes the potential for conflict resulting from the uneven distribution and exploitation of mineral wealth. Note: some field trips are required. (A Peace and Conflict Studies course.) Note: this course does not fulfill the distribution requirement in science.

GL-215   Energy, Minerals & Society (Fall; Variable; 3.00 Credits; N) Twenty-first century societies run on the twin nutrients of abundant energy and the mineral resources needed to fashion technological devices. While both energy and mineral commodities are subject to wildly oscillating demand as economies alternately flourish and falter, the global demand for all such commodities has shown inexorable growth since the onset of the industrial era. Globalization has increased this rate of growth. But, extraction and use of resources invariably alters landscapes and releases pollutants into the environment. How adequate are supplies? How can they be used with minimal adverse impact? To what extent can impacts be managed by use of alternative energies, by recycling, by conservation? These topics are the focus of this course.

GL-240   Geological Field Methods I (Fall; Yearly; 4.00 Credits; N,CW,CTGIS) This course is an introduction to the geology of the Appalachians through teaching geologic methods in the field. The course will focus on developing field practice and using the information collected in the field to construct a scientific document. The course is composed of 8 local field trips and 1 extended field trip as well as many classroom exercises.

GL-299   Special Topics (Variable; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits) An examination of an area not regularly studied in the departmental offerings. Examples have been Geomorphology, Petroleum Geology, and Case Studies in Environmental Geology. Note: abbreviate ST: (title). Students may take each ST: course for credit.

GL-300   Petrography (Fall; Yearly; 4.00 Credits; N) The petrographic examination of rocks in hand specimen and under the microscope. Identification of the principal types of igneous and metamorphic rocks and discussion of their chemical and mineralogical characteristics and tectonic setting is emphasized. Note: one laboratory per week, one or two major field trips are required, and a special fee is assessed. Prerequisite: GL210.

GL-304   Paleobiology of Invertebrates (Fall; Odd Years; 4.00 Credits; N) Basic principles of paleontology and functional morphology of extant and extinct invertebrates are covered. These include identifying fossils and understanding their morphology and preservation in order to interpret ancient environments. Note: One laboratory per week and field trips are required and a special fee is assessed. Prerequisites: GL202 or BI105.

GL-305   Hydrogeology (Variable; Variable; 3.00 Credits; N) The study of the natural occurrence of water. Topics include: the hydrologic cycle, precipitation, stream flow, soil moisture, ground water occurrence, aquifer flow and testing chemical characteristics, contamination, development and management of ground-water resources.

GL-307   Geophysics (Fall; Even Years; 3.00 Credits; N) This course is an introduction to how geophysical data can be used to address academic and applied problems in geology. Emphasis is placed on the concepts behind acquiring geophysical data and use of the information for interpretation. Seismology, magnetism, heat and gravity are the main concepts covered. Prerequisites: GL202. MA130 may be taken as prerequisite or corequisite. There are two field trips run over the weekend where students get to use the equipment in the field and reduce the data. A special fee is assessed.

GL-310   Structural Geology (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; N) The study of the deformation of the earth's crust. Field relationships, form, symmetry, and geometry of earth structures are stressed. Concepts of kinematic and dynamic analysis are presented so students are better prepared to interpret the origin of earth structures. Note: one laboratory per week, one or two extended field trips are required, and a special fee is assessed. Prerequisite: GL-202 or GL-204.

GL-325   Intro to Soil Science (Spring; Variable; 4.00 Credits; N) Introduction to Soil Science is a comprehensive overview of soils, their characteristics, their origins, their importance to agriculture, construction and waste disposal, and of the factors that contribute to maintenance of soil quality or to its degradation in use. Theoretical concepts will be supported by laboratory and field study of soils, soil forming processes, and soil-water-rock-biotic interactions; training will be provided in techniques of field sampling and characterization of soils. A special lab fee is assessed. Prerequisites: GL100 & GL101 & CH105.

GL-350   Geol. Research Methodologies (Spring; Yearly; 2.00 Credits) Aims to elucidate the science research process and the science infrastructure to the student. The course introduces students to research practice, analysis and writing. The course also requires students to prepare a research proposal. Students will also discuss more theoretical aspects of research: epistemology, the scientific method, multiple working hypotheses, erecting and testing hypotheses, and the scientific infrastructure. This course is designed for junior level geology students.Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

GL-389   Geology Professional Seminar (Spring; Yearly; 1.00 Credit) Provides guidance and preparation to Junior class level Geology students in relation to their post-Juniata plans. Topics include resume writing, strategies involved in a job or graduate school search, preparation for credentialing exams, preparation for interviews, and networking. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing.

GL-399   Special Topics (Either Semester; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits) An examination of an area not regularly studied in the departmental offerings. Examples have been Geomorphology, Petroleum Geology, and Case Studies in Environmental Geology. Note: abbreviate ST:(title). Students may take each ST: course for credit.

GL-400   Petrology of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks (Spring; Even Years; 4.00 Credits; N) Analyzes the processes of magma generation and crystallization under equilibrium and disequilibrium conditions in the context of igneous phase equilibria and geologic setting. Considers the re-crystallization of pre-existing mineral assemblages in the metamorphic environments and examines metamorphic conditions by interpretation of facies assmeblages and petrogenetic grids. Note: one laboratory per week; a major field trip is required and a special fee is assessed. Prerequisite: GL 300.

GL-401   Sedimentology (Fall; Even Years; 4.00 Credits; N) Focuses on the origin of sediments and sedimentary rocks. Included are sedimentary processes, depositional environments, post-depositional influences and sedimentary rock classification. Principles and methods of study including petrographic analysis are emphasized. Note: one laboratory per week, field trips are required, including a weekend trip, and a special fee is assessed. Prerequisite: GL202.

GL-405   Principles of Stratigraphy (Spring; Odd Years; 4.00 Credits; CW,N) Includes the description of sedimentary rocks in the stratigraphic column, methods of correlation, interpretation of the origin of rock units and the historical and philosophical development of the geologic time scale. Note: one laboratory per week, field trips are required and a special fee is assessed. Prerequisite: GL202.

GL-414   Geologic Research Method (Fall & Spring; Variable; 3.00 Credits) The course focuses on exploring geologic research method development, data collection and management, data interpretation and professional presentation of scientific information.

GL-440   Geological Field Methods II (Spring; Variable; 4.00 Credits; N) The course covers advanced geologic mapping of the Appalachians. It will focus on constructing geologic maps and cross-sections to develop an understanding of the rock record, geologic time, and the processes by which geologists reconstruct ancient tectonic and sedimentary events. The course is field based. Prerequisites: GL 240. Note: A special course fee will be applied.

GL-450   Geological Research (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 1.00-6.00 Credits; N) The field or laboratory investigation of a specific geologic problem. Methodology and principles of interpretation are necessary for the successful completion of the course and a final report must be submitted. Student's specific research topic will be the title of the course on the student's transcript. May be completed multiple times for credit. Prerequisite: permission of Geology faculty member.

GL-490   Geology Internship (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 2.00-9.00 Credits; N) See the chapter, " Special Programs " under Internships. Prerequisite: Permission and Jr. or Sr. standing. Corequisite: GL495.

GL-495   Internship Research/Seminar (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 1.00-6.00 Credits; N) Requires students to reflect on the internship experience and/or pursue research related to the placement. Corequisite: GL 490. Prerequisite: permission.