GEOL 6/80095 ST:

Seminar in Marine Sedimentary Processes

Kent State University

  Fall 2012

Instructor:    Dr. Joseph D. Ortiz

                        Office: McGilvrey 334/336C

                        Phone: 330-672-2225


                        Mailbox: Dept. of Geology Main Office (McGilvrey 221)


Class meeting:  WF 9:15 – 10:30 am, Room 339 McGilvrey Hall (unless otherwise noted)

Office Hours:   T: 1:00-3:00 pm; W: 10:30-12:00 am; F: 1:00-3:00 pm; or by appointment


Course Rationale and Objectives: The sea is the ultimate repository for material eroded from the continents, plays a critical role in climate change and is integral to the cycling of energy and matter in the Earth System. This special themes course will explore some of the mechanisms (physical, chemical, and biological) thorough, which the ocean operates, and how it influences climate on seasonal, inter-annual, and where applicable, glacial-interglacial times scales. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the relative importance of these processes and how they have varied through time, and the potential outcomes of human induced changes to these processes.Learning outcomes for “Special Themes” courses in Geology: Demonstrate knowledge and an understanding of major concepts and/or theoretical principles in the topic area. Communicate effectively in a variety of formats as appropriate to the topic. Engage in critical discussions about the topic. Use the concepts, language, and major theories of the discipline.

Topics to be covered:
•    Ocean basins, sediment distribution and transport
•    Properties of sea water
•    The wind driven circulation
•    Distribution of water masses
•    The thermohaline circulation
•    Global biogeochemical cycles and nutrient distributions
•    Regional Oceanography with emphasis on Arctic Oceanography
•    Oceans and climate: Implications for various timescales

Text and additional resources:
•    “Descriptive Physical Oceanography, An Introduction”, 6th Edition, 2011
            By Lynne D. Talley, George L. Picard, William, J. Emery, and James H. Swift
                  Elsevier, Academic Press, Amsterdam, ISBN 978-0-7506-4552-2

•    Publisher’s Online Supplement for Descriptive Physical Oceanography:
                There are many resources available to assist you as you explore Marine Processes in this course.
                These include Supplementary chapters and Figures, and access to Java Ocean Atlas exercises.
                You can access the text website from the following URL:

•    Note: Additional handouts and resources may be provided during the course of the term.

Prerequisites and Suggested Courses: There are no prerequisites for the course, but students are expected to be familiar with calculus, inorganic chemistry, and earth system science. This class will serve as excellent preparation for GEOL 4/54074: Paleoceanography.

Course web site:
Note that as with all internet resources, access to or availability of the web site cannot be guaranteed. Please use the resources available on the web site in advance of exams.

Office Hours and Consultation with the Instructor: I want you to do well in the class! I welcome questions from all students either in person, by email, or by phone. Whether you are doing well in the course, are on academic probation, or think that you may find the course challenging, attending office hours can help make the course a more enriching experience. As instructed by university policy, when sending electronic messages please use your university email account and include your first and last name on any electronic correspondence.

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