Spring 2021 - EASC 305 D100

Quantitative Methods for the Earth Sciences (3)

Class Number: 1682

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 19, 2021
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM

  • Prerequisites:

    EASC 101; MATH 152, PHYS 121 or 126 or 102 or 141, and STAT 201 or 270 (all with a grade of C- or better), and six units in any 200 division or higher EASC courses.



Implementation of mathematical methods and numerical techniques for problem solving in the Earth Sciences. Examples and lab assignments will use Excel spreadsheets and/or Matlab computer programming/display software. Concepts covered include quantitative techniques for field data and error analysis in the geosciences, basic computer programming concepts and numerical modeling of Earth processes. Quantitative.


Course Outline
The Earth sciences deal with a variety of data acquired by, for example, geological mapping, geochemical analyses and geophysical surveys. Though different in nature, these data share some things in common, such as spatial or temporal variation, that lend themselves to common approaches in their representation, analysis and error estimation. Students will gain practical experience in data presentation and analysis using either Matlab or python. Lectures will provide the theoretical basis and examples of various methods, while the computer-based lab assignments are used to develop practical skills in programming and data analysis.

Provisional course topics:
• Matrices and data organization
• Introductory computing
• Univariate/bivariate statistics, tests of statistical significance
• Principal component analysis
• Analysis of time series data: correlation, filtering, spectral analysis
• Analysis of spatial data: interpolation, variograms and kriging
• Steady-state and time-dependent numerical models (time permitting)


Midterm exam(s) 10-20%
Laboratory final exam 10-25%
Final exam 10-30%
Problem Sets/Laboratory Exercises (equally weighted) 25-70%



The spring 2021 offering of EASC 305 is via remote instruction.

The technology requirements for successfully completing this course will include: a computer or tablet, internet access and a means of scanning files for upload (e.g. a camera on a tablet or phone). A microphone is strongly recommended (built-in fine). Camera is optional. We may use both canvas and zoom for course delivery. Any specialized software required will be accessible via remote log-in to SFU computer laboratory machines or available for individual download/installation. Lectures/labs will be delivered as directed by the Department of Earth Sciences (synchronous or asynchronous). If delivery is synchronous, sessions will be recorded and available for a limited time on canvas.



Davis, J.C., 2003, Statistics and Data Analysis in Geology, 3rd Edition, Wiley, 656 pp.,
*may not be available electronically
ISBN: 97804711727

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).