SFU Calendar 2001-2002

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Department of Earth Sciences

P9304 Shrum Science Centre, (604) 2915387 Tel, (604) 2914198 Fax, www.sfu.ca/earth-sciences


E.J. Hickin BA, PhD (Syd), PGeo

Graduate Program Chair

B.C. Ward BSc, PhD (Alta)

Faculty and Areas of Research

see "Department of Earth Sciences". for a complete list of faculty.

D.M. Allen - hydrogeology

A.J. Calvert - geophysics

J.J. Clague - geologic hazards and Quaternary geology

L. Godin - structural geology and continental tectonics

E.J. Hickin - fluvial geomorphology and sedimentology

J.A. MacEachern - ichnology and sedimentology

D. Marshall - geochemistry

P.S. Mustard - evolution of sedimentary basins

M.C. Roberts - Quaternary depositional environments

D. Stead - engineering geology, rock mechanics, forestry geoscience

D.J. Thorkelson - cordilleran tectonics and volcanology

B.C. Ward - environmental and Quaternary geology

MSc Program

The Department of Earth Sciences offers a master of science with emphasis on earth surface processes and environmental geoscience, surficial and Quaternary geology and sedimentology.


see "Graduate General Regulations". for admission requirements. Students should normally have a BSc degree or equivalent in an honors program with at least a good second class standing (3.0 GPA) in the earth sciences (geology, geological engineering, geophysics, geomorphology, soil science or physical geography).

Degree Requirements
Course Work

All students take EASC 600 and a minimum of 12 credit hours composed of at least four courses from the list below, or with the graduate chair's approval, from related graduate courses in other departments such as Geography, Chemistry, Physics, Biological Sciences and Resource and Environmental Management. Course selections will include no more than three credit hours from 700 level EASC courses. In addition, a thesis is required. The actual course selection will be a reflection of the student's research interest and guidance from the advisor.


Graduates will be required to conduct original research and report their results in a thesis.

Graduate Courses

EASC 600-0 Introduction to Graduate Studies

A required course designed to acquaint new graduate students with the research strengths of the program, research facilities in the University, and its vicinity. Procedures and policies relating to preparation, conduct and presentation of thesis research will be discussed. (seminar)

EASC 603-3 Field Techniques in Hydrogeology

This course is intended to complement the theoretical aspects of physical hydrogeology and aqueous geochemistry covered at an undergraduate (or early MSc) level by providing students with hands-on experience using hydrogeological equipment (data loggers, pumps, chemical sampling equipment), implementing sampling and testing protocols, and observing state-of-the-art monitoring and geophysical tools. The course entails preparatory research and data interpretation on the hydrogeology of the Fraser delta (including surficial geology, regional geochemistry and geophysical characteristics), a week at a hydrogeology field site on the Fraser River delta (early May), the extensive analysis and interpretation of data gathered during the field session complemented with regional data acquired during preliminary investigations, the development of a large-scale simulation model of the groundwater flow system at the site, and the completion of a comprehensive hydrogeological report. The course normally runs for about three weeks following spring session final examinations. Note: This course has limited enrollment. (2-0-2) Prerequisite: undergraduate courses in physical and chemical hydrogeology (or equivalent) and consent of the department.

EASC 606-3 Advanced Field Methods in Earth Sciences

Focuses mainly on the field description, measurement and interpretation of geological, geochemical and geophysical features, and may concentrate on certain aspects of bedrock or surficial geology. Includes methods of data acquisition, display and modeling. Field exercises may be augmented by directed readings and laboratory studies. Course costs depend on the location and duration of field work and the nature of related investigations. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. (2-0-2)

EASC 607-3 Exploration Seismology

Application of seismic methods of the delineation of hydrocarbon deposits and crustal structure. Travel time expressions for a layered Earth; Zoeppritz' equations; 2-D and 3-D seismic surveying methods; reflection data processing, including deconvolution and migration; amplitude versus offset methods and direct hydrocarbon detection; seismic wave propagation in Earth's crust; refraction inversion; principles of seismic interpretation. (2-0-2) Prerequisite: EASC 417 or equivalent.

EASC 608-3 Advanced Metamorphic Petrology

Field relations, nature and origin of metamorphic and metsomatic rocks, graphical treatment and interpretation of mineral assemblages and heat-flow regimes in the framework of global tectonics, with special emphasis on derivation of pressure-temperature-fluid conditions ranging from low-grade rocks through granulites to partial melts. Laboratory: petrographic techniques applied to the study of rock suites. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. (202)

EASC 611-3 Sedimentology

An advanced treatment of topics which may include processes of sedimentation, facies model concepts, applications of ichnology, and depositional environments with an emphasis on siliciclastic successions. Course content will be tailored to student interest, but generally will include both non-marine and marine processes of sedimentation and resultant depositional systems. The development of effective field criteria for the interpretation of the sedimentary record will be emphasized. (2-0-2)

EASC 612-3 Stratigraphy

Stratigraphic concepts of lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, chronostratigraphy and genetic stratigraphy. The course concentrates on genetic stratigraphy, with emphasis on allostratigraphy, genetic stratigraphic sequences and sequence stratigraphy. Students will critically assess each paradigm and its applicability to both the subdivision and the interpretation of the sedimentary record. Relative sea level changes and their effects on deposition will be discussed in relation to the preserved sedimentary record. Students will examine the utility of facies analysis in the various genetic stratigraphic frameworks and the viability of reconstructing the depositional history of sedimentary successions. (2-0-2)

EASC 613-3 Groundwater Hydrology

Advanced topics in physical hydrogeology, including fluids and porous media, saturated and unsaturated flow systems, mass transport and dispersion, and hydrogeological modeling. The course includes an introduction to numerical techniques for groundwater modeling, focusing on the understanding of fundamental principles and an appreciation of the role of models. The course assumes successful completion of at least one undergraduate hydrogeology course. (2-0-2)

EASC 614-3 Subsurface Techniques

Advanced topics in subsurface exploration methods. Methods of drilling; core description and analysis; well logging. (1-0-3)

EASC 615-3 Applied Geophysics

Instrumentation, application and limitations of electrical, seismic, radar and gravity methods in the exploration for mineral resources and in engineering applications. (1-0-3)

EASC 616-3 Fluvial Systems

Fluid mechanics of open channel flow; physical sedimentology and sediment transport in aqueous environments. (2-0-2) Prerequisite: appropriate standing in Applied Mathematics and in Physics.

EASC 617-3 Quaternary Geology

Environments of glacial and proglacial deposits. Quaternary stratigraphy and dating methods with emphasis on the Cordillera. (1-0-3)

EASC 618-3 Tectonics of Sedimentary Basins

Regional processes of subsidence and basin formation from a plate tectonics viewpoint. The course will examine the origins and general characteristics of convergent, divergent, intraplate and hybrid basins. Methods of discriminating basin origins from an understanding of depositional systems, strategraphic analysis, provenance and compositional variations will be examined. (2-0-2)

EASC 619-3 Environmental Geoscience

An examination of the concepts, methods and techniques used in advanced case studies of environmental geology, in fields including forestry, environmental geochemistry, earthquake and volcanic hazard, and urban planning. (2-0-2)

EASC 620-3 Volcanology

Physical, chemical and tectonic aspects of volcanology examined with emphasis on processes of magma generation and evolution, styles of eruption, environments of deposition, and interpretation of volcanic facies. (2-0-2) Prerequisite: undergraduate course in petrology and structural geology.

EASC 621-3 Tectonics and Magmatism of Convergent Plate Margins

Geological processes at convergent plate margins are considered in the context of plate tectonic principles. Topics to be addressed include: driving forces of tectonic plates, mantle convection, geometry of subducted slabs, ridge-trench intersections, generation of volcanic arcs, causes of anomalous magmatism, accretion of terranes, and transpression of orogenic float. (2-0-2) Prerequisite: undergraduate structural geology and petrology courses.

EASC 622-3 Principles of Ichnology

The conceptual framework of ichnology with particular emphasis on the ethological (behavioral) classification of biogenic structures, as well as its applications to the ichnofacies concept and paleoenvironmental interpretation of the sedimentary record. Environmental stresses and organism responses will be integrated with conventional sedimentology to highlight the complex inter-relationships between infauna and the environments they inhabit. The genetic stratigraphic applications of ichnology will also be addressed. (2-0-2) Prerequisite: advanced undergraduate sedimentology course

EASC 623-3 Groundwater Resource Evaluation

In addition to examining groundwater resources (exploration, evaluation and management), this course expands upon the theory and use of aquifer tests and their respective methods of analysis for evaluating groundwater resources. Advanced methodologies for partially penetrating wells, leaky aquifers, anisotropic aquifers, double porosity type and fractured aquifers will be included. Computer applications will be emphasized. (2-0-2) Prerequisite: undergraduate course in groundwater

EASC 701-1 Special Topics in Earth Sciences I
EASC 702-2 Special Topics in Earth Sciences II
EASC 703-3 Special Topics in Earth Sciences III
EASC 898-0 MSc Thesis

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Index : searchable with the Find function in your web browser Calendar.pdfs Office of the Registrar / SFU
Table of Contents : searchable with the Find function in your web browser Course Database or Course Outlines
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Financial Assistance