Department of Geology
Cortland State University
GLY 396: Applied Geochemistry
Dr. Christopher P. Cirmo

Instructor Contacts: Bowers 323, 607-753-2924, 

Lecture: T,Th 10:00 - 10:50 AM, Rm 339 Bowers Hall

Laboratory: M, 2:00 - 5:00 PM, Rm 331/332 Bowers Hall (due to the design of the field/laboratory experience for this course, we may be meeting at odd times for field sampling and analysis at the USFWS laboratories, at various field sites, and for field trips. This schedule will be finalized within the first week of classes).

Course Description: This course will center upon the source, distribution, movement and chemical reactivity/toxicity of chemicals species released in low-temperature geochemical reactions near or at the surface of the earth. We will specifically be interested in the analysis and interpretation of geochemical and biogeochemical data collected in local surface, vadose zone and groundwaters in a geologic and geomorphic context. This course has an emphasis on applied and students will be exposed to current topics and tools used in aqueous and geochemical analysis and interpretation, from the perspective of a local setting. Upon completion of this course, the student will be prepared to design and implement a surface or groundwater sampling scheme, conduct the appropriate chemical and physical analysis, use appropriate reporting format, and interpret the distribution and combination of chemical species using tools and models available to the modern geochemist, water quality specialist or biogeochemist. This course will prepare the student for further work in contaminant hydrology, and in water quality modeling, as well as provide the required skills for entrance into government and consulting positions, or graduate programs in the geochemical and biogeochemical sciences, water resources management and water quality, and environmental and hydrogeologic disciplines. The course is set up as an overlapping sequence of activities designed around both library and field/laboratory work.

Required Course Materials:

a) Biogeochemistry: An Analysis of Global Change (2nd ed.), W.H. Schlesinger, Academic Press, 1997.

b) Selected software (see above), use of RockwareÓ Software, and laboratory guides as passed out in class.

Instructor and Office Hours: Dr. C.P. Cirmo, 323 Bowers Hall. General office hours will be posted during the first week of classes. Meetings can be arranged for other times at the convenience of the student and instructor, and are highly encouraged.

Grading Criteria:

Midterm Exam 20%
Problem Sets 20%
Quizzes (6) 15%
Final Exam 20%
Lab Work/Presentation/Reports 25%

Attendance Policy: See Student Handbook for Official attendance policy. Students are expected to be present at all lectures and field trips unless otherwise discussed and agreed upon with the instructor.

Lecture Topics: (Chapters in Schlesinger and other guides as indicated)

1. Earth as a Geochemical System (1)

2. Origin of Geochemical Materials (2)

3. Geochemical Reactions in the Lithosphere (4)

4. Biogeochemistry of Nitrogen and Selected Metals/Nutrients on

                    Land and Freshwater (6,7)

5. The Global Cycle of Nitrogen (12)

6. The Global Cycle of Sulfur and some heavy metals (7, supplemental material)

7. Analysis of Water Quality Data Using Tools of the Modern Geochemist

                    (supplemental materials)

8. Presentation and Description of Geochemical Data for a Technical Report and Presentation

Laboratory Design: Although not completely finalized, the laboratory section of this course will encompass in part the aspects covered in sections 7 and 8 of the lecture topics above, in the form of an ongoing research project performed on one of two or three local sites, and done as team projects. We will be doing an analysis of surface and groundwaters in the Hoxie Gorge Watershed, the Malloryville Wetland Complex, or on a series of small ponds within the terminal moraine deposits forming the divide between the Fall Creek and Otter Creek drainages. In tandem with this field sampling, students will be involved in the development and set up of laboratory procedures and instrumentation in both the Geochemistry laboratory in the Department of Geology, and at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Laboratories on Luker Road in Cortland. We will also be visiting a state-of-the-art analytical lab in Cortland.