Spring 2024

Telling Time in the Apennines: Research Seminar in Stratigraphy

Listed in: Geology, as GEOL-351


David S. Jones (Sections 01 and 01L)


Earth is a planet that records its own history through the accumulation of sediment at its surface. Few sedimentary basins around the globe preserve a longer or more detailed record of that history than the Umbria-Marche Basin in central Italy, where a continuous record of sedimentation from the Jurassic through the present day are exposed throughout the Apennine Mountains. Italy is the birthplace of the geological science of stratigraphy, which seeks to establish the chronology of sedimentary rock deposition. Modern stratigraphic techniques are based on geological, geochemical, geophysical, and paleontological foundations; students will learn the principles of stratigraphy in the first half of the course. We will also study the tectonic evolution of the Apennines and the geologic history of the Umbria-Marche Basin in order to prepare for our spring break field work. This preparatory work will include reading and discussing the primary scientific literature.

Students will travel to Italy during spring break to conduct field work in the central Apennines. The field component will be based at the Osservatorio Geologico di Coldigioco, and will include four full days of field trips and three full days of field-based stratigraphic logging and sample collection. Data collected during spring break will form the basis for collaborative class research projects that will be completed at Amherst during the second half of the semester, applying and extending the techniques developed before the trip.

Spring semester. Professor David Jones.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference given to declared geology majors, students who have completed GEOL 311, and/or other coursework in Geology beyond GEOL 112.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: field work, reading scientific literature, independent research, group work, lab work, quantitative work, presentations

GEOL 351 - LEC

Section 01
M 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM BEBU 211
W 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM BEBU 211
F 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM BEBU 211

GEOL 351 - LAB

Section 01L
Th 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM BEBU 211

This is preliminary information about books for this course. Please contact your instructor or the Academic Coordinator for the department, before attempting to purchase these books.

Section(s) ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
All The Mountains of Saint Francis W. W. Norton & Company Walter Alvarez TBD
All Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World Princeton University Press Marcia Bjornerud TBD
All Stratigraphy: A Modern Synthesis Springer; 2nd ed. Andrew D. Miall TBD