Central Washington University - Department of Geological Sciences

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The Department of Geological Sciences at CWU offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the geological sciences. Emphasis is placed upon stimulating classroom, laboratory, and field experiences with dynamic faculty members whose teaching and research interests span the spectrum of geological problems.

The department houses a geochemistry laboratory equipped for isotopic, major-element, and trace-element analysis of earth materials. Students gain experience running complex analytical instruments such as an inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometer and a stable isotope mass spectrometer. Students also benefit from access to two research petrographic microscopes with digital cameras, rock crushing facilities and wet laboratories where samples can be prepared for analysis. The department also houses the data analysis center for the Pacific Northwest Geodetic Array  (PANGA), which is a permanent network of GPS receivers that continuously measure crustal motions in the Pacific Northwest. The department is equipped with digital surveying equipment, extensive computer hardware and software, and the typical field geology tools (compasses, rock hammers, handlenses, etc).

Eleven tenure-stream faculty, an enthusiastic instructor, and several adjunct, research, and retired faculty offer three undergraduate major programs and a masters program in the Geological Sciences. The department has approximately 80 undergraduate majors and 12 graduate students. Faculty aggressively recruit undergraduate students to participate in meaningful field and laboratory research. Faculty mentored graduate student research leads to original, scientific contributions to the geological sciences.

Funding for undergraduate and graduate research comes from the National Science Foundation, as well as local, regional, and national sources. Our undergraduate students are conducting research in environmental geochemistry, geomorphology, GPS geodesy, active tectonics, surficial processes, petrology and volcanology in such diverse regions as Alaska, Baja California, California, China, Kazakhstan, Nevada, Taiwan, and the Pacific Northwest. Graduate students are conducting research that spans the expertise of our faculty in far-flung regions including Antarctica, Chile, Indonesia, Italy, and Tibet.

Source:  Department Website June 2010

Additional Info

  • Department Name: Department of Geological Sciences
  • Disciplines and Research Areas: Geology, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Structure and Tectonics, Petrology, Seismology, Volcanology
  • Degrees: BA, BS, MS
  • State: Washington
  • City: Ellensburg
  • Phone: (509) 963-2701