May 29, 2020  
2013-2014 SDSM&T Academic Catalog 
2013-2014 SDSM&T Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geology and Geological Engineering Department

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Geology B.S. and Minor

Contact Information

Dr. Laurie Anderson
Department of Geology and Geological Engineering
Mineral Industries 303
(605) 394-2461

Geological Engineering Faculty

Professors Davis and Stetler; Assistant Professors Katzenstein and Sawyer; Professor Emeritus Rahn; Adjunct Professors M. Anderson, Iles, Long and Roggenthen.

Geology Faculty

Professors Anderson, Duke, Paterson, Price and Uzunlar; Associate Professor Masterlark; Assistant Professors Belanger, Oner and Pagnac; Professors Emeritus Fox, Lisenbee, Martin and Redden; Haslem Post-doctoral Fellow Boyd; Adjunct Professors Benton and McCormick; Adjunct Assistant Professor Bapst.

Geological Engineering

Geological engineers develop and conserve natural resources in ways useful to humankind.  The field encompasses diverse fields such as ground-water resources, subsurface contamination, slope stability, environmental site design, and mineral and petroleum exploration and production.

The geological engineering (GEOE) bachelor of science curriculum focuses on fundamentals of engineering, geology, and geological engineering with strong field and technical design components.  Course requirements emphasize professional competency in the areas of ground water, environmental site planning and natural hazards, geomechanics and geotechnics, and fuels or minerals.  The engineering design experience includes a two-semester capstone sequence that builds upon and integrates previous coursework to prepare GEOE graduates for the professional practice of geological engineering.  Students majoring in GEOE will earn an ABET-accredited BS degree.

Instruction in geological engineering provides training at both the undergraduate and graduate levels through the Ph.D.

Geology and Paleontology

Geologists study geological processes shaping Earth today and through its history to find natural resources, protect the environment, and mitigate geologic hazards.  The geology (GEOL) program provides a strong background in the basic sciences and geosciences with an emphasis on technical training, research opportunities, and a broad range of field experiences.  Courses use the magnificent geologic setting of the Black Hills and adjacent Badlands, and the extensive fossil and mineral specimens in the Musuem of Geology.  The GEOL degree includes both a geology field mapping course and a two-semester senior research experience.  Students majoring in GEOL will earn a B.S. degree in Geology.  GEOL students train for careers in the geosciences including in environmental applications, mineral and petroleum exploration, governmental agencies, museums, academic fields, teaching, and entrepreneurship.

Geology/Paleontology focus areas include:

  • Resource Geology:  exploration and development of petroleum and minerals.  Graduates may explore for oil or mineral resources, assist with extracting these resources, or develop new types of resources such as coal bed methane or oil shales.
  • Paleontology:  study of ancient organisms and environments.  Graduates in this focus area will often attend graduate school to develop research and teaching careers, but career opportunities also are available in museums, governmental agencies, or with consulting firms that survey and preserve fossil resources.
  • Environmental Geology:  protection and management of natural resources.  Graduates may work for environmental firms, or could do environmental work for petroleum and mineral companies.  Many government agencies also hire graduates with these skills.
  • Geospatial Technology:  managing spatial data using GIS, GPS, and remote sensing.  Graduates may work in traditional petroleum, mining, or environmental companies, for government agencies, or within the geospatial industry that provides and manages maps and imagery to the world.

Minor in Geology

Major in other science and engineering disciplines may pursue a minor in geology by completing eighteen (18) credit hours of geology courses.  Complete information on requirements is given at Geology Minor .

Minor in Geospatial Technology

Geospatial technology is a rapidly expanding field that covers the management and analysis of a spatial data from many sources, such as satellites, airborne remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GIS), surveying, and more.  Complete information on requirements is given at Geospatial Technology Minor .

Geology and Geological Engineering Laboratories

The Department of Geology and Geological Engineering has laboratory facilities that include a groundwater laboratory with digital and anlytical modeling capabilities, a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) laboratory , an InSARlaboratory, a van-mounted geoprobe unit, a geotechnics laboratory, a drilling fluids laboratory, a 3D photogrammetric camera system, aground-based LIDAR camera, and an operational well field with data loggers and transducers.  Instrumentation includes geophysical equipment, ground-probing radar, a hydrologic analysis system, a protable wind tunnel, and a mobile drilling rig.

The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing Laboratory is a facility for generating and analyzing spatially-referenced digital information, including maps and remotely-sensed data.  The computing facilities are continually updated and contain high-speek computers with GIS and other analytical capabilities.  Compute programs are available for digital modeling of ground-water flow and contaminant migration, petroleum engineering, slope stability, geophysical applications, and geochemical modeling.

The Black Hills Natural Sciences Field Station

The Black Hills Natural Sciences Field Station functions in cooperation with universities from South Dakota, North Dakota, Mississippi, and Wisconsin with the purpose of providing summer field courses in the Black Hills and nearby areas, as well as overseas. Field courses in geology, geological engineering, paleontology and environmental science and engineering are offered.  The Field Station operates from five sites: School of Mines campus; Ranch A in the northern Black Hills of Wyoming; Hawaii; Taskesti, Turkey; the city of Chennai and the Andaman Islands in India; the Himalayas of Nepal; Iceland; and the Galapagos Island.

Geology and Geological Engineering Field Camps:

GEOL 410 Field Geology  — five (5) weeks (six (6) semester hours) — Ranch A, Wyoming

GEOL 410 Field Geology  — five (5) weeks (six (6) semester hours) — Taskesti, Turkey

GEOE 410 Engineering Field Geology  five (5) weeks (six (6) semester hours) — Rapid City, SD

GEOL 412/512 /GEOE 412/512  Science and Engineering Applications (3 to 6 semester hours), Rapid City - SD; Taskesti – Turkey; Chennai/Andaman Islands– India; Himalayas, Nepal; Iceland; and the Galapagos Islands.

Paleontology Field Camps:

  – two (2) weeks two (2) semester hours – held at one of several sites of ongoing paleontological research throughout the western United States with department and Museum of Geology faculty and personnel.

Further information on field camp opportunities may be obtained by calling (605) 394-2494, or going to the website:  All deposit fees are non-refundable upon acceptance into the course.

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