MAS 603 : Geological Ocoeanography
(3 credits) 

Dr. Douglas W. Haywick

Course Description :

Geological oceanography or "marine geology" is a broad subject dealing with components of mineralogy, sedimentology, geophysics, and plate tectonics. Topics covered are itemized below. Please note that this is a tentative schedule and the management reserves the right to change some of the subject matter in the event of unforeseen circumstances. The first part of the course is a general introduction to geology and in particular, plate tectonic theory.


Objectives and Goals:
This course has several objectives, but three of the most important are: (1) to introduce students to geological concepts pertaining to plate tectonic theory and ocean development, (2) to provide students with an understanding of sedimentation in oceans, and (3) to introduce students to some of the practical skills needed to conduct geological research in the marine environment.

This course will usually consist of 3 hours of lectures a week.. Wherever possible, I have included open discussion sessions where we can ALL discuss a topic (believe it or not, I’d rather not do all of the talking). The discussion sessions usually follow reading assignments. We have a great amount of flexibility in MAS 603 and I am open to suggestions for different things to do.


Syllabus for Current Semester (.pdf format)

MAS 603 Assignment Due Dates (Tentative)

Doug's Current Semester Schedule

MAS 603 Stuff
-Download available when highlighted (.pdf format)
Subject Material
PPT Lecture
Lecture Notes
Introductions, Geology as a science
Basic plate tectonic theory    
The "New" plate tectonics
The Wilson Cycle, Ocean Evolution
Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
Caribbean Plate Discussion (Zeb)
Hydrothermal vents Discussion (Jaime)
Proterozoic Geology
Snowball Earth Discussion (Lucie)
Archean Oceans Discussion (Robbie)
Ediacarin Fauna
Proterozoic Evolution (Isabella)
Sedimentary Facies
Submarine Fans
Seawater Discussion (Lauren)
Greenhouse versus Icehouse Earths
Spring Break
Paleoclimatology Discussion (Kelly)
Sea level changes Discussion (Stephen)
Coral Reef Discussion (Nate)
P-Triassic extinction Discussion (Matt)
Geophysics 1: Gravity
Side scan sonar Discussion (Riikka)
Seismology 3 Discussion (Justin)
No Class Today
Sequence stratigraphy
Isotopes Discussion (Heather)
Seismology and BIFS Discussion

 * You will need a PDF reader to view\print these files. Go here to download Adobe Acrobat

Text books (recommended):
Best Marine Geology Textbook

Kennett, 1982: Marine Geology, Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ 813p. (Despite its age, this is still the best marine geology text out there)

General Geology

Tarbuck, E.J. and Lutgens, F.K., 1990: The Earth: An Introduction to Physical Geology. Merrill Publishing, Columbus, 651p. (An okay general geology textbook if you have no previous geology training).

Useful? Course Information:
Presentation(s) 30%
Discussion participation 20% 
Earth History paper 30%
Take home mid-term Exam 20% 


A 90+
B 75 to 89
C <75
F unlikely
Missed lecture/exams:

This is a graduate course and I expect that all of you are responsible individuals who would NEVER miss a class. But every once in a while, say, due to the outbreak of thermonuclear war, you might be forced to miss one of them. I will endeavor to provide you with the means to make up the lost material (wherever possible). Much of your grade will be determined on the basis of participation during open discussion sessions (usually Tuesdays). These sessions will follow a general lecture on the topic by Doug and will require you to read 1 or 2 additional papers on the subject. Most of these reading assignments will be student selected. The first part of each discussion session will involve a 15 to 30 minute presentation by the person who assigned the papers the previous lecture day (usually Thursday). The rest of the lecture slot will be spent discussing the major ideas of the papers that we read, so make sure that you actually read them. I welcome your opinion as to whether the paper was a good read (well written, well argued etc.), or if it sucked. I reiterate: you will be graded on your participation in the discussion questions. If you are quiet (i.e., you don’t ask questions or fail to provide an occasional opinion or comment), you will receive a weak grade for this part of the course.

Earth History Paper:

There have been a lot of wild marine-geology events in Earth History, but, unfortunately, we will only be able to touch on a few of them. We will have to omit topics like mass extinctions, anoxic oceans, evaporated oceans, water from space, even natural nuclear reactors. I'd like you to choose any one event in Earth history (preferably one that you find incredibly interesting) and write a short report about it. The minimum requirements are: 1) it's geological in nature and marine at heart, 2) it's length does not exceed 20 pages and 3) you examined 10 or more peer reviewed references. It will be due the week prior to the end of classes. I will provided you with some possible subjects, but I am very open to anything that you can suggest. Can't think of something? Just ask me.

The fine print:
Plagiarism and cheating are not permitted in this class. In fact, either of them will result in severe embarrassment to you and quite possibly an F for the assignment or exam in question if you are caught doing them. If you are unsure of what constitutes plagiarism or cheating, talk to me.

Disabilty disclaimer:

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, students with bona fide disabilities will be afforded reasonable accommodation. The Office of Special Student Services will certify a disability and advise faculty members of reasonable accommodations. If you have a specific disability that qualifies you for academic accommodations, please notify me, the instructor/professor, and provide certification from Disability Services (Office of Special Student Services). The Office of Special Student Services is directed by Ms. Bernita Pulmas and is located in the Student Center, room 270. The phone number is (251) 460-7212.

Changes in Course Requirements:

Since all classes do not progress at the same rate, instructors may wish to change the number and frequency of exams, or the number and sequence of assignments. Inclement weather (e.g., hurricanes) may also force rescheduling of lectures, assignments or exams. When ever possible, this material will be made up. Students will be given adequate written notice of any changes in lecture sequence, assignment due dates and/or exam date changes.


How & where to find Doug:

I reside in LSCB room 121. I believe in open office hours, so feel free to pay me a visit anytime between 9:00 am & 5:00 pm. However, I do research and serve on a lot of committees so I may not always be in my office. I  keep regular office hours. To see my current schedule, click the button below

Where's Doug

 This page is maintained by Dr. D. Haywick. Please feel free to email 
him if you have any questions concerning it.