Geology examines our natural world, studying problems that range in scale from a single mineral grain to the entire solar system.
Studying this complex natural system is an intrinsically interdisciplinary endeavor, so geology draws upon the tools of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, and environmental science. Geologists are flexible and well-rounded scientists, tackling such varied topics as earthquakes, climate change, the formation of continents and oceans, resource development, and the origins of life. Geology majors at Oxy have the opportunity to explore geology on campus and in the unparalleled natural laboratory of southern California.
Geology Major at Oxy:
Located in one of the world’s most geologically interesting places, Oxy’s geology program draws on the local environment to teach fundamental geologic principles. Students learn geology through a blend of classroom, lab, and field experiences, applying their new knowledge to geological problems as part of their coursework. All students have the opportunity to participate in research with faculty or on their own. The geology training is supplemented with courses in mathematics and enriched by taking recommended classes in physics and chemistry. Geology is a global science so students who have made sufficient progress in the major are encouraged to study abroad for a semester in their junior year.
Summertime offers geology majors the opportunity to work on research projects with faculty or participate in internship programs such as those offered by JPL and the Southern California Earthquake Center. Other students may choose to attend field camp in the U.S. or abroad. These experiences commonly form the basis for the senior thesis geology majors complete, and all students are encouraged to present their work at the annual Southern California Undergraduate Research Conference or other venues.
Environmental Science Concentration in Geology: Students choosing this path explore earth processes and ecosystems, and develop skills needed to analyze and solve environmental problems. The concentration is designed for students who want to more fully understand the biological and geologic foundation of Environmental Science while completing a version of the geology major.
Geology After Oxy:
After Oxy, many geology majors have chosen to continued their education in graduate school in geology or environmental science. Others have drawn on their Oxy geology degree to begin careers such as environmental consultant, NASA scientist, teacher, planner, park ranger, or petroleum geologist. Still others have gone into law, architecture, and medical professions.
It is with great sadness that we share the news that Dr. Joseph Birman died on December 23, 2015 at age 91. Joe was a valued member of the geology faculty, arriving in 1949 as a young professor and remaining engaged with the department as an emeritus professor since 1984. Joe was a beloved and enthusiastic professor – drawing in generations of students to geology through his introductory classes. His research interests included glaciology, hydrology and geothermal activity. He was a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, a member of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, and was certified by the state of California as an engineering geologist. Joe’s enthusiasm for geology and Occidental College was unflagging over the three decades since his retirement from Oxy. When the Department was repopulated with a set of brand new faculty in 1985, Joe made a special effort to drop by frequently to tell them what a great job they were doing and he always encouraged the faculty to continue to make changes and try new ideas. In “retirement”, Joe leapt full-time into his groundwater consulting business, where he continued to teach dozens of Oxy grads that he hired for his firm. Joe was a good friend of the department and we will miss him.
The Birman Family and the Office for Religious and Spiritual Life are hosting a memorial service for Joe Birman, professor emeritus of geology, this Saturday, January 30 at 1:30 p.m. in the Herrick Chapel and Interfaith Center. A reception will follow in Dumke Commons. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Joseph H. Birman Geology Endowment Fund, established in Dr. Birman's name by his former students to support research by current geology students and faculty. Gifts can be made online at http://oxy.edu/giving.
Welcome Christopher Oze!
Associate Professor, Geology
Chris Oze teaches Introductory Geology, Field Geology, Hard Rock Geology and Geochemistry.
He will be joining the Geology Department in January 2016.
Education: B.A., Whitman College; Ph.D. Stanford University
My research has revolved around ultramafic and mafic rocks and the processes that these rocks undergo as they make their way to the surface. My research objectives are broadly divided into two categories:
(1) To investigate the geochemical and biogeochemical evolution of a variety of metals (e.g., Cr, Ni, Au, Ag), isotopes (e.g., C, O, Sr, Os), and gases (e.g., CO2, H2O, CH4) with regards to how they influenced and/or are cycled by magmatic, metamorphic, hydrothermal, and/or weathering processes and how they may ‘contribute’ or ‘fit’ in relation to larger geological and planetary processes such as mantle dynamics, magmatism, and climate change.
(2) To examine the abiotic genesis of elemental hydrogen (H2), methane (CH4), and other organic species via water-rock interactions in a variety of hydrothermal, volcanic, and groundwater systems in order to assess key steps potentially leading to: i) the discovery of new energy resources, ii) carbon sequestration and iii) the origins of life through laboratory studies, chemical modeling, and field data.
- Geology Technician:
Jan Garcia email@example.com p: (323) 259-2823 f: (323) 341-4858
- Senior Department Assistant:
Tracy A. Mikuriya firstname.lastname@example.org p: (323)259-2821
- Questions? Chair - Margi Rusmore: email@example.com