The Geology Department at WWU is committed to excellence in both teaching and research.  Our goal is to offer the highest possible quality education in the geological sciences at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The mission of our department is to serve three main populations: graduate students, undergraduate geology majors, and undergraduates from other departments for their general education courses. For all of these students we strive to create excitement about discovery and the process of geologic inquiry.  We want to develop in all students an appreciation of how geological processes affect the earth and society so that they will be environmentally responsible, scientifically literate citizens.  We strive to produce majors with an interdisciplinary content background in geology and the physical sciences who are competent in the field, who can work collaboratively, conduct original research, and effectively communicate their results.

Geology Students at Work and Play

  • Women in Geology Club - group picture 5 students
  • Interesting Geological Features
  • CPX Crystal SEM - Student Thin Section
  • Lummi Quarry Testing
  • 2016 Boulder Glacier Slide 7-18-16
  • Liberty Bell Mountain - North Cascades
  • Pre-Fall Structure Group Picture

Geology Speaker Series

  • Dr. Jackie Caplan-Auerbach

    PDF icon Dr. Jackie Caplan-Auerbach brown Bag.pdf

    Friday, October 19, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
    ES 213
  • Dr. Robert Mitchell

    PDF icon Bob Mitchell Brown Bag.pdf

    Friday, October 26, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
    ES - 213
  • Dr. Jonathan Toner, University of Washington

    Abstract: Water is key for understanding the habitability of present-day Mars, and may exist as thin brine films, groundwater aquifers, and surface flows. To understand how water might form on Mars, we recently traveled to the McMudro Dry Valleys of Antarctica, one of the best Mars analog sites on Earth. In the field, we observed (and tasted) (1) salty groundwater outflows that form Don Juan Pond, an extremely unusual body of water that is 20x more salty than the sea. (2) Dark streaks on steep slopes that look suspiciously like recurring slope lineae on Mars. (3) Wet patches of soil that form when salts spontaneously absorb water from the atmosphere and liquefy. In this talk, I’ll present an overview of these observations and what they tell us about the formation of liquid water on Mars today.

    PDF icon Jonathon Toner UW Speaker.pdf

    Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
    CF - 115
  • George Mustoe, Research Associate

    Petrified wood is well-known both as a material for lapidary arts, and as an important source of information for understanding the history of plant life. The taxonomic and paleoenvironmental aspects of fossil woods have been subject to intensive investigation. In contrast, geologic origin of petrified wood has received less study. How much time is required for wood to become fossilized? What minerals are present?  How did they originate? What is the origin of petrified wood color? These seemingly simple questions have surprisingly complex answers. New evidence suggests that some traditional assumptions lack validity. In particular, wood petrifaction has long been described as a process of permineralization, where cellular tissue becomes entombed when silica is precipitated in open spaces.  This hypothesis been widely accepted, despite a paucity of supporting data. Recent investigations show that silicified woods typically contain only very small amounts of relict organic matter, evidence that true permineralization rarely occurs. Much new evidence for wood fossilization processes comes from Canadian localities, particularly the Cenozoic mummified forests that occur in the Arctic region, and the Cretaceous calcium-carbonate mineralized woods preserved in abundance on Vancouver Island.

    PDF icon George Mustoe brown bag.pdf

    Friday, November 2, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
    ES - 213