teaching

I teach classes at undergraduate and graduate level, in my research specialties (active tectonics, InSAR and GPS), and in more general topics (physical geology, computer skills for research).


GEO 001: Earth's Crust and Interior

Fall quarter

An introduction to physical geology, covering plate tectonics, minerals, rocks, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the processes that drive and/or produce them. This lower division undergraduate class is required for all Geology, Earth Sciences and Geophysics majors, and meets general education requirements for everyone else. My version of the class is assessed through essay writing, labs (mostly on mineral and rock identification), and pre-lecture reading quizzes. (I find that essay writing is the best way to test deep understanding of the material, rather than memorization, and helps to dispel the idea that science has nothing to do with the written word!)

Prerequisites: none

This class is now offered multiple times during the academic year; I teach it in the Fall, and other faculty teach it at other times.


GEO 147: Active Tectonics and Remote Sensing

Spring quarter

Active tectonics is the study of the current and recent movement of the continental crust. We live in a plate boundary zone in southern California, therefore this is really the study of what is going on around us (active faulting and earthquakes), and how these are recorded in the landscape. Many of these processes are best explored using remotely-sensed imagery, such as optical satellite or airphoto imagery, lidar and radar data. In this upper division undergraduate class, we explore these data types, along with complementary methods such as GPS/GNSS, paleoseismology, and InSAR, and what they can tell us about the deformation of California, and active continental regions in general.

Prerequisites: GEO 115

This class is offered in Spring quarter, and typically offered in even-numbered years (depending on interest).

Links to the video lectures from Spring 2020


GEO 242: Numerical Skills and Computing in the Geosciences

Usually Winter quarter

Graduate research in the Earth and planetary sciences is increasingly dependent on 'scientific computing', a whole suite of skills in manipulating and visualizing data, and coding up and running simple numerical models. This class, pitched at first year graduate students, is intended as a primer on such methods. We cover topics such as the shell, simple shell scripting and text file manipulation, data visualization with the Generic Mapping Tools (GMT), typesetting using LaTeX, matrix operations and simple inverse modeling and optimization using MATLAB. This class is suitable for geophysics, atmospheric physics and planetary science students, and anyone else who would like to manipulate, plot and model data.

Prerequisites: none

This class is typically in Winter quarter, and not typically offered every year (depending on interest).


GEO 244: Space Geodesy

Usually Winter quarter

Space geodesy is the use of radio waves from outside the Earth (either from satellites or astronomical sources) to measure the shape, rotation and gravity of the Earth. This class focuses on 'tectonic' applications of these techniques – how we can use space geodetic techniques to measure changes in shape of the Earth, i.e. crustal deformation. By measuring how the crust deforms, we can learn about the processes that drive that deformation – plate tectonics, the earthquake cycle, magmatism, subsurface fluids, and more. We focus on two techniques in particular: Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), and explore the theoretical basis of each method, practical data acquisition and processing, as well as interpretation and modeling.

Prerequisites: none

This class is typically in Winter quarter, and not typically offered every year (depending on interest).