ROBERT A. GASTALDO
Whipple-Coddington Professor of Geology
Courses offered at Colby College include:
- GE 142: Deciphering Earth
History -- Within the crustal rocks of planet Earth is the
evidence that can be used to understand the patterns and processes that
have shaped the world we know. The course is designed to investigate the
physical and biological patterns and processes that can be deciphered from
Earth's historical record, as well as the impact these have had on the
evolution of planet Earth over the past 4.6 billion years.
- GE 251: The Record of Life on
Earth -- The biological record of Earth history
encompasses unicellular to multicellular organisms that have inhabited
non-analogue worlds. The course examines the processes responsible for
preservation of marine and terrestrial biota, the application of the
fossil record to solving problems in evolution and diversity, morphology
and systematics, and ecology and climatology.
356: Stratigraphy and Sedimentation -- A course
covering the processes of sedimentation, methods of sediment analysis,
interpretation of depositional environments, classification and
description of sedimentary rocks, and the physical and genetic
relationships between rock sequences. The class has been taught on campus and in Cape Town,
South Africa, as part of the CBB Study Abroad program (SP2005).
- GE 399
: Field Studies in the Karoo Basin -- This combination seminar and field
course focused on the geological history of the Karoo Basin beginning in the Carboniferous and ending with the breakup of Pangaea in
the Jurassic. Guest lecturers included Dr. Roger Smith (Iziku Museum, Cape Town), Prof. DeVille
Wickens (Stellenbosch University), Prof. Marten DeWit (University of Cape Town), Prof. Bruce
Cairncross (University of Johannesburg), Prof. Mike Watkeys (University of KwaZulu Natal), and Dr.
Johann Neveling (Council for Geosciences). An original research project focused on the Lower
Triassic Katberg Sandstone was conducted at Carlton Heights.
483 Senior Honors Project and GE
491 Independent Study: -- Undergraduate research projects are the capstone
experience in the Department of Geology. Research efforts and project foci vary from Holocene lake
studies in Maine and Bermuda to Carboniferous and Permian ecosystems in the southern hemisphere.
A full list of student projects can be viewed by using the link above as well as links to
peer-reviewed publications resulting from student research projects.
Courses I have taught at the undergraduate level include:
- INTRODUCTORY PHYSICAL
GEOLOGY -- Survey course of the important minerals and rocks
with emphasis on the processes that effect their formation and destruction, including the
origin and classification of geological structures.
- HISTORICAL GEOLOGY --
Survey course examining the physical and biological
history of Earth, with emphasis on the evolution of life forms. The course
used the Historical Lab Manual: Gastaldo, R.A., Savrda, C.E., and Lewis,
R.D. 2004. Deciphering Earth
History: A Laboratory Manual with Internet Exercises
Contemporary Publishing Company of Raleigh, N.C., 260 p. ISBN
Taphonomic processes responsible for the generation
of plant-bearing lithologies, hydrocarbon accumulating systems, biostratigraphic assemblages,
paleoecological restorations of the Phanerozoic and evolution of major
- ENGINEERING GEOLOGY --
Fundamental geological principles, materials, and
features that affect engineering projects and programs. Emphasis on pre-construction
geological analysis in recognition of potential construction and post-construction hazards
- RESEARCH METHODS AND APPLICATIONS (GL
431) -- Active participation in a phase of
original research under the supervision of a senior investigator.
At the advanced undergraduate and graduate level I have
- MICROCOMPUTER APPLICATIONS IN GEOLOGY -- Introduction to the use of
commercially available and public domain software pertinent to solving geological
- ADVANCED PALEOBOTANY -- Process-oriented course to examine the development
of plant-bearing and plant-generated organic-rich sediments of modern and ancient
depositional environments. Modern analog studies are used as a basis for interpreting
ancient plant-bearing lithologies.
- DELTAIC PROCESSES--
Introduction to inorganic and organic sedimentological
processes in deltaic deposystems. Developmental processes are surveyed in major deltaic
regimes of the world as a basis for assessment of ancient delta
- SOUTHEASTERN SEMINAR -- Reports and discussion covering general topics of
regional geological interest as well as specific geological problems unique to the
southeastern United States. Emphasis on geologic history in addition to economic,
stuctural, and stratigraphic topics.
- PALYNOFACIES -- Principles
concerning and collection,
processing and identification of dispersed organic clasts found in modern and ancient
depositional systems as a means to quantify OM contribution to organic-rich and organic-poor lithologies.
- INTRODUCTORY PALYNOLOGY
-- Principles concerning the
evolution of reproductive strategies of terrestrial and aquatic plants, collection,
preparation and identification of their propogules, and applications of palynology to
geological problems. (Variable credit)
- RESEARCH AND
Direction of graduate students in pursuit of their M.Sc. degree.
This site was last modified on: Monday, 07-Aug-2006 09:59:22 EDT