Welcome to the Department of Geological Sciences

  • Student pondering his geological map while working in Rainbow Basin.
  • Student examining rock layer while mapping in Rainbow Basin
  • Students examining mud volcanoes south of the Salton Sea.
  • Students conducting underground mapping while in a mine adit in Arizona.
  • High school teacher setting up a GPS receiver to monitor deformation across the San Andreas fault.
  • Students conducting underground mapping while in a mine adit in Calico, California.
  • Student conducting underground mapping while in a mine adit in Calico, California.
  • Students conducting underground mapping while in a mine adit in Calico, California.
  • Students and professor samping petrolium from the Trap Springs field in Railroad Vallet, Nevada.
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What is geology?

Do you love Adventure?

Are you curious about earthquakes and lava flows, about fossils and deep time, about what builds the mountains and why some stones are used as gems and others as road pavement?

Geology is the study of how the earth works. Geologists decipher the forces that shape the earth. And by reconstructing the past, they can predict the future. Geologists roam the planet on paths of exploration and discovery. California is a natural geological laboratory. With its high mountains and stark deserts, its beach bluffs and network of fault lines, Southern California is one of the best places in the world to study geology. And at CSUSB, the San Andreas fault is literally out our back door.

Geologists are curious about the planet. When will the next earthquake happen? Where can we find new valuable resources? How do we protect our groundwater? Why do animals become extinct? What makes the continents move? For geologists, the earth is a natural laboratory to observe natural processes in action. In its quest to understand the earth, geology, integrates with many other disciplines - biology, computer science, geography, chemistry, mathematics and physics.

What can I expect from the geology program at CSUSB?

The Geology Program at CSUSB will give you a solid grounding in the core principles of geology. This is a results-oriented program. We give you useful, important information and provide you the skills to move right into career employment, or to pursue graduate studies.

In the CSUSB Geology Program, class sizes are small and the faculty is outstanding. Professors have a wide range of specializations - volcanology, paleontology, stratigraphy, mineralogy, earthquake hazards, structural geology, neotectonics, hydrogeology and stable isotope geochemistry, among others. The program takes advantage of Southern California as a natural geological laboratory. Some classes study California geology and geological mapping. Others concentrate on earthquakes or oceans and atmospheres. Back in the lab, the program has top-end tools: a scanning electron microscope, an X-ray diffractometer, a seismograph, GPS receivers, surveying equipment, stable isotope mass spectrometer, polarizing microscopes and a video microscopy and photomicrography workstation.

The department has other equipment crucial for geologists - rugged 4WD vehicles. Like working geologists, CSUSB's geology students spend plenty of time tromping about in wild, interesting places. Most upper division classes have field trips, and department students have done everything from exploring Mitchell Caverns in the eastern Mojave to hiking into the Grand Canyon.