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Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Message from the Department Chair

Welcome to the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences (EES) (formerly Geology) web site. Information regarding our faculty, students, and alumni as well as the programs offered through the Department can be found within this site.

This is an exciting time in the history of the Department. In January 2006, we moved from McLane Hall into the new Science II building located next to the Downing Planetarium. With the move the Department gained new and expanded laboratory facilities, and equipment for teaching and research.

With the retirement of several senior professors, the Department has attracted new faculty members with ambitious research agendas. Dr. Chris Pluhar, an engineering geologist, and his wife Kellie Townsend (igneous geochronologist) will join the faculty in August 2007. Dr. Peter van de Water, a biogeochemist, and Dr. Mathieu Richaud, a global climate change specialist, will also join the Department this fall. Other recent hires include Dr. Robert Dundas (vertebrate paleontologist) in 2006 and Dr. John Wakabayashi (geomorphology/structural geology) in 2005. In the last 5 years, the number of faculty has grown from 7 to 10 and the number of full and part-time lecturers from 2 to 10.

Recent faculty retirements include Dr. Roland Brady (1986-2006), Dr. Art Barabas (1983-2006), Dr. Bruce Blackerby (1964-2005), and Dr. Robert Merrill (1970-2004). In addition, Dr. Sy Mack (1958 – 1989) is leaving the Department this year after coming in on an almost daily basis to pursue his research following his retirement.

Last year we held our first alumni reunion. The event was very successful with a large number of past students and faculty attending. Attendees included Fred Trauger from Albuquerque, New Mexico who graduated in 1939. Fred celebrated his 90th birthday at the reunion. He donated his field hammer, compass, notebooks, and numerous black and white photographs of the Fresno area in the 1930’s. Fred has also set up an endowment for the Department and future generations of students.

For students wishing to pursue Geology as a career, California State University, Fresno is ideally located. Our field orientation takes advantage of the university's proximity to the Sierra Nevada mountains, the California Coast Ranges, coastal California, and the desert provinces. This unique location gives faculty and students access to an unparalleled outdoor laboratory, all within short trips from the university.

The undergraduate degree in Geology leads to careers in areas such as environmental assessment, hydrology, engineering geology, petroleum geology, mineral exploration and land use planning, or for teaching earth science or physical science at the secondary level.

The Master of Science program provides a graduate degree for students who want to work in industry or government on the professional level, for students who want to teach earth science in junior college, or for students who wish to pursue further graduate study.

Our applied geology option specializes in engineering geology, hydrogeology, or exploration geology fields, which have the strongest employment potential.

In addition to the BS and MS in Geology, the Department recently added a unique joint BS in Environmental Sciences with the University of California, Riverside. The first two students in this program will graduate summer 2007 with a degree from both institutions. Options in Earth Science, Life Science, and Behavioral, Policy and Health Sciences are available. This degree is designed for students interested in areas such as pollution abatement, water resources, ecosystem protection, restoration, or management.

A new “in-house” BS in Environmental Sciences will be offered for the first time this fall semester. Students in this program do not have to meet the strict UC entrance requirements as this program is exclusive to Fresno State.

Students may also participate in coursework and research in marine geology and oceanography offered through Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in Monterey Bay.

I encourage you to check our web site on a regular basis for updated material and information.

Glacial Geology, New Zealand

Professor Fraka Harmsen leads a geology field trip in her native New Zealand.