Hamilton College Geology Department

Geology at Hamilton
Student Research
Student Projects
Department Faculty
Recent Courses
Further Information
Course Catalogue
Geology and the Environment
Undergraduate Research in Antarctica
Hamilton College WindSite Page
New York State Geological Association 1997 Conference

Hamilton College Geology Department
Geology at Hamilton
The geology program at Hamilton combines an innovative curriculum, an emphasis on field work and a commitment to student-faculty research. Concentrators must complete eight required courses in geology, one elective and a two-semester senior project or thesis. Hamilton also offers a concentration in geoarchaeology, which combines a background in the geosciences with preparation in archaeology.

Students may minor in geology by taking one introductory course and four other courses in the department at the 200 level or higher. Alternatively, students may minor in environmental studies and choose from a wide variety of courses in many disciplines, including many in geology.

High school preparation for studies in the geosciences should include courses in the sciences as well as advanced courses in English composition.

Student Research

Because geology classes are small, students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty members in and out of the classroom. Field work is a vital part of geology and has been integrated into nearly all classes at every level. Students and professors have conducted expeditions to Hawaii, Iceland, the Florida Keys, Colorado, the Pacific Northwest and the European Alps. In addition, students and professors have collaborated on original research projects from coastal Maine to Tasmania to the Galapagos, thanks, in part, to grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Chemical Society.

Hamilton is the only small college in the country honored with a long-standing undergraduate research program in Antarctica, funded by the NSF's Office of Polar Programs. Since 1987, more than a dozen Hamilton students have been awarded the Antarctic Service Medal for their contributions to research and exploration of the continent.

The department also provides some financial support for students interested in pursuing summer field research. Many students present the results of their work at regional and national meetings of the Geological Society of America.

Student Projects

The scope and variety of undergraduate research is indicated by these examples of student projects:

Geology and volcanic history of Maat Mons Volcano, Venus

Growth of the Müller Ice Shelf during the later half of the Little Ice Age as documented by glacial marine sediments and radiogeochemistry

Assessing groundwater contamination at the Orange County landfill site, New York

Mineralogical and geochemical variation in andesites from Puluagua and Imbabura volcanoes, Northern Ecuador

A general analysis of the East Antarctic continental shelf modern Radiolaria and their relationship to Antarctic Circumpolar Deep Water


Many Hamilton students have been inducted into Sigma Xi, the scientific research society and have received Root fellowships for graduate study in the earth sciences. Over the years, students have received summer internships with the U.S. Geological Survey and independent internships at government and private institutions. Last year, two geology students earned Penrose graduate research grants from the Geological Society of America.


Housed in Hamilton's Science Building, the Geology Department includes: a sedimentology lab with particle size analyzer (laser optics) and magnetic susceptibility system; oceanographic instrumentation including a conductivity, temperature and transmissivity recorder; geochemistry facilities including X-ray diffraction and fluorescence instrumentation and total organic carbon analyzer; rock cutting and thin-section equipment; a complement of petrographic microscopes with photographic capabilities; hydrogeology equipment including a digital current meter, flow cells, groundwater sampling equipment, field chemical analysis system, well testing equipment and a groundwater flow meter; computers including Macintosh and IBM/NEC machines with a host of software and a digitizing table. In addition, the College maintains extensive fossil and mineral collections that include the Oren Root Mineral Collection, one of the finest in the country.

Department Faculty

Members of the geology faculty are all dedicated, published scholars whose teaching and research interests span the entire range of geological sciences. Faculty members in the Geology Department include:

David Bailey (Ph.D., Washington State University) - chemical signature of volcanic rocks as they relate to the evolution of the Earth's crust.

Cynthia Domack (Ph.D., Rice University) - microfossils of the deep ocean as recovered in sediment cores of the sea floor.

Eugene Domack (Ph.D., Rice University) - glacial history; geology of Antarctica and paleoclimate reconstructions.

Todd Rayne (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin) - groundwater and environmental problems related to the hydrologic cycle.

Barbara Tewksbury (Ph.D., University of Colorado) - character of deep crustal deformation in Precambrian rocks of northern New York State.

Recent Courses

The Geology and Development of Modern Africa


Earth Systems

Humans and the Ice Age Earth

Geology and the Environment

Planet Earth


Hawaii Field Study


Glacial Geology

Sedimentary Geology


Planetary Geology

Structural Geology



Geology of the Alps

Field Mapping

Geology of the Pacific Northwest

Earth Resources


Advanced Hydrogeology and the Environment

Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology


Plate Tectonics

Marine Geology

Senior Project


Hamilton's geology program provides students with a firm scientific foundation and enough flexibility to accommodate individual interests. Alumni have continued their educations at such graduate programs as the University of Colorado, University of Washington, University of California-Santa Barbara and Berkeley, Rice University, Stanford University, University of New Mexico, University of Pennsylvania, Florida State University and University of Montana.

Hamilton graduates in geology have gone on to work in a variety of fields. Examples include:

Director, The Discovery Channel

Marine Geologist, U.S. Department of Commerce

Vice President, Bank of Tokyo

President, Oregon State University

Hydrogeologist, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Environmental Scientist, Environmental Protection Agency

Chief Geologist, Cortez Gold Mines

Chief, Habitat Ecology, Government of Canada

Structural Geologist, ARCO Oil and Gas Company

Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia

Senior Analyst, Texaco

Geophysicist, Mercury International Technologies


Concentrators usually come to Hamilton with several years of high school language. However, through intensive courses and/or study abroad, it is also possible to begin Spanish or French as a first year student and still complete the concentration requirements.

Further Information

Eugene Domack, Chair
Geology Department
Hamilton College
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, New York 13323
Telephone: (315) 859-4711
FAX: (315) 859-4185
| This page created and maintained by Matt Winterroth |