Geol. 4043: Earth Materials and the Environment
Spring 2013
  T-Th 12:00 - 1:20 pm
E202 Howe-Russell Bldg.

"Everything is  a poison, nothing is a poison, the dose alone makes the poison."
- Paracelsus, 1493-1541

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Instructor: Professor Barb Dutrow,
    Room 203 Howe-Russell Building  (Old Geology)
Office hours: 2:30-3:30 W  or by appointment
Phone: 225-578-2525 

Text:   Reading materials for the course assembled through a may be purchased from
           additional reading assignments from the literature.

            Reading assignments should be completed prior to class.

Required Materials: Two 3-ring binders; one for class notes, one for environmental articles

Evaluation: Critical thinking and analysis of material is an integral portion of this class. In class participation, preparation for discussion materials, assignments, and  contributes to the overall grading scheme.
Class evaluation is based on two tests (25% midterm and 25% final exam), 25% assigned
class presentations (oral and written) including environmental reports from the media, 15% quizzes, 10% class participation. 
Note: Texting and use of cellular devices is not permitted during class.

            Class absences should be reported PRIOR to class.

Lecture and Exam Schedule
check for updates

Date Topic Assignments and Reading prior to class

Check out weekly Earth happenings on Earthweek and Geology in the News.

RiM = Reviews in Mineralogy; AM = American Mineralogist; CM = Canadian Mineralogist
RiM, AM, Elements articles in course packet

15 Class overview: expectations, semester long assignments, giving presentations, peer evaluations of presentations, rubric for such.

Introduction  - Earth Materials review (mostly solids)

NAS Colloquium on Geology, Mineralogy and human welfare
J.V. Smith paper


Reporting Environmental Science
bring article from media

Rocks, Minerals and a Dusty world

World Trade Center dust report

Wildavsky, A. in But is it True?
Come prepared for discussion on how to read an environmental article, bring an article

 RiM, Chpt 2  (Klein)

The Asbestos Issue
Fibers to Asbestiform Silicates: history of regulations, where we are now

Elements: Triple Pt articles

RiM, Chpt. 3
CM:79-88;  89-104 (suggested)
Asbestiform silicates: Structure, Chemistry
1:1 layer silicates, amphiboles

      Anthophyllite asbestos: Wikipedia image
RiM, Chpt 3

Lab: Physical and optical properties of amphiboles and serpentine (1:1)
Asbestiform Silicates: Surface aspects, defects, reactivity in biological materials

Mineral Surfaces;  Reactivity, Biological Interactions
(view the overheads)
RiM 28: Chpt. 7 (Readings)

Readings: RiM 28: Chpt 8
more details: RiM  23: Chpt 3

Elements Issue: Sept. 2005 (Toxic Metals in the Environment: The role of surfaces) - extra
Experimental work, Medical issues, legal issues
Student presentations (continued)
Prepare 15 min oral presentation as assigned

Experimental work, Medical issues, legal issues
Student presentations (continued)

Prepare 15 min oral presentation as assigned

Brief Introduction to the Libby, MT case
Preparation for debate
Amphibole classification
Happy Mardi Gras - no class
Prepare assigned readings/debate for presentation.

including: RiM: Chpt 10,11,13,14,17  

CM: part 1, 119-125; 145-154;  227-238; as assigned

Presentation: The Libby, MT case. Student debate

Groups take for and against Libby issue

Asbestiform Silicates; Implications for public policy

Read "No hits, no runs..."
The "Safer" cigarette
Chpt. 6,7, Science Editorials/Articles
read a paper on asbestos- risk

Risk Assessment: 
What is it? What are the uncertainties associated with Risk Management

Discussion of 'rodent studies' and their role in determining dose-response
RiM 28: Chpt.12; (pg. 361-381), Chpt. 18, p. 523-542

Reading: Do Rodent studies predict cancer in humans? in But is it True?
Energy: Fossil energy, the carbon cycle, and  global warming

NAS workshop reports: Carbon management; CO2 dilemma

Reading: Elements, 2007, v. 3  (Energy: A Geoscience Perspective) Macfarlane, A."Energy: The Issue of the 21st   Century"
p. 165-170
Schrag, D."Confronting the Climate - Energy Challenge". p. 171-178

  Geologic carbon sequestration - solutions to excess carbon

DOE website for sequestration

LBL - GEOSEQ program
Elements, 2007, v.3
Friedman, S.J., "Geologic Carbon Dioxide Sequestration" p. 179-184

Elements, 2008, v. 4

Oeklers, E and Cole, D., Carbon Dioxide Sequestration: A solution to a global problem. p. 305-310.
Rubin, E. CO2 catpure and transport. p. 311-318
Benson, S. and Cole, D., CO2sequestration in deep sedimentary basins. p. 325-332.

  Geologic carbon sequestration - solutions to excess carbon

Oelkers et al. Mineral carbonation of CO2. Elements v4, p333-337.

refer back to: Macfarlane, A."Energy: The Issue of the 21st   Century" p. 165-170


do a practice exam

Geologic CO2 Sequestration - mineral trapping

Alternative ("Greener") Energy: Nuclear, Wind, Solar, Hydroelectric

Oelkers et al. Mineral carbonation of CO2. Elements v4, p333-337.

refer back to: Macfarlane, A."Energy: The Issue of the 21st   Century" p. 165-170


Three-mile island - the nuclear stigma;
Fukushima - the new nuclear stigma

Nuclear Energy - Fuel Cycles, Pros, Cons

Nuclear Waste: HL, LL, TRU; Front End

Nuclear Energy - Elements Magazine,  2006, v. 2
Ewing "The nuclear fuel cycle: A role for mineralogy and geochemistry"

Abdelouas, A. "Uranium Mill Tailings:" p. 335-341.
Bruno, J. and Ewing, R., "Spent Nuclear Fuel". p. 343-349.

Nuclear Waste: Back End - Storage/Disposal/Management options Elements, 2006, v. 2
 - (Sat) 8:30-9:30 pm
 EARTH HOUR -  A global call for action on climate change. Turn off your lights for one hour!
(hundreds of millions around the world participate)


Materials for encasement: storage/adsorption:
Clay minerals, glass, zircon, 

what is betafite?

What would you use?

Grambow, B. Nuclear Waste Glasses - How Durable?. v. 2, p. 357-364 Elements
Ewing (1999) Nuclear waste forms for actinides.  Proc. Ntl Academy of Sciences, 96(7) 3432-3439.
... "Radioactivity and the 20th Century" in  Mineral.Soc. Am. Reviews in Mineralogy, vol. 38, P.. Burns and R. Finch (Eds) 1-22.
Wang, et al. (1999) Radiation stability of gadolinium zirconate:  A waste form for plutonium disposition.  J. Materials Research, 14,4470-4473.

RiM 28: Ch 7, 251-270
Geologic Repositories; Requirements, types

US solution -  Geologic Repository at Yucca Mtn., NV

 History and Plan B

Macfarlane, A. Ewing, R. Uncertainty Underground

USGS Report on Yucca Mtn.

 "One step at a time": The staged development of repositories for high level nuclear waste. NRC Report 2003 (Dutrow was one of the authors)           (see overheads)

Nuclear Waste Legislation - Mar.2000

1 - 5
Nuclear Accident - Fukushima
Elements 2011, v. 8 Fukushima
Nuclear Industry - in the wake of Fukushima - Elements 2011, v. 8 Fukushima
Renewable Energy - How green is green?

Wind Energy:
Turbines, REEs and the environment

REEs:  requirements for 'green' energy

refer back to: Macfarlane, A."Energy: The Issue of the 21st   Century" p. 165-170

as assigned
Elements 2012, REEs
Geologic settings of REEs,  Pegmatites, carbonatites, mineralogy and petrology

Mountain Pass, CA
Elements 2012, REEs
Geologic settings of REEs,  Pegmatites, carbonatites, mineralogy and petrology

Mountain Pass, CA

25 Mining in the US vs elsewhere: costs and consequences

Aspects of Mining: Toxic Metals and surfaces, the 1862 mining law

Chinese Wallboard (Gypsum): What is the problem?

Fluid-rock interactions: Properties of rocks and fluids
Computational Modeling for Geoscience questions: critical evaluation
 Reading from the literature

Elements, Oct. 2009 issue (Gold)
Elements magazine, Sept 2005 issue
Student Presentation
Fossil, Nuclear, Wind, Hydro - energy

Presentations, Abstracts

Student Presentation
Fossil, Nuclear, Wind, Hydro - energy

Presentations, Abstracts

6 Monday!

3 - 5 PM

(view an old test) 

Other links:  Learn more about the periodic table, minerals and gems

Learn more about planetary exploration, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto.

Other useful reading materials:

              But is it True? A Citizens Guide to Environmental Issues, A. Widavsky, 1995. Harvard Univ. Press
             Health Effects of Mineral Dusts,
Reviews in Mineralogy (RiM), vol. 28, Mineralogical Society of America.
                 Available from MSA 20% off with student membership.          
              Geology, Mineralogy, and Human Welfare, National Academy of Sciences  Colloquium, v. 96 1999 (PNAS)
                                (can be downloaded from the linked site - full text and abstract)
       Others for reference or an interesting read.   
            Silent Spring, Rachael Carson, 1962, Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston
                   (A classic, widely credited with bringing to light the consequences of chemicals in the environment- ecology).
             Environmental Mineralogy
, 2000, Eds. David J. Vaughn and Roy A. Wogelius.
                             EMU Notes in Mineralogy 2.  Eotvos University Press, Budapest. 
             The Health Effects of Chrysotile Asbestos. The Canadian Mineralogist Special Publication 5.
                            Mineralogical Association of Canada (Available from MAC, Dutrow has copies)
            An Inconvenient Truth. 2006. Al Gore.  Rodale Press.    


Enjoy !!!!!

 Students with disabilities: Louisiana State University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for all persons with disabilities. The syllabus is available in alternate formats upon request. If you are seeking classroom accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you are required to register with the Disability Services (DS). DS is located in 115 Johnston Hall. Phone is 225/ 578-5919. To receive academic accommodations for this class, please obtain the proper DS forms and meet with me at the beginning of the semester.

Code of Student Conduct: Louisiana State University is an interactive community in which students, faculty, and staff together strive to pursue truth, advance learning, and uphold the highest standards of performance in an academic and social environment. It is a community that fosters individual development and the creation of bonds that transcend the time spent within its gates.  To demonstrate my pride in LSU, as a member of its community, I will:

  1. accept responsibility for my actions;
  2. hold myself and others to the highest standards of academic, personal, and social integrity;
  3. practice justice, equality, and compassion in human relations;
  4. respect the dignity of all persons and accept individual differences;
  5. respect the environment and the rights and property of others and the University;
  6. contribute positively to the life of the campus and surrounding community;
  7.  and use my LSU experience to be an active citizen in an international and interdependent world.

The continued success of LSU depends on the faithful commitment by each community member to these, our basic principles.


Alcohol Policy (PS-67 Illegal Use of Drugs and Alcohol Misuse): Louisiana State University is committed to maintaining an environment which supports the research, teaching, and service mission of the University. Although the University respects an employee's right to privacy, the illegal use of drugs or alcohol within the University community interferes with the accomplishment of the University's mission.  Louisiana State Law prohibits the consumption, possession, distribution, possession with intent to distribute, or manufacture of drugs described as controlled dangerous substances in the Louisiana Revised Statutes 40:964; and other statutes define the illegal possession and/or use of alcohol.  As such, the Department has reaffirmed the University policy of alcohol-free and drug-free environment on University property at all times and in areas and at times and locations where an assembly of students and faculty would be viewed as representative of LSU (field trips and field camp property as both represent LSU).

updated 01/09/2013 (c) Barbara L. Dutrow