Jun 17, 2024  
2015-2016 Undergraduate catalog 
2015-2016 Undergraduate catalog [Archived Catalog]

Earth Sciences (Earth Sciences/Physics Department)

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Timothy H. Heaton, Chairperson
201 Akeley-Lawrence Science Center
(605) 677-5649




Timothy H. Heaton, Paleontology, Oceanography

Associate Professors:

Brennan T. Jordan, Mineralogy, Petrology, Meteorology
Mark R. Sweeney, Sedimentology, Geomorphology, Hydrogeology


Jennifer Fierro, Coastal Geology
Jeanne Fromm, Planetary Geology, River Systems


Earth Sciences, B.S.


Earth Sciences

An understanding of the earth is crucial to nearly every aspect of our lives.  It is the source of all of our natural resources such as water, fuel, minerals, and metals.  It presents us with serious hazards such as earthquakes, tornadoes, landslides, and floods.  It is the source of our scenery and recreation opportunities.  We even gain an understanding of ourselves by studying its history and the history of life upon it.  Earth Science is a broad science, employing many skills learned in chemistry, physics, and biology.  The Earth Sciences Program prepares students for a wide variety of exciting careers in geology and other specialties, and it also assists students pursuing many aspects of business, politics, law, and education.  The program is closely associated with the South Dakota Geological Survey, which offers students many resources and internship opportunities.  Students in the program will learn about the geologic processes that affect the Earth’s surface, about the Earth’s resources and hazards, about the oceans and atmosphere, and about the methods that allow us to interpret the earth’s past.


  • E. P. Rothrock Scholarship (available to upper-level Earth Sciences majors)
  • Timothy H. and Julia S. Heaton Scholarship (available to Earth Sciences majors)
  • Bruno C. Petsch Honorarium (available to Earth Sciences majors)
  • Joseph F. and Martha P. Nelson Scholarship (available to Earth Sciences majors)


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