Phillips – Teaching

Current Courses

GEOC/GEOL/GEOP/HYD 572 Application of the Scientific Method in the Earth Sciences (1 cr., 1 class hour)

This course is intended to explore the application of the scientific method (SM) in the earth sciences. It is not a philosophy of science course; the objective is to improve the ability of the participants to perform earth-science research. The course will consist largely of assigned readings and guided discussion. Students will be graded S/U on short answers to questions on the reading posted on Canvas every week, which must be turned in by midnight on the Tuesday preceding each class. The semester product will be a short paper and brief presentation describing how the participant can better apply the scientific method to her or his own graduate research.

ERTH 340 Global Climate Change: Origins and Impacts (3 cr., 3 class hours)


Humans have embarked on a global-scale experiment by injecting massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This course covers the fundamental principles of the energy balance of the earth, basics of the global climate system, how increases in greenhouse gas concentrations have affected global climate to date, and projections for future changes focusing especially on changes in the hydrological cycle. We will discuss effects of changes in greenhouse forcing in the geological past. We will investigate the human production of greenhouse gases and how their releases might be reduced in the future. Implications for sustainable human development and ecosystems will be explored, especially for the semiarid Southwestern United States.

Past Courses

HYD 403/503: Groundwater Hydrology. Fundamentals of groundwater hydrology. The hydrologic cycle, Darcy’s law, aquifer parameters, steady and transient flow equations, well hydraulics, elementary multi-phase flow, groundwater recharge, watershed hydrology, geological controls on groundwater flow, well construction, and groundwater chemistry and pollution.

HYD 507: Hydrogeochemisty. The thermodynamics and aqueous chemistry of natural waters, with emphasis on groundwater. Chemical equilibrium concepts, surface chemistry, redox reactions, and biochemistry. The interaction of water with the atmosphere and geologic materials. Basic concepts applied to problems of groundwater quality evolution, water use, and groundwater contamination.

HYD 546: Contaminant Hydrology. The physics, chemistry, and biology of inorganic, organic, and microbial contaminants in groundwater and surface water systems. Mechanisms by which contaminants are introduced. Transport and transformations of contaminants in surface waters, the vadose zone, and the saturated zones. Movement, capillary trapping, and solubility of relatively immiscible organic liquids. Contaminant isolation and remediation techniques.

HYD 558: Environmental Tracers in Hydrology. Atomic structure and abundances of environmental isotopes. Stable isotope fractionation. Mass spectrometry. Applications of the stable isotopes of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon to meteorology and hydrology. Radioactive decay and radionuclide production. Applications of tritium, He-3, C-14, Cl-36, and other radionuclides. Application of Cl, Br, chloroflurocarbons and other environmental tracers to hydrologic problems.

HYD 571/572: Advanced Topics in Hydrology.

  • Field Methods in Vadose-Zone Hydrology- Fall 2001
  • Hydrology of the Rio Grande – Spring 1999
  • Isotope Hydrology – Spring 1998