General Information

Please talk to your instructor and/or your undergraduate-graduate adviser to select the best course option

Study Abroad

Plate Tectonics, Biological Diversity and Continent Building, Costa Rica


This course introduces students to Field Geology using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and related geospatial technologies, Geologic map analysis, map communication, and field-based inquiry in an international setting.  Plate Tectonics, Biological Diversity and Continent Building, Costa Rica is intended to be a two-week Maymester study abroad program.  This course is designed to experience the diverse flora and fauna of tropical rain forests, the power and role of plate tectonics and the impacts of human actions on our natural environment. The complete learning experience is linked to the evolution and closure of the Central American Isthmus. One GSU faculty, working with a Costa Rican guides and naturalists will lead the students on an educational experience of the various ecological zones and the geology of an active volcanic arc. Home to 940 bird species, 40 islands, 60 rivers, 125 unique species of wildlife and 40 conservation areas, more than a third of Costa Rican land is protected, with surrounding off-shore waters with abundant marine life. Vast expanses of wildlife support a biodiversity attributable to Costa Rica’s crossroad location, a land bridge linking North America and South America. The connection of these continental masses via the Central American Isthmus is a product of the unstoppable force of Plate Tectonics. The location of this study abroad experience is crucial. No other location in the world allows for the study of a nascent continental region in intimate relation to two large old continental masses.


Possible course enrollment options:

1- Basic or advanced GIS (only one of the two). Grad students should enroll on the grad version of these courses. The total credits is 4.

2- GEOL 4999/GEOS/6999. I will fill out forms for the students that prefer this option. The total credits is 4.

3- GEOL 4097/GEOS6999 for students that have already taken GEOL 4999/GEOS/6999 and can no longer take any more credits related to GEOL 4999/GEOS/6999. The caveat is that you can only enroll for 3 credits.