​About Geology at SMC

Geology encompasses all studies of Earth processes and is one of the cornerstone programs within the Earth Science Department. Students taking a geology course at SMC will gain a scientific understanding o geologic processes that shape the Earth’s surface, oceans, and atmosphere. They will study Earth’s origin, interior processes, plate tectonics theory, evolution of surface environments, the linkage between climate and biology, and the various ways in which these processes are recorded in the rock record. Courses focus on application of the scientific method to natural phenomena like the origin and evolution of life, climate change, assessment of geologic hazards, and formation and utilization of geologic resources. 

Degrees and Certificates

The Geology Program is currently developing an AA-T Degre​e in Geolo​gy​.​ 

Career Options

Geologist, Geochemist, Geophysicist, Planetary Geologist, Environmental Consultant, Petroleum Geologist, Seismologist, Engineering Geologist, Hydrologist, Environmental Geologist, GIS Specialist, Oceanographer, Paleontologist, Earth Science Teacher, Geology Professor.


Full-Time Faculty

Lisa Collins PhD: (310) 434-8857, collins_lisa@smc.edu

Christyanne Melendez MS: (310) 434-8864, melendez_christyanne@smc.edu

Adjunct Faculty

​Alessandro Grippo PhDgrippo_alessandro@smc.edu 

Jenney Hall PhDhall_jenney@smc.edu

Victor Morales MSmorales_victor@smc.edu

Program Level Outcomes

Upon completion of a Geology course students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the physical structure and morphology of the Earth and operation of Earth systems through a plate tectonic paradigm.

  2. Identify and classify Earth materials and demonstrate an understanding of their formational histories.

Geology Courses

  • Geology 1: Physical Geology
  • Geology 3: Environmental Geology
  • Geology 4: Physical Geology with Lab
  • Geology 5: Earth History with Lab
  • Geology 10: Exploration of the Solar System
  • Geology 31: Physical Oceanography
  • Geology 35 (A-Z): Field Studies in Geology

Other Resources

Quake-Catcher Network

The Department of Earth Science at Santa Monica College is part of of the Quake-Catcher Network (QCN, at http://qcn.stanford.edu) which is a collaborative initiative for developing the world’s largest, low-cost strong-motion seismic network by utilizing sensors in and attached to internet-connected computers. Our Department is the site of one of these sensors. The sensor, known as an MEMS accelerometer, is mounted on the floor in DH 134 and connected to a desktop computer via a USB cable. The computer monitors the sensor and digitally transmit “triggers” to QCN’s servers whenever strong new motions are observed. QCN’s servers sift through these signals, and determine which ones represent earthquakes, and which ones represent cultural noise (like doors slamming, or trucks driving by).

These sensors have several advantages over mobile device sensors. 1) By mounting them to the floor, they measure more reliable shaking than mobile devices. 2) These sensors typically have lower noise and better resolution of 3D motion. 3) Desktops are often left on and do not move. 4) The USB sensor is physically removed from the game, phone, or laptop, so human interaction with the device doesn’t reduce the sensors’ performance. 5) USB sensors can be aligned to North, so we know what direction the horizontal “X” and “Y” axes correspond to.

Seismic data collected by the Quake-Catcher Network is available shortly after detections are made and can be used for informational and educational purposes.

Professor Alessandro Grippo's Geology 35 Field Trips

Geology Field Trip Information