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The program takes advantage of Southern California as a natural geological laboratory. Some classes study California geology and geological mapping. Others concentrate on earthquakes or oceans and atmospheres. Back in the lab, the program has top-end tools: a scanning electron microscope, an X-ray diffractometer, a seismograph, GPS receivers, surveying equipment, stable isotope mass spectrometer, polarizing microscopes and a video microscopy and photomicrography workstation.

The department has other equipment crucial for geologists - rugged 4WD vehicles. Like working geologists, CSUSB's geology students spend plenty of time tromping about in wild, interesting places. Most upper division classes have field trips, and department students have done everything from exploring Mitchell Caverns in the eastern Mojave to hiking into the Grand Canyon.