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The geology field course develops skills of observation and interpretation while teaching the technical aspects of field mapping, stratigraphic interpretation, structural analysis, and near-surface geophysical data collection. Preparation of stratigraphic sections, geologic maps and cross sections, and reports are critical parts of the course. The roving style of our camp also allows participants to gain perspective on regional relationships across Western North America, while developing these technical skills. The weather is often quite unpredictable, so be ready for anything from sunshine to snow and wind.
The course begins by travelling to California for 3 weeks of mapping igneous (intrusive and extrusive) and deformed sedimentary rocks, together with projects investigating active faulting and volcanism, the hydrologic cycle, glacial record preserved in the Eastern Sierra Nevada, and the eruption history of the Long Valley region and Bishop tuff. This part of the course will be led by Dr. Barbara John.
The course will head back to Wyoming, with Dr. Madeline Lewis leading course Section 02 in a weeklong study and mapping of sedimentation and tectonics near Seminoe Reservoir. During course section 03, Dr. Brad Carr will oversee a hands-on geophysics project near Laramie to introduce students to near-surface mapping via geophysical techniques. Students will work in teams using several types of geophysical equipment (hammer seismics, resistivity, ground penetrating radar, and electrical methods, to produce a project for review at the end of that week. The final week of the field course (course section 04) will head south into Colorado to carry out mapping in the Summer Coon volcano with Dr. Ken Sims.
The geology field course is intended for junior- and senior-level geology majors but is also appropriate for beginning graduate students who do not yet have adequate background in field studies. Participants are expected to have a firm grasp of basic geologic concepts. Courses in mineralogy, sedimentation and stratigraphy, and structural geology are prerequisite. The field course is nationally recognized as providing a comprehensive introduction to geologic field techniques. The course makes full use of abundant "textbook-quality" field sites in California, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. Students should be prepared for variable weather (heat to snow), rigorous days in the field, and undeveloped camping conditions.