Field Geology of the Desert Southwest

Field Geology of the Desert Southwest

Field courses include study of the geology, geography, and natural history of destinations such as the Bahamas, Hawaii, Texas, and Southern California. All aspects of Earth Science may be covered during these trips including surficial geology, geomorphology, sedimentology, petrology, mineralogy, structural geology, climatology, hydrology, and geochemistry. These trip-based courses offer exceptional opportunities to practice field techniques in all areas of geology. Field mapping versions of this course, such as Field Geology of the Desert Southwest, combine regional geology studies with extensive instruction in field mapping and other data collection techniques. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor and GEOL 274 Off-campus Field Studies: Desert SW (a 1-credit pre-trip orientation course offered in the Fall 2013 semester).

This course emphasizes mastering basic field techniques for collecting and presenting geologic data in a field notebook through use of a Brunton compass, a Jacob staff, and a GPS receiver. Students will complete several small mapping projects during the course. The field destinations for this course vary from year to year. However, the most common versions of this course visit geologic features in either: 1) the deserts, mountains, and gorges of West Texas and New Mexico, or 2) the deserts, mountains and gorges of Arizona, Nevada and Southern California. Both of these regions provide spectacular examples of a wide variety of geologic phenomena to observe and document. Highlights of the 2014 course includes visits to the Franklin Mountains, Big Bend National Park, tour of the Christmas Mountains on horseback, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and Guadalupe Mountains National Park. (LAB).