Geology 51-360/560: Coral Reefs, Oceanography and Geology of Bermuda
In Bermuda August 15-22, 2022

2 Credits

Eric Hiatt
Harrington Hall 315
(920) 424-7001
Web site:

Office hours Spring 2019:3:00-4:00 M,F; 10:30-11:30 Wed.; and by appointment or chance.

Grades: Your grade will be based on your participation during the course and on your field notebooks.

Grade scale: 93% and up = A; 90-92 = A-; 87-89 = B+; 83-86 = B; 80-82 = B-; 77-79 = C+; 73-76 = C; 69-72 =C-; 66-68 = D+; 63-65 = D; 60-62 = D-; <60% = F

Graduate Credit: Students taking the course for graduate credit will be required to complete a research project based on data that we collect while on the island. You must discuss this with Dr. Hiatt during the Spring semester 2014, for pre-approval before the final plans are made for the trip. This project will involve a higher level of synthesis than is required of undergraduate students in this course.

Graduate grade scale: 93% and up = A; 90-92 = A-; 87-89 = B+; 83-86 = B; 80-82 = B-; 77-79 = C+; 73-76 = C; 69-72 =C-; 68% or less = F.

Required text: James, N. P. 2006, Field guide to Pleistocene and modern carbonates of Bermuda.

Additional Reading on Reserve.

Course Objectives: The purpose of this course is to give students an opportunity to explore the oceanographic and environmental factors that affect coral reefs and carbonate sediment-producing organisms. We also examine the human impacts on reefs, marine environments and island ecosystems. For a geologist, it is critical to understand the relationships between environments and the sediments (solid remains of organisms, such as stony corals, many forms of algae, mollusks (clams and snails), and single-celled calcifying organisms), because it is these sediments that later become carbonate rocks (limestone and dolostone). These relationships are important because much of our petroleum, natural gas, and even groundwater are derived from the pore spaces in carbonate rocks. Ultimately, the original environment in which these organisms lived provides the first order control of the size and distribution of this pore space that later becomes reservoirs for these vital natural resources.

We will also explore global climate change as recorded in rocks and soils on Bermuda. When the Pleistocene ice sheets advanced covering areas such as Wisconsin, the volcanic atoll that is Bermuda stood as much as 150 meters higher above sea level, and thick soils developed on the island. These soils contain the shells of well preserved land snails which were studied by the paleontologist Stephen J. Gould, and from which he developed the idea of punctuated equilibrium as a mechanism of evolution.

Geology 51-360/560 Schedule.

Field course on the island of Bermuda. During the trip we will be based at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS). We will spend about 5 hours per day in the water and/or visiting outcrops on land, about 4 hours per day in the laboratory studying samples that we collected during the day, and about 2 hours per day in a lecture room discussing and learning about the geology, hydrology, and oceanography of Bermuda.

All times listed below refer to time at the location (local time).

August 15 (Monday):
Leave Oshkosh by bus (2:00 AM = really, really early)
6:00 AM Depart Milwaukee on Delta 2085, Arrive Atlanta, 9:00 AM
10:51 AM Depart on Delta 656 to Bermuda
2:45 PM Arrive in Bermuda on Delta 656 from Atlanta
3:30 PM Shuttle bus to BIOS
4:15 PM Arrive and Orientation at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS)
5:00-5:30 PM Snorkeling practice, Ferry Reach
5:45 PM Dinner at BIOS
7-9 PM Lecture 1

August 16 (Tuesday):
7:00-7:45 AM Breakfast at BIOS
9:00-2:00 Hike to Whalebone Bay (snorkeling) (sack lunch in the field)
3:00-5:30 PM In Laboratory (examine samples collected)
6 PM Dinner at BIOS
7-9 PM Lecture/Discussion 2

August 17 (Wednesday):
7:00-8:00 AM Breakfast at BIOS
8:30 AM BIOS Bus to caves (hiking and snorkeling) (sack lunch in field)
Walsingham Park, cave, pond, picked up by BIOS bus @ 2:30
3:30-5:30 PM In Laboratory (examine samples collected)
6-7 PM. Dinner at BIOS
7-9 PM.  Lecture/Discussion 3

August 18 (Thursday)
7:00-7:45 AM Breakfast at BIOS
8:30-10:00 AM Examine Pleistocene outcrops to understand climate change history
10:30-11:30AM In Laboratory (examine samples collected)

12:00-12:45 Lunch at BIOS
1:00 PM-5:00 PM Boat to Harrington Sound, Hall Island (snorkeling) (sack lunch in field), Gibbet's Island (snorkeling)

5:45 PM Dinner at BIOS
7-9 PM Lecture/Discussion 4

August 19 (Friday):
7:00-7:45 AM. Breakfast at BIOS
8:00 AM-Noon Boat to Charles Island and Plinian cup reefs (snorkeling) (sack lunch in field)
12:15-1:15 Lunch at BIOS
2:30-5:00 PM In Laboratory (examine samples collected)
5:45 PM Dinner at BIOS
7-9 PM Lecture/Discussion 5

August 20 (Saturday):
7:00-7:45 AM. Breakfast at BIOS
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM BIOS bus to South Shore: Devonshire Bay and Warwick Long
Beach (snorkeling) (sack lunch in field), Blackwatch Pass outcrop
5:45 PM Dinner at BIOS
7-9 PM Lecture/Discussion 6

August 21 (Sunday):
7:00-7:45 AM.   Breakfast at BIOS
8:00 AM -12:00 PM Boat to North Lagoon and North Rock (snorkeling) (sack lunch in field)
1:30-5:00 PM In Laboratory (examine samples collected; wrap up and clean up lab; begin packing)
5:45 PM Dinner at BIOS
7-9 PM Lecture/Discussion 7: Wrap-up

August 22 (Monday):
7:00-7:45 AM.   Breakfast at BIOS
8:30 -10:30 AM Tobacco Bay (snorkeling) via BIOS bus
11:00-12:30 Visit St. Georges
1:30 PM Depart for airport
3:45 PM Depart Bermuda on Delta 657 to Atlanta (arrive 5:50 PM)
7:24 PM Depart Atlanta
on Delta 1103
8:29 PM Arrive Milwaukee
Travel back to Oshkosh by bus, arrive ~11:15 PM

Contact Information in Bermuda:

Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS)
Ferry Reach
St. George’s GE01
Telephone: (441) 297-1880
Fax: (441) 297-8143

Checklist of things to bring to Bermuda:

(In August the air temperature will be 75-90°F, and the water temperature will range from 80-85°F. Be prepared for sun, heat, sun, and possibly rain on land.)

_____ Field Notebook
_____ Water Bottle (approximately 1 liter)
_____ Mask, snorkel, and fins
_____ 1 pair of running or tennis shoes and 1 pair sport sandals
_____ Rain jacket
_____ Day pack for transporting gear
_____ 2 bathing suits (tasteful and practical, e.g. no speedos, please)
_____ 2 Towels
_____ Sunscreen (SPF 30-60), hat, and comfortable shirt for protection from sun
_____ Shirts & windbreaker for sun protection, rain and wind
_____ Eyeglasses (if needed; spare pair recommended)
_____ Personal hygiene needs (toothpaste, shampoo, etc.; no stores nearby)
_____ Motion sickness medication, if needed
_____ Notebooks, pens and pencils
_____ Camera (underwater camera(s))
_____ Small pocket flashlight (BBSR grounds are not well lit at night)
_____ Small amount of laundry detergent if you plan to use BBSR facilities (~$4/load)

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