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What to Expect at Field Camp

Projects

This six week field course involves a series of projects that may vary from 1 to 5 days in length, with some of the longer, more involved projects occuring later in camp.
Projects involve geologic mapping, rock descriptions, cross-section construction, stratigraphic section measurements and descriptions, stereonet analyses, and interpretation of geologic histories.
The projects are challenging, but considerable guidance and feedback are given during the course through interaction with the instructors to assure that students become independently thinking geologists as the course progresses.

Conditions

Project areas range from 5,000 to just over 10,000 feet above mean sea level. Weather can be variable (sun, hot, cold, rain, and rare hail or snow). All of the project areas have relief, commonly on the order of 1000 ft, which might not seem like much until you place it at ~10,000 feet above mean sea level!
When working projects (which is what we do for the majority of the class), we park the vans and then go on foot for the rest of the day (off trail). We pack lunch and water in our backpacks to be self sufficient. None of the field areas are flat, which means that you need to hike up and down elevation while working the projects.
The amount of hiking we do is typical for field camp classes in general. Some projects involve hiking to get in and out of a certain portion of a field area and in most cases, when working projects, there will not be immediate help for health related issues. We will sometimes be up to an hour hike from the vans, which are commonly a .5 to 1 hour drive away from possible medical facilities. These time estimates vary depending on hiking rates and field project localities.
On top of all the hiking, students need to critically think about the geology. This might seem trivial, but the combination of physical and mental exercise that is done at any field camp can be exhausting. Because of these factors, we urge you to check with your doctor regarding medical issues.

 

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