Geoscience in Two-year Colleges > Courses > Geologic Field Excursion

Geologic Field Excursion

Suki Smaglik
http://web.mac.com/sukismaglik/CWC
Central Wyoming College
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Summary


Field excursions will be taken to study the geology of specific areas such as the Black Hills, Central Colorado, Death Valley, Colorado Plateau, Hawaii, Central America, or others. Topics will include rock types, tectonics, geologic time, stratigraphy and surface processes.

Course URL: http://web.mac.com/sukismaglik/CWC
Course Size:
less than 15

Course Format:
Lecture and lab

Institution Type:
Two Year College

Course Context:

This is an introductory course with no pre-requisites and does not serve as a prerequisite for other courses. An introductory geology course is recommended by not required. Students take this course out of interest or to satisfy program electives in science programs. The course includes an introductory lecture and overview. All other learning is done in the field. Participants must be in good physical condition and be willing to live in sometimes primitive conditions. Field excursions will include several miles of on-foot exploration.

Course Content:

Topics include rock types, regional tectonics, geologic time, stratigraphy and surface processes. The scientific process of observations before interpretations is practiced with field problems.

Course Goals:

Upon completion of this course students should be able to:
1. identify rock types and interpret their mode of formation;
2. use observations to make interpretations about the geologic history of the area;
3. describe the dynamics of regional geologic processes;
4. explain the interaction of bedrock and surface processes in the formation of the regional geography;

Course Features:

This course varies in location and duration depending upon the offering. Typically it is a 3-5 days course for 2 credits, but it can be up to 2 weeks long for up to 5 credits. It is open to students of any level and background. Participants must be in good physical condition and be willing to live in sometimes primitive conditions. Field excursions will include several miles of on-foot exploration.

Course Philosophy:

Field excursions are an excellent way to discover and begin to understand the geology of an area in a regional or global context. Since there are no prerequisites for the course, students learn on an as needed basis. Brief introductory lectures are given in the field, followed by observations and discussions. This type of exposure generates more questions than answers and students are encouraged to ask good questions about their observations. Interpretations are made as a group, in a discussion setting.

Assessment:

Participation constitutes 60% of the course grade (rubric included in syllabus) and 40% is given for the field journal. Students are provided with a small field journal in which they are to write observations, notes, questions and daily summaries of lessons learned. They are also required to attach photographs with annotations, including their understanding of the geology. The final product is due within one week from the end of the trip. This allows time to print and attach photos. A rubric (attached) is used to grade the journals.

Syllabus:

Geologic Field Excursion: (Acrobat (PDF) 73kB Jun11 10)

Teaching Materials:

Journal Grading Rubric (Acrobat (PDF) 25kB Jun11 10) Suggested equipment list (Acrobat (PDF) 47kB Jun11 10)

References and Notes:

Cvancara, Alan M., 1995, A Field Manual for the Amateur Geologist, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 335 p.
Unfortunately, the above book is now out of print. Any other small book and/or regional geologic map of the area are also usually included. Online readings are provided as links on the course website.


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