Petroleum-engineering geology field camp

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Donna S. Anderson Colorado School of Mines
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GSA Poster (Acrobat (PDF) 5.6MB Oct21 04)

Learning Goals

geologic controls on oil/gas accumulations and fluid flow in reservoirs

Geologic Skills:
mapping structure and stratigraphy, observation, sketching, note-taking

Higher Order Thinking Skills:
analyzing multi-scalar data, integrating technology, projecting into the subsurface, iterative thought processes

Other Skills:
3-D visualization, relating different professional workflows


Instructional Level:
junior-level undergraduate, petroleum engineering majors

Skills Needed:
mastery of basic science courses; exposure to geology and petroleum engineering principles

Role of Activity in a Course:
culmination of geology education, bridge to capstone, integrated senior design course

Data, Tools and Logistics

Required Tools:
nothing specialized required; geophysical datasets donated by industry

Logistical Challenges:
keeping an applied science approach to maintain interest, keeping students comfortable with outdoors, students not always enthusiastic about subject matter


Evaluation Goals:
how learning impacts success in senior design course and over a career: does this experience make a difference?

Evaluation Techniques:
Only technique used to date is interviews with alumni.


The field camp consists of daily lab exercises that focus on those aspects of sedimentary and structural geology that control fluid flow in petroleum reservoirs. Topics are linked and build on each other. Surface geology is related to subsurface by looking at outcrop that produce in subsurface; also link with geophysics. The final exercise that ties the labs together is a day-long Acquisition Gams where students use all the tool and knowledge gained to evaluate geologic, engineering and economic potential of fields in the field camp area.