Geology Field Camp
Georgia State University
Department of Geology

To see this summer's Field Camp Schedule click on "Key dates" & "Schedule of Projects" on the Field Camp Homepage

Georgia State University Department of Geology will offer field camp in Dillon, MT this summer. Field camp has remained a traditional mapping course of the type valued most highly by graduate programs and employers.

Dillon is the county seat of Beaverhead County. It is located along I-15, 70 miles south of Butte in southwestern Montana, just east of the continental divide, and approximately 150 miles northwest of Yellowstone National Park and 400 miles south of Glacier National Park. Mapping will be conducted on metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rocks ranging in age from Archean to Recent.

Field camp includes two rigorous, introductory- and advanced-level courses (upper division undergraduate or graduate) that emphasizes independent field mapping.

Course Descriptions -
Basic Field Geology: GEOL 4120/6120 - 3 Semester Hours Credit

Completion of a core-curriculum science and consent of instructor

Nine hours a day, six days a week for three weeks.
Introduction to field geology in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, with emphasis on basic concepts and field methods. Construction of simple geologic maps, cross sections, and stratigraphic columns, using topographic maps and aerial photographs in the field. Includes a seven-day excursion to geologically interesting areas of the U.S. Northwest. Open to teachers and students majoring in Geography, anthropology, Biology, Environmental Science, or others who are seeking a geological field experience.

Course Descriptions - Advanced Field Geology: Geol 4121-6121 - 3 Semester Hours Credit

Geol 4006 and 4013, and consent of instructor;
Prerequisite or corequisite: Geol 4120/6120 or equivalent

Nine hours a day, six days a week for three weeks.
Intensive geological mapping and interpretation in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, with particular emphasis on complexly-deformed areas. Includes mapping in folded and faulted sedimentary rocks, intrusive and volcanic igneous rocks, and high-grade metamorphic basement terrain. Construction of multiple cross sections for complex strructures and advanced interpretation of geologic history of complex areas. Involves extensive, rough, off-trail hiking.

Whereas some students will choose to attend field camp with this minimum preparation, others will choose to postpone field camp until completion of most of their upper-division geology courses. For most students there is no particular advantage to doing it either way. Students eligible to receive graduate credit for the course should register for Geol 6120 & 6121.

Mapping Protocol
Mapping is conducted on topographic base maps and air photos, at a variety of scales. Each student completes all work for each exercise, which includes maps, air photos, cross-sections, stratigraphic columns, lithologic descriptions, geologic histories, stereonets, etc.
Starting from Summer 2007 digital geological mapping, using toughbooks with embedded GPS and GIS, will be introduced in the two courses.

Students normally work in pairs in the field, but individually are responsible for completion of each project. Students will be assigned several mapping projects, each project taking from two days to five days in the field, covering areas of 2-10 mi2. There will also be two or three one-day independent mapping exercises (Independent Field days) which each student must complete and turn in without any collaboration or assistance.

During the mapping part of the course, field trips and show-and-tell sessions by the faculty are kept to a minimum. Mapping is conducted six days per week for 7-8 hours in the field. Meetings, help sessions, and drafting work on maps are reserved for the evenings. Letter grades are assigned at the end of the course based on work completed during the camp.

It is the policy of field camp not to return maps and projects at the end of field camp. Projects are kept indefinitely by the GSU Department of Geology and are available for inspection at any time. Project folders are available for inspection by prospective employers or graduate schools at your request. Field notebooks are an exception; these will be returned to the student at the end of camp.


Arriving for Field Camp
Each student is responsible for arranging his/her own transportation either directly by car or bus to Dillon or by air. See the "Schedule of Project" for arrival dates, available at:


The Road Trip
We will provide transportation from Dillon for the ~8-day geology road trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national Parks. Personal cars will not be allowed. Participation in the road trip is required and is part of the official field camp program. There will be several projects, quizzes, and a concluding exam over this portion of the course. Students must keep, and hand in a field notebook for this portion of the course.

Departing Field Camp
Students may leave Dillon within minutes of having handed in the final project early evening on the last field day. Students planning to fly out of SLC Utah, and who need to get to SLC in the rental van, can depart at 7:00 AM the following day. The van normally leaves Dillon about 7:00 A.M. Please check the itinerary for this summer.

Living arrangements while in Dillon will be double or single occupancy dorm rooms at Western Montana College of The University of Montana (WMC-UM), a small four-year campus of the University of Montana. Sheets and pillow cases are provided and can be swapped for clean ones once a week. Coin-operated washers and dryers are available in each dorm. Refrigerators w/ or w/o microwave can be rented for a small weekly fee. Breakfast and supper will be provided Monday through Saturday at the cafeteria. Lunches, Sunday meals, and meals on the road trip will be each student's responsibility. WMC-UM is within walking distance of grocery stores, banks, post office, churches, restaurants, and other types of stores.

You will need a sleeping bag and tent for the Road trip. Generally, showers and washers are available in the campgrounds, but count on one or two campsites having no facilities. For those who do not wish to camp out, motels are sometimes available but should not be depended on. There will probably be at least one or two nights where everyone must camp out. Sleeping in the van(s) will not be allowed. Meals during camping is the responsibility of the students, and is commonly prepared at the camp site (everyone pitches in).

Mail: Mail can be received at camp addressed to:

(Your Name)
Georgia State Geology
c/o Western Montana College
of The University of Montana
710 S. Atlantic
Dillon, MT 59725-3598 

Emergency Phone: (406) 683-7565

(You will also have a phone in your room that you can use for local calls or credit card long distance calls.)

E-Mail: Dorm rooms have fast Internet connection. There are also computer labs you can use to send and receive e-mail, and access the Internet. Most computers are PCs running Windows NT and latest OS, but there are a few Mac’s. If you have your own laptop you can log in via your dorm connection (or even dial-up line) as long as your dial-up service can be accessed with a call that is local, toll-free, or credit-card.


The Barrett Memorial Hospital is located just a few hundred yards from WMC. The center has a fully equipped emergency room, with doctors and nurses on site 24 hours a day.



Dr. Hassan A. Babaie, Director of Field Camp; Ph.D., Northwestern University Personal Web site

Dr. William J. Fritz, Ph. D., University of Montana

Dr. Timothy E. La Tour, Ph. D., University of Western Ontario

1. Compton, R. R., 1985, Geology in the field: John Wiley and Sons, New York, 398 p. has it for $68.95.
2. AAPG Geological Highway Maps:
Northern Rocky Mountain Region
Pacific Northwest Region
To order call: 800-364-AAPG or visit .
Each map costs $12.00 + $1.25 S&H; v, mc, amex

The Geology Department will provide Brunton compasses, stereoscopes, air photos, and base maps. The necessary equipment, which you must provide for yourself, are listed on the course web site. Consider that some of the items may be shared.

Georgia State University is an equal opportunity institution and is an equal opportunity educational institution, and students are admitted and treated without regard to race, sex, color, age, religion, national or handicap.