A Word About Field Camp

Field camp then and now:  A long tradition in geology is that field camp makes the geologist out of the geology student.  We all had to go through it.  Click here to see a field camp from long, long ago, and look for a much younger version of me in the middle of the front row.

 All students majoring in Geology must take the Field Geology course, otherwise known as Field Camp. The program consists of two courses of 3 hours each, Geol 4120 and 4121. The courses are applied to Area G, the major course of study.

Dr. Fritz explains the nuances of Paleozoic carbonates and thrust faults.


Geology field camps traditionally were conducted in a semi-military style; this is no longer the case. The courses are academic, designed to teach you how to do geology in the field. You learn to produce geologic maps, cross sections, stratigraphic columns, and geologic histories.

The first course (Geol 4120) focuses on general understanding of field techniques and mapping. The projects are simple, but instructive. This course also features a week-long excursion to places where different and interesting geology can be seen, such as Yellowstone Park, channeled scablands of Washington, Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountains, MT, and others.

The second course (Geol 4121) follows immediately after the first, and features more complicated and demanding geology. In this course you learn how to recognize and map complexly folded and faulted terrain, further complicated by past volcanic events. It is said that if you can master Geol 2121, you can handle geologic mapping anywhere.

Of course, there is a physical aspect to this -- you must get around in the field over pretty rugged terrain. So it helps if you are in good physical shape. If you have any physical limitations, we can work something out.

Still smiling -- must be the first day.


Field camp is taught every summer and lasts six (6) weeks. The course will cost you both time and money, so you need to begin planning for field camp as soon as possible. Generally you will be ready to go to field camp the summer following your sophomore year, i.e. after you have had the first year of geology courses for majors. However, you may pospone it to a later summer if you wish.


You must apply to go to field camp. The reason for this is that the teaching staff must agree that you are ready for the experience, otherwise you might be headed for an expensive disaster.

We must be on this map somewhere!


Throughout the year there are field camp meetings. You are encouraged to attend any of these, even if you are not planning to go to field camp anytime soon. However, in the year leading up to your field camp, you must attend these meetings. At the meetings you will find out about how field camp is conducted, what equipment and supplies you will need, travel alternatives, rough estimated cost, schedules, etc.

Dr. Hassan A. Babaie is the field camp director and the definitive source for any additional information you might want or need. Visit Dr. Babaie's field camp web site or you can e-mail him.