Course: Geology in the Field

HC 441H

Professor: Samantha Hopkins

Oregon has some of the most spectacular geologic diversity of any state in the U.S. We will explore how you can use your observations of rocks and fossils in the field to understand the history of earth and the organisms that inhabit it. The first week, we will spend a few hours a day learning some basic field measurement techniques, and then we will spend 2 weeks camping, hiking, and studying the geology of Central Oregon. We will take a field trip through John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, where we'll go behind the scenes to see how they're advancing our understanding of ecosystem evolution. We'll camp on the wild and scenic Crooked River and map the geology of this area to understand ongoing seismic activity and the origin of the high mountains and deep gorges of this spectacular landscape. We'll collect fossils and describe the rocks that hold them to assemble an understanding of how climate change in Oregon's past shaped the fauna we see here today. We'll also take field trips to see several other spectacular geologic features here in our home state. Students will learn how geologists understand earth history by working out some of this history for themselves, and along the way will learn skills in map reading and land navigation with map and compass, GPS, and other tools. Students will write several short reports of their findings, as well as drawing maps and stratigraphic columns.