Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Introduction to Field Methods

Main content start

Two-week, field-based course in the White Mountains of eastern California.

Summer Quarter

This course offers an introduction to the techniques for geologic mapping and geologic investigation in the field: systematic observations and data collection for lithologic columns and structural cross-sections. Interpretation of field relationships and data to determine the stratigraphic and deformational history of the region.


1. To teach you the basic steps involved in collecting and recording a wide variety of data in the field and the various steps involved in producing a geologic map and constructing geological cross-sections from this data. More specialized techniques will be introduced during the course of the project.

2. To give you the beginning knowledge and confidence needed to conduct basic investigations and sampling in the field.

3. To use field-based data to critically evaluate ideas and interpretations proposed by previous workers regarding the geomorphologic, stratigraphic, structural, metamorphic, and intrusive relationships in the regions under consideration.

We will generate geologic maps at 1:6,000 scale. Topographic maps and a wide variety of imagery will be used as a base for these studies. Data collected during the day will be compiled each evening to produce individual geologic maps, cross-sections, map legends and concise geologic histories or summaries of the data.

This field-based research may also serve as a platform and starting point for more detailed laboratory-based studies in our many analytical facilities. We welcome continued student participation in these and other later projects.