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Geology Fieldcamp

Geology 4666: Geology of the Northern Rockies

Our geology field course is designed to instruct undergraduate students in a variety of field techniques and introduces them to regional aspects of the geology of western Montana and environs. The course is six weeks in length and is offered for six hours of credit. Applications are due by Friday, December 12, 2014. Notification of acceptance will be by the end of December, 2014.


Tentative Summer 2015 SCHEDULE


Students participating in the University of Arkansas field course are given an opportunity to learn field techniques within a regional framework characterized by diverse geological features. Field mapping of Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks in two areas within the Wyoming-Montana fold belt near Dillon allow insight into structural and historical aspects of the Laramide/Sevier orogenic belt. Plutonic rocks of the Boulder Batholith, a late Cretaceous pluton emplaced in sedimentary rocks of the fold belt, are the subject of a third mapping project. This project provides an opportunity to consider the timing of folding and intrusion within an orogenic belt. Later visits to exposures of the Idaho Batholith in the Bitterroot Mountains and to the overthrust belt in central Montana allow further opportunities to contrast structural and igneous features of the Laramide/Sevier orogen. A small grandodiorite intrusion near the gold mining town of Bannock is the subject of a mapping project that demonstrates the relationship between igneous activity and mineralization as well as the lithic changes caused by the intrusion into carbonate rocks. Experience in mapping metamorphic terrains is provided by a project east of Dillon. Precambrian schist, gneiss, marble, amphibolite, and quartzite are exposed in this area. Precambrian sedimentary rocks of the Belt Supergroup and glacial geomorphic features are examined in a visit to Glacier National Park. The Snake River Plain and Yellowstone National Park provide experience in volcanic terrains .

Beaver Pond in Pioneer Range

Montana-Wyoming Fold Belt, near Big Hole River


The class will check-in to the University in Fayetteville, Arkansas on May 11, 2015. En route to Dillon, Montana, the class will visit geological features in the Front Range of Colorado, and in the foothills of the Wind River Range in Wyoming.

Small Thrust in the Triassic Dinwoody Formation Climbers, Free Day on Mt. Torey


The major bases of operation are the campus of the University of Montana, Western in Dillon, Montana, and Elkhorn Springs about 30 miles southwest of Dillon. Dillon is in the valley of the Beaverhead River on the Lewis and Clark Trail. Folded and faulted Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks of the Wyoming-Montana Fold Belt lie north of Dillon along the Big Hole River and westward in the foothills of the Bitterroot Range. Precambrian metamorphic rocks occur in the Highland Mountains and the Ruby Range to the east. An assortment of volcanic rocks and features are present southward in Idaho and in Yellowstone National Park.

Faculty & Facilities

The Geology Field Course will be under the direction of the following faculty members:

  • Ralph K. Davis, Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Hydrogeology
  • Phillip Hays, Ph.D., Texas A &M University, Hydrogeology and Isotope Geochemistry
  • Doy L. Zachry, Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin. Stratigraphy, Foreland Basin Sedimentology (field class director)
  • Greg Dumond, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Structural Geology  
  • Celina Suarez, Ph.D., University of Kansas, Isotope Geochemistry/Vertebrate Paleontology

The faculty members will be assisted by three graduate students.

In Dillon students are housed in residence halls on the campus of the University of Montana, Western. Occupancy is normally two students per room. Morning and evening meals and sack lunches are prepared by the campus food service. The Western campus in Dillon and all parts of the town are within walking distance. Cabins with separate quarters for men and women are utilized at Elkhorn Springs. Hot showers and a well-lighted work area are located in an adjacent building. Excellent meals are prepared in a dining hall at the springs. Elkhorn Springs is in a picturesque valley at an elevation of about 7000 feet in the Pioneer Range. Trout fishing is available in nearby streams and glacial lakes. Moose, elk, and an occasional bear are normally sighted early in the season.

Cost, Scholarships and Financial Aid

Cost for the 2014 six-week, six-hour course is $4400.00. It covers tuition for both resident and non-resident students. An initial down payment of $1000 is due at the time of registration, and the remainder at time of departure. The cost includes six hours of tuition, travel in vans to Montana, travel during class, most of food and lodging, campground fees, and most of the materials needed for exercises. A rock hammer and lens are not included. Also excluded are some weekend meals and meals while traveling away from Elkhorn Springs and the Dillon campus. The class camps during travel to and from Dillon, and during a mid-camp trip to examine regional geological features. Camping fees are paid from the camp budget and group meals are prepared at minimal cost. A list of personal items useful for the camp will be sent to students with registration instructions.

Approximately five scholarships are available for resident and out-of-state students. (Click here for the scholarship form.) The scholarships range from $100 to $300 and are awarded on merit. A letter of recommendation from the student's departmental chairman or academic advisor should be included with the camp application for scholarship consideration. Applicants who wish to be considered for scholarships should apply to our department by February 15, 2015. The status of the scholarship applications will be known prior to the registration deadline.

Return your application and transcripts by Friday, December 12, 2014 to:  

  • Geology Summer Camp    
  • Department of Geosciences  
  • University of Arkansas
  • Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701

Instructions for obtaining temporary admission to the University of Arkansas will be mailed to out-of-state students upon acceptance into this course. Students will also be apprised of their scholarship status at that time. Enrollment is limited.

Summer Camp 2013

2011 Summer Camp Students
Summer 2011

Summer 2010

Summer 2009

Summer 2008