GLY4150 - Geology Field Seminar (Summer 2015)

Morning Glory Pool, Yellowstone National Park by daveynin, on Flickr

Instructors: Dr Daren Nelson


This field-based course is a 15-day excursion that will focus on how North America’s landscape has changed due to the geomorphic effects of the last ice age and of volcanic processes related to the Yellowstone Hotspot. However, the course will also discuss many other aspects of North American geology and geography. The course will aid the student to make their own geological conclusions through field observations and through the scientific literature.

The instruction of the course follows a seminar course format wherein each student is responsible, for researching, developing, and presenting to the group 2 - 3 topics relevant to the sites in which we will visit. Students will be taught basic field techniques and are required to keep a field notebook, actively participate in geologic discussions, and take morning quizzes prior to going out in the field each day.

We will be driving cross-country in order to reduce costs and to get a broad understanding of the physiographical and geological providences of the United States. Even though costs are down due to driving instead of flying, there will be a lot more time related to travel. If possible, use this time-wisely to catch up on reading or working on the course project.

The only pre-requisite for the course is GLY 1150 or the instructors’ approval. It is assumed that the student will have a good handle of the topics they covered in GLY 1150. The class will meet for four hours each on July 24 & 27 prior to embarking on the field excursion. These meetings are to discuss proper field safety techniques, logistical concerns regarding the trip, and to review basic geologic concepts. These meetings are mandatory and you will be dropped from the course if you do not attend.


  1. To give students field experiences and to teach basic field techniques in preparation for their future geoscience careers.
  2. To provide students with an opportunity to connect abstract ideas and histories discussed in the classroom with real world examples.
  3. To broaden the students understanding of geological processes and to take the students to localities that is outside of their regular realm of exposure.


The course is being incorporated into UNCP’s Study Away program. The program requires a $50 non-refundable application fee in order for the program to deal with all of our paperwork regarding safety and legal constraints. Please contact Laura Dobson or the instructors regarding the application process. In addition, to the Study Away fee the course has a $550 course fee. The cost of the course includes all text materials, transportation, lodging (hotel & camp fees), and admittance fees to National Parks etc…. However, costs for food and optional sampling and recreational sites are not included.