ERTH 406 - Intro Field Geology

Introduction to Field Geology, a late-summer field course for current University of Oregon students - Earth Sciences majors, minors or the Earth Science degree program-curious.


Geologic mapping is a fundamental component of a geoscience education and in this course students will get on-the-ground and in-the field experience applying their classroom knowledge to field data collection, field observations, and map making. The Lower Owyhee Canyon south of Ontario, Oregon is a great location to begin cataloging sedimentary stratigraphy, working with topographic base maps, taking strike-and-dip measurements, and creating a geologic map.  Students in the Geology and Paleontology tracks of the Earth Sciences major who take this two-week course will only need to take 2 more 4-credit sections of summer field camp to complete the field camp requirement for their degree, as this course will count for 4 of the 12 required credits. The course also counts as an upper-division elective course in the other Earth Science tracks.

The two week course will consist of three projects, with a half-day off for laundry or personal needs, a short field trip to other beautiful Owyhee locations, and 3-full days of travel between Eugene and Lake Owyhee.

Project one will focus on using a topographic map in the field, taking notes, using the Brunton compass while making detailed observations of stratigraphy.
Project two will focus on lava flow stratigraphy, making a field plan, field illustrations, targeting for sampling, and testing field hypotheses.
Project three is a reconnaissance project, developing a one-day, blitz data collection plan and executing. Using either paper base map and compass OR Smartphone.

Students will need to fill out this short online form so registration overrides can be processed.  This course is only open to current UO students, and so you must use the DuckID Login button on the User Account page to access the form.  Having trouble with the login?  Click here.

Logistic details

Location and Facilities: Lake Owyhee State Park, McCormick Campground
Dates of Camp:August 28 through September 13, 2023
Course Prerequisites:ERTH 101 OR ERTH 201
Transportation:Motor Pool vans, no personal vehicles
Gear:Tent (may be rented), light sleeping bag and bedsheet, day backpack, sturdy boots, reusable water bottles, field clothes, and geoscience field gear. Detailed list available in late May.
Course fees:$900

For more information, email the instructor Sammy Castonguay

Detailed Field Gear List
Some gear will be provided by the department, others may be purchased from ASC Scientific.  More information in late May.

eoreField Pouch on belt (Cordura recommended, leather OK)
Rite-in-the-Rain field notebook; geological edition requested, no exceptions
5 or 7 mm mechanical pencil(s); drafting style recommended
Retractable eraser
01 & 05 Micron black ink pens
Colored Pencils
Hand lens, simple 10x on a lanyard
Rock Hammer, 7”, 22 ounce head either rubber or leather handle
2, 2-liter water bottles or a camel-back
Grain size card
Bottle of dilute HCl
Brunton Compass
Map Board
Sandwich box and re-usable lunch sack
Sample Bags

Suggested but not required
Pencil Swing magnet
Hardness pick(s)
Downloading FieldMoveClino app on your smartphone, and a protective case

Field Clothes

Pants required: anything from lightweight zip-offs to heavy canvas; leggings not recommended
Short-sleeved shirts
Light-weight long sleeve shirt for sun repellent
Sun hat
Plenty of socks and undergarments
Swimming suit, as we are camping near a lake and hotsprings

Hygiene and personal care
Body and hair soap
Personal medications

Baby wipes

2022 Schedule (for reference)

September 2nd - load up and drive to Green Mountain; Four Craters lava field, and Crack-in-the-Ground
September 3rd - Hike cinder come, drive to Lake Owyhee
September 4th - Project 1 - Deer Butte Stratigraphy
September 5th - Project 1
September 6th - Project 1
September 7th - Project 1
September 8th - day off
September 9th - Project 2 - Owyhee Basalts
September 10th - Project 2 - regional reconnaissance: Leslie Gulch
September 11th - Project 2
September 12th - Project 2
September 13th - Project 2 (½ day field, ½ day office)
September 14th - Project 3 - Reconnaissance project
September 15th - depart campground early, drive to Eugene
September 16th - 8 am review class, van cleaning, course evaluations.  End by Noon.