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Five-week field methods courses are offered for undergraduate (GLG 411) and graduate (GLG 511) students. These 6-credit courses emphasize field description and documentation of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks; tectonic evolution of the North American Cordillera; interpretation of regional- and outcrop-scale structures; and traditional geologic mapping updated with remote sensing, GPS, and GIS techniques.

Time will be spent working within the spectacular scenery and varied geology of the Rocky Mountain west.  Areas visited include the Colorado Front Range, Collegiate Peaks, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado, the Henry Mountains, San Rafael Swell, Uinta Mountains, and Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, the Wind River Mountains, Jackson Hole, the Teton Range and Yellowstone National Park in Wyomingand the Madison Range, Boulder Batholith and Sawtooth Range in Montana.   Course logistics include both camping and motel stays.

Suggested prerequisites for the course include lecture/lab courses in Physical Geology, Mineralogy, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, Structural Geology and Igneous/Metamorphic Petrology (strongly recommended) should be completed prior to enrolling.  However, applicants with a junior-year undergraduate standing and who have completed Physical Geology and at least nine additional credit hours in advanced geology courses, are also strongly encouraged to apply.

Applications for each course are reviewed beginning in the late Fall, with acceptance decisions made in January-Feburary.  Applications will be accepted and reviewed until all available spots are filled.

General Information and Instructions

  1. The course begins on Tuesday June 11. Vans from Oxford will leave early in the morning of Monday, June 10.  If flying, your arrival point is Denver, Colorado (DEN). We will make one pick-up at the airport Tuesday afternoon at about 1 PM. If you are flying, you must arrive in Denver prior to 1 PM on Tuesday June 11. 

  2. Students will use their own camping gear throughout the course.  Lightweight camping equipment is strongly suggested, as luggage space is limited.  Sharing is encouraged where possible. A warm sleeping bag and sleeping pads are recommended.

  3. Clothing and Personal items:  Field clothes are worn on most occasions.  Temperatures may be high during the day and quite low in the evening.  A difference of 40°F in a period of 24 hours is not unusual.  Be prepared for high wind, bright sun, rain/snow, night temperatures between 25°- 45°F, and day temperatures between 55° - 95°F (see page 2).
  4. Note on packing:  Pack lightweight gear in duffel bags or soft, collapsible suitcases. Large, rigid suitcases, footlockers, and trunks are prohibited. You are limited to a maximum of two luggage items (soft-sided only) plus a carry-on (day pack) for the traveling portion of the course.
  5. Up-to-date tetanus and COVID-19 vaccinations are recommended.
  6. You must carry domestic health care insurance.
  7. The course ends in Sun Canyon, Montana on Sunday, July 14, with van returning to Oxford late in the day July 15 or early July 16.  If flying, your departure airport is Great Fall, Montana (GTF) after 11 AM.  See the Travel Information document for more detailed travel information.


  • Safety glasses (required, if not wearing glasses) and sunglasses.
  • Field hat with brim and field (work) gloves.
  • Rain Gear – Summer in the mountains is a relative concept so a good outer layer is necessary.
  • Both light and heavy socks (two pairs per day).
  • Above-the-ankle field or hiking boots are required equipment.  Hiking shoes provide insufficient foot support for the terrain we will be working in and are unacceptable (See Page 3).   If you buy a new pair of boots, they should be "broken in" before the class begins.
  • Hiking/running shoes (for when we are not mapping in the field), sandals.
  • Warm clothes including warm gloves and a warm hat or fleece/hooded sweatshirt (Think layers!).
  • Long-sleeved shirts, t-shirts.  Long pants with pockets (ie cargo pants or military fatigues are recommended). Leggings and shorts are not recommended as your legs will be prone to scratches, scrapes, and insect bites.
  • There is no need for dressy clothing. In the West, the dress is casual, even in the better saloons. 
  • You will have the opportunity to do laundry at least once per week.

Personal Items

  • Driver’s license and Health Insurance cards.
  • Mobile phone, pocket money, ATM/credit card.
  • Small first-aid kit, chapstick, sunscreen, insect repellent, foot powder, or baby powder, for example.
  • Personal toiletries and medicines for headache, allergy, heartburn, athlete's foot, etc., as may be needed.
  • Towel and washcloth.
  • Flashlight and pocket knife.
  • A good warm sleeping bag and a pillow – a bag rated to at least 20°F is an excellent choice.  Rectangular bags are more comfortable than mummy bags and warmer as they compress less against your body and thus provide better insulation
  • Soft backpack for day-hikes (~2000 cu in.; No frame packs).
  • Small binoculars (not mandatory, but useful).
  • Personal water containers for the field (plan to carry at least 3 liters at all times).

Bring your gear in duffel bags or soft, collapsible suitcases.  Large rigid suitcases and trunks are prohibited. Please pack lightweight equipment, if possible. Students do not need computers during the traveling portion of the course; internet access points are limited and no special arrangements are made for such access. There is wireless internet access at the ranch.

Required Course Supplies

Rock hammer (not a sledge), a hammer holster, and a dedicated belt to hold it. A hand lens (10x is required) is also required. Assorted pencils, colored pencils, pens, a white rubber eraser, protractor, and a calculator.

Field notebooks, notebook holders, Brunton compasses, auto and hand-held GPS receivers, portable two-way radios, a large first-aid kit, bear spray, and food storage containers are standard field equipment supplied by the course. Limited internet access is available in Dubois and at the ranch.

Camping Equipment and Supplies

The gear listed below is necessary for the traveling portion of the course.

  • A good 3- or 4-season tent (borrow and/or share if possible) with a waterproof ground cloth. Large (4+ person), vertical-sided tents are PROHIBITED as they are highly SUSCEPTIBLE to wind damage (see Page 4).
  • A good warm sleeping bag and pillow, and a mattress pad to put under your sleeping bag.
  • A small, simple cooking pot; hot/cold drinking cup; and knife, fork, and spoon set. Large pots for boiling water and large serving utensils are provided. Two-burner camp stoves and propane for student use will be provided.
  • Zip-loc plastic bags for storage of toiletries, food, or other aromatic items (we will be in bear country).
  • Money to buy the food you like to eat during the traveling portion of the course (about $15/day). Think cheap, simple, fast, and group cooking.  There are frequent opportunities to purchase food during the traveling weeks.

Travel Information


We will assemble in Denver, Colorado at 3:00 PM, Tuesday, June 11. All participants must be present by this time.

Ground Travel – Private Vehicles

Students are not permitted to drive personal vehicles to field camp. If you plan to have someone drop
you off, please contact Dr. Currie for additional information. The course ends at 7:00 AM, Sunday July
14 at the Sun Canyon Lodge, near Augusta, Montana but you could leave as early as the evening of July
13 if you have someone pick you up.

Ground Travel – Miami University Vans

Multiple vehicles will depart from Shideler Hall (250 Patterson Ave, Oxford, OH) loading zone off of Bishop Circle, at 8:00 AM, Monday June 10. The trip will involve two days of travel, arriving in Denver on Tuesday June 11. The vehicles will return to Oxford late in the evening on Tuesday July 12.

More information will be provided later, but there likely will be room for approximately 14-20
passengers, at least 8 of whom must be approved as Miami University drivers (having completed the on-
line university safety program), with two slots taken by instructors. If you want a spot in the University
vans, please contact Dr. Currie as soon as possible.

Air Travel


Air travel is somewhat complex, as we will have different arrival and departure cities.
Arrivals: Your arrival point in Colorado is the Denver International Airport (DEN).
Participants planning to fly should arrange a flight as soon as possible to ensure direct connections and to obtain the best possible fares. Please pack as if you are going backpacking, luggage space will be limited! You must
arrive at the airport no later than 1:00 PM Tuesday June 11.
We will make a pick-up at the airport at
about 1 PM. If you are flying, you must arrive in Jackson prior to 1 PM on Tuesday June 11!

Departures: Your departure city is Great Falls, Montana (GTF). Your departure from Great Falls has to
be after 11 AM on Sunday July 14. If earlier than that, you will be required to get a room in Great Falls
on Saturday evening (we can transport you there) and arrange your own transport to the airport the
next day.




Tue., June 11

Course Begins in Denver, CO @ 3 PM … Welcome! Motel Denver

Wed., June 12

Front Range, South Park, Collegiate Range; Chalk Lake Campground; San Isabel National Forest, CO

Thru., June 13

Black Canyon of the Gunnison N.P., Saddlehorn Campground; Colorado National Monument, CO

Fri., June 14

Colorado National Monument; Green River State Park Campground, UT

Sat., June 15

Grand County, UT; Green River State Park Campground, UT

Sun., June 16

Henry Mountains; Starr Springs Campground, UT

Mon., June 17

Henry Mountains; Starr Springs Campground, UT

Tue, June 18

San Rafael Swell; Woodside Mapping Project; Huntington Lake S.P.

Wed., June 19

San Rafael Swell; Cedar Mountain Mapping Project; Huntington Lake S.P.:

Thru., June 20 San Rafael Swell; Cedar Mountain Mapping Project; Quality Inn, Price, UT
Fri., June 21 Travel Price, UT to Jensen, UT; Split Mountain Campground, Dinosaur National Monument
Sat., June 22 Split Mountain Stratigraphy; Split Mountain Campground, Dinosaur National Monument
Sun., June 23 Split Mountain Mapping Project; Split Mountain Campground, Dinosaur National Monument
Mon., June 24 Split Mountain Independent; Vernal Motel
Tue., June 25

Day Off; Dripping Springs Campground, Flaming Gorge NRA, Dutch John, UT

Wed., June 26 North Uintas; Flaming Gorge; Dripping Springs Campground, Flaming Gorge NRA, Dutch John, UT
Thru., June 27 South Pass Mapping Project; Atlantic City C.G.
Fri., June 28 South Pass Mapping Project; Atlantic City C.G.
Sat., June 29 South Pass Mapping Project; Jackalope Motor Lodge, Pinedale, WY
Sun., June 30 Day Off; Narrows Campground, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Cora, WY
Mon., July 1 Quaternary Mapping Project; Narrows Campground, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Cora, WY
Tue., July 2 Quaternary Mapping Project; Narrows Campground, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Cora, WY
Wed., July 3 Tetons-Yellowstone; Beaver Creek Campground, MT
Thur., July 4 Yellowstone; Beaver Creek Campground, MT
Fri., July 5 Yellowstone; Beaver Creek Campground, MT
Sat., July 6 Boulder Batholith, Rocker Inn, Butte, MT
Sun., July 7 Day Off, Rocker Inn, Butte, MT
Part II: CAMPING SUN CANYON LODGE, P.O. BOX 327, AUGUSTA, MT 59410, (406) 562-3654


Mon., July 8 Anaconda, MT to Sun Canyon, MT; Sun River Canyon Final Mapping Project
Tue., July 9 Sun River Canyon Final Mapping Project (Continued)
Wed., July 10 Sun River Canyon Final Mapping Project (Continued)
Thru., July 11 Sun River Canyon Final Mapping Project (Continued)
Fri., July 12 Sawtooth Range Independent Exercise/Sun River Canyon Final Mapping Project (Continued)
Sat., July 13 Sun Canyon Map Day
Sun., July 14 Course Ends @ 7 AM; Depart for Ohio

Workshop Director Contact:  Brian Currie,; 513-602-5589.


Tuition - 6 credits - Undergraduate Level

*Summer Tuition Plus $175 Global Programs Administrative Fee



Out of State:

Program Fee TOTAL is $1800

Deposit is due upon acceptance: $500


Deposit: Paid on Application Portal




Program Fee Balance: $1300

Includes housing, ground transportation, program activities, and most meals.




Total Costs Paid to Miami




Tuition - 6 credits - Graduate Level

*Summer Tuition Plus $175 Global Programs Administrative Fee

Instate: $3889

Out of State:  $8908.58

Program Fee $1800

*Includes housing, ground transportation, program activities, and most meals.

Total Costs Paid to Miami

In-state: $5689

Out of State: $10797.58


*Plus individual food costs for travel/camping days (approximately $200) and travel to and from Wyoming (no cost van transportation from Ohio available).  Final Tuition/Fees are subject to change.


Boot Options

Best boot

Best: 8" high ankle support, all leather construction, yellow tag Vibram sole. This is what I wear. I usually get 3-4 years out of a pair such as these before the soles to (but you can get them re-soled!)

Better boot

Better: 8" high ankle support will give you lots of support and keep most stuff out of the boot. However, while non leather materials make the boot lighter, they are also highly susceptible to abrasion. Non-yellow tag Vibram soles will also get word down in short order. You will likely get only 1-2 years of wear if you continue to do field geology (that is why the military only does 1 year tours!)

OK boot

OK: 6" high ankle support will give you some support and keep a lot of stuff out of the boot. Consider this a minimally acceptable style.

Marginally OK boot

Marginally OK: But the lack of higher
ankle support will make you feel unstable on steep slopes. You will also spend a lot of time pulling out debris that will get into your boots.

Inadequate boot

Inadequate: You need ankle support to do the things we are going to do. These will not cut it!

Tent Options

Best tent

Best: Low profile, small footprint,
with good rain fly coverage

Adequate tent

Adequate, but due to the open fly,
if we get a thunderstorm, you will
be wet and your tent might shred
in the wind.

No tent

NO! Near vertical walls turn into sails in
the wind. Its large footprint also hogs limited
pad space at National Park campsites

Please no tent

Please NO! The infamous "Wyoming
Thunderstorm Tragedy of 2011" occurred
in large part due to this type of tent.

Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Science

118 Shideler Hall
250 S. Patterson Ave.
Oxford, OH 45056