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Academics > College of Science, Mathematics, and Health > Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences > Environmental Geosciences > Field Geology in the Rockies

Field Geology in the Rockies and Appalachians

Geology Field Camp @Concord University
January to early June, odd years

Photo: Some of the 2013 field camp participants on the summit of Mt. Elbert (14,439 ft) - the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains and the second highest peak in the contiguous United States. Photo courtesy of Sheena Harper Photography.
General Information

How do geologists know what they know about geologic time and physical processes that operate on Earth? The answer lies buried within the Earth's rock record. Concord's field course addresses these questions by helping you develop an understanding of field research and how it is connected to data derived in the laboratory. Our field camp will help you develop an understanding of field relations, geologic processes, and geologic time by engaging in geologic mapping.

The Concord University geology field camp is offered for 6 semester hours in two 3-hour courses. The first takes place during the spring semester in the Appalachians of southern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia. The second takes place in May and early June for 3 weeks in Colorado and Utah. The course emphasizes geologic mapping at 4-6 different field sites using both traditional and digital methods with iPad’s (provided to participants). Students will also construct cross sections, utilize stereographic projections of structural data, and write interpretive reports for each field area.  

The first half of the course emphasizes development of mapping and field skills in the Appalachian fold and thrust belt. It also includes a module on the use of ground penetrating radar as an application of field geophysics to environmental problems. The second half involves mapping in faulted and folded Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary strata in Glenwood Canyon Colorado, and at Arches and Canyonlands National Parks near Moab, Utah. The core of the second half of the course is in Leadville, Colorado, where we work on a project with Eocene volcanic rocks, and original research and mapping in Precambrian fault zones developed in metamorphic and igneous rocks in the Sawatch Range. Regional field trips are scheduled between exercises to examine the geological evolution of the Rocky Mountains and Colorado Plateau.

Prerequisites: 12 hours in geology, including introductory geology (such as Geol 101 and Geol 140 or 202) and two or more upper-level lab courses in geology (such as Geol 365 - Earth Materials and Minerals). 

The course is open to students from other universities if you are near enough to participate in the spring semester segment. Unfortunately, this will exclude most of you. Some of the spring semester work is completed using virtual exercises when the weather is poor, so if you are enrolled at a university within 2 hours of campus it may be possible. For further information, contact Dr. Allen at

For additional information, contact:

Dr. J.L. Allen
[send email to: allenj (type at symbol)]
Environmental Geosciences Program 
Concord University, Athens, WV 24712