GLG 451 Field Geology I

Course information

Instructor: J Ramón Arrowsmith, PSF 640, phone: 480-965-3541, mobile phone: 480-236-9226,
Teaching Assistant: Megan Murretta, PSF475, phone: 480-965-4053,

Required text: Geology in the Field by R. R. Compton, 1985; also Structural Geology of Rocks and Regions by Davis and Reynolds
Pre-requisite: GLG310 Structural Geology (note that GLG321 Mineralogy is a co-requisite)
Time: Fridays, 1:40-2:30 in H457, and three weekends plus most of Spring Break
Line number: 86362

Purpose: An introduction to geologic field methods, including observation of rocks and surficial deposits, geologic mapping, interpretation of geologic maps and structures, and field-based problem solving. The course will emphasize accurate observation and recording of geologic information, three-dimensional interpretation of map units and geologic structures, and reconstruction of geologic history. During the course, you will gain experience with many kinds of lithologic units and geologic structures. The course is foremost a field geology course, but may include lab and computer-based exercises designed to complement your field studies. Field projects in each area will be accompanied by written reports, prepared geologic maps, cross sections, and other figures.

Location: We will meet most Fridays in PSH457 where we have access to computer facilities and large map tables. You will not have access to this room except during class time, but the departmental computer lab will be available at other times. Some weekend field trips will be local, leaving and returning to ASU each day (Saturday and Sunday), but one will be an overnight camping trip. The Spring Break field trip will leave ASU on Saturday morning March 10 and be away from Phoenix until the following Thursday early afternoon (March 15). You will not have the opportunity to return to Phoenix during this week because the trip involves mapping in a distant mountain range. Lodging accommodations, covered by the department and by class fees, are in a small-town motel near the field site.

Geologic mapping: The primary tool for understanding the geology and attaining field skills is geologic mapping. Students will work in pairs, observing, describing, and mapping aspects of the local geology. The skills that will be developed including map location, description and recognition of units, interpreting the three-dimensional geologic structures, and testing those models in the field by collecting critical data. It should be emphasized that efficient mapping requires careful observation, critical thinking skills, and hypothesis building and testing. Geologic mapping, including the process of locating yourself on the map, is one of the purest examples of how science is done. Interpretation of the mapping results and preparation of a professional quality map, cross sections, and reports will be done during the evenings and after we return to Phoenix.

Writing geologic reports: Based on field observations and descriptions, geologic mapping, and interpretations of the geology made through constructing cross-sections, students will write detailed geologic reports for each weekend and Spring Break trip. These reports will be graded for both content and writing style. Written feedback as well as help sessions will be provided to help students improve their skills in technical writing and their understanding of the local geology. Note that this course also satisfies a requirement for the University Literacy and Critical Inquiry (L) General Studies and for that reason, writing is emphasized.

Grading: Grades will be based on the following breakdown:
Points will be deducted for assignments turned in late at a rate of 10%/day.

Dates of field trips:

Last modified: January 10, 2007