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2019 Highlights

  • The Volcanology and Intro to Field Mapping Field School helps students develop broader skills in effective collaboration and confidence in their ability to "read" rocks and outcrops. This course introduces students to various mapping techniques, using a Brunton and other localization techniques (flags) to make geologic maps and cross sections with and without topographic maps. Students also made their own topotgraphic map using laser range finders. Students received informal lectures about magmatic and volcanic processes, origin of various igneous rocks and erupted products. Students learned to identify volcanic products, interpret stratigraphic sections, and interpret rocks and landscape to propose a geologic history for their study area. Additionally, students were offered to opportunity to visit both Yellowstone National Park and the Craters of the Moon National Monument.

  • The Field Geophysics Field School allows students to build field experience with a variety of geophysical techniques. Students collected and processed their own resistivity, seismic, magnetic, and ground penetrating radar data over faults, cinder cones, and the USF Field Station! Under the Field Station site we find several horizons with all of the chacteristic features of alluvial fans.

  • The Structural Mapping Field School emphasizes basic mapping skills, such as reading and locating one's self on a topographic map, identifying and documenting geologic units and structures, and working out the three dimensional architecture and four dimensional evolution of the geology encountered in the field. Idaho affords the opportunity to explore an array of interesting geology including stratigraphy ranging from the Neoproterozoic quartzites and carbonates associated with the early breakup of the Rodinian Supercontinent, to Mississippian carbonates formed in the foreland basin associated with teh Antler Orogeny, to late Quaternary geomorphic features that tell the stories of Basin and Range extension and Pleistocene glaciation.

  • 2016 Highlights

  • The Coastal Field School spent 4 days in the Tampa area along the Pinellas County coast and Peace River area, observing sediment transport, conducting survey & mapping exercises, and core sampling. The school ended with a 4-day trip along the Atlantic Coast from Matanzas Inlet, FL to Hilton Head Island to study coastal influences. This marked the first year the school utilized buses instead of vans to improve transportation safety.

  • The Hydrology Field School began at the USF GeoPark on campus collecting well data to produce hydro maps & reports, followed by two days in the USF Eco Area and on the Hillsborough River observing wetlands and measuring salt water intrusion. Students then transited from Kissimmee to the Everglades on a tour of the Florida water supply system.

  • The Volcanology, Structural Mapping, and Geophysics Field Schools each met students in Salt Lake City prior to driving to King Mountain Ranch outside Mackay, Idaho to begin activities. Before arriving at King Mountain Ranch, the Volcanology school spent four days at the Blackfoot Reservoir and Yellowstone National Park to map basalt fields and learn about regional volcanics. The remainder of the school was spent in Custer County and Craters of the Moon National Monument observing and mapping volcanic features. During Structural Mapping, students learned traditional geologic mapping techniques in the Lost River Valley and Pioneer Mountains. Finally, the Geophysics Field School surveyed along the Borah Peak fault scarp and along the Lost River Valley before heading to the Sawtooth Mountains and Sunbeam Hot Springs.

  • Logistic improvements at schools held in Idaho included hiring a camp manager/cook to keep the home fires burning, allowing the students/faculty more time in the field. The King Mountain Ranch was also reserved for the entirety of the three camps' duration to provide accommodation for students staying between schools.
  • By the Numbers

  • 41 – number of students enrolled in the 2016 Field School consisting of five sessions: Hydrogeology, Structure Mapping, Coastal Geology, Geophysics, and Volcano Mapping.

  • 3 – number of non-USF students admitted from University of New Orleans & University of New Mexico.

  • $75,222 – total cost of running the 2016 Field School sessions, a 29% increase from 2015, due to increasing enrollment & staffing and logistics.

  • $4,267 - in-state USF tuition & fees for completing 3 sessions required for a B.S. in Geology ($6,900 for out-of-state USF students, $7,350 for out-of-state, non-USF students).

  • $13,000 – funding provided by USF College of Arts & Sciences to defray student expenses.

  • $111* – 2016 Field school tuition/fee offset provided by the Sam Upchurch Field School Operating Fund ($4,057 total) per student completing the three-session Field School requirement.

  • $41,330* – October 2016 balance of the Field School Endowment, a 23% rise from year-end 2015.

  • * Alumni-supported initiatives. Many thanks to Sam Upchurch and numerous Geology Alumni Society donors for making this another great year!