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Introduction to Mapping and Field Volcanology

Session: June 11 - June 22 (in Idaho)

Register for:
GLY 4947 Intro Field Mapping with Vocanology (2 credit)

Instructors: Dr. Chuck Connor and Laura Connor

Where: The field class take place in the valley west of the Lost River Range in Idaho, north of the town of Mackay. We will stay at the King's Ranch facility in the Lost River Valley.

When: The class begins when we meet as a group at 8:00 am, monday morning at the Airport Inn Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Airport Inn Hotel
2333 W. North Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84116

The class ends at the airport in Salt Lake City approximately 5 pm on Friday. DO NOT purchase a return ticket earlier than 7:00 pm on Friday.

No car storage is available. If you are driving, you will need to make arrangements to leave your car in a long-term parking lot near the airport or at a hotel.

What to expect:

Temperatures range from 30° to 80° F. Conditions range from rainy, windy and cold to sunny and hot with flying and possibly biting insects (mosquitos and/or black flies). Restroom facilities will not be available during much of the day. This is a high desert and mountain environment. Hazards include cactus (thorns), snakes, exposure to wind, sun, rain, and possibly hail, biting insects (e.g. mosquitos, black flies) and steep hiking trails. Cell phones often have no signal in the field area.

Typical Activities:

  • Make a map of the lower section of the giant Challis tuff and associated rocks
  • Map volcanic bombs and inferring eruption energy in the King's Bowl area
  • Map volcanic domes, scoria cones and their lava flows in the Blackfoot volcanic field
  • Measure a pyroclastic surge section and infer blast energy at China Hat Dome
  • Map a faulted pyroclastic section
  • Run computer simulations of giant lava flows and explosive tephra fallout on the Snake River Plain and consider their hazards
  • Map a dike in the Miocene section and consider the relationship to gold deposits
  • Visit unique volcanic features at Yellowstone National Park
  • Traverse lava flows on the Snake River Plain and at Craters of the Moon National Monument
  • Use laser range finders to map topography and volcanic outcrops

What you will need:

  • Field notebook
  • Hand lens
  • Hammer
  • Pencils, colored pencils, ruler, protractor, calculator, clipboard, masking tape, calculator
  • Field boots (not gym shoes, lava is abrasive!)
  • Hat, water bottle, sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses (often 90° F in the sun!)
  • Good rain gear (pants and jacket - often 40° F in the rain!)
  • Extra gym shoes or sandals for river crossings
  • day pack to carry gear
  • Tent (needed when we stay at the Blackfoot reservoir)
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping pad


Grades in the course will be based on your performance on several mapping, stratigraphy and volcanic hazards projects, and on your participation in the field. There will be no exams in the traditional sense; you will be examined every day in the field!