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UST: Nevada and California: Regional Geology and Geological Field Methods
Death Valley, United States; Las Vegas, United States (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: January Term
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Cost January Term
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction:
Minimum GPA:
Subject Areas: Environmental Science, Geology Housing Options: Other
Language Prerequisite: None Program Sponsor: UST
Program Description:

Regional Geology and Geiological Field Methods

Program Highlights

  • Course is directed by Profs. Lisa Lamb, Kevin Theissen, Tom Hickson, and Jeni McDermott who have extensive knowledge of the geology of the southwestern U.S. and on-going research projects in the region. 
  • Field work and research at spectacular sites throughout the southwestern U.S., including the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Zion National Park, and Death Valley National Park.
  • Prerequisites: GEOL111, 114, 115, 130, 161 or 162
  • Fulfills: GEOL260, Geology major/minor requirement, lab science core requirement for all majors, ENVR Science/Studies major requirement
Academic Overview
Course Description
The field is geology's laboratory. This course is an introduction to the major concepts of geology, as well as the methods of field geology. Students will learn how to collect, synthesize, and analyze geological data in the field. Techniques will be taught in the context of the regional geology of an area so students will gain a critical appreciation of a geological terrain outside of their usual experience. Students will spend 3 weeks in the field examining geological structures, modern-day faults, modern processes that shape the earth's surface and examining the ancient record of past climate and environments preserved in the rock record. Student teams will learn basic techniques and instruments of geological mapping and rock description, how to recognize geological structures such as faults and folds, ways to interpret the evolution of the earth from sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks, and to link surface processes with the rock record.
Program Structure
In this field course, students learn many basic skills and concepts such as use of a brunton compass, topographic maps, as well as observation, recording, and analytical skills as they relate to geology. All of these activities can only be done in the field.
25%     Bitter Springs mapping project
25%     Bitter Springs stratigraphy and correlation project
5%       Zion pan mapping exercise
5%       “Charlie Brown” roadcut exercise
25%     Pahranagat lakes project
5%       Field book: notes from other, non-assignment days
10%     Participation
Location and Tentative Dates
January 2          Meeting at UST
January 3          Depart/Arrive Las Vegas, NV
January 13        Zion Nat’l Park, UT
January 20        Death Valley Nat’l Park, CA
January 23        Return to Minneapolis/St.Paul
January 25-26   On campus project completion (tentative)
Click on the Budget Sheet link above for detailed cost information.
Total Cost Includes: Tuition, transportation and course arrangements as indicated, hotel accommodations and some meals.
Housing and Meals
Students will be housed in local hotels and inns as well as some field camping. Most meals will be provided.

Application Procedures & Deadline
  • Select the Apply Now button at the top to start your online application.
  • Login using your UST username and password.
  • Complete all application materials by the application deadline. Students are encouraged to apply during the priority enrollment period, April 1-10, 2015. Applications will be accepted after April 10 for programs with space still remaining until the final application deadline of October 1, 2015.
  • Download and read Short-Term Off-Campus Policies and ProceduresYou are responsible for reading, understanding and abiding by its content.

Priority Application Deadline: April 10, 2016
Final Application Deadline: October 1, 2016
Financial Aid/Scholarships
To apply for aid during January Term, submit a January Term Financial Aid Application, available in early November, to the Financial Aid Office. Additional aid in the form of scholarships may also be available from St. Thomas and some co-sponsoring organizations.  Refer to our Scholarships webpage for details. Review Short-Term Off-Campus Policies and Procedures for additional financial aid information. To verify and confirm all awards, meet with a Financial Aid Counselor.

For more information
On course content, contact: Prof. Kevin Theissen at 962-5243,
                                             Prof. Jeni McDermott,

On application procedures or logistical information, contact: Study Abroad.
Office of Study Abroad
University of St. Thomas
Murray-Herrick 212, Mail 5026
2115 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105-1096 USA
Tel: 1.651.962.6450
Fax: 1.651.962.5199

This program is currently not accepting applications.