G426 SEDIMENTARY BASIN ANALYSIS IN THE FIELD
2013 DATES TBA (3 credits)
There is no caravan travel for this course, so students need to arrange and pay for their own travel, arriving at the Field Station by July 23rd. Students arriving by air via Bozeman Montana must arrive prior to 2:00 pm. Those students driving their own vehicles must arrive at the Field Station no later than 3:30 pm.
Students are expected to have completed at least the first two years of a standard undergraduate program in the geosciences. This would normally include an introductory course and two or more courses in the disciplines of mineralogy, petrology, structure, stratigraphy, and tectonics. Students with alternative backgrounds are encouraged to apply and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Geology 426 is a field-based integrative surface and subsurface course that focuses on the study of sedimentary basin fills in southwest Montana. It will consist of in-depth comparative analysis of the depositional record of a Proterozoic aulacogen, a Paleozoic passive continental margin, a Mesozoic foreland basin, and Cenozoic extensional basins. Students will learn how to use fundamental skills of studying basin fills in the field in conjunction with gravity, seismic and well-log data to reconstruct basin history and to evaluate the natural resource potential of a basin.
The geologic setting of southwest Montana provides an ideal setting for the study of sedimentary basins, tectonics, and geologic history. Within a few miles of the Judson Mead Geologic Field Station in southwest Montana, students are able to study sediment fill within an aulacogen, carbonate and siliciclastic sedimentation on a passive margin, continental deposition within a foreland basin, and the impact of structural features on sediment dispersal within extensional basins. Not only would students become familiar with the scale of these basin types, but also the stratigraphic architecture of their basin fills, subsidence rates, and geologic history. Field work, integrated with geophysical well logs, seismic data, and regional geologic maps, will provide students with the skills necessary to conduct comprehensive studies of any sedimentary basin and to determine their potential for natural resources.
Students will work through four comprehensive basin projects with very different temporal and spatial scales over a two-week period.
1) The first project will introduce students to sedimentation within a Proterozoic aulacogen by examining in detail the sediments of the Belt Supergroup. The students will be introduced to basic sedimentology, lithofacies variations, and paleoenvironmental interpretation.
2) The second project will focus on passive margin deposition by studying Paleozoic rocks exposed near the Judson Mead Geological Field Station. Students will be introduced to the basics of sedimentary geology by measuring stratigraphic sections, describing lithologies, identifying sedimentary structures, resolving facies architecture, and correlating packages of sedimentary rock.