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Indiana University

College of Arts and Sciences
courses – G129/S129


NOTE: AFTER October 1 we will begin accepting applications for the 2015 field season.

Dates: TBA 2015 (3 credits)

Students will fly round trip from Indianapolis to Bozeman, with cost of flight included in fees.


None. This course is open to all University students as well as incoming freshman. Scholarship application is available on-line with course application.


Introductory Geology Taught in the Field is an introductory geological science course designed for university students with widely varying backgrounds and intended majors. G129 is intended to provide students with a broadly balanced approach to the fundamental concepts that are at the heart of any study of the Earth. Lectures and field work will focus on the interactive nature of chemical, physical, and biological processes that have shaped our planetary environment during the past 4.5 billion years. Topics will be presented in a manner that intertwines these fundamental principles with applications which serve to document that Earth is a complex system.

The study of geology can best be done in the field where direct observations of both the processes and the scale of these processes, can be made.  This is one example of where, if a picture is worth a thousand words, being able to engage in hands-on investigation will result in an infinitely more rewarding experience than sitting through a lecture looking at images from 1000 miles away.  It follows directly from the quality of the learning experience that the pace of learning can also be accelerated allowing both time to explore details of particularly interesting aspects of the subject matter and a greater range of topics than might be found in a typical semester long course based on a traditional campus. 

The intensity of the experience, resulting from the total immersion environment created by living and working at the Indiana University Geologic Field Station, will produce a coherent and lasting understanding of the fundamental principles that are at the heart of the geological sciences; this will provide the foundation that will allow this knowledge to be applied universally in whatever situations the person will later find themselves.

The Indiana University Geologic Field Station is set in an area of profound geologic diversity and ready access to exposures of rocks and other relevant teaching materials and settings. Taking advantage of this location and the ability to teach in total emersion setting warrants the designation of this as a new course. Additionally, the content has been designed to overlap areas that are historically divided between two standard introductory geology courses, physical geology and historical geology that traditionally were both required as the basis of the first year of study.

field station routine

Upon arrival at the Field Station you will receive instructions regarding dormitory assignments. Each student will find a bunk, a pillow, a locker, and two drawers in a small chest for his/her use during the field course. You need to provide your own twin size sheets and blanket and/or sleeping bag.


All students housed on the lower campus will use the wash house facilities located in the steel building to the north. Students housed on upper campus will use the wash house facilities on upper campus.

You will find washing machines, dryers and laundry tubs as well as ironing boards and irons. Clothes lines and clothes pins are available on both upper and lower campus. We have found that a little planning in doing your laundry will avoid inconvenience in overloading. During a normal Montana day clothes dry very rapidly, a few hours often being sufficient; therefore, students are urged to remove dry clothes from the clothes lines so that others may take advantage of the good weather. It is necessary for you to purchase your own laundry supplies and keep them in your dormitory. You will need quarters for the washers and dryers at the Field Station.


Week day meals are scheduled as follows:

  • Breakfast - 7:00 am
  • Lunch - Field lunch packed before or after breakfast in the lodge.
  • Dinner - 6:30 pm

A bell will be rung about 5-10 minutes before mealtime to alert students to come to the dining hall. Students may be seated after the second bell rings. Dining table assignments will be posted each week. Breakfast and dinner are served family style. Each person is responsible for taking his/her own dishes and table service to the proper locations after the meal. As in any large group, your promptness at mealtime will help eliminate confusion. On certain occasions like Saturday, dinner may be served at 5:30 pm in order to accommodate those who wish to get an early start to town. These changes will be announced at breakfast and posted on the bulletin board.

The Sunday schedule will normally be as follows:

  • Breakfast: Continental breakfast available 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
  • Lunch: Items available from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
  • Dinner: 6:30 pm

Mail addressed to the Field Station is brought from the Post Office at Cardwell and distributed in the mailboxes located at the southwest corner of the lodge. The mail will be picked up at Cardwell by authorized staff of the Field Station. Only outgoing mail should be placed in the box on top of the mailboxes. This mail will be taken to the Post Office each morning.

The student address at the Field Station is: IUGFS
Attn: Student Name
633 S. Boulder Rd.
Cardwell, MT 59721


The text selected provides a well written, engaging presentation of the material. Additional reading and supporting maps, air photographs, and other materials will be supplied. These will be provided to the students while the course is taking place.

Required text: Grotzinger, John and Jordan, Tom, 2010. Understanding Earth, Sixth Edition, W.H. Freeman and Company, New York, NY, 654pp.


Final grades will be based on: quizzes, homework (10%), and in-field exercises (50%) and two 50-minute lecture examinations (40%, 20% for each exam). All work in G129 must be conducted in adherence to the academic code of conduct, as stated in The Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct. Copyright 1998, The Trustees of Indiana University.