Introductory Field Geology


June 4-18, 2018
(3 credits)

getting there

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


Click on the links in the table below to go to the course application and scholarship application.


Cick on the icon or on this link to see the tuition and fees for G129

Course description

Prerequisites? None! This course is open to all students age 18 and over.

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 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.

Instruction will consist of a combination of lectures, classroom assignments, and field work. Quizzes and in-field evaluation exercises will be conducted on an as-appropriate schedule. The bulk of the work will be done in the field with projects set-up to have individual objectives; the format will contain aspects that require the student to work within a problem-solving format. All field work will require the collection of observations and measurements conducted while in the field, and a final analysis and the submission of a final set of materials and/or a report; field participation as well as the written materials submitted at the end of each project will constitute the primary component of the basis of the in-field grade.

text and course materials

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.

grading criteria

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 (see link below).

Weekly Schedule


Day Objective and Content Location
June 4   Travel to Bozeman via air, followed by drive to IU Geologic Field Station located in the Tobacco Root Mountains
Evening – Introduction and work with maps, air photos, and other skills necessary for field work
  Judson Mead Geologic Field Station
June 5   Minerals, rocks, and fundamental geologic principles  Lower South Boulder River valley
June 6   Surficial processes associated with weathering, erosion, and transport with an emphasis on glaciers and streams  Upper South Boulder River valley
June 7   Geologic time, absolute and relative ages  South and North Boulder River valleys
June 8   Igneous processes and associated economic geology  Cottonwood Canyon, Boulder Batholith, Butte
June 9-13   Independent Field Exercise #1, Written Exam #1  
June 14-15   IPlate Tectonics as recorded in the rock record  South and North Boulder River valleys, Harrison Basin
June 16   Independent Field Exercise #2  
June 17   Written Exam #2  Judson Mead Geologic Field Station
June 18   Return travel from Boxeman via air  


(* required information)

start here
forms to be completed upon acceptance (pdf)
preparation for your trip (pdf)
travel to the field station (pdf)
additional information (pdf)
All information is important to the course.
Please read all documents carefully.


Q. How much does a course cost?

The total cost includes tuition, transportation fees, room and board, and miscellaneous field station fees. IU has a tiered tuition rate distinguishing between in-state and out-of-state students. Generous scholarship support is designed to offset out-of-state tuition costs.

Q: Can I bring my laptop to the Field Station?

A: Yes, you can bring your laptop to the Field Station. However, internet access is limited. A number of Field Station laptops are available for use for specific projects during the course.

Q: Will I have access to email at the Field Station?

A: Yes.

Q: If I drive my personal vehicle to the Field Station, am I free to leave on the weekends?

A: Absolutely not. Any personal vehicles driven to the Field Station will be parked upon arrival and will not be allowed to be driven for the duration of the course. Anyone driving to the Field Station is responsible for getting themselves from the Field Station to Rapid City, SD for the beginning of the course. Public transportation is not available anywhere near the Field Station. Using a personal vehicle as transportation to get to and from the course is not recommended. More

contact information

department of earth and atmospheric sciences
indiana university
1001 e. 10th st. bloomington in 47405

phone: 812-855-1475


field station address:
633 s. boulder road, cardwell, montana 59721
phone: 406-287-3528