Field Geology (GEO 429R) – 6 Credits

Course description

The MSU Summer Geology Field Camp is a rigorous 5-week (30 instructional days) summer field course focused on field mapping and data collection in a wide range of geologic settings. The course emphasizes time-tested methods and also includes an introduction to cutting-edge electronic mapping & data collection. Students will master geologic map-making and professional report preparation through intensive problem-based exercises. GEO 429R is a project-based research course and fulfills requirements for an upper division capstone field course in geologic mapping and field techniques.

Major Topics

  • Structural mapping of folded and faulted sedimentary rocks
  • Structural mapping of metamorphic rocks & associated ductile structures
  • Mapping of intrusive igneous (plutonic) rocks
  • Mapping of volcanic rocks
  • Geomorphology & surficial mapping of fluvial, glacial and tectonic landforms
  • Precambrian geology and tectonics of the Wyoming craton and Great Falls Tectonic Zone
  • Regional geology and tectonics of the northern Rocky Mountains and Yellowstone geoecosystem
  • Fold-thrust belt tectonics


The course is based in the mountains of southwest Montana and the greater Yellowstone geoecosystem. The region is one of the premier destinations for field education and offers a wide range of geologic styles that provide opportunities to master a variety of field skills. Field exercises typically include work in the Pioneer and Highland mountains (Dillon, MT), Madison range (Ennis, MT), Bridger and Gallatin ranges (Bozeman, MT), London Hills and Devil's Fence anticline (Cardwell, MT), and Paradise Valley/Yellowstone National Park (Gardiner, MT). The field camp provides all meals on instructional days (six days per week) and supplies group camping equipment, field instruments and iPads as needed. Students should come prepared with personal camping equipment and field clothing and gear.


GEO 429R is a junior/senior level  field course. Students must have successfully completed the following prerequisite courses prior to the start of field camp.


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MSU Field Camp Information
Department of Earth Sciences,
Montana State University,     P.O. Box 173480,      Bozeman, MT 59717-3480
Location: 226 Traphagen Hall,     Tel: (406) 994-3331,     Fax: (406) 994-6923
Field Course Coordinator: Dr. Colin Shaw