Montana State University

Department of Earth Sciences

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173480
Bozeman, MT 59717-3480

Tel: (406) 994-3331
Fax: (406) 994-6923
Location: 226 Traphagen Hall

Department Chair

Dr. David Mogk

earth@montana.edu

Paleontology Camp

Department of Earth Sciences @ MSU
Department of Earth Sciences
PALEONTOLOGY FIELD CAMP 
SUMMER 2014
(2 credits)

Department Home

 

 

Montana State University-Bozeman
Paleontology Field Course
Summer 2014

GEO 419 – Field Paleontology (2 credits)

Dates : 8/4/14 - 8/15/14

 

 

 

Paleo field work

GEO 419 provides students selecting the paleontology option in the Department of Earth Sciences at MSU, and upper-division geology majors from other institutions, training and experience in field techniques used in vertebrate paleontology. The course prerequisites include the following classes in geology: GEO 307 Sedimentary Petrology and GEO 211 Historical Geology or consent of instructor.

The course covers a variety of topics including field mapping, facies analysis, invertebrate and vertebrate fossils identification, microsite screening, taphonomy, and excavation techniques. In past years, the course has been taught in the extensive outcrops of the Hell Creek Formation of eastern Montana and the Jurassic and Cretaceous formations of Utah and Nevada. Extensive hiking and outdoor physical challenges require that students be physically fit. A fee for transportation, camping fees, meals, and materials is required (see fees below).

  

DETAILS:

Estimated Fees (these may be subject to change)

MSU tuition and fee information:  http://www.montana.edu/wwwcat/expenses/exp2.html

NOTE :  You must show proof of health/medical insurance for the duration of this course in order to participate.  Optional health insurance available for summer.

GEO 419 PLAEO FIELD PROGRAM - ESTIMATED COST

 

Resident Tuition & Fees

Out-of-state Tuition & Fees

Cost for 2 credits

$573.90

$1737.60

Course fee*

  450.00

    450.00

Total

$ 1023.90

 $2187.60

 

 

 *Covers food, transportation, field supplies and misc. expenses for the 12 day class. Medical insurance required
but not included. Other fees may apply.

LOCATION:   Sprague Lake, Washington
                        Beatrice Taylor Field Station, Choteau, Montana

INSTRUCTOR:      David Varricchio, 406-994-6907, djv@montana.edu
                                 

TEXTBOOK:  Tucker, M. E. 2011. Sedimentary Rocks in the Field, 4e.  Wiley, Hoboken, NJ.

PURPOSE: Develop the necessary skills for conducting paleontology research in the field.  This includes the gathering of sedimentologic, taphonomic and paleontologic data.  The course stresses the ability to make and document detailed observations in the field.  Students are to gain an appreciation of understanding the geologic and biologic context of fossils in the field.

GRADING:    1) Participation during fieldwork, camp work, and evening discussions.
                       2) Field notebook and map.
                       3) Taphonomy write-up of modern locality.
                       4) Measured stratigraphic section and interpretation.
                       5) Taphonomy write-up of fossil locality.
                       6) Final Exam

RULES:
> No unsupervised fossil collecting at any time.
> Trips to town in private vehicles will be limited to pre-arranged times due to liability issues and scheduled activities.
> Students are expected to assist in cooking and cleanup as assigned by instructors.
> Campsites must be cleaned thoroughly before leaving.
> Participants are responsible for bringing all personal gear.
> Report all illnesses, allergic reactions, or injury to instructors promptly.
> Stay together in the badlands; do not leave the group (or camp) without informing the instructors.
> Lookout for your classmates.
> It may be hot.  Expect temperatures to reach the mid to high 90's. You must carry water! 
> Dress appropriately.

EQUIPMENT:

Field  equipment
:   (*denotes optional gear).
Daypack
Water containers (min. 2 qts)  - You'll go through a lot of water in the field.  It's hot and DRY.
Good field boots
Hat and sun-screen - You definitely need a hat, otherwise you may fry your brain.
Rock hammer
Hand lens  (10x)
Fieldbook  - This is an important part of your grade.  You can get them at the book store.
Pencil (0.5 mm)
Extra pencils &  0.5 lead; small pencil sharpener (for colored pencils)
Short metric ruler
Several colored pencils (erasable recommended)
*Geological compass (0-360°, not  quadrant) - These and the next two items are optional.  If you 
     have them, great.  If not, you'll be o.k.
*Acid bottle with 10%  HCl
*GPS receiver

   
Camp equipment:
Tent - You can rent or possibly share a tent with someone if you don't have one.
Sleeping bag and pad
Towel
Cup, bowl, knife, spoon fork (We'll put out pans of water so you can wash your own.)

Personal  (and optional gear*):
*Chapstick
*Sunglasses
*Pocket knife (or  Leatherman/Gerber multi-tool)
*Sample bags (zip-lock  heavy-duty freezer bags work well and they are light and cheap)
*Camera (digital preferred)
*binoculars
*Insect repellant.
*Bear spray.
*Raingear  - maybe a light jacket.
*Gloves
*Flash light or headlamp
Sandals  , waterproof, tevas, old tennis shoes - We'll probably be  going  to the river to swim if
     it's 90 or 100+ degrees.
cut-offs or swim suit
Sun clothes - Light clothes, light in color that cover you up.

Logistics and housing: Transportation is provided from Bozeman to field localities. Students provide their own sleeping bag, tent, and personal necessities. Cooking equipment and meals are provided. Medical insurance is required. Be prepared for hot weather, cool nights, and a variety of topographically challenging hikes

General questions can be directed to:  
David Varricchio (406) 994-6907 email: djv@montana.edu

Scholarship Information:
http://nagt.org/nagt/programs/field_scholarships.html 

SCHEDULE (2012)

Note: Schedule subject to change due to weather and the whims of your instructors. In addition, readings and other assignments have yet to be finalized.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 2
> Introductory meeting in Traphagen 116.
> Depart for Sprague Lake around 9:00 a.m.  Lunch on the way.
> Arrive Sprague Lake about 4:30, set-up camp.
> Evening discussion of:

READINGS #1:
Hayward, et al. 1989.  Turning eggs to fossils: a natural experiment in taphonomy. JVP 9:196-200.
Hayward, et al. 2011.  Eggshell taphonomy: environmental effects on fragmentation orientation.  Historical Biology.
           
FRIDAY, AUGUST 3
> Taphonomy of a modern nesting locality.

READINGS #2:
> Martill, 1991.  Bones as stones,
> Rogers, 1993.  Collecting taphonomic data from vertebrate localities.
 
SATURDAY, AUGUST 4
> Taphonomy of a modern nesting locality.
> Write-up modern taphonomy project.
           
SUNDAY, AUGUST 5
> Depart Sprague Lake in morning for Choteau, Montana.
> Set up camp at the Bea Taylor Paleontology Field Station

READINGS #3:
> Rogers, 1997. Two Medicine Formation.
> Horner et al. 2001.  Bones and Rocks of the upper Cretaceous Two Medicine-Judith River
clastic wedge complex.

MONDAY, AUGUST 6
> Tour of the Willow Creek Anticline, rocks and sedimentary structures in morning.
> Afternoon begin measured section.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 7
> Continue with measured section.
> Begin to draft, describe and interpret measured section in evening.
                                   
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8
> Paleontology work at Egg Mountain and elsewhere.
> Evening processing of material.
READINGS:

THURSDAY, AUGUST 9
> Paleontology work at Egg Mountain and elsewhere.
> Evening processing of material.

READINGS:

FRIDAY, AUGUST 10
> Town day….showers and laundry.
> Finish write-up of section, due on Saturday at 8:00 a.m.

READINGS:
 
SATURDAY, AUGUST 11
> Paleontology work at Egg Mountain and elsewhere.
> Evening processing of material.

READINGS:     

SUNDAY, AUGUST 12
> Misc. tasks….
> Write-up of fossil taphonomy project.
> Final Exam in late afternoon.

MONDAY, AUGUST 13
> Close up camp.
> Pack up and depart.
> Return to Bozeman.