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Geology Summer Field Camp

  • Bridge over the Rio Grande Gorge

  • Students learning in the field

  • Pliocene basalts from the Rio Grande Gorge natural area

  • Comprehensive and complex mapping projects

  • Recording detailed observations is an important part of unraveling the geologic history of an area

  • Field trip to the San Juan Mountains in southern Colorado

  • Students collecting high-resolution GPS data at project station

  • Camping above 10,000ft on the Colorado field trip

  • Cross-bedded sandstones of the Cretaceous Dakota Formation

  • Confluence of the Red River and Rio Grande River carving through Neogene rift-related volcanics

  • Field camp is located in Taos, New Mexico a beautiful Rocky Mountain field location

  • This course is physically demanding, but the geology and scenery are world class


Dates: May 12th – June 21st, 2023
Application and Deposit Due: March 1st, 2023
Application: Download

Non-FSU applicants: students from outside FSU are welcome and encouraged to apply to our field camp course, these applications are treated on a first come-first serve basis as the number of available slots for non-FSU students in the course changes from year-to-year.

Director: Dr. Seth Young


An incredibly geologically diverse landscape, experienced-enthusiastic faculty, and over 50 years of tradition teaching geosciences in the field from northern New Mexico are at the core of our Field Geology (GLY4790) course offerings at FSU. The course is a 6 credit hour course in field geology in a spectacular setting to engage in hands-on learning of geology. This area of the Rocky Mountains is a classic region for observing and interpreting a wide range of Earth history.

Our field course will give upper level undergraduate and beginning graduate students the observational skills and experience, the interpretative framework, and the self confidence to undertake detailed field studies in a variety of geologic settings. We believe that students learn the most from hands-on experience, working daily to observe and measure geologic features and phenomena, to place these data into a larger Earth history framework, and to build hypotheses that they can test with continued work. Students are exposed to projects in which they learn and apply basic principals of stratigraphy, sedimentology, paleontology, structure, mineralogy and petrology to solving problems of varied complexity in a number of geologic settings.

PLEASE NOTE: This course is physically demanding. Students should be in good health, capable of strenuous hiking on rugged terrain while carrying daypack and field gear.

The camp is located in a very scenic area of the Rocky Mountains where the Rio Grande Rift splits the Sangre de Christo and Brazos Mountains. Wheeler Peak (elevation 13,161 ft), the highest point in New Mexico, dominates the Taos Range and is clearly visible from our base camp near Taos. The historic community of Taos offers a unique mix of Hispanic, Native American, and Anglo cultures.

We generally have 15-25 students in the camp, and our dedicated staff of two faculty instructors and several graduate students offer extensive individual instruction on a daily basis in the field. In the field, the students map in groups of three. We emphasize independent work on the part of the student and the 3-4 instructors spend each day in the field rotating among the field parties. In the evenings at the field station (a condo complex at the base of the Taos Ski Valley) we commonly have lecture/discussion sessions, and the instructors are always available for consultation.

The first several days involve review of basic field techniques and small projects to familiarize the student with geologic field observations, use of topographic maps and aerial photos for location and base maps. Throughout the field course students will be using a combination of traditional and modern tools and techniques to collect basic observational, structural, geophysical, and stratigraphic data in the field. In addition to traditional methods of constructing final geologic maps and cross sections students will have exposure to basic GIS & graphics software to construct final maps and cross sections for some projects.

– Stratigraphic Projects: Include the study of sedimentary rocks through detailed description and measurement, and basic facies analysis of stratigraphic sections to reconstruct the geologic history of depositional basin. Regional stratigraphic exercises will involve primary field data, wireline logs, and/or seismic reflection data for correlation of sections using principles of biostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy.

– Geologic Mapping Projects: These multi-day projects involve detailed mapping and reconstruction of geologic history of study areas with varying degrees of structural complexity. Early on in the course students will map in larger areas of moderate structural complexity, but as the course progresses mapping areas will be characterized by numerous folds and faults of sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks that represent a highly complex geologic history. Students will work independently of other students and faculty to collect primary data, construct geologic maps and cross sections for the areas to unravel geologic history of their map areas.

– Field Trips: include: We will take advantage of the spectacular range of geology available in the south-central Rocky Mountains with several field excursions including trips: to the Jemez Caldera volcanic features; to the San Juan Mountains of Colorado (mineral districts near Silverton, Gunnison, & Great Sand Dunes NP)

Off-day Activities: The Taos area offers numerous recreational activities for students during off days. These include white water rafting on the Rio Grande, hiking in the Rocky Mountains, biking, tennis, basketball, golf, and art galleries.

Geology Field Camp 2009-2019 Photo Gallery

Payment of Field Camp Deposit/Fees:

FSU Students

  • FSU students will need to use their FSU email address to tie the registration to their accounts.
  • FSU students will have the charge show up under their accounts accessible via
  • Once students hit “submit” they can opt to immediately then pay with a credit card, it will redirect them to a payment page.

Non-FSU Students

  • Non-FSU students are advised to use their home university email address when registering.
  • Non-FSU students once registered can opt to immediately then pay with a credit card, it will redirect them to a payment page.
  • They will also be sent a confirmation email with instructions on how to pay at a later time.
  • Once they have registered and paid for their deposit, it will set-up an FSU EMPLID for them which we will then use when we are admitting them as Transient students.

Please use the following link the registration for online credit/debit card payment of deposits and student fees associated with GLY4790 Geology Field Camp:

All students also still have the option of paying by check. Checks should be made payable to FSU (Florida State University) and mailed to

ATTN Cashier
555 W. Pensacola St.
Tallahassee, FL

Required Resources

1. Required Software Downloads
*Note: Installation packages for Mac users only

Grass GIS
Stereonet 9
Adobe Illustrator
*Q GIS framework (Mac users install these 1st)
*Xquartz (required to install Inkscape and Grass GIS on a Mac)

2. Supply List and Field Camp Rules/Regulations

–Sedimentation and Stratigraphy (required)
–Structural Geology (required)
–Mineralogy, Igneous–metamorphic petrology (recommended)

Recommended Readings (not required)
Geology in the Field, by Robert R. Compton
Dictionary of Geological Terms, by Robert L. Bates and Julia A. Jackson, eds.

Geology of Taos, New Mexico Geological Society Fall Field Conference Guidebook 55, by Brian Brister, Paul W. Bauer, Adam S. Read and Virgil W. Lueth, eds.