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Field trips from Hawaii to the Grand Canyon

On their spring break trip 2017 to Hawaii, geology students and faculty “run” from a “red hot moving surface flow” during a 12-mile hike across lava fields where lava tubes flow from the Pu’u O’o vent and enter the sea in firework-sprays.

Geology provides many opportunities for students to observe and study in the field.

This begins for first-year students with GEOL105: Introductory Physical Geology in the Rocky Mountains. It is a 4-credit lab science course that takes place in August in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming.

The department also offers three major field trips each year to places of geologic interest. Winter and spring break trips usually venture to some place distant, exotic, and warmer than Illinois. Field trips provide a great way to learn geology, enjoy nature and make new friends around the campfire.

Departmental field trips

Every year the department takes students to the Geological Society of America North Central meeting and the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in Arizona. In addition past trips have included:

2020 J-Term Sedimentology of the Caribbean island of Bonaire

2019 Fall Structural geology of Baraboo, Wis.

2019 Spring break geology of Death Valley, Calif.

2018 Spring break backpacking the Grand Canyon

2017 Tri-State Geological Field Trip, Wis.

2017 Spring break geology of Hawaii

2016 Spring break geology of Death Valley, Calif.

2015 Spring break backpacking the Grand Canyon

2014 Spring break geology of Hawaii

2013 Spring break geology of Death Valley, Calif.

2013 Spring break geology of southeastern Missouri

2012 Spring break backpacking in the Grand Canyon

2011 Spring break geology of Hawaii

2010 May in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado

2009 Winter break in the Florida Keys

Mike Wolf's mineralogy clas

Dr. Mike Wolf's mineralogy class traveled to Arizona to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in February 2019. It is the largest gem, mineral and fossil exhibition in the world. Here the group is against a wall of 180-million-year-old crinoid sea creatures. (Even though crinoids are nick-named "sea lilies," they are marine animals, not plants.)

Death Valley

How low can you go? In this case, about 270 feet below sea level! The geology department spent spring break 2019 studying the rocks of Death Valley, California! (Photo by Matthew Harrington '19). 

baraboo wi field trip

Geology students sitting on the 1.6 billion-year-old bluffs of Devil’s Lake, in the Baraboo Range, Wisconsin. During the 2019 field trip to the Baraboo, Wisconsin region, students explored incredible  geomorphic, structural and stratigraphic features, gained skills in making field observations, identifying rocks and formations in the field, and in developing interpretations of some of the  paleoenvironments and ancient tectonic processes active in the midcontinent.

caribbean field trip

Students excited to explore the geology of the northern side of the Caribbean island of Bonaire at Boka Chikitu in Washington Slagbaai National Park.

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