Skip to main content

Physical and Environmental Geology in the Grand Canyon

Summer Field Course, July 19-Aug. 2, 2024

Arkle in the Grand Canyon

Are you interested in the environmental and geological sciences? Do you love a challenge?

If so, join us for GEOL 105 Physical and Environmental Geology in the Grand Canyon, our 2024 environmental geology field course and motorized raft trip!

This course is open only to incoming first-year students, regardless of your intended major. In this experience, you'll raft 89 miles, camp five nights and hike nine miles. You'll also:

  • Spend one week doing science on the Mississippi River and in Augustana's geology laboratories, and then one week rafting, hiking and camping in the Grand Canyon — all before the start of your academic year.
  • Gain field experience as we study Earth systems.
  • Earn four credits of a natural science lab course.
  • Make friends with other incoming first-year students and have an amazing adventure.


July 19-Aug. 2, 2024


Through the generous support of Augustana geology alumni, the trip cost to you is now only $3,500, which includes a 4-credit field course, transportation, raft trip, food and lodging and all field equipment.

How to apply

There’s still room, but spots fill up quickly (a $300 deposit is required unless receiving the scholarship). The program is limited to incoming first-year Augustana students who have made a deposit for enrollment at Augustana College and are ready for a challenge!

Join the adventure

Application deadline: May 15, 2024

→ The Geology Field Scholarship is available for incoming first-year students. Applicants for this award should be Pell-eligible students with a strong interest in the natural sciences and the environment who are admitted to Augustana College to begin their first year in the fall of 2024.

(If you cannot join this first-year summer field course, but love to study Earth and be outside, please talk to the faculty about geology courses - consider enrolling in GEOL-101 Physical and Environmental Geology (4 credits) on campus during fall or spring semester.)

For more information

Contact one of the co-directors:

Dr. Jenny Arkle
Assistant Professor of Geology, Geography, & Environmental Studies

Dr. Jeffrey Strasser
Professor of Geology, department chair


Course(s) and details

All students will enroll in GEOL-105 Physical & Environmental Geology Summer Field Course for Incoming First-Year Students for 4 credits during the Summer term. GEOL105 carries a Natural Science (PN) Learning Perspective course suffix, and partially fulfills the general education graduation requirements. There are no course prerequisites, however participants must be willing and able to hike (9 miles, ~5-6 hrs.) out of the Grand Canyon (prepare ahead of time!) and ride on motorized raft and camp.

Class and travel dates

  • July 19: First class meeting, Swenson Hall of Geosciences, Fryxell Geology Museum on the Augustana College campus in Rock Island, Illinois.
  • July 19-25: Classroom work, labs and local field exercises.
  • July 26-27: Flight to and overnight stay in Las Vegas, then drive to the Grand Canyon (Lees Ferry).
  • July 28-31: Rafting 89 miles through the Grand Canyon on motorized rafts, hiking out on the Bright Angel Trail.
  • Aug. 1: Rest day.
  • Aug. 2: Return flight to Moline.
John Deere Planetarium

Planetarium and geology museum to host open house on May 11

Augustana College's John Deere Planetarium and Fryxell Geology Museum will be open to the public on Saturday, May 11, 2024, for an evening of stargazing and space shows. The planetarium, located at 820 38th Street, Rock Island, will be open from 8:30-10 p.m., with indoor and outdoor programs in the planetarium, observatory and geology museum.

Holden Village students posing for a photo before heading to the village.

Five years of Augustana’s January Term

Augustana College students take a break from their 15-week semester schedule to engage in a month-long period of intensive learning during January Term, or J-term. This three-and-a-half week course was added as part of the college’s transition to semesters in 2019-2020.

Makayla Thumb

Unearthing students' love for geology

Four Augustana students have hit the ground running with their summer geology internships. Projects include studying the formation and evolution of ancient mountain belts, paleontology research, studying geological maps in zinc mines and installing seismometers for earthquake detection.