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Field Camp 2016

May 18 - June 17, 2016

Bring a computer; GPS and Compasses provided

General Information

  • 5 Days: Environmental Geoscience and lake geochemistry, Arlington, TX
  • 1 travel day to New Mexico
  • 14 Days: Pennsylvanian and Mesozoic Sedimentary Systems near Las Vegas, NM; Mapping & Structure of sedimentary rocks, Taos Trough, NM.
  • 9 Days: Regional Geology and mapping in igneous and Metamorphic terrain: Rio Grande Rift, Jemez and Tusas Mountains, NM
  • 1 Travel Day to Arlington, TX


  • Food, Lodging, Transportation: $1,800
  • (Food and Lodging at college dormitories in New Mexico; Transportation by University Vans)
  • Tuition (Texas Resident): Approximately $2,187
  • Tuition (Out-of-State Resident): Approximately $4293


Mineralogy, Petrology, Structure, Sedimentology/Stratigraphy, Computer Literacy


Students use GPS receivers and laptop computers. Field data can be analyzed and displayed using the following software: Adobe Illustrator, PhotoShop and Excel. Reports are written using Word.

Optional: Apps for smartphones that plot locations on topographic maps in the field include:

For Apple iOS devices:
  • iHikeGPS : USA ($9.99)
  • Topo Maps ($7.99)
  • For Android devices:
  • US Topo Maps Pro ($8.95)
  • BackCountry Navigator TOPO GPS ($11.00)
  • To Apply to Field Camp - External (non-UTA) students

    Send an email to geology@UTA.EDU and provide the following:
    e-mail address
    mailing address
    telephone number
    Geolgy courses taken prior to May 2016
    Non-UTA students apply for admission to UTA as a Visiting/Transient Student at

    Field Camp Schedule May 18 - June 17, 2016

    • Wednesday, May 18
    • Field camp orientation: 8 am Room GS 104
    • 8:00 am: Arrive at Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, University of Texas at Arlington - room 104 of the Geoscience Building for introduction to the field course, review of policies and safety procedures, and introductions of students and faculty.
    • Field projects will start after the introductory session.
    • Directions and Maps are at http://www.uta.edu/maps/.
    • Thursday, May 19 - Sunday, May 22.
    • 8:00A AM: Arrive at Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, University of Texas at Arlington - room 104 of the Geoscience Building. Directions and Maps are at http://www.uta.edu/maps/.
    • Projects: Environmental Health project (Hunt) and Lake Geochemistry (Winguth)
    • Monday, May 23
    • Meet at UTA at 7AM to pack vans and leave for Las Vegas, NM at 8AM (approximately 11 hour drive)
    • Monday, May 24 - Monday, June 6
    • Structural Analysis of the Laramide Mountain Front at Las Vegas, NM; Late Paleozoic and Mesozoic stratigraphy and sedimentary systems near Las Vegas, NM; Mapping structure and stratigraphy near Las Vegas, NM.
    • Tuesday, June 7
    • Travel from Las Vegas to El Rito, NM. Afternoon field trip to Rio Grande Rift.
    • Wednesday, June 8 - Thursday June 16
    • Regional Geology and and analysis of Igneous and metamorphic rocks in the vicinity of the Rio Grande Rift; Mapping metamorphic rocks in the Tusas mountains.
    • Friday, June 17
    • Return to Arlington

    General Policies

    Field Camp 2016 will run from Wednesday, May 18 through Friday, June 17, 2016. You should make no other plans for this period. You will be occupied every minute.
    1. Policies on alcohol and other drugs affecting judgment and physical performance:
      • a. No alcohol is to be consumed in any field camp vehicle, or during class hours. No alcohol is permitted in a university operated vehicle.
      • b. Alcohol is not permitted in the dorms of the New Mexico State Colleges where we reside. Violators may be expelled from the dormitory..
    2. Possession or consumption of illegal drugs is not permitted under any circumstances.
    3. An 8-hour period of quiet will be observed where people sleep during the night
    4. Obnoxious, harassing or abusive behavior, whether or not produced by drugs or alcohol, will not be tolerated. People involved may be expelled. Harassment consists of physical and verbal behavior that is unwanted by anyone receiving it after that person has told the perpetrator to stop. Harassment can lead to dismissal from the course.
    5. Any threat of bodily harm, explicit or implied, can be considered an assault and can lead to dismissal from the course.

    Equipment and Supplies

    The university provides special items and materials needed to carry out individual projects (GPS Receivers, Compasses, Communicators, Hand Levels, Jacob Staffs, and Maps). Students must bring a computer capable of running Adobe Illustrator. A USB drive is necessary to store files.
    The following list includes items that you will need, but are not provided by the University:
    • A Computer capable of running Adobe Illustrator and a USB Drive to store files
    • Stout footwear; at the least, light boots with strong soles
    • Belt for field equipment
    • Long Pants for protection against brush
    • Rain Poncho
    • Water container(s): (2 liters recommended)
    • Dark glasses with UV protection (avoid eye damage)
    • Day pack
    • Field medical kit (minimum: Band-Aids, Neosporin and aspirin)
    • Sun Protection (avoid Skin Cancer): Sunscreen - 15 or greater, Hat, and Shirt
    • Bedding, towel, washcloth, toiletries - Mattresses provided but not bedding.
    • Rock hammer
    • Hand lens
    • Field note-taking equipment: clipboard for field maps, Engineers Field Notebook (5"x7.5"), pencils (#2 or #3,) and something to sharpen them with, eraser.
    • Ruler, Protractor, Triangle, colored pencils
    • Calculator
    • Optional:
    • Apps for smartphones that plot locations on topographic maps in the field include:
    • For Apple iOS devices:
    • iHikeGPS: USA ($9.99)
    • Topo Maps ($7.99)
    • For Android devices:
    • US Topo Maps Pro ($8.95)
    • BackCountry Navigator TOPO GPS ($11.99)
    • camera, binoculars, Knife
    Equipment Prohibited: Firearms and other weapons


    Weather will vary from hot and dry (in the low 90's) to mild and raining. Temperatures at night in may be in the 50's. Shorts are fine along roadcuts, but wear long pants and sleeves when mapping to avoid cuts by brush. Choose your clothing with care, and remember that the more comfortable you are in the field, the less distracted you will be from your work.

    Safety Precautions

    Everyone is safe if they are aware of dangers and take precautions. In the field, people have hand communicators and work in teams so there is someone nearby if you get into trouble. The following are the primary dangers in New Mexico:

    • Falling
    • Most minor injuries come from slipping and falling in the field. There are no trails, and loose rocks and steep hillsides are common. Always walk slowly and look before you step. Keep away from cliff edges which may give way. Please get in shape before you come; take a strength or aerobic class.

    • Road Cuts
    • Some projects are on road cuts. Instructors put out cones to warn drivers, but stay off the pavement and avoid death or injury from a distracted driver. Students are required to wear orange construction worker vests.

    • Plague
    • Northern New Mexico is a plague area. Plague is usually carried by fleas, which live on most mammals and rodents. Avoid close contact with rodents and other mammals, and if you develop a fever, see a doctor. Plague is easy to arrest in the early stages.

    • Hantavirus
    • Northern New Mexico also reports cases of Hantavirus, which can also be fatal if not treated early. It is spread through rodent fecal matter that accumulates in old buildings and nests. Stay out of abandoned buildings and don't rummage around in animal or bird nests.

    • Dehydration and heat exhaustion
    • In New Mexico, you will be usually working in low humidity at elevations around 7000'. Before setting out, drink as much water as you can and carry at least 2 Liters of water with you. Move slowly and steadily. If you do get overheated and/or dizzy, find shade, drink water, and rest a while.

    • Potable water
    • Don't drink from streams, pools etc. All have nasty pathogens and parasites.

    • Nasty little critters
    • Ticks, mosquitoes and gnats are rare, but a horse fly may bite you. Ticks are dangerous as a carrier of Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Fever is the main symptom, so see a doctor if you have an elevated temperature. Lyme disease is possible but not common in New Mexico. Ticks will crawl around on you for some time before sucking, and it is sufficient to check yourself at the end of the day.

    • Nasty big critters
    • Bears and mountain lions exist in the New Mexico Mountains. A bear was seen in 2001, as well as mountain lion tracks. If you do see one, let your partners know, don't turn and run, but back away slowly, facing the animal.

    • Nasty plants
    • Scrub Oak, brush and cactus can cut and puncture your legs if you don't wear long clothing that covers your limbs. Poison Oak and Ivy occur in damp, shady canyons.

    • Lightning and hail
    • Afternoon thundershowers (with hail) may occur. If you hear or see an approaching storm, leave high ground IMMEDIATELY. Large hail stones can injure you, so use your backpack or clipboard to protect your head if necessary.