Painted Hills Image: Lost River Range, Idaho

Geologic Field Methods

Geological Sciences 489

Summer 2022

23rd year at the Mitchell, Oregon Field Station!

Instructor: Brennan van Alderwerelt
Office: DISC 227
Email:; Telephone: 509-963-2192
Recommended Textbook: "Geology in the Field" by Robert R. Compton [PDF]
Scarpcalc: Scarp surface offset calculation

Course Description

Geologic Field Methods is a 5-week long, 9-credit capstone course for students registered at CWU; due to space restrictions, non-CWU students can not be accepted into this course.

This course emphasizes learning how to create, read, and interpret geologic maps in the context of:

  • Reviewing much of the undergraduate geology curriculum.
  • Applying material learned in a classroom or lab to its occurrence in a natural setting. This course provides the ideal hands-on learning experience because it exposes students to the true complexity of nature.
  • Developing critical and creative spatially and temporally-based thinking skills (i.e. 3D and 4D) based on:
    1. independent discovery,
    2. applying knowledge of core subject areas,
    3. developing skills on the proper acquisition of data,
    4. learning the limitations in quantity and quality of data,
    5. developing sound interpretations based on uncertain, non-unique, and limited data, and limited time for analysis, and
    6. applying deductive reasoning using the scientific method.
  • Emphasize professional behavior including teamwork and collaboration in the field and in the camp, completing assignments on time, and participating in discussions. The geologic field methods experience is as close to the real geologic world without actually holding a job.

The 2022 Geologic Field Methods course will be held in two locations. During the first three weeks, students will map out of Oregon State University's field station in Mitchell, OR and during the last week, students will map in the Fish Lake area of the Wallowa Mountains in northeastern Oregon.