Geologic Field Methods


First drafted and delivered by Dr. Ed Taylor with subsequent modifications and additions by Drs. John Dilles and Al Niem.

At the Field Station:
  • Treat the toilets and drains kindly because the septic system has limited capacity. NOTHING goes down the toilets except toilet tissue. ALL other materials in the trash.
  • The hot water heating capacity is limited; showers should not be taken during meal cleanup hours. Be considerate in your use of hot water, particularly at the end of the day—wet down, soap up, and rinse off quickly.
  • Check that the shower curtains are inside the stalls! Water on the floor leaks under the foundation and seeps up the walls.
  • First aid supplies are in the kitchen area. Don't let some injuries (blisters, scrapes, etc.) go untreated as they can escalate to more serious problems. Don't hide or ignore nagging health problems as they can jeopardize your work and your colleagues work. There is local EMT and ambulance service, but the nearest hospital and clinic is in Prineville.
  • Know the locations of fire extinguishers in the building.
  • The camp cook will discuss food preservation, cleanliness, camp health, and the many precautions necessary to preserve it.
  • Be kind to the screen doors—open and close them carefully
  • Use flashlights on the paths at night because as it warms up rattlesnakes like to lay about. As a consequence, closed toed shoes are a good idea when wandering around the camp.
  • The phone is a pay phone and won't accept incoming or outgoing charges to the phone. You'll need a phone card of some kind or someone who doesn't mind collect calls.
  • Alcohol and drug use are proscribed by both OSU and CWU and is not allowed. Alcoholic beverages are not to be transported in University vehicles at any time.
  • Firearms are not permitted on camp property nor are they allowed in the field.
  • Pets and private vehicles are not allowed. There is limited parking space and private vehicles cannot be used in the field. Prior arrangements must be made if there is a compelling reason to bring your own vehicle. It is beastly hot in the last weeks of camp and it can be very difficult for animals in the field; animals cannot be left at camp during the day because there is no one to mind them. There is a lot of livestock in Wheeler County and pets harassing livestock can be shot. There are also snakes. Prior arrangements must be made if there is a compelling reason to bring a pet.
  • We expect you to be in camp for all field days and to complete all field exercises. No extended camp absences are permitted without prior notice and approval.
  • Family and friends are welcome on short visits and are customarily invited to dinner; longer stays can be arranged but we do ask for some notice and will charge a bit for the extra food required.
  • We rarely have problems with theft, but we are gone for long periods of time and the cook is not always on site. If you have valuables you are concerned about, keep them with you or in the main building, which will be locked when everyone is gone.
  • The cook will give you a run-down on raiding the refrigerator, rules for storing food, and etiquette.
  • The rock collections, library, light tables, pencils, acid, and materials in the main building are communal supplies. Please use them carefully and RETURN THEM to their proper place so that the next person can find them.
  • The address and phone number for the field station can be found under Location and Facilities on the main page.
  • Don't sit on the folding tables! They are not that strong and will dump you on the floor and damage the legs of the tables.

  • In the Field and Off-Station:
  • We've been working in Wheeler County for over 50 years, and have a long history of community with the ranchers, merchants, and townspeople. Much of the land we work on is private. Please be courteous in dealing with our neighbors and careful about securing permission to work on or walk across private land.
  • Leave gates the way you find them—open if open, closed if closed.
  • Never cross tilled fields because they are the farmers' and ranchers' livelihoods. Likewise don't irritate the livestock. Especially the bulls.
  • NEVER smoke in the field. No matter what! No matter how bad! Walk back to the vans if you have to. It is tinder dry in places during the later part of course. And fire fighting is a nasty and dangerous business.
  • Be fanatical about picking up litter—your own and bits you happen on.
  • Don't drink untreated surface water anywhere we work.
  • We eat a steady ration of peanut butter and jelly and other non-perishable stuff for lunch. You'll get tired of it but it won't go bad in your pack. Nothing is less fun than bad mayonnaise in the middle of nowhere.
  • There are rattlesnakes, scorpions, ticks, and black widow spiders about. We'll give you a primer on do's and dont's. Mostly make a bit of noise as you tramp around and look before putting your hands in or under rocks and you'll be fine.
  • If you do have an emergency in the field, one person should stay with the injured party and one should go for help. This is why it is essential and REQUIRED that you know where all the members of your field party are at all times. The lone ranger syndrome is bad for your geology and bad for you safety. If you do find yourself alone or in a pair, you can signal a very substantial distance by using your Brunton's mirror to flash a sunlight beam to someone.
  • When we are working on the regional mapping project during the second half of camp, we often will drop you off one place and pick you up at a pre-arranged time and place. This is part of learning to do field work—you MUST be at that place at that time. No matter how interesting the rocks are, you can't change the place you get picked up and you can't change the time you get there. Plan ahead carefully.
  • A few little tricks we'll talk about include how to cross barbed-wire fences, how to use your rock hammers safely (including the rules and etiquette of hammer golf), and driving OSU vehicles.

  • Click here for a downloadable pdf version.

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