GEOL 260 & 460: The Southwestern U.S.

‌J-TERM in the Desert (GEOL 260)

Each year during January, the Geology Department runs GEOL 260, an intensive course in the southwestern U.S.  focused on building important field skills in mapping, making detailed observations and measurements, and proper sampling techniques.  All geology faculty contribute their expertise in this course.  Less frequently, we offer GEOL 460, an advanced field course where students further develop these skills as they contribute to new and ongoing collaborative research projects with Geology Department faculty.   Students do all of this while working in spectacular settings in Nevada, Utah, and California. 


Pride rock can be found in the Bitter Spring area of Nevada. It is comprised of the Bitter Ridge Limestone.


Jake, Gwen, and Ericka are working at making careful observations of their surroundings. Students use these observations to then work towards an interpretation of the depositional conditions present at the time these rock units formed.


Gwen is diligently making observations of her surrounds in Death Valley.


The reflection of the Panamint Range at Badwater. In Death Valley, evaporation is much greated than precipitation, therefore the valley floor is covered in salt deposits, as seen in the picture.


Lindsey, Jake, Jey, and Sam getting ready to conquer the sand dunes of Death Valley.

Students make their way to the bottom of Ubehebe Crater, which is a result of a volcanic eruption about two thousand years ago.



This waterfall is just one of the many spectacular sights students observed while visiting Zion National Park.

The 2008 J-term class poses for a group shot at Zion National Park


Gwen, Rachel (Speedy), Jill, and Ericka warning others of the "icy conditions" at Zion.


If you're interested in this course, contact:


Dr. Kevin Theissen ( at 651-962-5243.