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Field trips from Southern California to the Caribbean


On a trip to Hawaii, geology students and faculty “run” from a “red hot moving surface flow” during a 12-mile hike across lava fields where lava tubes flow from the Pu’u O’o vent and enter the sea in firework-sprays.

Geology provides many opportunities for students to observe and study in the field.

This begins for first-year students with GEOL105: Introductory Physical Geology in the Rocky Mountains. It is a 4-credit lab science course that takes place in August in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming.

The department also offers major field trips each year to places of geologic interest. Winter trips usually venture to some place distant, exotic, and warmer than Illinois. Field trips provide a great way to learn geology, enjoy nature and make new friends around the campfire.

Recent departmental field trips

2022 January-Term Sedimentology of the Caribbean island of Bonaire

2022 April Geological Society of America Meeting, Ohio 

2022 August GEOL105: Intro Physical and Environmental Geology of the Rocky Mountains, Black Hills, S.D. and Bighorn Mountains, Wyo.

2022 September Udden Geology Club Allied Quarry trip, Ill.

2022 September Devonian Fossil Gorge, Iowa

2022 October Igneous Petrology of the St. Francois Mountains, Mo.

2022 November Structural Geology of Baraboo, Wis.

2023 January-Term Geology of the Mojave Desert, Calif.

2023 May Geological Society of America Meeting, Mich.

red rock canyon, Nevada

Geology students interpreted crossbedded sandstones of Red Rock Canyon, Nevada, wind-blown during the Jurassic 185 million years ago. The group is enroute to Southern California for the Mojave Geology January-term field course!

Bighorn mountains

Physical and Environmental Geology of the Rockies summer field course is open to all incoming first-year students! Here, students got an incredible view of the NE Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming after hiking the steep 450 million-year-old dolomite cliffs of Steamboat Point.

Death Valley

How low can you go? In this case, about 270 feet below sea level! The geology department spent spring break studying the rocks of Death Valley, California!

baraboo wi field trip

Geology students sitting on the 1.6 billion-year-old bluffs of Devil’s Lake, in the Baraboo Range, Wisconsin. During a field trip to the Baraboo, Wisconsin region, students explored incredible  geomorphic, structural and stratigraphic features, gained skills in making field observations, identifying rocks and formations in the field, and in developing interpretations of some of the paleoenvironments and ancient tectonic processes active in the midcontinent.

caribbean field trip

Students excited to explore the geology of the northern side of the Caribbean island of Bonaire at Boka Chikitu in Washington Slagbaai National Park.

caribbean reefs

Observing and comparing the underwater modern reefs to the on-land ancient, fossilized reefs is all part of the geology January-term Caribbean course Build Me an Island. Here, students are getting their sea legs and practicing being adept at concentrating on the intricacies of SCUBA while recording field observations. 

Elephant rock state park

A field trip to the geologic wonderlands of St. Francois Mountains, Missouri gave students a glimpse into the ancient magmatic and tectonic past and growth of North America. Here, they hold up 1.3 billon-year-old spheroidally weathered granites at Elephant Rock State Park. Later they geared up to travel 1200 feet underground to observe ancient fissures and fractures filled with sparkling, valuable ores, evidence of ancient fluid flow.

Allied Quarry

Augustana’s Udden Geology Club explored Allied Quarry in Rock Island. This quarry is a window into our local geology, with fantastic exposures of 400 million-year-old Silurian and Devonian strata and opportunities for fossil collecting and learning about the stratigraphy and economic significance of this local resource.

Students inventorying local streams

Grant boosts community impact of two Augustana College centers

A $100,000 grant from Augustana College Trustee Christopher Coulter '94 and his wife, Melanie Berna Coulter '94, will mobilize Augustana students, faculty and staff as they partner with communities to solve the social, economic and environmental challenges facing the Quad-Cities region. 

Red Rocks, Nevada

How J-term classes impact the student experience

During January term, students take a break from their 15-week semester schedule to engage in a month-long period of intensive learning. Here are four students' J-term stories and photos from several classes.

Paige Lundborg

Academic opportunities in the lab, the marsh and on the beach

Three Augustana science students — Paige Lundborg, Bobby Nwachukwu and Audrey Zettler — made the most of their summer by taking advantage of opportunities on campus, in the Quad Cities and in another country.

Maquoketa Caves Excursion

Explore the Maquoketa Caves with the Augustana Sierra Club from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Lunch provided.

Planetarium open house

Augustana College's John Deere Planetarium will be open to the public from 8:30-10 p.m. for an evening of stargazing and planet viewing.