Skip to main content

Physical and Environmental Geology in the Rocky Mountains

If you're interested in the outdoors and natural sciences, consider taking GEOL105: Introductory Physical and Environmental Geology in the Rocky Mountains.

This 4-credit lab science course takes place in August, just before you begin your first year at Augustana College.

Study geology in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the spectacular Rocky Mountains of Wyoming, where a wide variety of rocks and processes are evident. You will learn about Earth materials (minerals and rocks), structures, composition, and a variety of dynamic processes.

This rigorous course begins and ends on campus, but in between you'll have opportunities to hike the mountains, camp with friends, and learn geology! (Students should anticipate challenging hikes at high elevations).

Dr. Michael Wolf and Dr. Jeffrey Strasser co-direct the program.

(If you cannot join this field course, consider enrolling in GEOL-101 Physical and Environmental Geology (4 credits) on campus during fall or spring semester.)

Dates and details

The first class meeting will be at noon Friday, Aug. 4, in the Swenson Hall of Geosciences, Fryxell Geology Museum. The course begins with one day of preliminary study on campus, followed by two and a half weeks of field study.

The field work will include geologic investigations of the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota, and Devil’s Tower and the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, followed by work in the Wind River Canyon (Owl Creek Mountains), before returning to campus. Additional post-trip study ends on Aug. 20.

GEOL105 carries a Natural Science (PN) course suffix, and partially fulfills the general education graduation requirements.

The $2,400 program cost includes tuition, transportation and all related field expenses (i.e., food, course supplies, group tents, ground pads, camping fees, and appropriately warm and compact, brand-new synthetic sleeping bags).

Participants must supply other camping gear: field clothing and boots, day pack, and personal toiletries, medium duffle bag.

The program is limited to incoming first-year Augustana students who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and boosted if eligible.

New student registration for GEOL105 requires a $500 non-refundable (if accepted) deposit by May (sent along with application). Payment-in-full (the remaining $1,900) must be made by the July billing date.

→ The Geology Field Scholarship is available for  incoming first-year students. Applicants for this award should be Pell-eligible students with a strong interest in the natural sciences and the environment who are admitted to Augustana College to begin their first year in the fall of 2023.

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.