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Archive for June, 2009

As promised I would post on my adventures at field camp which is in the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming near Shell.

A few words that would describe this camp would include, Awesome, Challenging, Educational, and Beautiful!

In these last 4 weeks I’ve mapped many of the common structures (thrust faults, anticlines, synclines, etc.) mostly in Mesozoic Layers. We’ve used topographic maps, google earch images, and of course traditional field work methods to help define such contacts. Also at camp we’ve also done projects looking at well log information, core descripition, identifying parasequencs, index fossil identification, a little geomorphology, and environmental/tectonic activity interpretations.

In two days I’ll be spending a week long endeavor in the Wind River, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons looking at hard rock geology.

Besides the educational value this camp also offers a reasonable amount of free time which has allowed me the luxary to go fish the spectacular Shell Creek that is just a few hundred feet from camp. Further more we are at the foothills of the Bighorns, and surrounded by the red rock of the Chugwater formation making the scenary here outstanding.

Besides fishing there has been good geocaching and even managed to snag a few more birds onto my lifelist.

On the otherside of the story this year has been relatively very wet and so woking in areas that always have bentonite add a new degree of difficulty to field work (especially in the siliceous razor blades of the Mowry Shale). Loose rock has been an occasional problem especially when you are taking a Strike and Dip and the entire sandstone block of Cloverly you are sitting on decides it is going to fall (Thank goodness for adrenaline). Further more there are rattlesnakes out here and they have had a tendancy not to rattle until the very last second but saying such no one has yet been bitten. There are also Northern Scorpions in the area and so caution must be used to pick up rocks or you may find yourself holding one of these guys such as one of my friends has done while working in the Sundance Fm. Finally probably the largest hazard of the animal world are ants. There are anthills everywhere (and I mean EVERYWHERE!) and if you step onto their nest, they’ll let you know and its not fun.

But saying all this, These experiences both negative and positive has given me a whole new perspective on the reality of field geology. Further more this camp beats anything out East simply because all the geology is exposed here. None of this outcrop hopping, or only seeing part of a structure because dense vegetation. Also access to geology is much more available as much of the land is National Forest or BLM. Even then we got permission by a few ranchers which has given us miles more access.

So Overall it has been an awesome journey. Hopefully I’ll be able to update my adventures after the Grand Tetons!

ISU Geology Field Camp Sundance Study

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