Summer 2014 Geology Field Camp


Sul Ross State University Field Camp Information  ...Space is Limited...

Instructor:  Ms. Jesse Kelsch, MS  (email:; 432-837-8657)

Dates:  The class will be offered by SRSU during the Summer I term, 2014 (June 2 to July 6)

Course Number:  GEOL 3601; Credit: 6 semester hours

Costs:                                                   Resident                                              Non-resident

                Tuition                                  $1356.50                                              $3462.50

                Field course fee                    $1735.00                                              $1735.00

                $300 deposit required by April 15 (deposit applies to Field Course fee)


- Structural Geology

- Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (Sed/Strat)

- Mineralology

No exceptions will be made regarding prerequisites.  Your transcript is required to register. If you are enrolled in the prerequisites during registration time, documentation from your instructors that you are on track to pass the courses will suffice.

Other Requirements:

- Valid permission from medical doctor (MD) or certified nurse practitioner (CNP) confirming physical fitness for full-day hikes at elevations of 7,000-8,000 ft amsl on slopes of 10 to 30o carrying a ~50-lb backpack.

Cap:  28 students

Location: The SRSU 2013 Field Geology course will start and end at the Alpine campus in the Davis Mountains of West Texas.  The course departs Alpine for a 5-week-long driving loop to northern New Mexico through the Guadalupe, Manzano, Sandia, Jemez, and Sangre de Cristo Mountains, then southward to the Gila Mountains in southern New Mexico and the Chisos in Big Bend National Park, Texas.  The major exercises based in these ranges include:

  • Geologic mapping of deformed Mesozoic rock near the southwest Jemez Mountains
  • Geologic mapping of Mesozoic-early Tertiary sedimentary and volcanic rock on the margin of the Rio Grande rift at the northern Jemez Mountains in NM
  • A tour of the late Tertiary volcanic complex that is the Jemez Mountains volcanic field, including the Valles Caldera and Jemez Springs
  • Measuring sections within Tertiary volcaniclastic sedimentary rocks
  • Investigation of mountain-front geology and hydrology on the western flank of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe, NM
  • Examination of a glacially formed landscape on Wheeler Peak near Taos, NM
  • Examination of the Permian reef and basin facies preserved in the Guadalupe Mountains
  • Tours of open-pit and subsurface mines and introduction to magmatic-hydrothermal ore systems
  • Investigation of early Tertiary igneous history in the Big Bend region of west Texas
  • Fluvial geomorphology studies on the Rio Grande and a tributary in Big Bend National Park


  • We will be camping every night.  You are responsible for your own personal camping gear:  tent with rain fly, strong tent stakes, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, camp chair, flashlight(s), etc., plus your own drink cup and coffee mug (all other kitchen gear is provided.)  We will be car-camping so you can even bring a pillow, but try to sensibly minimize your personal-gear footprint as there will be 31 of us plus our gear.  (However, for 33 nights camping, you are welcome to bring the extra comforts you deem important.)  In the past, students have brought hammocks to sleep in, for the sites where there are strong, mature trees.  (This is in addition to a tent- it WILL rain.)  Shower facilities will be available only at some of our camp sites, but we won’t go more than five days between a shower.  There will be a cook traveling with us who will set up a camp kitchen and provide us with three meals a day (sack lunch into the field) plus water and gatorade.  Students will rotate through kitchen-help duties.  Work tables will be set up at each camp for completing field assignments.
  • You must also bring your own personal gear for comfort and safety:  sturdy, broken-in hiking boots, plenty of good socks, outdoor clothing for all-day sun and for cool summer nights at ~7,000 ft amsl and for rain; waterproof shoes both for fluvial geomorphology work (wading in a shallow stream) as well as a suit for optional recreational swimming at the reservoir where we’ll be camped for 5 days.  Sunscreen, a large-brimmed hat, and refillable water bottles are also required.  (You MUST carry at least a gallon of water into the field with you each day.  There are no refill sites in our remote field areas.)  Camelbak or similar bladder-type backpacks work well, as do Nalgene or Klean Kanteen bottles.  In addition to three meals per day, snacks will be provided daily but we will also intermittently stop for gas as we move between campsites, so you should bring spending money if you’ll want extra treats.
  • There will be commercial laundry facilities available on a few of the days off, so you should also bring quarters and soap.  
  • You also need to bring gear to operate as a field geologist:  a map board, colored pencils, quality mapping pencil(s), a scale and protractor, grain size card, a comfortable and sizeable back pack, and rock hammer with holster.  A field belt, and a field pouch to hang on your belt next to your hammer holster is VERY handy as well.  (Plateau Designs of Flagstaff, AZ has been providing good cheap field pouches to field camp students for a couple of decades.)  What will be provided to you:  an empty Rite-in-the-Rain field book; a collection of literature pertinent to the geology on our traverse; stereonet paper; base maps and mylar.  Bruntons and hand lenses will be checked out to you at the beginning of the course, to be returned in exchange for your letter grade at the end of field camp.  Also, a copy of “Geology Field Methods” by Tom Freeman will be available for purchase when you arrive in Alpine for $15.  You can pick one up early to study it (, or find Compton’s “Geology in the Field,” which costs a bit more but is more robust, and is the classic.   
  • Campground fees, food and entrance-fee costs when we are on the road (34 days) are provided.  Students are responsible for their own board and lodging during a night in Alpine at the start of the session before we depart, and one night in Alpine at the end of the session when we return.  SRSU dorm rooms will be available for rent to visiting students for the Alpine nights, and Alpine has a few nice campgrounds as well.

Registration:  :  If you are not a Sul Ross student, you’ll have to apply to SRSU through ApplyTexas.   Contact Lonora Hunt, secretary of the SRSU Department of Biology, Geology and Physical Science, for assistance in how to proceed, as well as whether there are places remaining.; 432-837-8112