Geologic Field Methods
September and October are prime months for geologic field work, so the Geology Department makes good use of this time to do field work and excursions by scheduling numerous outings. The Geologic Field Methods class taught by Dr. Vollmer meets on Friday afternoons, and does observation, analysis and interpretation of geologic outcrops. In the class students learn field techniques required for professional geologic work. Many of these students will go on to take summer field courses for additional training in geologic field work, an essential skill for their professional careers.
A simple and useful technique for field measurement and surveying is pace-and-compass mapping. Here Allison, Ashley, Jimmy, Ashleigh, and Marion measure their paces by walking a 50 meter tape.
Here students Karin, Jared, James, Ashley, Max, and Marion practice taking measurements of the orientations (strike and dip) of bedding and cleavage planes, an essential skill for geologic mapping and three-dimensional interpretation of the bedrock structures.
A Brunton pocket transit, a tool the students must all master, is used for measuring rock strata orientations, as well as locating oneself on a topographic map. The geologic map of the New Paltz area, with the Shawangunk Ridge at upper left and the Hudson River at right, serves as a backdrop.
A Silva Ranger compass, a Scandinavian designed compass for military and orienteering use, is also used by the students for geologic use.
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