Geology 560/561 (Field Geology)

Geology 560/561- Field Geology

KU Geology has operated a camp in the Cañon City, Colorado, area since 1922.  We occupy permanent facilities thirteen miles north of town in a rustic camp that will accommodate some 30 students. The rocks in the area are well suited to introduce students to field geology.  In most of our field areas of one or two square miles, the stratified rocks change from nearly flat-lying to complexly faulted and folded; basement rocks consist of intrusive and metamorphic suites.

The purpose of our Geology 560/561: Intro to Field Geology (better known as "Field Camp") is to teach students to understand exposures of rock that are larger than hand specimens and smaller than mountain ranges.  For this reason, the curriculum at our camp is focused to give students hands-on experience in structural mapping, stratigraphy, and metamorphic and intrusive relations. We work in the field nearly every day.  Each project is designed to convey a specific idea about geology or the methods of studying geology in the field.  A course in structural geology and sedimentology are prerequisites, and we urge non-KU students to have had a field-methods course.  The camp is divided into two courses, Geology 560 on basic field geology and 561 with more advanced projects.  Each course carries 3 hours of credit from the University of Kansas.  An enrollment of approximately 22 students is anticipated.

Our camp starts most years with projects areas in the Capitol Reef area of central Utah for the first two weeks.  The geology is relatively simple, the stratigraphy distinctive, and expose is commonly 100% giving students an ideal place to start understanding field geology.  Students and staff stay at the Capitol Reef Field Station of Utah Valley University or in campgrounds. 

The remainder of the first course and all the second course are taught from the KU Field camp near Cañon City, Colorado.  We occupy permanent facilities thirteen miles north of town in a rustic camp that has been the site of the course since 1922. The rocks and structures in the area are well suited to introduce students to more challenging field geology.  Stratified rocks change from nearly flat-lying to complexly faulted and folded and basement rocks consist of intrusive and metamorphic suites.

An important aspect of the Geology Field Camp is that both courses use advanced technology for mapping and collecting observations.  Since 1999, the camp has utilized hardened field laptops with GIS software and/or mobile devices running geologic apps.  Technology is introduced in the latter part of the first course and is employed during the first part of the second course.  KU offers one of the few digitally-based field courses in the world.


Information about the course

Students at the University of Kansas field camp enroll in two three-hour courses that operate consecutively.  Most students should enroll in both courses.  Our six-week, six-hour sequence of courses will begin on May 18, 2024 with the drive from Lawrence to Cañon City, CO, and then to Utah. The camp will end by June 29, 2024 or perhaps earlier with the return trip.  Students who wish may find their own transportation to and from camp. 

In-state tuition in 2023 will be: for a single course (560 or 561) for Undergraduates -  $1,059.60; for both courses (560 and 561) for Undergraduates - $2119.20 plus University fees. Out-of-state undergraduate rates are about twice those for in-state students, with costs of approximately $2830.80 per course ($5661.60 for both) plus University fees. In addition, both Geology 560 and Geology 561 have a $965 student fee. Students not previously enrolled at The University of Kansas will pay a one-time fee of $30.00.  Tuition and fees pay for lodging at the field station or campground in Utah and cabins in Colorado, transportation in Department of Geology vans from Lawrence to camp and return, transportation in the field, and some supplies.  Students will cook as a group while in Utah (with the cost likely paid by the camp), and must provide their own food and fix their own breakfasts, field lunches, and, typically, dinners while in Colorado.  Dinners will be either in camp or in town at the choice of the students. Costs of all meals are he responsibility of the students.  Some scholarships are available for KU students, and students selected to drive state vehicles will receive a stipend that helps offset expenses.

We provide bunks, mattresses, Brunton compasses, maps, and field technology.  Students are expected to provide their own textbooks, field gear, bedding, towels, and personal items.  Students should plan on camping for at least part of the first two weeks, so should have tents, sleeping bags, and pads.  More information about camp, supplies, textbooks, scholarships, and being a driver will be sent later after we have received your application.   Faculty members this year will be Doug Walker, Diane Kamola, Andreas Moeller, and one or more teaching assistants.


For an application form, please email