Geology of the Mother Lode Earth Science 35ML
Instructor: Jeff Tolhurst, Ph.D.
Office: Sugar Pine 119
and Fir 6
Office Hours:
TuTh 8:20-9:40am in Sugar Pine 119; M 4:30-6:00 pm in Fir 1 or 6 or by appointment
Phone: (209) 588-5235 office (+ msg); (209) 588-5104 (fax)
Email: tolhurstj@yosemite.edu
Course Credit: 1 semester hours
Prerequisites: None
Day and Time: Fri/Sat; 8am-5pm
Room: Field
Text:
Geology by Frank H. T. Rhodes, published by St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY, 10010, www.stmartins.com.

 

Field Trip Forms

Geology of the Mother Lode

Facebook Earth Sciences Program Page

Final Exam

Suggested Reading: 1. Geologic Trips: Sierra Nevada by Ted Konigsmark, published by GeoPress, P.O. Box 964, Gualala, CA 95455.  This book is also available through Mountain Bookstore or from Bored Feet Press, P.O. Box 1832, Mendocino, CA 95460; (888) 336-6199, www.boredfeet.com. 2. Geology by Frank H. T. Rhodes, published by St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY, 10010, www.stmartins.com.

Objectives:  Given information on the geological history and the main geologic processes occurring in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, you will be able to explain/describe the main geologic processes that have formed and continue to shape the mountains and foothills as well as describe the geologic history of the region.

Procedures:  We will meet three times: 1) Tuesday, March 1st; Friday, March 4th; and Saturday, March 5thTuesday evening we will cover information on what we will learn, what to expect, and what to turn in for credit.  We will also cover some information on the geological background of the Mother Lode and Sierra to prepare us for the trip.  The trip itinerary will be discussed (see below, too). Some hiking will be involved during the class - wear appropriate clothing and footwear. You will need to pack a lunch for each day.

Note: We will likely be in school vehicles on Friday and Saturday.

Itinerary (still finalizing...subject to change...):

Tuesday, March 1st: Meet in Sugar Pine 126 at 6 pm (click here for map of campus) for the pre-meeting for the class. Logistics and background information will be discussed to prepare us for the 2 days of field studies.

Friday, March 4th: We will meet on campus in front of the student dormitories on campus at 8:00 am. This day will focus on the geology of the Mother Lode near Sonora, Jamestown, Don Pedro, the Red Hills, and the Melones Fault.  We will also get to see Table Mountain and and learn about it's origin.  We will return to Columbia College by approximately 5:00 pm. You will need to pack a lunch for this day.

Saturday, March 5th: We will meet on campus in front of the student dormitories on campus at 8:00 am. This day will focus on the geology of the Mother Lode in Columbia, then Calaveras County to observe features related to the foothills metamorphic belt as well as recent geologic issues related to the Butte Fire. We will likely stop at the Ironstone Winery in Murphys to observe the largest specimen of leaf gold in the world (c. 44 lbs.!). We will return to Columbia College by approximately 5:00 pm. You will need to pack a lunch for this day.

What to Bring:
-- clothing for both warm and cold/wet weather (wear layers)
-- food & drink lunch, snacks, and drinks/water for each day
-- sturdy hiking/walking shoes
-- sunscreen/chapstick
-- mosquito repellent
-- sunglasses
-- a hat
-- money for miscellaneous items
-- a learning log (to be turned in for credit)
-- any medications you might need
-- a camera for photos
-- other

What to Expect

Expect hot/warm days down at lower elevations and cool/possibly wet (thunderstorms) up at higher elevations.  The weather is usually nice this time of year, but who knows what will happen!  The region is prone to afternoon thunderstorms and it will be difficult to say what the weather will be like.  Be prepared for a range of weather.

What to turn in for credit

In order to assess your learning, I'll ask you to: 1) keep a field log for the trip (you will be expected to turn this in to me at the end of the class.); and 2) take a multiple choice test at the end of the trip to assess your knowledge of concepts presented. This log should document the things you would like to learn before the trip as well as why you are taking the class (to be completed by the first meeting). You should also enter into your log the things you learned about: 1) the overall geologic history of the Sierra Nevada mountains and Mother Lode foothills; 2) tectonics/faulting of the region; 3) past volcanism in the region; 4) glaciation in the Sierra; and 5) geologic hazards in the region. You will be asked to make an entry at each stop on the trip as well as add an additional entry at the end of each day (Friday and Saturday), reflecting on what happened during the day.

Due Date for Field Log:  Logs are due at the end of the trip and will be graded and returned immediately.

Grading Scheme:

A = >90% on test and satisfactory completion of the field log described above along with daily summaries (one for Friday and Saturday) of what you learned.  You should also turn in an evaluation of the field class with your field log (last page) stating what you enjoyed and what you didn't enjoy (what you would keep/change...). Also, appropriate conduct and behavior expected of a college-level geology student will be factored into your grade.

B = 80-90% on the test and completion of the field log including a final evaluation of the class. No daily summaries turned in.  Also, appropriate conduct and behavior expected of a college-level geology student will be factored into your grade.

C = 70-80% on the test and completion of field log; no final evaluation or daily summaries turned in; or evaluations completed, but no field log turned in or missing stops/info. Also, appropriate conduct and behavior expected of a college-level geology student will be factored into your grade.

D = 60-70% on the test and attendance on field trip only; no field log turned in; no final evaluation, no daily summaries turned in. Also, appropriate conduct and behavior expected of a college-level geology student will be factored into your grade.

F  = <60% on the test and no attendance or left trip early and did not turn any work in. Also, appropriate conduct and behavior expected of a college-level geology student will be factored into your grade.

Note: I have had to add these statements based on past student behaviors:

Smoking during field lectures and activities must be done at a minimum of 20 FEET AWAY FROM OTHER STUDENTS.  If you cannot adhere to this requirement you should not sign up for the course.  I'm serious about this - you can't smoke in class, so don't smoke near others on this field trip; additionally, fire and safety hazards are too extreme to be careless with smoking and fire.

That having been said, I hope we all have a good trip! Feel free to contact me at the phone number or email address above if you have any questions before or after we leave.