Geology 35 - Field Geology
Sierra Nevada Field Trip
Jeff Tolhurst, Ph.D., Instructor
(209) 588-5235 office
(209) 768-3998 cell

tolhurstj@yosemite.cc.ca.us
http://tolhurstj.faculty.gocolumbia.edu/home.htm
 

Suggested Reading 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.

Objectives:  Given information on the geological history and the main geologic processes occurring in 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) in class (Wednesday, June 15th); and for the trip (Saturday and Sunday, June 18th and 19th).  The pre-trip meeting will cover information on what to bring, what to expect, and what to turn in for credit.  We will also cover some information on the geological background of the Sierra to prepare us for the trip.  A trip itinerary will be given. 

Note: You will be expected to carpool to the stops on Saturday and Sunday.

Itinerary:    

Saturday, June 18th: We will meet on campus in front of the student dorms at 7:45 am and leave by 8:00 am.  This day will focus on the geology of the Mother Lode near Sonora, Columbia, Jamestown, and Coulterville.  We will also get to see Table Mountain and the Red Hills and learn about their origins.  We will be making a loop on this day trip and return to Columbia College by 5 pm.  You will need to pack a lunch for this day.

Sunday, June 19th: We will meet on campus in front of the student dorms at 7:45 am and leave by 8:00 am.  This day will focus on the geology of the high country and Sonora Pass.  We will drive east on Highway 108 making stops along the way toward Sonora Pass.  Be prepared to do some hiking along the way.  Some hiking will be at the 5,000-8,000 foot elevation levels.  We will be making a loop on this day trip and return to Columbia College by 5 pm.  You will need to pack a lunch for this day

What to Bring
-- clothing for both warm and cold/wet weather
-- food lunch and snacks 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
-- FRS radio (if you have one)
-- digital camera (still or video)

-- 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 keep a field log for the trip. You will be expected to turn this in to me at the end of the class. 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 between the pre-meeting and Saturday). You should also enter into your log the things you learned about: 1) the geology of the Sierra Nevada mountains and Mother Lode foothills; 2) tectonics/faulting of the region; 3) past volcanism in the region; and 4) glaciation in the Sierra. 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 (Saturday & Sunday), 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 = satisfactory completion of the field log described above along with daily summaries (one for Saturday, one for Sunday) 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 = 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 = 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 = 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 = 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 this statement based on some student behavior over the past couple of trips.  All campgrounds we stay in ask for quiet after dark.  If you (individually or  in a group at the campground) have to be asked to be quiet after 9 pm your grade will be dropped.  If you have to be asked again your grade will turn to an "F" and you will fail the course.

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.

Background Information: