Learning in the Field
The great outdoors is what draws many people to geosciences. The majority of geology classes involve field trips that focus on the subject matter—studying volcanoes in New Mexico, desert sediments in Nevada, or catastrophic flooding in Arizona. Introductory class field trips focus on the geology of Oklahoma, which spans over 1 billion years of Earth’s history, recording a time when Oklahoma was situated on a beach near the equator before being uplifted in a huge mountain building event that left behind the Arbuckle Mountains.
Outside is a natural laboratory for geologists, and the many field trips that occur within the undergraduate curriculum equip you with the skills used by professional geologists. You will observe and describe rock formations all over Oklahoma. You will measure tidal influences along the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. You will also make geologic maps of the mountainous terranes of southern Oklahoma. These field skills will develop students into successful professional geoscientists. All of these field trips culminate in field camp—the six-week capstone geology course that occurs after your junior or senior year.
"When you are in the field you are able to experience the full scale of geology, from looking at sand grains through a handlens to standing next to enormous faults that displaced massive amounts of rock to build mountains. There is no substitute for that immersive experience."
Bartell Field Camp
OU’s Bartell Field Camp is located in Cañon City, Colorado, at the intersection many rock types and mountain ranges. Every summer the Cañon City area is inundated by geology students all over the country who are there to tie together their previously gained geologic knowledge in their capstone course—field camp. Bartell Field Camp is a premier facility located within the Wet Mountains of southern Colorado. The camp has 16 faculty and student cabins, a study hall, bathhouses and a full-service dining facility. Bartell Field Camp acts as the home base for students who travel daily to map out the complex geological history of the southern Rocky Mountains in the Cañon City area, with trips to Leadville, Rocky Mountain National Park, and a regional geology overview of the surrounding mountain ranges.