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Wyoming Summer Geology Field Course GHC Geo 1121k/1122k Professor Billy Morris
The Plan

where we will go and what we will do

​This GHC summer field course begins in mid-June in the Geology Lab on the Floyd Campus in Rome with four evening classes, Monday-Thursday 6-9pm, that include a course orientation, lab work and testing. Travel dates are reserved for the last two weeks of June. The journey begins on a Monday with departure from Atlanta’s Hartsfield/Jackson airport where you will board a Southwestern Airlines flight to Denver. Upon arrival in Denver the group will travel northwest into Wyoming arriving in Casper.

​Built on the banks of the Platte River, Casper, known for its rich history of boarding long-haul travelers, will be home for a few days. Topics of study in this area will include rock and mineral identification, stratigraphy, paleontology, structure, topographic and geologic mapping. Points of interest will include Casper Mountain, Pathfinder Reservoir and Dam, the Alcova Reservoir and Independence Rock.

Thursday morning we will leave Casper and head northwest traveling through the Wind River Canyon. After a brief stop in Thermopolis to swim and explore the areas thermal features including hot springs, we will resume our journey with Cody as our destination. Cody is often referred as the eastern entrance to Yellowstone and after a night’s stay in the historic Erma Hotel we will tour the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and it's five world-class museums before departing for Yellowstone.

Our home in Yellowstone will be the cabins of Canyon Village, within walking distance of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Several days in the park will allow us to study hydrothermal activity, volcanism, ecology, and environmental policy.

Our next stop is Colter Bay Village, on the shore of Jackson Lake in the Grand Teton National Park. Seismology, glacial activity, mass wasting, stream processes, and hiking will be the focus of our study while in the Tetons. A free day will allow time for your choice of a morning hike, kayaking or canoeing, or horseback riding while the afternoon gives you the choice of whitewater rafting or touring the town of Jackson.

As we begin our two-day journey southeast toward Denver, our next stop will be Kemmerer, WY. Noted by some as the fossil capital of the world, an overnight stop will allow us the opportunity to visit a local quarry and collect 45 million year old fish fossils. A discussion of tectonics and its effects on the local terrain will lead to the synthesis of final paper discussion topics.

Our final destination prior to departure will be Ft. Collins, Colorado. After a late arrival in the afternoon we will head downtown to enjoy our last meal together at one of the outdoor restaurants in the city’s historic district. On Saturday morning the group will board a return flight to Atlanta.

There will be assignments and tests scheduled throughout the course with all other work submitted for a grade being due in late July. A detailed itinerary with specific dates, activities, locations, lodging info, and contact information will be provided to you prior to departure.

Taking part in this field course also means experiencing a part of the American West that everyone should observe first hand at some point in their life. Wyoming provides a glimpse not only into the earth's natural history, but also into the history and culture of the natives, explorers, settlers, and cowboys who called the region home. Through this blending of cultures the cowboys forged an unwritten code based on timeless principles.

As you discover Wyoming, take the time to also understand the cowboy code of the west. After all everyone needs a code or creed to live by.
Code of the West

1) Live each day with courage.
2) Take pride in your work.
3) Always finish what you start.
4) Do what has to be done.
5) Be tough, but fair.
6) When you make a promise, keep it.
7) Ride for the brand.
8) Talk less and say more.
9) Remember that some things aren't for sale.
10) Know where to draw the line.

Students collecting fossils
Students in the Grand Teton National Park
A bear in Yellowstone National Park
Student photographing signage
Grand Prismatic Spring
Moulton Barn

"The further one goes into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom."

Theodore Roosevelt