About

A leader in geosciences education & research

The Judson Mead Geologic Field Station (IUGFS) strives to lead the nation in:

  1. Teaching geosciences in the field;
  2. Field-based geoscience research, both for new knowledge about the geology of SW Montana and better ways to teach geosciences in the field;
  3. Development of best practices in field geosciences.

We offer a world-class facility located in some of the most diverse and complex geology in North America.

Our environment & location

Our location sits at the intersection of the Sevier fold-thrust belt, Laramide province, and northern Basin-and-Range. All of these Cretaceous and Tertiary tectonic styles come together in the field station area because of the pre-Cretaceous geologic history of western North America and the underlying Precambrian crustal architecture that dates back at least 3.5 Ga. Rocks immediately around the IUGFS include Archean gneisses and schists, Proterozoic and Phanerozoic sedimentary rocks, Cretaceous-Tertiary intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks, and Neogene sedimentary rocks that are barely lithified.

The Field Station is located in the Tobacco Root Mountains, just south of Cardwell, Montana. We are surrounded by many spectacular geology localities including Yellowstone National Park, the Butte and Anaconda mining districts, Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park, etc.

I learned an unbelievable amount—it’s hands-on learning, and you can see the structures right there in front of you—but the faculty also emphasized independent thinking. I really fell in love with field geology.

Ellen Reat, IUGFS Class of 2012, M.S. 2016, Sedimentology