Whether taking our flagship course, Field Geology in the Rocky Mountains (EAS X429), or one of our other courses, the backdrop for our courses is the rugged, complex and beautifully exposed geology surrounding IU’s Judson Mead Geologic Field Station.
There is no replacement for the experience of working in the field. Alumni credit their time at the Field Station as a key ingredient in subsequent career success. Our courses require you to work collaboratively with others to gain an integrative understanding of geology, collect and interpret data, and improve your conception of scale and the 3D geometry of complex structural earth forms. Beyond that, they allow you to get your hands dirty—experiencing the challenges of solving real-world problems in the geosciences.
Most of our courses are physically demanding. The typical week is six 10-hour field days. It is normal to hike 6 to 12 miles each day in terrain with more than 1,500’ of vertical relief. Average daily temperatures can range from less than 40°F at night to over 90°F during the day. The SW Montana climate is generally dry, but we can experience rain and even snow any day during the summer.
Other Course Offerings
Introductory high school and graduate–level courses are offered on an irregular basis, depending on expected enrollments. For more information about these offerings, and opportunities for field learning experiences for high-school students and their teachers, adults, and professionals in industry, contact the iterim director, Erika Elswick.