Our students have traveled far and wide around the globe, exploring diverse localities of geology in Canada and abroad. These field trips and courses are meant to give students exposure to a variety of field settings: deep-rooted mountain belts, ancient oceanic crust thrusted onto continents and diamond bearing old cratons to name a few. The courses teach basic field skills like outcrop mapping, creating stratigraphic sections, using geophysical methods to probe the subsurface and more. Field trips range from day trips to two-week long trips. Just in the last 5 years, our students have visited Oman, Chile, Turkey, Trinidad and South Africa as part of a field trip. Check out some of their journey’s below.
In November 2017, students in the 2nd and 4th year structural geology classes traveled to Oman for a 10 day geology field excursion. They visited numerous world renown geologic sites, including the Semail Ophiolite which is the best preserved exposure of ocean crust and upper mantle. In addition to incredible geology, the trip also included camel rides, swimming in beautiful wadi’s, exploring caves, and camping in the middle of a desert.
In Summer 2017, undergrad students in ESS490 spent a magical three days among the majestic landscapes and midnight sun in Iceland. The trip was jam-packed with visits to glaciers, geysers, hot springs, active volcanoes, and no fewer than 174 waterfalls. It’s not every day you get to visit a place where two tectonic plates are ripping apart!
Hot off the heels of three days in Iceland, 2017’s ESS490 continued on to the magical highlands of Scotland. The birthplace of the science of geology, Scotland is chock-full of famous outcrops and diverse geological features, not to mention beautiful castles and wildlife. Highlights included dinosaur footprints on the Isle of Skye, the alien-looking columnar basalts of Staffa, the glorious Northwest Highlands near Ullapool, countless scenic hikes, and all the adorable fuzzy Highland cows.
South Africa 2020
United States 2019
In the fall of 2019, students took a 2-week trip all over the southwestern United States starting at Dumont Dunes where they saw evidence for one of the Snowball Earth periods. After a visit to the famous Death Valley they turned to the Sierras and visited the Inyo Mountains. Nevada was up next on the itinerary with a visit to the Valley of Fire where the search was on for petrified wood. After several days of snow, the students were happy to report sunshine in the last couple days before heading back to Canada.
In February 2019, a group of Earth Science undergraduates led by Prof. Ed Spooner ditched the chilly Toronto winter and headed down to the sunny Caribbean islands of Trinidad and St. Vincent. In Trinidad, they visited active fault zones, roiling mud volcanoes, and even walked (carefully!) onto a giant lake of tar. St. Vincent featured gorgeous lava flow outcrops, speedboat rides, and a hike through the tropical jungle up to the rim of an active volcano!
Trinidad and St. Vincent 2019
During Fall Reading week in 2018, students in their second-year minerology and petrology course flew across the Atlantic to Istanbul, Turkey. They travelled the West coast of Turkey, getting tours of both geological and historical sights like horst and graben structures, active volcanic cones and the 9 layers of Troy. They bravely swam in the Aegean, and tried world-famous Baklava. Read more about their adventures in their blog.
“In November of 2019, while in my second year, I joined members of my minerology class on a trip to Turkey. We first landed in Istanbul and travelled southeast – stopping in the capital Ankara and finishing in Cappadocia. We visited geologically significant sites such as Lake Tuz (one of the world’s largest salt lakes), Ihlara valley, the underground city in Cappadocia and saw/discussed beautiful natural landscapes including the famous fairy chimneys. The trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about and experience the geology of a foreign country while immersing oneself in its culture and history.” ~ Dani
The Whitefish Falls field camp is a two-week course typically taken in the summer of second year. It exposes students to an exciting variety of geological phenomena—from asteroid impacts to submarine volcanoes, and rocks covering the history of planet Earth from the early days without oxygen up to the latest ice age.
The field camp is held in Whitefish Falls, one of Ontario’s most scenic areas. In the Whitefish Falls area, students conduct several independent and group projects, including a multi-day mapping exercise. Here is the link to the course.