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Undergraduate Course Field Trips
including Freshman Seminars

Freshman Seminars

State of the Earth: Shifts & Cycles (in Spain and France)

Faculty: Adam Maloof and Frederik Simons

During the required week-long Fall break trip to Spain and France, you will engage in research projects that focus on the cycles and shifts in Earth's shape, climate, and life that occur now on timescales of days, and have been recorded in rocks over timescales of millions of years.

Visit this seminar's website for more information. An extended slideshow is available.

Department of Geosciences Professors Adam Maloof and Frederik Simons are veterans of the Freshman Seminar program: see Earth's Changing Surface & Climate, which was built around field work in California, and Earth's Environments & Ancient Civilizations, which conducted geoarchaeological field work in Cyprus.

The Everglades Today and Tomorrow: Global change and the impact of human activities on the biosphere

Faculty: Anne M. Morel-Kraepiel, François Morel, Satish Myneni

See Freshman Seminar booklet or

Read about this seminar in the NEWS AT PRINCETON:
"Take a closer look at everglade restoration"

“ The Everglades are a test. If we pass the test, we get to keep planet earth. ” — Marjorie Stoneman Douglas.

A one-week field trip to the Florida Everglades during the spring break is mandatory to evaluate water quantity and quality in the context of geology, chemistry, and biology of the ecosystem. During this trip students observe the environment and collect samples that are subsequently analyzed in the laboratory at Princeton University. The resulting data is interpreted, synthesized, and written up for a final class report. Funds are provided by the Geosciences Department.


Courses Field Trips

Measuring Cimate Change: Methods in Data Analysis & Scientific Writing

GEO 201/WRI 201/ENV 203

Faculty: Adam Maloof and Amanda Irwin Wilkins, Director of the Princeton Writing Program

During this mandatory 9-day field trip to the American Southwest, you'll gain practical experience collecting climatological data (using drones!) and analyzing these data using software and programming languages like ArcGIS and Matlab. You'll learn how to use the research and writing process recursively to hone your ideas, and how to communicate original research effectively within the formal structure of journal-style scientific writing and the LaTeX typesetting language.  For more information, visit 

Evolution and Catastrophes

GEO 365

Faculty: Gerta Keller

A one-week field trip during the semester break is mandatory. During this trip students visit localities where rocks detail the transitions across major mass extinctions and climatic and environmental changes. They are actively involved in fieldwork, including digging trenches to expose fresh rocks, observing, describing and measuring rock sequences, and collecting sediment samples for analysis in the laboratory. Evenings are devoted to lectures, discussions of the day’s work and reports. The results of fieldwork and laboratory analyses form the basis for the term report. Past field trips have visited Mexico, Texas, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, and the Alps. Funds are provided by the Geosciences Department.


GEO 370 / CEE 370 / ENV 370

Faculty: A. Maloof

This course
has three regional weekend field trips designed to complement problem sets and take students to the New Jersey Pine Barrens, Eastern Kentucky Appalachia, and the Catskills Mountains of New York. The fourth is a mandatory spring-break field trip with varying locations (e.g., Bahamas, New Mexico) where students focus on specific research projects that range from dune migration and tidal channel dynamics, to generating records of sea level rise in the Caribbean or climate change in the American West. The field data collected on this trip are the focus of the final research projects. Funds are provided by the Geosciences Department.

Earth Materials

GEO 372

Faculty: Blair Schoene

Students participate in a mandatory one-week field trip over fall break. In the field, students learn to make observations in both outcrops regional scale geology in order to untangle complicated tectonic and thermal histories recorded by rocks in the Earth’s crust and mantle.  Students visit modern continental rifts and active faults, super volcanoes, deep crustal terranes exhumed during mountain building, and granitic batholiths.  The centerpiece of this trip is to collect rock samples and field data that form the basis of the students’ final projects for the second half of the course. The field trip in the fall of 2010 visited New Mexico, though future locations may vary.  Funds are provided by the Geosciences Department.

Structural Geology

GEO 373

Faculty: Blair Schoene

This course involves numerous local field trips to observe rocks that were deformed during the Appalachian mountain building event, and one spring break field trip to a more distant location (SW U.S. such as Utah, Arizona, California or Nevada).  Students learn to observe and measure large and small scale structures and determine the mechanisms that deform Earth’s crust during episodes of plate tectonic interactions and mountain building.  Field work involves making geologic and structural maps in beautiful areas.