Field Trips and Seminars

Class Field Trips

One of the highlights of nearly every geology class offered at Wheaton College is the field trip component. Geology classes include trips to important regional geologic sites as well as taking extended trips over spring and Christmas breaks or in the summer.

  • Fox and Illinois River Valleys (glacial geology, stratigraphy, paleontology, and environmental issues): GEOL 211
  • Devil's Lake, Baraboo Area, Wisconsin (glacial geology, petrology, tectonics, historical geology): GEOL 321
  • Central Wisconsin (structural geology, tectonics, and petrology): GEOL 443
  • Southern Illinois and Central Missouri (modern and ancient sedimentation, petrology, paleontology, regional geology): GEOL 344
  • Chicago and Lake Michigan Area Landforms (glacial geology, coastal issues, fluvial features, urban/suburban environmental issues): GEOL 336
  • Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. GEOL 321

Beartooth pan 2018

  • The entire Black Hills Region of South Dakota, including Badlands, Devil's Tower, Mount Rushmore, Homestake Gold Mine (regional geology, historical geology, geological materials, modern geological processes, natural resources, environmental issues): GEOL 201 and GEOL 413 at Wheaton College Science Station (summers)
  • Big Horn Mountains, Powder River Basin, Tetons, Yellowstone Park, and Beartooth Mountains in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana (field methods, geological mapping, tectonics, resource geology, historical geology, and petrology): GEOL 413

Student-Alumni Field Trips

Special field trips for students and alumni are planned for the week after commencement in May every other year (currently during odd numbered years.)  The trips provide an opportunity for geology and environmental science majors to visit classic landscapes in North America and around the world in company of alumni and friends of our department. Recent trips have included:

May 2017: West Texas and New Mexico featuring the Franklin and Guadalupe Mountains (Permian Reef), Carlsbad Caverns, and White Sands National Monument.

May 2015: Great Basin from Salt Lake City, Utah to Reno, Nevada featuring Precambrian and Phanerozoic sedimentary and igneous bedrock and structures and active gold mines.

Student Alumni Field Trip



  • Guest lecturers, including leading geoscientists and alumni, often present special seminars during the academic year. We enjoy frequent informal seminars with faculty and students presenting recent research with one another. We also take advantage of public seminars offered at college and university geoscience departments in the Chicago/northern Illinois region.