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The earth sciences off-campus field program, traditionally called the "Stretch," is a unique undergraduate off-campus teaching program designed to provide earth science majors and minors with a field experience during which they will be exposed to the methodology and theory of the study of the earth's lithosphere and hydrosphere. Additionally, students receive a perspective of ongoing research projects of faculty, graduate students and senior thesis candidates in the Department of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth. The program is usually taken in the fall term of the junior year. The itinerary is subject to change, but a description of the 2012 Stretch is representative of the general sequence. The term is divided into 1-2 week segments, each in a new location and taught by a different faculty member. The trip begins in the Canadian Rockies near Banff, where students receive an introduction to glaciology. They then move south to Wyoming, where they learn methods of geological fieldwork and bedrock mapping through lectures and a variety of field exercises. Field trips in the Big Horn Basin familiarize students with aspects of Northern Rocky Mountain geology. They are introduced to economic geology through study of ore metal deposits and acid mine drainage. A trip through Yellowstone National Park introduces volcanology, hydrology, and water chemistry.
Following those studies, students move west and south to the desert basins of Nevada and eastern California and the Colorado Plateau of eastern Utah and northern Arizona to expand their ability to map geologic structures and geomorphic systems, investigate river and lake hydrologic processes, and use geophysical instruments to infer subsurface structure. They also are introduced to geobiology, an emerging field at the interface between earth sciences and biology.
The program is generally open to all undergraduates who have taken one of the prerequisite courses in our discipline (Earth Sciences 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 or 9), plus Earth Sciences 40 (offered summer terms only). In case of large enrollments, we will give preference to earth sciences majors, minors, and modified majors.
Earth Sciences 45: Field Methods: Techniques of Structural and Stratigraphic Analysis
Earth Sciences 46: Field Methods: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
Earth Sciences 47: Field Methods: Earth Hazards and Resource Assessment
Accommodations vary from guest ranches and motels to tents and sleeping bags. Transportation during the program is by van.
Earth Sciences 1: How the Earth Works or
Earth Sciences 2: Evolution of Earth and Life or
Earth Sciences 3: Elementary Oceanography or
Earth Sciences 5: Natural Disasters and Catastrophes or
Earth Sciences 6: Environmental Change or
Earth Sciences 8: Geology of New England and Surrounding Regions or
Earth Sciences 9: Earth Resources
(Of these, Earth Sciences 1 is preferable because it offers practical skills of rock identification and map-reading.)
Earth Sciences 40: Materials of the Earth
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.