Field Geology – Lecture Summaries for Fall 2014

Back to Kanat's home page, the class page, or send e-mail to Leslie Kanat


Click on a week for the lecture summaries:


Block the text you want to print, then click: file > print > selection > print.

Bookmark and Share

25 - 29 August 2014

We will need drivers for the field geology course. Please contact Susan Rothschild (phone 635-1208) to see if you qualify. Contact Security for training to drive a large van.

We will be attending the New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference on 10-12 October 2014 (the end of Fall Break Columbus Day Weekend).


Excerpts from the Concise Oxford Dictionary (1982):

Compute the values of the magnetic field in any area using the NOAA  site. View historical declination here.

Consider purchasing an all-weather 'Rite in the Rain' pen – geological field supplies can be purchased from Miners, Inc .

Learn about the symbols or download USGS topographic maps.

Learn about UTM grids at the USGS  site or at a site maintained by John Carnes. Convert UTM to latitude and longitude, or vice versa, at the  The National Geodetic Survey Information Services Branch of NOAA.

Read the article: Why Can't We Walk Straight?


Friday's session was devoted to the delineation of the boundaries for the topographic map activity, introduced the concept of pace, use of the compass, and developed an initial plan to map Lower Pond at JSC. A copy of my field notes can be found here.

We discussed the approach (methodology) to making maps, reviewed trigonometry, and was exposed to the '=sin(radians(x))' function in Excel for work with angles.

Use the average number of paces to determine your personal pace factor (units: meters/pace).


Assignment (due 2 Sep 2014): Field Notes [1 point].

Please submit photocopies of your field notes for the topographic mapping project. Use one staple to hold all pages together.


Assignment (due 19 Sep 2014 – note revised date): Topographic Map [20 points].

The first activity is to develop a topographic map of Lower Pond on the campus of JSC. Our initial discussions regarding a grading rubric indicated that a good topographic map should have the following features:    


Topographic Map Exercise Grading Rubric
contour lines*, contour interval, index contour and benchmarks
grids: latitude-longitude (markings) and UTM (grid)
legend, location, and series
municipal and natural features
north: magnetic and true
scale: bar scale (metric and standard) and a ratio scale
style and precision
title, date, and authors' names




*Although contour lines are colored brown on USGS topographic maps,
points will not be taken off for black contour lines.

Any comments on the rubric for the topographic map activity (above) are welcome.

The size of the poster board is ? x ? cm.

The deadline for applications for the Burlington Gem and Mineral Club's Ethel and William Schuele Scholarship is October 1, 2014.  The Schuele Scholarship is in the amount of $1,000.

The Schuele Scholarship policy and application procedures are very clearly described on the following page from the BGMC website:

References must discuss in detail the student's academic record in their letter of recommendation.

Applications may be downloaded from a link on this page as a Microsoft Word file.  As noted on this page, applications, limited to 3 pages, together with two letters of recommendation, should be sent to the Burlington Gem and Mineral Club, c/o Warren D. Ellison, 325 Browns Trace Road, Jericho, VT 05465.  Electronic submissions are not permitted.

1 - 5 September 2014
Worked with topographic maps, GPS, map scales, compasses and trigonometry.


In-class assignment (due 2 Sep 2014): GPS and map scale [1 point].

Plot the GPS coordinates on map and calculate the ratio scale of the map.


Assignment (due 4 Sep 2014): Bed thickness determination [2 points].

Use trigonometry to calculate the thickness of a bed given its dip, width of exposure in the field, and elevation of the top and bottom contacts of the bed.


In-class assignment (due 4 Sep 2014): Bed thickness determination [5 points].

Use trigonometry to calculate the thickness of a bed given its dip, width of exposure in the field, and elevation of the top and bottom contacts of the bed.


Assignment (due 9 Sep 2014): Scale calculations [5 points – not counted].

Prepare a base map for the topographic map assignment. The corners of the map should be well-located (at least in meters). The map should have a bar scale (in meters) and a ratio scale.


Friday: Fieldwork in Eden


8 - 12 September 2014

In-class assignment (due 9 Sep 2014): Ratio and Bar Scale calculations [1 point].

Conversions between bar scales and ratio scales were resolved.


Tuesday: Discussion of metamorphic rock fabrics.

Thursday: Discussion of structural fabrics. See Kateri's notes here.

Be sure to see 'Recording Field Observations' document on the handouts web page for this class in preparation for fieldwork on Friday.

Friday: Fieldwork at Dog's Head in Johnson

We measured planar and linear fabrics and created three-dimensional, oriented and scaled drawings of the outcrops.



15 - 19 September 2014

Tuesday: Introduction to stereonets. See Kateri's notes here.

Thursday: Worked with stereonets.

In-class assignment (due 18 Sep 2014): Fold axis determination [5 points].

Use a stereonet to determine the fold axis given the orientation of two limbs.


Friday: Fieldwork in Charlotte, VT. Please be ready to go at 8:00 a.m. We measured S0, S1, BCL, and joints in the folded Iberville Shale on Route 7.


22 - 26 September 2014

Tuesday: stereonets

Thursday: NEIGC papers

Friday: Fieldwork at French Hill

In-class assignment (due 25 Sep 2014): Interpretation of stereonets [5 points].

Three stereonets were presented for evaluation.


Check the following sites for reasonable pricing for textbooks: and

See the following video about the Bee Queen:

Listen to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong sing Moonlight in Vermont.

29 September - 3 October 2014

Tuesday: Topographic map review and discussion of NEIGC papers. See Kateri's notes here.

Thursday: NEIGC papers

Friday: Fieldwork at French Hill


See North American Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature for the categories and ranks of units defined by the stratigraphic code (specifically, look at the table on page 1562).



6 - 10 October 2014


Logistical information for NEIGC

Meet at the Bentley Parking Lot at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, 9 October 2014. We will depart in one JSC van.

Click here for weather forecasts near Leominster, MA.

Housing while at NEIGC:

Thursday at Motel 6, Leominster, MA.

Friday and Saturday at Monticello Inn, Framingham, MA.

Expect to return to JSC by 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Food: We will need to bring lunch with us while in the field; we will not be able to stop during the day. Prepare lunch the day before you plan to eat lunch. I assume that we are not going to be awake early enough to go food shopping, but I hope we can find breakfast (or at least coffee).


For an overview of the geology of Vermont and New England please read the following paper:

Doolan, Barry, 1995. The Geology of Vermont. Rocks and Minerals, 71:218-225.



NEIGC on Friday

The following is an email received from the leader of NEIGC Trip A3:


Appropriate papers for NEIGC Trip A3 follow:

Goldstein, A.G., 1994. A shear zone origin for Alleghanian (Permian) multiple deformation in eastern Massachusetts. Tectonics 13(1):62-77.

Kopera, J.P. and G.J. Walsh, 2014. The eastern Merrimack Terrane in Massachusetts: revisiting metamorphism, deformation and plutonism. New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference Field Guide, A3-1 to A3-20.

van Staal, C.R., J.B. Whalen, P. Valverde-Vaquero, A. Zagorevski and N. Rogers, 2009. Pre-Carboniferous, episodic accretion-related, orogenesis along the Luarentian margin of the northern Appalachians. Geological Society of London Special Publications 327:271-316.


NEIGC on Saturday

The following is an email received from the leader of NEIGC Trip B3:


Appropriate papers for NEIGC Trip B3 follow:

Hepburn, J.C., G.R. Dunning and R. Hon, 1995. Geochronology and regional tectonic implications of Silurian deformation in the Nashoba Terrane, southeastern New England, USA. in Hibbard, J.P., van Staal, C.R. and Cawood, P.A., eds., Current Perspectives in the Appalachian-Caledonian Orogen: Geological Association of Canada Special Paper 41:349-366.

Hepburn, J.C., Y.D. Kuiper, J.W. Buchanan, A. Kay and D.R. Dabrowski, 2014. Evolution of the Nashoba Terrane, an early Paleozic Ganderian arc remnant in eastern Massachusetts. New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference Field Guide, B3-1 to B3-20.

Stroud, M.M., R.J. Markwort and C.J. Hepburn, 2009. Refining temporal constraints on metamorphism in the Nashoba terrane, southeastern New England, through monazite dating. Lithosphere, 1:337-342.


NEIGC on Sunday

The following is an email received from the leader of NEIGC Trip C6:


Appropriate papers for NEIGC Trip C6 follow:

Snyder, N.P., M.J. Collins, 2014. Geomorphic response to the removal of the Merrimack Village Dam on the Souhegan River, New Hampshire: results from six years of monitoring. New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference Field Guide, C61-1 to C6-10.  

Pearson, A.J., N.P. Snyder and M.J. Collins, 2011. Rates and processes of channel response to dam removal with a sand-filled impoundment. Water Resources Research, 47:1-15.


13 - 17 October 2014

Tuesday: production of thin sections click here to see the guidelines for making thin sections.

Thursday: topographic cross-sections.

Friday: fieldwork.


Photos from NEIGC 2014 may be found in S:\Environment and Health Science\Kanat\NEIGC2014. If you have pictures that you want to share, then please send me high-resolution images to put into the folder.


20 - 24 October 2014

Tuesday: production of thin sections the cut-off saw and grinder are temporarily non-functional.

Thursday: apparent dip (trigonometry and stereonets).

Friday: fieldwork.


27 - 31 October 2014

Tuesday: finishing the first of the thin sections.


Assignment (due 30 Oct 2014): Block diagrams and cross-sections [5 points].

Complete the block diagrams and define the structures using appropriate handouts.
Draw both cross-sections using appropriate dips.


Thursday: in-class mapping activity

Assignment (now due 6 Nov 2014): Geological cross section [10 points].

Use the geological map to determine the orientation of both limbs of the fold.
Use a stereonet to determine: 1) interlimb angle and 2) the orientation of the axial surface [in order to verbally describe the fold].
Please submit the map, a cross-section (with no vertical exaggeration) and well-labeled stereonets.

Friday: fieldwork.



3 - 7 November 2014

Tuesday: Discussion regarding the geological cross section assignment that is now due on 6 Nov 2014.

In-class Assignment (due 4 Nov 2014): Height determination [5 points].

From some point at ground level the angle of elevation to the top of a mountain is 38º . The angle of elevation to the top of the mountain is 20º when measured 200 meters farther away from the mountain. Find the height of the mountain, show all work, and draw a diagram that depicts the situation.


Thursday: another in-class mapping activity and production of thin sections.


Friday: fieldwork.


One of the goals of this class is to make a geological map of the French Hill Greenstone. The geological map will need to be supported by a manuscript that describes and interprets the geology. The manuscript should represent a compilation of the field, classroom, and laboratory work conducted in relation to the French Hill Greenstone mapping project.

Assignment (due 21 Nov 2014): First draft of manuscript [40 points].

Assignment (due 12 Dec 2014): Final draft of manuscript [80 points].


Use the following rubric for the final draft of the manuscript (the rubric may be modified):


Grading Rubric for French Hill Greenstone Project
0 - 30% 30 - 70% 70 - 100%
subject barely got it great
Title page name all information nice format (no page number)
Thesis statement indefensible vague defensible; takes a stand; clear and concise
Abstract summary or introduction lacks detail informative, clear, and data-rich
Body of text poor writing style, poor grammar, few figures includes a table of contents, description of the purpose of the project, field and lab procedures, summary, and areas for future work presents and interprets maps, mineral assemblages, formation descriptions, photomicrographs, stereonets; separates observations from interpretations; written with conviction; data and tracking tables; defends thesis
Maps and cross sections minimal information geological map with location numbers and orientation data clear structural geological map; cross section(s); clear boundary (or boundaries)
Figures fewer than five; poor style more than five; poor style more than five; captions; referred to in text
References fewer than three; poor style more than three; poor style more than four and appropriate style
Style poor use white space page numbers (page 1 starts on first page of text); use of subheadings use of PC technology to flow text and figures; proper pagination; professional figures; appropriate symbols; no binders; one staple.
Appendices few examples some low quality examples Appendix 1: clear photocopies of all field slips; Appendix 2: clear copies of field book; Appendix 3: catalogue of at least three rocks and high quality thin sections, and all specimens in boxes.
Loss of two points for each occurrence of i) improper use of apostrophe, ii) spelling errors, iii) capitalization, and iv) improper use of hyphen. Maximum loss is 30 points.
Loss of ten points for each calendar day the assignment is late.


Some issues to consider when writing:


Some relevant papers:

Coish, R. A., 1997. Rift and ocean floor volcanism from the late Proterozoic and early Paleozoic of the Vermont Appalachians. Geological Society of America Memoir 191:129-145.

Coish, R. A., F.S. Fleming, M. Larsen, R. Poyner, and J. Seibert, 1985. Early rift history of the proto-Atlantic ocean: Geochemical evidence from metavolcanic rocks in Vermont. American Journal of Science 285:351-378.

Coish, R. A., D. A. Perry, C. D. Anderson, and D. Bailey, 1986. Metavolcanic rocks from the Stowe Formation, Vermont: Remnants of ridge and intraplate volcanism in the Iapetus ocean. American Journal of Science 286:1-28.

Doolan , B., 1996. The Geology of Vermont. Rocks and Minerals 71:218-225.

Kim, J., R. A. Coish, M. Evans, and G. Dick, 2003. Supra-subduction zone extensional magmatism in Vermont and adjacent Quebec: Implications for early Paleozoic Appalachian tectonics. Geological Society of America Bulletin 115(12):1552-1569.

Stanley, R. S. and N. M. Ratcliffe, 1985. Tectonic synthesis of the Taconian orogeny in western New England. Geological Society of America Bulletin 96:1227-1250.

Thompson P. J. and T. B. Thompson, 2003. The Prospect Rock thrust: Western limit of the Taconian accretionary prism in the northern Green Mountain anticlinorium, Vermont. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 40:269-284.


Soon we will use petrographic microscopes to identify the minerals in thin section. Your thin sections must be completed soon. The following references may be of help.

Introduction to optical mineralogy:

Identification of minerals in thin section:

Identification tables for minerals in thin section:


Rick Allmendinger built a stereonet program that is free to download.

Standard symbols used on geological maps may be found here (try not to use a lot of symbols).



10 - 14 November 2014

Tuesday: thin section work

Thursday: thin section and map work

Friday: completion of thin sections



Hierarchy of lithostratigraphic units

Rank: Supergroup > Group > Formation > Member > Bed






if < 0.3 cm      thinly laminated
if < 1 cm        laminae
1 - 3 cm         very thinly bedded
3 - 10 cm       thinly bedded
10 - 30 cm     medium bedded
30 - 100 cm    thickly bedded
> 100 cm       very thickly bedded


17 - 21 November 2014

This week: thin section work


Some of the rocks that we have mapped at French Hill include:
Green Mountain Slice
   Hazen’s Notch Formation
        Grey (rusty weathering)
        Black albite + graphite + pyrite ± clhorite ± garnet ± pyrite
        Serpentenized ultramafics and talc carbonates

  Fayston Formation
        Silver-green to grey schists
        White albite ± garnet
        No graphite
        No serpentenized ultramafics or talc carbonates

Prospect Rock Slice
  Ottauquechee Formation
        Grey schists and phyllites (rusty weathering)
        No albite
        Serpentenized ultramafics and talc carbonates (the carbonates my denote the fault zone)
        “Black Thumb”

The Green Mountain Slice is older than the Prospect Rock Slice.


24 - 29 November 2014

Thanksgiving Break – please be careful.

1 - 5 December 2014

Tuesday: Petrographic microscopes

Thursday: Petrographic microscopes

Friday: quiz



Final Exam: Thursday, 18 December 2014 at 8:00 a.m.


The WebCounter indicates thatvisits have been made to this page since 3 September 2014.

back to: Kanat's home page or the course home page