Fundamentals of Geology

This information is correct for the Semester 1, 2023 trip. It is expected that some changes may be made for 2024: please check back later or contact the course convenor for more information.
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On this six day field trip, students visit a range of geological sites near Wee Jasper, west of Canberra. Students participating in this field trip will be constructing geological cross-sections showing the complexly folded structure of the sedimentary rock layers in the area, and working in small groups to produce geological maps.

Interested in participating? Read on.

Participating in trips can be a highlight of your university experience; however, it is also important to think carefully about whether it is the right decision for you at this point in time. This page is to help you understand what the trip involves, so that you can make an informed decision. The information is accurate to the best of our ability; however, please be aware that trip plans can change at the last minute. If this may cause issues for you or you need additional information, please talk to the course convenor.

How we can help you participate

For most of our trips, there are lots of options for flexibility that may make it easier for you to take part. This page will tell you about some of them.  Keep in mind, it is not possible for us to anticipate every individual circumstance, so please contact the course convenor if you have other ideas for how we could help you participate. If you would like support discussing your needs with the course convenor or if your discussion didn't go as you expected, please contact the school accessibility contact.

How to participate?

Any student who meets the pre-requisites can enrol in one of the relevant courses and participate in the trips.

If you can't participate

Students who can't participate may be able to complete the course by negotiating alternative assignments and laboratory based activities with the course convenor. If you may require this, please discuss with the course convenor before enrolling in one of the relevant courses.


Activity sites: rocky outcrops and geological features

We will be visiting a range of rocky outcrops and geological formations throughout the trip. Daytime weather conditions during the trip may vary from fine and sunny with maximum temperatures in the 20s to wet, windy and cold. Although almost any sort of weather is possible, it is most likely to be fine but may still also be wet and windy and will certainly be cold overnight. Therefore, students need to be equipped for any sort of weather.

There are no toilets at the field sites. Students will have access to toilets between visits to the sites (approximately every 6-8 hours). Staff will always carry toilet paper and hygiene supplies at the field sites and can explain what to do if the need arises.

To access the sites, students will need to walk a minimum to 1,000 m over uneven and sometimes steep ground. Students who have difficulty with mobility in the field should discuss this with the course convener prior to the trip, even if they can cover the distance described above. The convener will take the students' needs into account if the trip plans change (e.g. due to weather) and in emergency situations. Students with sensory impairments that impact their ability to identify hazards or follow emergency instructions must discuss this with the course convenor at the beginning of semester so we can investigate possible ways for you to safely participate.

Accommodation: bunkhouse with 30-50 others

We organise accommodation in an old sheep shearers complex. Rooms sleep 4-6 students each and may be mixed or single gender, depending on the students' preferences. The accommodation can be cold overnight, due to low outside temperatures and lack of heating.

Unfortunately, these dormitories are the only available accommodation and are not particularly accessible - there are steps leading to the rooms and the toilets and showers are not generally wheelchair accessible. Alternatively, if appropriate, students may bring their own tents and use those, as there is plenty of suitable camping space surrounding the accommodation buildings.

Travel: bus 

We will travel to the field locations by bus (up to 3 hours travel). We will also be traveling by bus to 2-3 different field sites each day.

Food: cooking as a group 

We will be cooking our own food as a group, with students contributing to the cooking.  Students will be asked to provide their dietary requirements prior to the field trip so that they can be catered for. If you have a very restrictive diet or allergies to the food other people eat, please discuss this with the convenor at the beginning of semester, so we can investigate the food options available.

Cost: approximately $350 

The cost is approximately $350 per student. This covers transport, accommodation, and food for the duration of the trip.

Health & wellbeing

Look after yourself: 5 nights away from home

Five nights can be a long time to be away from support networks and students are strongly encouraged to think about how they will manage their physical and mental health while on the trip. First aid officers can assist by arranging storage for medical equipment/medicine and arranging transport to medical facilities if needed. Students should be aware that the university's insurance policy does not cover pre-existing conditions.

Field trips typically involve extended periods of work and leisure time spent with other people, resulting in limited time alone or privacy. Students who feel they would benefit from time alone or in quiet locations should discuss the options with the course convener.

If you need to miss part of the trip due to health or other reasons, we can discuss alternative assessment arrangements.

Look out for each other: respecting other students' needs

During the trips you will work alongside other students for extended periods of time, including during non-academic time. It is essential that you understand and respect the varying needs of other members of the group during the trip.  If this might be an issue for you, please talk to the course convener.  We can talk through the issues, suggest strategies to improve the situation and facilitate discussions with other group members.

Workload: Long days in the field followed by evening activities

On a typical day, formal activities will begin around 7am and end at 5pm, with students traveling to 2 or 3 field sites and spending several hours at each. During the evenings, students typically contribute to cooking and washing up, complete homework tasks and attend social events.

There are some options for students to take rest breaks instead of participating in particular activities (students must then submit alternative work later).  If you think you may need one of these options, please talk to the convenor at the beginning of semester.

Clothes: clothes for all weather

You will need clothes suitable for warm, dry days (average maximum temperature is 20-25°C) and cold nights (-2-5°C minimums) and comfortable and strong shoes, or preferable hiking boots. You should also bring wet weather gear as it could rain. There will be mosquitos, so you should bring your own insect repellent. All clothes taken on the field trip should be casual, cheap or old as fieldwork clothes may get damaged, sun-bleached or filthy. Hats with brims and block-out are essential for sun-protection and students must bring portable water bottles of sufficient volume to last them during several hours in the field. We will supply the drinking water.

Tasks & activities

Interpreting the visual features of the environment

The interpretation of visual features plays a key role in the course activities and assessment, including identifying samples, mapping activities and observing the environment. If you have a severe visual impairment we strongly encourage you to discuss this with the convener prior to enrolling. It may be possible to have these features described to you by another person, however this will need careful planning.

Other visual impairments, including colour blindness, can also impact on students ability to complete assessment tasks. We encourage all students with a visual impairment to talk to the course convenor. We can discuss equipment or technology that may help, explain how to interpret non-colour based features or arrange for certain features to be described to you.

Making measurements in the field

Students will work in small groups to complete field activities. Some of these activities require the group to set up and adjust equipment and manipulate samples. If you think that you may have difficulty doing this, please discuss this with the course convener. We can consider whether there is equipment that may assist you to perform these tasks or whether other people can assist you to complete them.

Field presentations and discussions

Students will be listening to content delivered by staff whilst in the field (outside). While collecting field data, students will have to listen, discuss and coordinate with each other as small group. If you think that you may have difficulty doing this, please discuss this with the course convener prior to the trip.

Flexible field notes

Students typically make field notes and sketches of their observations which they then refer to in their submitted work.  Students can take notes in a range of formats (e.g. typing into an electronic device, making a recording of verbal observations).  If you require assistance to take notes, please discuss this with the course convener at the beginning of semester.

Completing assignments during the trip

Students will be required to complete and submit a cross-section and a geological map by the end of the field trip. Time in the evenings will be allocated to these tasks, with demonstrators and academic staff available to help, one-on-one, whenever necessary.

If you may need to rest during the evenings instead of working on homework, please discuss the options with the convenor prior to the trip.