The field is the best natural laboratory for developing a real understanding of all aspects of the subject. Led by our expert field geologist staff, field work allows you to put into practice theories learnt in lectures, seminars and lab classes.
“The overlapping diversity of disciplines here at Plymouth makes it a great place to study geology, and our fantastic geological backyard is ideal for an outstanding range of fieldwork experiences.”
Current field courses
Death Valley (USA) (optional). This trip takes in active faults, volcanoes and awe inspiring landscapes in the area around Death Valley, which lies to the south of the major continental rift system of the Basin and Range Province. Here we can see in detail how extensional tectonics interact with climate to control surface processes, geomorphology, stratigraphy, geological hazards and resource distribution. This area also includes the sites of recent, and potentially future, volcanic activity, including the Long Valley Caldera, one of the most carefully monitored volcanic areas in the world. We also examine the interaction between human activity and the environment in such a tectonically active and hot, arid region.
Sicily (optional). This field trip gives an introduction to volcanology. Not only will you visit an active volcano and learn about its four distinct evolutionary phases, you’ll also visit the Etna Volcano observatory to meet the geologists who monitor this volcano daily.
Year 4 (MGeol only)
Dartmoor and Somerset
Year 4 fieldwork is currently split into two separate specific projects. Each project involves short intense field data collection followed by laboratory analysis of the field data and synthesis of results and interpretation either as a report or a group oral presentation. One project is related to digital data collection techniques to address the issues of emplacement of the Dartmoor granites. The other project critically evaluates the evidence for tectonic verses salt-controlled evolution of structures and stratigraphy in North Somerset and analogues in the North Sea basin.
2nd year geology students on a field trip to Pembrokeshire.
The focus of this trip is to further develop geological mapping expertise, using the dramatic landscape and geology of St David's Head, where you will be set the task of mapping a section of coastline and moor in an independent mapping exercise. Subsequently you’ll undertake a series of exercises tailored to your mapping camp destination.
"The third year trip to Sicily was the most striking as the ability to see geology in action by climbing the active volcanoes Etna and Vulcano, and studying their respective impacts on the geological record was amazing."
BSc (Hons) Geology student
Etna volcano, Sicily
We’re not undertaking residential fieldwork during the Covid-19 pandemic, but once it has passed our residential fieldwork programme will resume.