ES 4001Y

Earth Sciences 4001Y: Planetary Science Field School 

Location: Arizona, Utah, Nevada - USA
Instructor: Gordon Osinski

Dates: Course is not offered for the 2022-2023 yearNote: a 3-hour introductory lecture will be held in January (date to be decided upon in discussion with registered students) and one of the main assignments (see course outline) must be completed prior to the field school.

Field study of the geology and biology of various Moon/Mars analogue sites in North America. The main focus of the course will be a 13 day residential field experience examining various localities in northern Arizona and southern Utah, to take place in late April/early May. This region of the southwestern United States is a world-renowned environment for comparative planetology; the Apollo astronauts were trained there in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Field stops will focus on meteorite impact cratering (e.g., Meteor Crater, AZ; Upheaval Dome crater, UT), volcanism (e.g., Sunset Crater volcanic field, AZ), and canyon and valley formation (e.g., Canyonlands National Park, UT). Many of the locations to be visited are considered world-class terrestrial analogues for the Moon and Mars, such as Meteor Crater: the best-preserved meteorite impact crater on Earth. The goal of this course is to provide students with an interdisciplinary field studies experience with an emphasis on comparative planetology through the study of terrestrial analogues. Terrestrial analogues are places on Earth that approximate the geological and environmental conditions on the Moon, Mars and other planetary bodies, either at the present-day or in the past. This course will introduce students from a wide range of backgrounds to various aspects of planetary science, with an emphasis on planetary surface processes. The topics of astrobiology and planetary materials will also be integrated into this field program.

*Cross-listed with the Planetary Science 9605L graduate course.

Click here to view the course syllabus

Fees and Registration:

The cost of the trip for undergraduate students is $1650. A non-refundable $500 deposit* is required. Payments can be made to the Academic Program Coordinator in BGS 1036 in Cash/Cheque or online via this link here.The price includes travel to Arizona plus all accommodation, vehicle rental, park access, course material costs, and evening meals. 

Undergraduate Students must contact Academic Program Coordinator Amy Wickham to enroll. Please Note: Even though the course takes place in May it counts towards your Fall/Winter courseload. If you require a course overload please connect with Science Academic Counselling ASAP to request this as Amy won't be able to add you to the course if you don't have this special permission in place prior to January 11. 

*This deposit is non-refundable due to certain non-refundable travel expenses related to the field school. It is strongly advised that you purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance so that you could claim this amount from an insurance provider should you need to cancel your participation after the January 07 deadline (e.g., due to illness) prior to your departure date. Check your credit card provider as many banks also provide this coverage through their cards. If this course is cancelled due to changes in Western University and/or Government of Canada COVID travel restrictions, then the deposit will be refunded.

Students are encouraged to apply to the Global Opportunities Awards program for scholarships to support the cost of this field school. 

To pay fees electronically see the ES Store website

Photos from the Field