Field Methods in Environmental Sciences (GEOL 477)

Field Methods in Environmental Sciences
(GEOL 477)

An environmental field camp designed to train students in field methods and integrative problem solving related to environmental geosciences. The course will cover topics such as field methods in hydrogeology, surface-water and vadose-zone hydrology, water quality analysis, ecosystem health, environmental surface geophysics, site evaluation and techniques, and regional landscape history and environmental change. Offered during summer session only.

Prerequisites: GEOL 320, GEOL 325, GEOL 330, GEOL 335, GEOL 390
Cost: $900 + 4 credit hours (approx. $1800)
Summer 2015 dates: May 25 - June 19
Optional 40hr OSHA HAZWOPER: May 18 - May 22
Application deadline: March 1, 2015

Course Content

Regional landscape history and environmental change (NIU Site)

  • Local and regional Quaternary geology
  • Surficial geologic mapping
  • Core drilling
  • Stratigraphic section/soil classification
  • Regional context of soils and soil mapping
  • Climate history and change

Environmental geophysics

  • Seismic methods
  • Resistivity
  • Conductivity
  • Ground penetrating radar

Field methods in hydrogeology

  • Water table contour maps
  • Aquifer testing
  • Local and regional hydrogeologic framework
  • Drilling and well installation

Field methods in surface water and vadose zone hydrology

  • Stream flow
  • Stream dye tracer test
  • Measuring soil tension and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity

Water quality

  • Groundwater and surface water sampling techniques
  • Field measurement of water quality parameters
  • Field analysis of water chemistry
  • Inorganic water analysis
  • Organic water analysis
  • Microbiology of water

Field trips

  • Drinking and waste water plants
  • Lake Calumet (Superfund site)
  • Quaternary deposits of northern Illinois