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. $2800)
Summer 2016 dates: May 23 - June 17
Optional 40hr OSHA HAZWOPER: May 16 - May 20
Application deadline: February 1, 2016
* Field course may be cancelled at any time

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