Initial Publication Date: December 12, 2013

Beartooth Highway Field Trip and Activities

Darrell Henry, Louisiana State University
Dave Mogk, Montana State University

Intended Audience: This field trip and related exercises was used for a Teaching Petrology in the 21st Century workshop, but may be applicable to undergraduate and graduate courses in petrology.


Beartooth Highway, Montana.


During the course of the day, students examine the high-grade metasupracrustal rocks, related gneisses, and the late Archean granitoids and mafic dikes. We have prepared a number of exercises that might be done with classes at different levels. Depending on the background and preparation of your class you might want to emphasize different learning skills specific to the class level: observation, interpretation, integration (i.e. multiple lines of evidence focused on a given problem), and synthesis (i.e. relationship to the "big picture", drawing from the corpus of geologic knowledge). We have also prepared a compilation of our key scientific results, but these are under seal and we'd like you to do the exercises first as if you were students before taking a look at the supporting evidence.


This day-long field trip was part of the Teaching Petrology in the 21st Century workshop. The file provided below includes 3 field exercises, including outcrop observation and description, exploring the origin of migmitites in an outcrop, and critical thinking about the granitization debate. The file provided below also includes a field mapping exercise for Long Lake.


Goals of this activity are to teach fundamentals of petrology through regional examples and to instruct participants in the use of questions on a field trip.

Assessment and Evaluation:

Students have met the goals of this activity if they are engaged in the field trip and are answering the provided questions and completing the mapping exercise thoughtfully, thoroughly, and accurately.

Materials and Handouts: