NAGT > Teaching Resources > Teaching in the Field > Field Trip Examples > Geology of the central and southern Adirondack Mountains, New York: research field camp

Geology of the central and southern Adirondack Mountains, New York: research field camp

Dr. David W. Valentino, Department of Earth Sciences, State University of New York at Oswego
Dr. Jeffrey R. Chiarenzelli, Department of Geology, St. Lawrence University

Picture 1 from Oswego field camp

Intended Audience: This field program is designed for advanced undergraduate geology students, geology graduate students, and earth sciences education graduate students.


The Adirondack Mountains and Thousand Islands regions of New York State.

Download the field guides for 2004 (Acrobat (PDF) 7.5MB Jul6 08) and 2005 (Acrobat (PDF) 6.9MB Jul6 08) for itinerary details.


The Oswego State University geologic field program is designed to provide students with an opportunity to learn how to conduct geologic field research under rugged and rustic condition. The field program is centered around research project, where students participate in original research directed by the camp faculty. The locations for the field program are driven by scientific field problems that need to be addressed with specific focus on the geology of the Adirondack Mountains and Thousand Islands regions of New York State. The Adirondack Mountains and Thousand Islands regions of northern New York, and surrounding areas provide an opportunity for the study of some classic problems in North American geology. Much of the field study is located within the limits of the Adirondack Park which forms the six million acre centerpiece of New York State's environmental planning and natural resource management policy, and represents a bold experimental model for large-scale land use planning and ecosystem preservation for the 21st century. The Adirondacks occur in a deeply exhumed structural window that peers into the Proterozic Grenvillian crust of eastern North America. The highlands are composed of a well exposed suite of igneous plutons, metasedimentary, and metavolcanic rocks that vary in age from about >1.3 to 1.0 billion years old. The Adirondacks are flanked by lower to middle Paleozoic strata of the Appalachian basin (Thousand Islands and Tug Hill Plateau regions). Each field season, our students are challenged with mapping sections of ductile shear zones, plutons and their marginal facies, sequences of metavolcanic and metasedimentary rocks, and clastic-carbonate sedimentary rock sequences. These projects include field kinematic analysis of mylonite zones, fault, fold and fracture analysis.


The SUNY Oswego geology field program has been run annually during the month of June for the past 10 years, and has served as the field camp requirement for undergraduate students in geology (70% in-state; 30% out-of-state). The program is capped at 20 students per year. Applicants from universities and colleges that have a required field component (field camp) in their undergraduate curriculum are encouraged to apply. All program attendees are expected to have a strong background in geology. This may include completion of Physical Geology plus an array of upper level geology courses such as: Historical Geology, Mineralogy, Petrology, Sedimentary Geology (Sed.-Strat.), Paleontology, Tectonics, Geomorphology, Geophysics, Structural Geology. During the field program we have utilized many of the Department of Environmental Conservation camping facilities as base camp. These camping facilities will accommodate large camp tents, portable eating and cooking facilities, and work facilities. Occasionally, small backpack camps are necessary in remote areas in the Adirondack Mountains to complete field work, and the program utilizes several canoes and a motorboat while working on the many lakes and rivers in the region.


To familiarize students with geologic field work.

Materials and Handouts:

Two field trip guides are provided: