The 2014 GSA/ExxonMobil Field Camp Excellence Award was given to the University of Missouri's Branson Field Camp. The award is given in recognition of safety awareness, diversity and technical excellence of a field camp program.
A formal presentation of the award was done during the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Vancouver in October of 2014. In addition to the large stone award (seen on the left) and a commemorative plaque, a financial award of $10,000 was also given. These funds were used to bear-proof Branson Field Lab and to purchase several new desktops and computer monitors for our computer lab and staff office, as well as associated software licenses.
Branson Field Laboratory - Lander, Wyoming
Teaching Field Geology Since 1911
Every summer since 1911, the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Missouri, Columbia has run our geology field camp at the site of the Branson Field Laboratory in the Wind River Range near Lander, Wyoming.
Our 6-credit, 6-week course teaches a broad array of field methods ranging from geologic mapping and structural analysis, to sedimentary facies analysis, surface and groundwater hydrogeologic analysis, and shallow geophysical techniques. During the last week of the course we offer more advance intructional projects in hydrogeology, geophysics and structural analysis.
In addition to the information provided about our curriculum and projects in this website, you may view or download a PDF file of a paper about our course that appears in a 2009 Geological Society of America Special Paper volume on Field Geology Education. Note that the file is rather large (~50Mb), and may take some time to download. To view the file, Click Here
Pre-requisites: We accept geology students from across the U.S. and other countries who have the basic pre-requisite coursework, including Historical Geology, Structural Geology and some Stratigraphy/Sedimentation or Sedimentary Petrology background. Contact us if you have specific questions about your background for the course.
Field Projects: Most field projects are completed in areas within a 45 minute drive from the camp. Project reports are completed in a laboratory setting with computers that are available for completing project reports, reviewing PowerPoint lectures by the faculty, and making broadband wireless internet connections for e-mail and instructional links.
Faculty: The faculty includes specialists from many fields of geology. Some are from the University of Missouri, some are from other schools. Each project is run by a professor who specializes in the project topic. The student-instructor ratio is generally < ~10:1
Field Trips: The context for the course projects and the historical geology of the region are highlighted by field trips to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and to adjacent areas of the Snake River Plain and Beartooth Mountains.
Living Conditions: Students live in heated log dorms and eat great meals in our dining hall that are prepared by our kitchen staff.