Field Methods 1

Science & Technology
Earth & Environmental Sciences
Course Code
EAES 1500
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Field Experience
Typically Offered


Course Description
This course introduces students to field methods used by Earth Scientists. Topics include identification and interpretation of minerals, rocks and geological features in the field, recording of information, field safety and use of field equipment. Most of the course will take place in a field setting, where activities will involve hiking and working on steep rock slopes.
Course Content
  • Living skills including camping (camp setup, proper food storage, waste disposal), hiking (clothing, footwear, equipment), safety (first aid, avoiding hazards, wildlife), and etiquette (working and living in groups, field access to public and private land, "footprint" and waste management).
  • Observing in the field and use of field notebooks:  field notes, diagrams, photographs.
  • Common minerals, mineral physical properties, classification systems.
  • Common igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, classification systems, relevant textures, processes of formation, depositional environments, tectonic settings, metamorphic grade.
  • Instruments and media:  compass, clinometer, topographic map, stereoscope, air photographs, GPS devices.
  • Structural features:  foliation, lineation, folds, faults, joints/fractures, strike and dip.
  • Geological maps, base maps, symbology, scales, field information.
  • Cross-sections, scales, field information, linkage to maps.
  • Stratigraphic sections, symbols, field information.
  • Surface materials including glacial deposits, fluvial deposits, soils and associated groundwater flow.
  • Assignments and labs may include the following:
    • Navigation.
    • Stratigraphic section.
    • Description and identification of minerals and igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.
    • Simple geologic maps.
    • Geologic cross-sections.
    • Surficial geology and hydrogeology.
    • Relative dating.
    • Depositional environments and fossils.
    • Placer mineral deposits.
Learning Activities

Lecture, lab, field exercises.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester.  Evaluation will be based on the following:

Labs and assignments             30-40%

Field Notes/Reports                 10-20%

Exams                                    50%

Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing EAES 1500, a student will be able to:

  • Work effectively in a field environment (camping and hiking) using appropriate safety procedures and etiquette.
  • Observe the geologic environment, and accurately record field information.
  • Describe and identify common minerals and common igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks in a field setting using simple classification systems.
  • Determine accurate locations and navigate using compass, GPS, and topographic maps.
  • Identify, describe and measure geologic structures.
  • Develop simple geologic maps and cross-sections utilizing field information and prepared base maps.
  • Apply the principles of relative dating, and describe the characteristics of common depositional environments.
  • Construct a simple geologic history of a field area.
  • Describe surficial materials and related ground water movement.
Textbook Materials

Students should consult the bookstore for the latest required course materials, including the textbook. 

Textbook:  A.L.Coe, Geological Field Techniques, Wiley Blackwell or an equivalent text.

Notebook:  Rite in the Rain waterproof booklet or equivalent.

Other equipment:  rock hammer, hand lens, mineral identification kit, safety eyewear.


Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for EAES 1500
Athabasca University (AU) AU GEOL 2XX (3)
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU SCEL 1XX (4)
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR GEOL 1XX (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG GEOL 1XXX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU EASC 206 (2)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU GEOL 1XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) No credit
University Canada West (UCW) UCW SCIE 1XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO EESC_O 1st (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV EOSC_V 223 (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC GEOG 1XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV GEOG 1XX (4)
University of Victoria (UVIC) DOUG EAES 1500 (4) & DOUG EAES 2500 (4) = UVIC EOS 2XX (1.5) & UVIC EOS 300 (1.5)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC EOS 1XX (1.5)
Vancouver Community College (VCC) VCC EVSC 2XXX (3)
Vancouver Community College (VCC) No credit

Course Offerings

Summer 2024

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Section Notes

This course transfers to EASC 206 at SFU. Prerequisites are EAES 1120 (or GEOG 1120), plus another EAES course (EAES 1121 recommended). Students will carry out lab exercises outdoors, at times in rugged terrain, which will involve hiking and all-weather conditions. Students will be subject to special fees, safety regulations, and must sign a liability waiver. An information session will be held in late February/early March 2024 (date and time TBA). Please contact the department chair for information on the info session and how to register for the course. This course is offered off campus.

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