class web site:

SIO 100: Introduction to Field Methods

Class room: 3030 York Hall, Fridays 12 pm to 3:50 pm  

Including one week-end field trip (24-25 October 2015)

Instructors: Prof. Lisa Tauxe, 858-534-6084,; 300E Ritter Hall, Prof. James Day, 858-534-5431,, 306 Vaughan Hall
Teaching Assistants: Kim Reed,, 333 Vaughan Hall; Shelby Jones, 300B Ritter Hall,

Required materials to bring to every class:

Sokkia Field notebook (or similar), Silva Ranger compass (or similar), Assignment Book, hand lens, clip board, protractor, ruler, pencils (colored and graphite), tracing paper, sturdy, ankle high, BOOTS, day pack including: water bottle, water proof jacket, hat, sunscreen.

Recommended textbook:

Lisle, R.J., Brabham, P. & Barnes, J., Basic Geological Mapping, 5th Edition, The Geological Field Guide Series, 2011.

Structure of the class:

The SIO 100 (Introduction to Field Methods) class will consist of 9 projects, each worth from 5 to 10% of the final grade, and a mapping project of Torrey Pines State Park, which serves as a final exam and is worth 30% of the total allocated grade.

There will be some lectures, but we will try to get into the field as early and as often as possible – geology and field observations are best done in the field! For many of the projects, you will have to return to the field area on your own time, and after class.

Projects will usually (but not always) be due the Friday after they were assigned. There will be one compulsory weekend field trip from Saturday 24th to Sunday 25th of October. Details will be given in class. Exercises completed during these excursions will count towards your grade, so please mark your calendars now.

Arrive at each class at the designated place ON TIME and be ready for the field with of all the required equipment noted above.


1) Class participation: You will lose 5% off your assignment for every 5 minutes that you are late to class (by Instructor's watch), so show up on time every time please.

2) Notebooks. Notebooks form a critical element of this class. DO NOT LOSE YOUR NOTEBOOK! Your notebook is where you will record data and observations and all data included in your reports must come from - and be consistent with - your notebooks. Notebook entries must be dated and legible. A rubric of the basic elements of a well-maintained field notebook is included as a handout in the Assignment Book (handount 1.2). You should refer to this for describing and reporting data, and for sketching and log-sections – following the rubric is important for grading of notebooks.

3) Field reports (figures and text as required): Follow ALL instructions carefully, staple your reports and include all the necessary figures and text as required. Turn in assignments on time - late homework will result in lost points.

Absences and Missed Work:

There will be no make-up classes. In the case of unavoidable, unplanned conflicts, notification is required at least one week before the regularly scheduled class.  In the case of deaths, accidents, or sickness, notification is appreciated as soon as possible and is required within one week of the regularly scheduled class time.  All excuses must be in writing.

Classroom and Field Conduct:

Disruptions during lectures and in the field will not be tolerated. Disruptive behavior including talking over the instructors, excessive noise, poor behavior towards other students or instructor/TA, arriving late/leaving early, reading newspapers/non-class related material in class, texting, inappropriate language/comments in lecture/lab or on-line, or ringing cell phones will result in you being asked to leave the class. When you are in the field you should seek to uphold the high-standing of UCSD in the local community; be courteous to both classmates and the general public we encounter and do not litter or distract from the job at hand. Continued disruption is a safety issue and will result in a failing grade and denial of re-enrollment. It is to your benefit to arrive on time because most announcements and assignments occur at the beginning of class.

SIO 100 schedule for Fall 2015

General Note:  This syllabus is an outline of proposed events.  It is subject to change; however, never without notification, and never to advance the due dates of assignments.





Location: 3030 York classroom at 12 PM sharp.

Class content: Logistics of the class, breakdown of course content, an introduction to pace and compass mapping, familiarization with notebooks, drawing, data and writing basics.

Handouts: Compass and Notebook Rubric in Assignment Book

Required reading: Chapters 1, 2 and 3.4 in Basic Geological Mapping

Assignment # 1 (5% and due on October 2, 2015)



Class 2 - October 2: STRATIGRAPHIC SECTIONS.  [JD]

Location: Meet at the corner of La Jolla Shores Drive and North Torrey Pines Road at 12 pm sharp in field clothes (comfy shoes or boots, hat, sunscreen, water, field notebook, pencil).

Class Content: Learning how to measure, describe and document a stratigraphic section.

Required reading prior to class: Chapter 7 through 7.5 in Basic Geological Mapping

Assignment #2 (10% and due on October 9, 2015) 


Class 3 - October 9: MAKING OUTCROP SKETCHES.  [JD]

Location: We will take the #30 Bus from N. Torrey Pines and La Jolla Shores at 11:57 am (be at least 5 min. early!) getting off at the Sapphire street bus stop. Bring your validated UPASS! Also, bring your notebook, clipboard, colored pencils and an eraser. We will take the 3:21pm bus back and be on campus before 4 pm. Wear BOOTS and bring a hat and water. Rain gear if needed. If you have one, bring a camera. IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU BRING YOUR COMPASS CLINOMETERS!

Class content: Outcrop sketches at Tourmaline Beach.

Handouts: Read section on outcrop sketches before class!

Assignment #3 (10% and due on October 23, 2015)


Class 4 - October 16: FIELD WORK PREPARATION.  [LT]

Location: York Hall 3030 at 12 pm sharp.

Class Content: Lecture on stereonets, measuring strikes and dips, measuring dipping sections, using air photos, geological maps, and topographic maps, preparation for field trip, Google Earth, GPS.

Handouts: Measuring strikes and dips, dipping sections, and GPS Essentials. See handouts 4.1-4.3 in the Assignment Book.

Required reading prior to class: Chapters 6 and 8 in Basic Geological Mapping



Location: Trip to Santee boulders. We will leave from the Revelle parking lot at 12 pm sharp. Bring field gear!
Class Content: Measuring joints and fracture surfaces, using topographic maps, note taking skills.
Required reading prior to class: Chapter 3 in Basic Geological Mapping

Assignment #4 (10% and due on October 30, 2015)


WEEKEND FIELD TRIP - October 24-25: Weekend field trip to Anza Borrego State Park. Meet in Revelle parking lot at 7 am sharp on Saturday with sleeping bag, sleeping mat, tent (optional), boots, hat, sunscreen, water, lunch, long sleeve shirt and long pants. If you need camping equipment, you can rent it from Outback Adventures for a reasonable rate. We will return to UCSD by 6:00 pm on Sunday.

Day 1:

Project 1: Strikes/dips, GPS, aerial photographs and stereonets. Assignment #5 (5%)

Project 2: Measuring a dipping section. Assignment #6 (5%)

Day 2:

Project 3: Introduction to geological and topographic maps.

Assignment #7 (10%)


Assignments 5, 6 and 7 are all due on November 6, 2015. Do NOT procrastinate!


Class 6 - October 30: LATERAL UNIT TRACING [JD]
Location: Walk along the beach to Del Mar. We will leave from Scripps pier at 12 pm sharp. Students can either walk home (it is a nice walk) or return by way of the #101 bus from Torrey Pines State Park. For the bus, bring your validated student IDs. This class may continue later than 3:50 pm and you should bring your field gear.
Class Content: We will walk along the beach looking at the sea cliffs to get a better understanding of the geology of the San Diego region.

Handouts: see Assignment Book

Assignment #8 (10% and due on November 6, 2015).


Location:We will take the #101 bus to the Torrey Pines State Park from the corner of North Torrey Pines Road and La Jolla Shores Drive. The bus leaves at 11:57 am. You can return by bus as well (or walk). There is a bus 15th St in Del Mar at 3:48 which should arrive at the Torrey Pines bus stop by about 3:50 pm, arriving bak at the VA by 4:22 pm.
Bring: Validated UPASS and the usual required materials
Class Content: Introduction to mapping methods, revision of existing mapping techniques.
Reading: Chapter 4 in Basic Geological Mapping
Assignment #9 (5% and due on November 13, 2015)


Location: Same as for Class 7
Bring: Validated UPASS, sunscreen, water, comfortable walking shoes, notebook, and clipboard. BRING YOUR COMPASS!
Class Content: Introduction to Torrey Pines State Park, Initiation of final mapping project.
Handouts: Mapping handouts for Torrey Pines State Park - see Assignment Book.

Reading: Chapters 9 and 11 in Basic Geological Mapping

Final - FINAL MAPPING PROJECT (30% and due on December 11, 2015) NOTE: You will have to return to Torrey Pines State Park to complete the project on your own! Be sure to document each visit in your field notebook. You are required to make at least three visits (including today's) for a total of at least 10-12 hours of field observation. You may consult with other students in the field but all the data for the map must be based on your own observations as documented on the map, aerial photographs and notebook. You MUST map in pairs, at a minimum. Make a note of who your partner was in the field each time you go. Although you are working in groups, all observations and measurements must be in your own notebook in your own handwriting and in your own words. Do NOT copy your partner's notebook! The map you make is expected to be entirely your own work and will be graded on the basis of your notebook entries.

Class 9 - November 20: CONTINUED MAPPING AT TORREY PINES (see instructions for class 8, above) [LT & JD]

November 27: No Class; Happy Thanksgiving!

Location: 3030 York for a lecture on how to make geological cross sections at 12 pm sharp. Bring your notebook, topographic sheet and aerial photographs and your map. Also bring a RULER, PENCILS and some graph paper.
Class Content: We will help you make a vertical cross section. A cross section is part of the final. Required reading prior to class: Chapter 10 in Basic Geological Mapping
Handout: Handout 10.1 in the Assignment Book

Final - December 11: FINAL PROJECT (30%) due at 12pm on December 11, 2015, during the final exam time period. Turn the examined work into 3030 York. Late finals will NOT be accepted.