Field Excursions

Multi-day excursions are being offered in association with ISAES X. Single and half-day trips are being organized and information on those will appear here soon. Field trip destinations and topics are relevant to the ISAES X themes and many feature settings that offer analogs important
for contemporary research in Antarctica.



  • The Colorado Plateau and Grand Canyon
  • The Rio Grande rift and Valles Caldera


  • In Darwin's Footsteps: The Geology of Tierra del Fuego (may be offered pre symposium)

The excursions represent a singular opportunity for Antarctic geologists from all around the world—whose research sites typically are separated by vast distances-- to engage in field studies together, focused upon premier North American localities that are internationally recognized as exemplary of fundamental geological processes or associations. The primary relationships in the field are expected to stimulate discussion and exchange of information among participants about their current research in Antarctica and elsewhere. We invite your participation!
For specific information regarding a multi-day field trip, please contact the excursion leader directly at the email address provided below. For information about single-day trips, to offer suggestions, or to submit a field trip proposal, contact Christine Siddoway (below). Responses to Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ] are listed at the bottom of this page. Prospective participants should be aware that, because it is more economical for international travelers to integrate regional air travel into their international flight bookings, the cost of air travel to/from the point of origin for the field trip is not included in the stated cost of each excursion.

For more information and suggestions contact Christine Siddoway,

Multi-day Trips: Pre-Meeting


The Colorado Plateau and Grand Canyon
The Colorado Plateau field trip will visit classic geological localities of the Southwest USA, where the arid climate lends to superb exposure of Neoproterozoic, Paleozoic, and Mesozoic
stratigraphy in “red rocks” landscapes. Destinations will include Laramide monocline structures and sites of Tertiary volcanism, with stops at Salt River Canyon, Monument Valley, the Comb Ridge Monocline and other sites of interest. The excursion will culminate with a full day at the Grand Canyon, allowing the opportunity for self-paced hikes and geological explorations.


Monument Valley - Ed Stump

Dates: August 23-26, 2006. Duration: 3.5 days
Excursion leader: Prof. Ed Stump, Arizona State University, Contact: .
Start/end location: Phoenix, Arizona.
Cost: $385.00. This price includes transportation, lodging, and breakfast. Other meals are to be paid by the participants. Participants also are responsible for arranging their own air travel to/from Phoenix.
Accommodation: Motels.
Maximum number of participants: 22



Grand Canyon; Ed Stump


The Rio Grande rift and Valles Caldera Investigation of active continental rift tectonics and magmatism
This excursion explores rift architecture and active volcano-tectonic elements of the northern Rio Grande rift in New Mexico and Colorado, USA. The eastern rift flank formed by the Sandia and Sangre de Cristo ranges will be examined, together with intrarift volcanism. The excursion will offer a transect across the spectacular Valles Caldera, site of 1.6 to 1.2 Ma ignimbrite eruptions, resurgence and recent events as young as 60 ka; and the opportunity to assess the role of inherited crustal structures such as the Jemez Lineament. Some of the sites of geological importance also have cultural significance for ancestors of the Pueblo peoples of New Mexico and offer insight on the impacts of climate change upon human existence.


Bandelier Tuff - C. Siddoway


Valles Caldera - NASA

Dates: August 23-26, 2007. Duration: 3.5 days
Excursion leaders: Nelia Dunbar, Bill McIntosh, Phil Kyle and Christine Siddoway
Start/end location: Colorado Springs, CO / Albuquerque, NM.
Cost: $380.00. This price includes ground transportation, lodging, breakfast and lunch meals. Dinner meals are to be paid by the participants.
Accommodation: Motels and rustic conference centers.
Maximum number of participants: 40.



Multi-day Trip: Post-Meeting  


In Darwin's Footsteps: The Geology of Tierra del Fuego
The focus of the In Darwin’s Footsteps field excursion is the tectonics, stratigraphy, and glacial geology of Andean and extra-Andean Tierra del Fuego. Participants will learn of the glacial geology and active tectonics along the South America-Scotia plate boundary of Tierra del Fuego; see the landscape as Darwin did from the deck of the Beagle and from her boats, and visit localities described and mapped by Charles Darwin during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost landmass outside Antarctica, located at the core of the globe-encircling westerly wind system, offers a setting in which to examine first hand the interplay of climate and tectonics in this “Uttermost Part of the Earth” where opening of Drake Passage was likely the final key to continent-wide glaciation in Antarctica. The excursion is being co-sponsored by The Geological Society of London.


Proposed Dates: March or October 2007. Duration: Two weeks, with possibility of one additional week (see below*). Start/end* location: Ushuaia, Argentina. Excursion leader: Ian W. D. Dalziel, University of Texas – Austin, .
Location: Argentine Tierra del Fuego, South America.
Estimated Cost: $2850.00. This price includes lodging, meals and ground transportation; based on availability and cost as of May 2006.
RT air fare to/from Ushuaia is the responsibility of the participants and is estimated at $1850 to $2000.
Accommodation: Hotels, inns, and cabins.
Maximum number of participants: 25.

Itinerary: From Ushuaia, Argentina, travel to extra-Andean Tierra del Fuego by coach crossing the Scotia-South America active transform plate boundary; visit the Andean foreland fold thrust belt along the Atlantic coast and see the glacial deposits of the Lago Fagnano basin along the plate boundary. Travel by boat along the Beagle Channel towards the eastern tip of Tierra del Fuego to visit localities of the Lower Cretaceous turbidites, which infill the Cretaceous Rocas Verdes marginal basin—Darwin's “clay-slate rock.” Drive west to see the metamorphic basement of the southernmost Andes near the Argentine-Chile border, including the core complex of Cordillera Darwin, formed in the arc-continent collision that initiated Andean uplift in middle Cretaceous time.
*There is a possibility of chartering a vessel for an optional week west along the Beagle Channel to Cordillera Darwin will cost ~$2800 USD inclusive of a bunk on the boat and all meals as well as transportation. Participants may be responsible for an additional cost to travel to the point of embarkation.


Single day and half-day trips


Planning is in progress for local field trips in southern California, to be offered on the weekend preceding and the weekend following the meeting. In addition, a half-day trip on local geology will be offered on Wednesday afternoon.

As an alternative to excursions with a scientific focus on the Wednesday afternoon of the Symposium, an array of tourist outings and social events will be offered.

Responses to Frequently Asked Questions  

1. Why isn’t air transportation included in the field trip arrangements?

Reason 1: It is more economical for international travelers to integrate regional air travel into their international flight bookings, therefore the cost of air travel to/from the point of origin for the field trip is not included in the stated cost of each excursion.

Reason 2: Conference participants commonly have funding from grants or place of employment for the expense of the actual symposium, but not for participation in field trips. Typically for an international plane ticket to USA, there is a very small difference in cost for the total fare between a final destination at the conference venue versus the point of departure for the field excursion.

2. The exceptional geological feature that I want to visit is not featured for a field excursion, but it is absolutely classic and in terms of distance is comparatively near to Santa Barbara. Why isn’t there a trip to … ??!!

Response 1: Weather conditions, accessibility, and trip logistics have been taken into account in selecting trip destinations. Many superb California localities are not suitable for August visits (e.g. Death Valley due to extreme temperatures; e.g. Point Sal ophiolite due to restricted access on a military base).

Response 2: Researchers who are active in the U.S. Antarctic program can reasonably be called upon to organize and lead the field excursions. If access and weather are not considerations, then the probability is that no USAP researcher with expertise in that area of interest could be identified.

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