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Past Syllabus

Clemson Hydrogeology Field Camp

Clemson Hydrogeology Field Camp

Summer 2014 Syllabus
Hydrogeology Field Camp, GEOL 4750/8750

Meeting:  Room 220 Brackett Hall, or as indicated

Larry Murdoch,, Brackett 337; 656-2597; 
Scott Brame,, Brackett 340B, 656-7167

Office Hours:  by appt

Textbook:  (recommended but not required) A Manual of Field Hydrogeology, Laura Saunders, 1998.  Additional material will be provided. 

Objectives:  The objectives of this course are to give the student a working knowledge of the methods and concepts of field hydrogeology, and to use those methods to understand several hydrogeologic settings.  Another objective is to introduce you to a variety of practicing hydrogeologists and scientists in related fields.   

Prerequisites:  GEOL 4080/6080 or permission of instructor.   

Approach:  The course will be taught by reviewing principles and methods in the classroom, and then practicing those methods in the field.  The class will include field trips as well as field exercises.  A detailed schedule is given on the following page.    

Many of the projects will involve collaborating with others in a group setting.  This is necessary because some of the methods, like surveying, cannot be done individually.  Also, it is often helpful to work with others while learning a new technique. 

Time Expectations:   Field camp will represent a significant time commitment.  You should be prepared to meet at 8:30 daily and to be in the field until 6 PM and later as needed to complete projects on time.

Food and drink:  Always bring your lunch if you want to ensure that you have something to eat during day.  We may have an opportunity for you to buy lunch, but you should not count on it.  Always bring enough water, or other non-alcoholic beverage, for you to be comfortable during a full day in hot weather.


Field exercises and projects                                                   60%
Quizzes and field notebook                                                    25%
Participation and attitude                                                      15%

Attendance:  It is important to attend every day of field camp.  You must inform the instructor that you will not be attending before the start of the day you are going to miss.  Failure to do this will result in the loss of 1 letter grade on each occurrence.  You must make up every day you miss by completing an extra assignment.  You should discuss with the instructor the possibility of withdrawing from the course if you miss more than 3 days. 

Graduate credit:  Students taking this class for graduate credit will be responsible for combining individual field exercises as projects.  The reports are optional for undergraduates.       


The following is a list of equipment that you will need, or that is recommended, for field camp.  Some items are available locally.  Other items can be ordered.  Ben Meadows and Forestry Suppliers carry the items, as do a variety of other companies.  The product codes for some of the suggested items are given below.  The websites for those suppliers are listed below:

  Please have the items listed below with you every day.


Field notebook:      You will need a bound book with lines and graph paper.  The bookstore has some, also Forestry Supplier, 49352, $5.95.  I prefer the classic Rite in the Rain Geological Field Book (No. 540F). 
Compass:  You will need a compass that has a sighting mirror and an inclinometer.  Here are several that will work.  Get the Brunton if you can afford the extra $.

     Suunto MC-2,  Ben Meadows 101884      $36.50
     Silva Ranger, Type 15,  Ben Meadows 101924   $44.95
     Brunton, Eclipse  Model 8099,       Forestry Supply 37400    59.99 

A Brunton pocket transit will also work well, but they are considerably more expensive than the compasses listed above. 

Clipboard:   Conventional clipboard will be satisfactory.  A clipboard with a cover is preferred , and one that will store extra sheets (Forestry Supplier 53190) is even better. 

See-thru ruler and protractor:   This is both a ruler with parallel lines and a protractor.  It is handy for drawing maps.  Get a few of them, they are useful and cheap.  Should be available at Clemson Variety and Frame, or at Forestry Supplier , 47161, or 47420.    $1.50

Engineer scale:  Available at Bookstore or Clemson Variety and Frame, at Forestry Supplier, 45972,     $5.25

Graph paper:  5 or 10 squares per inch    

Calculator:  something to so simple calculations in the field.

These items are needed for various exercises, but are not necessary every day
Hand lens:  Available at Bookstore, the one you have from mineralogy would be fine.   
Digging implement:  Small shovel, trowel or scraper to expose soils or sediments.

These items are useful, but not required
Watch:    inexpensive digital watch with stopwatch capabilities.  Strongly recommended
Multi-tool or Swiss Army knife:    One of these types of tools is helpful for many applications in the field
Colored pencils: useful if you already own them
Rock hammer:  useful if you already own one 

Acid bottle:  useful if you already own one 

Grain-size chart:  We will provide one, but bring yours if you have one


We will be outside in a variety of conditions and you should have the appropriate clothing and equipment to take care of your personal comfort.  Shorts and a T-shirt will be fine for most days, but long pants are recommended for some situations.  It is probably best to avoid wearing sandals because they can be uncomfortable in tall grass and on uneven terrain.  These things will be useful during some of the activities:

  • Boots with ankle support, Rubber boots, waders or some type of footwear you can get wet and/or muddy, Work gloves, Knee Pads.  These will be helpful while caving
  • Sunscreen, Insect repellent, Rain gear, Field backpack, Water bottles, Hat


You should be prepared to eat lunch in the field every day.   Some days we will be in the department and it will be possible to buy something to eat.  However, it will often be inconvenient to buy lunch when we are in the field near Clemson, so you should plan to bring something to eat or you may get hungry by dinner time. 


You are responsible for bringing water, or some other non-alcoholic beverage, in the field.  Some days we will be unable to refill water bottles during the day, so you should bring water with you in the morning.  You can easily drink 2 liters of water during a hot day in the field.