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Geology 387b, Earth Sciences Undergraduate Team Research Program

Summer 2013 in Argentia and Sierra Nevada
Instructor: Dr. Scott Paterson
Dates: Argentina: May, 2013; Sierra Nevada, CA, August, 2013

Enjoy hiking and traveling to exotic spots? Need some GE credit? Curious about Earth Sciences research? Ever published a professional paper? Why not do all four and join the 6 unit, Earth Sciences Undergraduate Team Research (UTR) program?

This program will allow you to get involved with ongoing research projects looking at orogenic belts and granite magma plumbing systems formed underneath ancient volcanoes, with 2013 field work among either the 12,000’ lofty peaks of the Sierras in Yosemite National Park or in the Andes in Argentina. No Earth Sciences background is needed!

Overview of Earth Sciences Undergraduate Team Research Program

This 6-unit, year long, program is designed to involve undergraduates in team research. Students have the option of signing up for some or all of the sequence.  GEOL-387b offers students the opportunity to conduct summer field research in Argentina or Sierra Nevada, California.

GEOL 387b: (2 units, Summer). Approximately 3-4 weeks of summer “field” research largely away from the USC campus. Initiation of lab research.

  • All USC undergraduate students are eligible: no geology background required although an Earth Science GE course is useful background.
  • The program covers all non-tuition costs through funded student and faculty proposals.
  • Student researchers may apply for summer stipends (amount variable).
  • Students have option of using 6-unit course to fulfill the following:  the Category 3 GE requirement (must take full sequence); part of an Earth Science minor; electives in Earth Science major; and summer field requirement, using research toward completion of their senior thesis.

Program Costs:

Tuition: $2946

Travel and lodging expenses: $TBA

Applications: Please send an updated vitae, along with a cover letter stating how inclusion in this program will enhance your USC educatinal experience, to Dr. Scott Paterson (  Application deadline, December 1, 2012.  Late applications will be considered if space remains.



Argentina: May, 2013:  The Argentina program will offer space for 5 USC students who during May, 2013 will travel to La Rioja University in the eastern Foothills of the Andes, in NW Argentina. After some short introductory classes and meetings, each of the 5 USC students will be paired with an undergraduate student from Argentina to form 5 small research teams. Each team will have a mentor (faculty or graduate student) with teams working together during field and lab work on Earth Sciences research. All 5 teams will have some shared collaborative goals (e.g., regional mapping and analyses of rock structures), but will also have some more focused, independent goals as well.  Research areas vary but potentially include work in the “Puna” region at ~15,000 ft in the Andes, to regions near CRILAR at ~5,000 ft in the eastern Andes foothills.

Students have the option of expanding their focused research goals into senior theses and/or coauthored papers that they pursue once back from the field research. All students and mentors will be stationed at CRILAR, a research institute just north of La Rioja, while they conduct their field research. CRILAR has dorm rooms, eating and recreational facilities, and research labs. This program will also include a number of cultural events and a great deal of learner-centered teaching (all USC students will likely end up getting teaching experience while helping their collaborators) as well as extensive practice working together in a larger team of 10 individuals and five mentors

Sierra Nevada, California, August 2013: “Geologic Wonders of Yosemite at Two Miles High”

Space for 10 USC students is available to travel to the high Sierra regions in Yosemite National Park. Students will be organized into research teams, each with a mentor, to conduct geologic mapping and sample collecting while camping for 2-3 weeks in the spectacular mountains of the Sierras. No geologic experience is needed. Individuals or teams can also choose more focused research goals to pursue including integrating Earth Sciences with other disciplines. Rock sample preparation and initial lab studies will follow the summer research. All non-tuition costs covered by funded research proposals.