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Geology 465: The Geological History of Southern Spain

Experience the geological and cultural collision between Africa and Europe - faults, folds, basins, mountains; the heritage of Romans, Vizigoths, Arabs, and the Catholic kings.

Dates:  May 17-28, 2014 in southern Spain

Airfare: $1500

Accommodations: $ TBA

Meals and Miscellaeous: $ TBA

The Maymester course on the Geological History of Southern Spain will provide undergraduates with an integrative geological field experience, allowing them to apply their knowledge to a research problem involving most aspects of the Earth Sciences. It will help them place the various courses they have taken in context with each other, and to think in an interdisciplinary and creative fashion. The course will also allow students to experience some aspects of the culture, architecture, and language of a European country shaped by contrasting civilizations over three millennia.

Ten days to four weeks of field study in an area of geological complexity, with preparatory instruction.

There will be three parts to the course:

  • A set of preparatory seminars at USC centered around the geological problems posed by the mountain chains and basins that form the southern part of Spain and adjacent areas of Morocco and the western Mediterranean Sea. This will take place during the Spring semester, 2014, starting March 24.
  • A 9-day field trip in Andalucía, southern Spain, during which the students will investigate a set of inter-related research questions.  This will be held in the period May 17-28. Among other locations, we will stay in the beautiful coastal town of Carboneras, the mountain village of Velez Blanco, and the historic city of Ronda. The field trip will include a variety of geological exercises, including study of young sedimentary basins, the foreland thrust belt formed by continental collision, and the deep roots of the Betic mountain chain.
  • A term paper about an aspect of the research carried out in the field.  This phase will be supported by a set of discussion sessions held during the field course, and must be completed by June 15.

All instruction will be carried out by Professor John Platt, of the Department of Earth Sciences at USC.

For more information, please contact Professor Platt at or at 213-821-1194