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Geology of Death Valley and the Mojave Desert


About the Program

This course is centered on a geology field course to Death Valley and the Mojave Desert during Spring Break, March 9-17, 2018.  Geology is a field-based discipline, yet the opportunities for a broad range of field experiences are limited in the region surrounding WKU.  This field course will include several two-day field mapping exercises in the Mojave desert, in addition to field exercises examining igneous and metamorphic rocks (neither of which is present in the WKU region), young volcanic centers, and “classic” field locales in Death Valley and the surrounding area. 

These experiences are necessary to set a context for core geology courses in Structural Geology, Geomorphology, Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology, and Mineralogy.  Furthermore, this field course will provide a geological context that students at WKU literally cannot experience anywhere else.  Students will camp in parks or in the open, and travel by rented vans to field sites for work.

class in death valley



  • Death Valley National Park
  • Tecopa Hot Springs
  • Rainbow Basin
  • Mojave Preserve by Kelso Dunes
  • Hoover Dam

class in death valley



The Program Leaders may determine other eligibility requirements, but at a minimum, all applicants need to meet these requirements:

  • Good academic standing as defined in the Undergraduate Catalog or Graduate Catalog,
  • A minimum of 16 years of age at time of departure (parental/legal guardian expressed, written consent required for those under 18 at time of departure) Refer to program green sheet for program specific details,
  • No current disciplinary sanctions as verified by the WKU Office of Student Conduct. By applying for a Study Away program, you give permission of the staff of the Office of Study Away to access your Student Conduct record to verify eligibility. 
  • Students who become ineligible to attend the program after applying due to disciplinary sanctions will be subject to standard program cost penalty rates. Students are responsible for notifying the Office of Study Away when they become aware of this ineligibility.
  • Complete Study Away application and pay deposit,
  • Possess a valid form of Government issued identification (i.e. driver’s license) as required to fly within the United States,
  • Complete pre-departure program,
  • Full payment prior to departure, and
  • Permission of instructor.

See Program Details for full description.


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Program Package

Included in Base Package

  • All lodging/camping accommodations during program
  • Entrance fees for all program related activities and tips
  • Group groceries
  • Course-related ground transportation
Excluded from Base Package
  • Items not explicitly listed in package
  • Independent travel (non-program travel)
  • Regular semester tuition
  • Transportation to/from Las Vegas

Study Away courses are not eligible for employee tuition waivers or discounts.

Final program fee subject to change due to travel arrangements.





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program details



  • GEOL 452 – Mojave Field Experience

Faculty Leader


  • Death Valley National Park
  • Rainbow Basin
  • Mojave Wilderness Area
  • Cima Wilderness


  • Spring 2018
    March 9-17, 2018


  • $TBD - Study Away portion only.
    Regular semester tuition is billed seperatley by WKU.

Funding Options


  • Syllabus (coming soon)

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Western Kentucky University and its associates are not responsible for any loss due to theft, personal injury, flight or weather delays, negligence, or default of suppliers, or suppliers changing of itineraries. They and their associates are not responsible for any loss due to travel/flight delays or changes in travel plans due to Acts of Nature or other unforeseen circumstances, nor are we responsible for accidents and medical care. Tour services are furnished by independent contractors who are not agents or servants of Western Kentucky University. Refunds are not available for unused portions of the package.


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 Last Modified 10/3/17