The Geology of New Zealand Programme (Geology) begins with a five-week field camp, which includes a series of interlinked modules that explore the stratigraphy, mountain building, and tectonics of the South Island, and the volcanology and geothermal geology of the North Island. Following field-camp, students transition to a campus semester at the University of Canterbury located in Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island. While at the University of Canterbury, students enroll in four courses, one of which is a research methods course based upon data collected in field camp. Follow this link to learn about the University of Canterbury.
Field Camp Fall Semester: *** Please be in contact if you have any questions with regards to start date. We are evaluating the current start date as a function of COVID -19. Modules may change or be shortened due to COVID.
Field Camp Spring Semester: Jan 6th – February 10th, 2020 (subject to change)
For 5 weeks, students will travel throughout the North and South Islands, deciphering the geologic evolution of New Zealand from a series of linked field modules. Our goal is to provide students with a skill base of field-focused techniques that will enable them to understand the fundamental causes and timescales of geologic processes. Field work is complemented by map preparation and exercises in the evenings, as well as lectures that highlight a wide variety of our staff’s field and laboratory-based studies.
2021 Field Modules (Subject to Change): We may have to move modules due to COVID
Field Module 1: Introduction to Geologic Field Observations, Field Mapping Techniques and Igneous, Metamorphic and Sedimentary Rocks
Lodging at Westport Field Station, West Coast, South Island
Field module 1 introduces the various types of rocks, processes and stratigraphic relationships, and how to record these (field notebooks) and depict these in geological maps and cross sections. The module is based on the principles of in-field training utilizing and developing basic field mapping skills such as the observation, recording and interpretation. In this module you will learn basic field mapping skills, including the compilation of a detailed stratigraphic column and geological map of a coastal exposure. You will be introduced to the various rock groups, the particulars of and how to describe variations of these rocks, and how to start interpreting geologic processes
Field Module 2: Volcanoes: Eruption Styles, Volcano Monitoring and Hazards
Lodging at Mt Ruapehu and Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand
Volcanoes bring to light a major problem in measuring and mitigating human environmental impacts. Volcanoes can be a threat to society, but they also provide a major source of geothermal energy that New Zealand relies upon to meet its energy demands. The North Island of New Zealand is one of the most volcanically active regions on Earth. The magnitude, frequency, and environmental impact of eruptions from 300 ka (thousand years ago) to the present can be quantified spatially and temporally through careful field observations. In this module, we will observe and map the products of volcanic eruptions and then discuss their impacts on civilization. A special focus will be placed upon introducing field mapping, observations and recording these observations in field notebooks
Field Module 3: Geomorphic Mapping of the Castle Hill Basin
Lodging at Cass Field Station, central South Island
This short module examines the geology and surgical deposits of Castle Hill basin, located in the eastern foothills of the Southern Alps, inland Canterbury. This part of the course will build upon your field mapping skills and include the compilation of a surficial geologic map with contacts, key structures, deposits, and geomorphic features. Geologic mapping of the basin relies on the complex folding best expressed by a middle Tertiary limestone unit. You will develop an understanding of both the structural and geomorphic evolution of the basin, and subsequent uplift, deformation and periods of Quaternary glaciation.
Field Module 4: Geologic Field Mapping in Kaikoura
Lodging at Dusky Lodge, Kaikoura, South Island
The fourth module of field camp will advance your field mapping skills on the tectonically-active Kaikoura Peninsula (the shore platform was uplifted 1 metre in the 2016 earthquake). Building on your field mapping skills you will map the Kaikoura Peninsula, including the compilation of a detailed stratigraphic column, geologic map with contacts, key structures, surficial deposits, geomorphic features, and cross section of Late Cretaceous to Tertiary (Miocene) deformed sedimentary rocks. You will develop an understanding of both the structural, tectonic and geomorphic evolution of the Kaikoura Peninsula, and interpretations of depositional processes and environments.
Field Module 5: Geologic Research – Field Objectives
Lodging at University of Canterbury, Christchurch, South Island
The final module of field camp will introduce you to various ongoing research tangents and themes of Frontiers Abroad and the University of Canterbury. In this module you be introduced to your research mentors and their research themes. You will then select a mentor and start the research process with research definition, methods and research parameters, and collection of field data sets. These data series will contribute to ongoing research and provide data series for your / or contribute to a semester long research project.
Geology Spring – 2021
Jan 10th-June 20th
Applications due Oct 15th
Semester Courses: During the semester you may take up to 4 courses.
The Required Semester Courses are:
In total you receive 4 Semester Credits per course transcripted by the Skidmore College, in addition to 5 credit hours for field camp.
Tuition – 2021: $21,500 USD
Other Program Costs:
During the semester you may take up to 4 courses.
The required Semester Courses are:
In total you can receive up to 21 credits from Skidmore College. 5 for field camp and up to 16 for the Semester at UC.
The University of Canterbury is located on New Zealand's South Island in Christchurch. Located and within hours of world class hiking, climbing , camping and paddling - we recommend UC for the adventurous students. Students studying at Canterbury live in Ilam Apartments. Ilam apartments are located on campus and adjacent to large playing fields. On campus recreation center is included. All apartments are self-catered, meaning you will cook for yourself. Skidmore students will receive a meal stipend to cover the costs of food.
Geology in Action