Geology Field Trips

 At ATU, we like to give our students a good exposure to geology where it starts: in the field. For this reason, nearly every course has at least one associated field trip, and some courses have many more. Our location in "the Natural State" provides a rich opportunity to see many geologic features that many students must visit only through photos and written description. In addition, we take other trips during semester breaks to be able to reach features not present in Arkansas. Click here to see photos albums of recent trips.

Students (from left to right) Tracey Hamrick, Melody Hacker, Wes Davis, and Brian Clark rest by a stream in Beavers Bend State Park of Oklahoma after viewing outcrops of the Hatton Tuff and related felsic pyroclastic rocks on Rattlesnake Bluff. The Hatton Tuff is Mississippian in age and lies within the lower part of the Stanley Formation.

Some highlights from some recent trips include:

Structural Geology

Student measures bedding attitude on the limb of a large syncline exposed in folded Stanley Formation strata within the zone of contact metamorphism on the edge of the Magnet Cove alkaline intrusive complex. A lamprophyre dike related to late stages of the intrusion cuts strata just to the left of the student.


Students stand by the lake formed by infilling of a large pit dug during mining of barite near Hot Springs, AR. Barite is no longer being mined at this site, but samples of barite can still be found.


Small-scale cross-bedding in oolitic grainstone of the Pitkin Limestone on Rt-7 south of Jasper, AR. This sedimentary structure relates to the relatively high-energy environment of the carbonate bank that existed in this area during the late Mississippian period of geologic history.


Students examine outcrop of carbonatite in the core of the Magnet Cove intrusive complex near Hot Springs, AR. Carbonatite is perhaps the most exotic of igneous rocks and is associated with several other alkaline intrusive complexes around the world. Magnet Cove is a classic.