Field conditions: The field areas range in elevation from 5100′ above sea level at the south end of the Sanpete valley to around 8000′ in the surrounding mountains. Ephraim itself is at an elevation of 5540′ and the Wasatch Plateau to the east rises to over 11,000′.
In the field, daytime temperatures will usually reach into the 90’s with low humidity, but the temperature drops at night into the 40’s and 50’s. At high elevations (11,000′) temperatures will be about 30°F cooler both in the daytime and at night. Rain showers are common in the afternoon.
Setting: The central Utah area provides exceptional exposures of rock units recording the Mesozoic and Cenozoic geologic evolution of the Rocky Mountain region. Ancient Precambrian crystalline rocks and Paleozoic sequences are exposed to the north and west. The spectacular landforms of Arches National Park and the Canyonlands region are a short drive to the east and south.
The field station is located in the Sanpete Valley of central Utah, at the transition between the Colorado Plateau and the Basin and Range Province. Field studies are primarily focused on sedimentary rocks that range in age from Jurassic to Eocene. Structures studied include folds, faults, and unconformities. Field trips to nearby areas are designed to illustrate regional stratigraphic and structural relations of Paleozoic and Mesozoic units in the Sevier fold-thrust belt and related foreland basin. Additional trips and map exercises include study of: Tertiary ignimbrites, andesitic pyroclastic rocks, and rhyolitic flows; Recent basaltic lavas and cinder cones; structure and metamorphism of Paleogene-Neogene metamorphic core complex rocks; Tertiary granitoids and associated contact metamorphic rocks; and the stratigraphy (Permian-Cretaceous), sedimentology, geomorphology and structure at Capitol Reef National Park.