Summer field course in central Oregon, offered through the University of Oregon Department of Earth Sciences

USGS Photograph by Lyn Topinka

Course overview:

What are the impacts of volcanic activity on people, infrastructure, and natural resources? Spend a week in central Oregon exploring Cascade volcanoes and answering these questions. Learn how and why volcanoes erupt, where they exist on the planet, and how we monitor them for signs of activity. Gain an appreciation for the impacts of volcanic activity on human history, and the risks and benefits of living in close proximity to potentially active volcanoes.


Course logistics: 

August 12-18 in Bend, Oregon. The class will meet at 8:00 AM on Monday, August 12 at the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, and will depart for Bend. We will return to Eugene by 6:00 PM on Sunday, August 18. Alternatively, you can provide your own transportation to Bend and meet the class at 1:00 PM on Monday, August 12 at the OSU-Cascades Campus in Bend. Dorms are available at the OSU-Cascades Campus for $32/night, or you can arrange your own lodging in central Oregon.

August 19-23: Web based section of the course, completed online from anywhere with a reliable internet connection. The final exam will be given on Friday, August 23 and you must arrange for a proctor to access the exam. Proctored exams can be taken on campus at the University of Oregon through Distance Education, or you can arrange for a remote proctor for Off Campus Students.

Registration: No prereqs are required for this course, but instructor approval is necessary in order to register. Contact Daniele McKay, for more information, or to request instructor approval.

Slideshow from past courses:

GEOL 399: Cascade VolcanoesSummer 2019


Course highlights:

During our week in central Oregon, we will ride the summer chairlift up Mt. Bachelor for a 360° view of the geology of the Cascades. We will visit some of the youngest lava flows in Oregon at Newberry National Volcanic Monument, and learn about the processes that created these volcanic deposits. We will tour lava tube caves, visit rivers that have cut deep channels through lava flows, and explore lakes that were created by volcanic activity.

Summer chairlift at Mt. Bachelor

Lava Butte, Q. Myers

Big Obsidian lava flow, Greg Burke

Newberry National Volcanic Monument, U.S. Forest Service

Lava River Cave, Dave Bunnell – Under Earth Images