Earth & Planetary Sciences

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Half Dome

Earth 134 Western Sierra Nevada

Visit Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks and learn about the geologic processes that have shaped them including earthquakes, volcanoes, glaciers and rivers.

Earn 2.5 units while seeing spectacular scenery and meeting other students. This course is introductory in nature--no pre-requisites or concurrent enrollment are required. Students interested in the earth sciences are encouraged to participate. It will be an experience you’ll never forget!

Course Information

This geology field course is an academic course, not a vacation, or camp-out, or party.  You should be prepared to work and study during both the day and in the evening.

Instructional and Support Staff

SBCC Earth Science professor, Bill Dinklage, will provide instruction for students on the course.  Kevin McNichol, Lab Supervisor, organizes and supervises the logistics of the course and camp setup.

Course Credit and Grading

You will receive 2.5 units of credit for taking Earth 134.  Grades are based on the following:

   Pre-trip half-day exercise                    5% of grade

   Course participation                          15% of grade

   Field trip notebook                            35% of grade

   7-8 quizzes                                       45% of grade

Quizzes are given each morning in camp. The first quiz will include knowing the Geologic Time Scale. Please memorize the time scale prior to the trip. 

MANDATORY Pre-Field Course Orientation Meeting and Schedule 



Event and Location


What We Will be Doing

July 26, Thursday

Pre-Course Orientation Meeting in EBS 123, Earth and Biological Sciences Building

8:00 am - 10:00 am




Review logistics of course


July 27,  Friday

Preview of course content,

EBS 123



9:30 am – 12:30 pm

Overview of rocks and plate tectonics.

Students who have satisfactorily completed physical geology (Dynamic Earth) lab (ERTH 111L) are excused.

July 29, Sunday

Woolly leaves a day in advance to set up our first camp.

9:45 am

List A gear dropped off at EBS loading dock.

July 30, Monday

Departure from EBS 123

5:45 am

Bring your List B day stuff

August 6, Monday

Return to SBCC

Early evening



Students assist the food crew in preparing meals and clean up.  All meals are provided except for lunch on the first day. Students will be expected to pitch in with KP and vehicle keep-clean duty.

SBCC vehicles are used for transportation on the field course. No private vehicles are allowed on the course. 

Cost : $140

• Plus unit fees

Includes: Transportation, meals, and field guidebook.

Not included: Camping equipment (warm sleeping bag, sleeping pad and small tent--borrow or rent if you do not own these items), lunch on the first day, personal items and expenses, $30 for shower stops, SBCC registration fees. No textbook is required for the field course. You may wish to bring some spending money for books, maps, snacks, batteries, etc. 

Payment deadline is TBA, unless the course has filled by this date.

To enroll:

  1. Enroll in the course (CRN 81373) via Pipeline and pay unit fees plus course fee. If you register but do not pay within 10 days, you will be dropped for nonpayment. Students new to SBCC need to apply to the college as well as enroll in the class. Please ask Bill Dinklage for an add authorization code if the course is filled. You may apply online at: 

Space is limited on the field course.  Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis and may fill quickly.


You will be outside at the mercy of extremes in weather.  The temperature may be in the 80s or 90s during the day and it may drop into the low 20s at night.  The evenings in the Sierra Nevada are not like the mild, balmy evenings in Santa Barbara.  During most of the trip, we will be at 3500+ feet elevations.  Thunder-showers are always a possibility as well.  BE PREPARED!  Our nightly campsites will generally be in forested areas.  Bears are a possibility, so please follow the directions of the staff in regard to food and snack storage.


We generally camp in established camp areas with running water and bathrooms.

No booze or drugs

No alcohol or illegal drugs are allowed at any time from our departure to our arrival back on the SBCC campus.

For more information and important forms, please click on the following:

Information Sheet

Pre-trip Orientation Sheet

Equipment List

Student Conduct Agreement


Call SBCC Earth Sciences at (805)965-0581 ext. 2315


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