EVSC20008 – Earth’s Surface Processes

The aim of this field program is to give you experience in regional mapping, detailed field observation and geological interpretation by working in a terrain consisting of carbonate and terrigenous sedimentary and volcanic rocks. You will also gain experience in working in a field camp and establishing good relations with farmers and landholders.

Field Trip Dates

  • 4 July – 11 July 2023

Travel arrangements

Please meet at the front of the School of Earth Sciences (McCoy Building), the buses leave at 9:00 am sharp.
The department can provide transport for all students attending the camp. If you wish to bring your own vehicle, please see Stephen Gallagher.

Field work

Following the introductory day, five days will be spent mapping in groups in the Buchan-Murrindal area. The main objective of this project is to map and describe several folded Devonian carbonate formations, their relationship to each other, and to associated volcanic rocks, using distinguishing criteria such as grain size, colour, fossil content, carbonate content, and structure (bedding, jointing, faulting and folding). This will lead to the formulation of a geological history of the area, incorporating depositional environments, diagenetic and deformational histories.

The task will consist of the geological mapping of a specific area at a map scale of 1:12,500. Air photos at 1:15,000 and 1:40,000 will be available. The types of observations and data required are discussed in the separate notes in the hand-out "Introduction to Geological Mapping".

Report requirements

You are required to hand in a report which summarises the results of your field mapping at Buchan, as outlined in the separate hand-out "Guidelines for Writing a Geological Report". Please pay attention to the information in this document, as your Buchan report should follow the format suggested, and the entire report should be no more than 10 pages long.

Report requirements will be discussed further during the week's program.

The deadline for submission of the completed report is:


Projects should be handed in to the office on the 4th floor. Penalties for lateness will be applied.

Buchan Field requirements


  • Geological hammer and safety glasses
  • Hand lens (x 10)
  • Compass/clinometer
  • Stereoscope (pocket)
  • Field note-book (pref. hard cover, not spiral bound)
  • Clip-board to hold aerial photos and/or maps
  • Measuring tape*
  • Acid bottle*
  • Plastic bags (samples, maps, air photo cover)*
  • Topographic maps*
  • Air photos and overlays*
  • Stereoscopes for evening use*
  • Drawing equipment (pencils, sharpener, rubber, ruler, protractor, drawing pens, coloured pencils etc.)
  • Marker pens

*Supplied by the School of Earth Sciences.

Equipment on loan will be charged for if lost or damaged.

Other personal items

You should be self-sufficient while in the field, including such items as:

  • Water bottle
  • Torch
  • Rucksack for use during the day in the field
  • Personal medication/first aid kit
  • Suitable weatherproof and windproof clothing, hat and sunscreen/insect repellant
  • Pocket knife
  • Sleeping bag (or other) and pillowcase - bed, pillow and mattress, and some doonas and blankets are supplied
  • Toiletry articles etc

Note: eating utensils, plates, etc. are provided.


Accommodation will be provided at "Karoonda Park", a privately run camp for groups including schools. Accommodation is in a number of houses - this was originally a forestry village. The managers are Paul and Judi Sykes. Your care of the facilities is expected.

The telephone number at "Karoonda Park" is 03 5155 0220.

Meals are provided by the staff at "Karoonda Park". Lunch (sandwiches and fruit) is prepared by each student on the previous evening. It will NOT be possible to travel to Buchan for lunch. If you have any special dietary requirements please inform us as soon as possible. Vegetarians are catered for.

A detailed hand-out on the camp will be provided at the end of the semester.

Behaviour on the excursion

The landholders in this area have become particularly sensitive to people entering their private property. There are some areas where access is now forbidden and these will be pointed out to you. Introduce yourself at the earliest possible moment to all landholders and residents, or leave an explanatory note on the door if they are not home.

Read the Code of Conduct in the Introduction to Geological Mapping handout. In particular:

  • Do not climb fences and leave gates as you find them
  • Do not walk on crops, new pasture areas or other vulnerable areas.
  • Do not disturb livestock such as sheep, cattle or brood mares, be careful around young animals (lambing is in progress during your stay at Buchan)
  • Do not light fires.
  • Firearms and dangerous knives are banned at all times. Do not bring any.
  • Take all your rubbish back to the accommodation for disposal
  • Do not hammer at key geological sites, particularly those pointed out by staff as exhibiting special geological features
  • No alcohol to be consumed in University or hired vehicles

Safety in the field

Fieldwork frequently puts geologists in hazardous situations. Therefore use your common sense in the field:

  • If someone is injured or is ill in the field, make sure a staff member is informed. There will be first aiders on staff to assist. An incident report form should also be filled out upon returning from the trip if there has been an injury.
  • If there is any situation on the excursion in which you feel unsafe or unconfident, do not proceed. Inform a staff member of your situation.
  • While alcohol is not prohibited on the field trip, students are required to behave responsibly at all times. Excessive consumption of alcohol, belligerent, aggressive or otherwise antisocial behaviour will not be tolerated.
  • Furthermore, any unsafe behaviour which, in anyway, endangers yourself or others will not be tolerated. Any such behaviour will result in the students involved being banned from fieldwork and from undertaking the subject
  • Students involved in such behaviour may also have to address the University of Melbourne's academic misconduct process (as per university regulations).
  • Make sure you have a regular tetanus booster in case you cut yourself on rusty wire or metal. You may not always be close to a vehicle and/or medical help.
  • Carry a small first aid kit and be familiar with the current first aid treatment of injuries such as sprains, cuts, snake bites, heat distress and exposure. A trained nurse resides in Buchan township.
  • Wear adequate, easily visible clothing for the conditions in which you are working. Wear field boots which are suitable for rocky ground.
  • Carry a water bottle and be prepared for strong sun. Use plenty of sun-screen, have a hat and sun-glasses.
  • Do not attempt to climb rock faces unless you are trained, have company and are suitably equipped. (So at this camp do NOT climb rock faces!).
  • Do not enter cave systems or old mine workings, except by arrangement, and never alone.
  • Do not climb fences. This not only ruins the fences but is dangerous. Walk to a gate if possible. There are many electric fences around the Buchan area and these can be generally recognized by the presence of insulators. Always assume that the fence is electric and is turned on.
  • Always stay as a group. Do not carry out fieldwork by yourself. Do not split into subgroups.
  • Do not drop rocks or any other object over cliffs
  • Do not stand near the edge of significantly vertical drops as the edge may give way.
  • When approaching a rock face, always look up to check if there are loose rock.
  • Do not go swimming unless you have the permission and supervision of a staff member.

Contact Stephen Gallagher, Earth Sciences Email: sjgall@unimelb.edu.au