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Jim Walker on the 1960 Field Camp at Stone Valley

Jim WalkerJim Walker writes "Field Camp 1960.  It's been almost fifty years (or was it just yesterday?), and some of my recollections are a bit fuzzy, but here goes.  I dug out my old Geology Field Book, No. 1G, and some maps and sketches for a 'refresher.'  The field school actually was in two parts.  The first session, which started about June 12 or 13, included Geology & Mineralogy and Geophysics & Geochemistry students.  There may have been some others, but my notes don't say.  This first session lasted 2-3 weeks, after which all students other than G&M left camp.  There were several instructors for this initial course.  Activities included plane table mapping, pace-compass mapping, Brunton compass instruction, Stone Valley area geology, formation ID, etc.  The only instructor name I know for sure was a grad student, George MacKenzie.  I think that Frank Swartz spent some time on the paleontology in regard to formation identification.

The instructor for the second part of the field school was Dr. M P Weiss from Ohio State University.  He arrived at camp around the end of June, accompanied by his wife and two grade school-age daughters.  He may have also been there in 1959 and earlier, but I don't know.

The 1961 class of Geology & Mineralogy numbered about 16.  My notes don't show how many students stayed on for the second session -- maybe seven to nine.  The names of those I do recall from this session are: Ron Landon, Bruce McEuen, Dave Mooney, Bill Stutzman, and myself.  There were also several students who went West with Rob Scholten.

The cabins at the old MI camp in Stone Valley are still in use as is, I believe, the bathhouse/laundry facility.  The main lodge was situated between the two rows of cabins adjacent to the bathhouse.  The ground floor had a dining room with a large stone fireplace, kitchen, and, as I recall, a lounge.  The second floor had a couple of large work rooms with drafting tables. 

We were organized in teams, each team consisting of two students.  Each team was assigned a university station wagon along with a number of gasoline credit cards.  Each team was then assigned a different area and charged with producing a geological map of that area including appropriate columnar and x-sections.  My team's area was about 80 square miles. We also had to submit a comprehensive report on our area.  We had until about the end of July to submit our work (about 4-5 weeks).  Dr. Weiss would divide his time amongst the teams or otherwise help where needed.

A typical day began with breakfast followed by making up a lunch from a very generous selection of sandwich makings, fruit, etc. that were laid out on the large round oak dining room table.  The entire day was usually spent in the field.  Dinner was at 6:00 p.m.  The weather a I recall was very good all the time we were in camp.  Most evenings were spent working on our report and map.  Sometimes we would go to Charter Oak to a small diner for coffee.  The building is still there but is now a private home.  Weekends were 'free time' -- just be sure you were back in camp by Monday morning. 

Camp broke up around the end of July.  The maps we produced should still be somewhere in the Geosciences library.  The reports were returned to us with comments and our course grade.  I still have mine."

DHE: Malcolm P Weiss received his PhD from Minnesota in 1953.  A stratigrapher, he taught at Ohio State 1952-1967, also directing their field school in Ephraim, Utah, several years.  He was founding chairman of the Geology Department at Northern Illinois University from 1967-1988.  He died in 2001.