University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Geology

Our Outdoor Classroom

Vermont map

The Burlington region is located in a variety of Lower Paleozoic rocks that record the opening of the Iapetus Ocean in the late Precambrian period; the rocks also record that ocean's subsequent closure during the Ordovician period. UVM Geology field trips take advantage of the opportunity to visit a variety of rock types and geologic structures that are representative of these significant geological periods.

We think that our own natural surroudings provide some of the richest discoveries for a geology major. The University of Vermont is located in Burlington, on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain in the deformed foreland basin of the Appalachian Mountains. Without question, UVM is superbly situated to take advantage of a wide variety of geologic outdoor laboratories for both teaching and research. All of these environments serve as rich research areas for students and faculty.

West of UVM

To the west lie New York's Adirondacks where unusual metamorphic and igneous rock compositions attest to the extremely high temperatures associated with the Precambrian Grenville orogeny (mountain-building).

East of UVM

To the east lie the Green Mountains. These ranges are composed of stacked slices of mid-crustal rocks that were transported and uplifted along huge thrust faults during the Taconic and Acadian orogenies. The orogenies resulted from the collision of numerous exotic and native terranes onto the ancient continental margin of North America as the Pangean supercontinent was assembled.

Burlington's pedestal

Burlington itself sits on the sedimentary rocks of a Cambro-Ordovician platform, a sequence of carbonate and clastic rocks which record sedimentation on the margin of the ancient Iapetus Ocean. On top of these rocks are Pleistocene glacial sediments that preserve a variety of lacustrine, pro-glacial and glacial environments. These sediments preserve flora and fauna and various grain compositions that record the interactions between a variety of biological, geochemical and physical processes. Learn about the "Champlain Thrust" geologic feature: the world's oldest reef in the Champlain Islands.

Beyond Burlington

Travel beyond our region to outdoor classrooms elsewhere in the world in Geology 172: Read more.

Last modified February 07 2012 10:50 AM