Oregon State University

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

GEO 495 Field Camp Location and Facilities

Camp Location

The major part of the geology field camp program is held in the Mitchell area of Wheeler County, central Oregon. The camp is located on the north flank of the Ochoco Mountains, 50 miles northeast of the Bend-Redmond area. The Ochoco Mountains expose Permian metamorphic rocks overlain by Cretaceous marine sediments and Tertiary volcanic rocks of the Clarno and John Day Formations and Columbia River basalts. Folds, faults and unconformities are well exposed in the semi-arid terrain of moderate relief. Central Oregon's varied landscape offers a breadth of geology, scenery and recreation sites.

The area is unique to the Pacific Northwest in its variety of structures and stratigraphic units. The Permian rocks include serpentinite and blueschists and are part of the history of terrane accretion. The Permian rocks are in melanges that include serpentinites and blueschists. Cretaceous marine conglomerates, sandstones and mudstones mark the edge of Cretacious western North America. A long history of volcanism is recorded in Eocene calc-alkaline lavas, breccias, tuffaceous sediments, and sub-volcanic instrusions, Oligocene silicic volcanic ash beds and ignimbrites and Miocene Columbia River basalts volcaniclastic sediments. There are Tertiary anticlines and synclines, major strike-slip faults and numberous other related structures. The relief (greater than 5,000 feet) and the deep dissection in the semiarid climate, permit excellent exposures. Quaternary sufricial deposits include landslides, stream terrace deposits and the Mazama ash from the ~7,000 ybp eruption of Crater Lake.

The field station, owned by Oregon State University, is close to Mitchell, which is both the base for supplies and the postal address (OSU Geologic Field Station, Mitchell, OR 97750). Telephone service is available at the field station (541-462-3310). Long distance calls from Mitchell must be charged to personal credit cards or accounts.


The Mitchell Field Station has a kitchen, laundry and bathrooms as well as a dining hall with a study area, library and stereo-viewers. Dorm tents with electricity provide housing or you can bring a small personal tent. Graduate students and faculty also use the station while conducting research in the area.

Faculty and Staff

The field camp instructional staff consists of regular faculty and graduate students of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. The student-to-instructor ratio has varied from five to ten with a target of six to eight to ensure adequate personal attention. Because of OSU's 70+ years of experience teaching field geology in central Oregon, the faculty has a wealth of experience from which to design field projects. A full-time cook prepares meals and coordinates camp activities.

Camp Policies and Rules

Summer field camp at the Mitchell Field Station is usually one of the best experiences of your geologic education. It serves synthesis of previous courses and gives practical experience. However, there are some policies and procedures that we must insist on for the safety and comfort of all the participants in camp. Please read this section completely before completing your application (Camp Rules pdf available for printing).