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Field Work Resources

Code for Geological Fieldwork

  1. Always remember that fieldwork is potentially hazardous: the quarries, excavations and cliffs that so often provide the best exposures for study are also inherently dangerous places.
  2. Don't visit any field site without obtaining the prior permission of the owner. Bear in mind that you may need a guide to conduct you round a working quarry. Never enter a working quarry without first visiting the quarry office. 
  3. Don't do fieldwork by yourself if working in uninhabited or remote areas. Leave others with information of your intended route and don't depart from your plan. 
  4. Wear strong and waterproof footwear with non-slip soles. 
  5. Always carry warm and waterproof clothing if you plan to spend several hours in the field. 
  6. Wear a hard hat when working near steep faces. 
  7. Be aware that rock falls and collapses of sand and gravel faces can occur at any time and without prior warning. 
  8. Use your geological hammer sparingly, and only at sites where hammering is permitted. Never hammer rocks without wearing protective glasses or goggles. 
  9. Don't visit coastal sites without checking on tide times. Ensure that you have a means of retreat if caught on a rising tide. 
  10. Do not climb on steep faces. Use binoculars to study rocks when they are too dangerously situated to be approached safely. 
  11. Take sensible safety precautions at all times - always carry appropriate safety equipment, including a compass, and a First Aid kit.
NB: Intending leaders of field parties should note that they have particular responsibilities for ensuring the safety of those participating in the fieldwork and for ensuring that no damage is caused to property or injury or loss to third parties.

The above code was developed from the "Rules of Geological Fieldwork" presented in Earth Heritage Conservation published by the Geological Society in association with the Open University (1994; ISBN 1 897799 03 9). This work is now out of print.

Geologists' Association - Geological Fieldwork Code

The Geologists' Association have published the "Geological Fieldwork Code", which is widely recognised as a standard for advice and guidance in the field:

Geological timescale

For the current version of the stratigraphic column the website of the International Stratigraphy Commission is recommended. Please visit www.stratigraphy.org.

Magnetic declination for correcting compass bearings

At the site of the National Geophysical Data Center you can calculate online the magnetic declination together with all other geomagnetic parameters for any selected locality.

Gower Field Guide

Gower Peninsula

Gower, the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a popular destination for geological field excursions because of the wide range of interesting and instructive geological and related geomorphological phenomena that are displayed within a relatively compact area. Read our guide to the solid geology of the Gower Peninsula.