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Fieldwork 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.

Safety Procedures for GSL Regional & Specialist Groups

Related Links


Fieldwork Skills & Techniques from ESTA

An online resource from the Earth Science Teachers' Association (ESTA) using video clips and UK examples to demonstrate practical techniques.
Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council

The Field Studies Council runs geology trips for 16-25 year olds interested in studying geology and/or physical geography at university and looking to improve their field skills.


British Geological Survey Maps

Small and medium scale maps of UK geology, available for free in several formats. The iGeology smartphone app lets you take geological maps wherever you go. The Maps Portal has high resolution scans of maps and sections, including 1:63,360/1:50,000 scale maps of England, Wales & Scotland.

Accessible Fieldwork

Accessible Fieldwork: Confronting Barriers to Inclusion

Held jointly with the Higher Education Network and University Geoscience UK, this conference explored the design and delivery of fieldwork that is inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities.

Fieldwork at University


Explore advice on fieldwork and mapping at university in our new guide to study and career options.

GA Geological Fieldwork Code

Download the The Geologists' Association's Fieldwork Code, widely recognised as a standard for advice and guidance in the field:

Geological Fieldwork Code
Code of Conduct for Rock Coring