Montana State University

GEO 521-801: Dinosaur Paleontology of Hell Creek Formation

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Bozeman, MT
Jul 07-Jul 12, 2014
Credit: 2 graduate
Tuition & Fees: $877.00
Instructor(s): Dan Lawver and Frankie Jackson

Register Online

Course Description

This course is designed as an introduction to the geology and dinosaur paleontology of the Hell Creek Formation of eastern Montana. The Hell Creek Formation has long been known for its diverse dinosaur taxa, including Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops, as well as exposures of the iridium layer associated with dinosaur extinction 65 million years ago. The combination of slide presentations, labs, and daily hiking in Makoshika State Park will provide both background information and “hands-on” learning experience. Techniques covered during the class include interpretation of sedimentary environments, taphonomy, and fossil collection. This course will integrate many aspects of biology, physical geology, paleogeography, and tectonics. Please note that we cannot guarantee excavation experience; this depends on discoveries during class.
    Two transportation options are available:
  • 1. Vans will leave from the south entrance of the Strand Union Building on the MSU campus at 8:00 am Monday morning and drive to Makoshika State Park near Glendive, MT. Approximate driving time is seven hours. Lunch will be provided on travel days for those utilizing this option.
  • 2. Participants may drive their own vehicles, at their own expense, and meet Monday evening at the Lion’s Club facility, Sleepy Hollow Lodge within Makoshika State Park.
The facilities include individual cabins that are rustic but completely furnished and accommodate 4 to 6 students, a lodge where meals will be provided, and a separate shower house with toilet facilities. Students should furnish their own sleeping bag or other bedding and personal items such as towels, shower shoes, etc. Space for tent camping is also available. Special dietary requirements should be noted on the registration form. Students should have appropriate hiking boots and be prepared for rain and cool weather. Additional required items include backpack, field notebook, pencils, and water containers (3-4 liters total capacity).

Physical fitness requirements:
The course requires moderate to strenuous outdoor physical activity. Students are expected to walk several miles at a reasonable pace in order to keep up with the group, often in relatively steep terrain without established hiking trails. Temperatures are typically in the 90 degree range. Please contact the instructors (Frankie Jackson at and Dan Lawver at before signing up for this class if you have concerns about the required physical fitness level and your ability to meet these requirements.

Time Commitment: 10-12 hrs/day

Meeting Place and Times

Depart Monday 8:00 am for Field Camp at Makoshika State Park;
Location: Meet van at MSU Strand Union Building, South Entrance
Return Saturday, 7/12/14


Dan Lawver, Ph.D. Candidate. Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University

Frankie Jackson, PhD. Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University


Graduate standing.

Target Audience

Restricted Entry for Science Educators

Tuition and Fees

 Program Fee $337.00
 Computer Fee$7.00

A $30 registration fee is also charged once per semester.

The costs above assume that you are taking only MSU Extended University courses during the semester that the course is offered. If you also registered for courses through the MSU Registrar, the regular MSU fee structure may apply.

A $40 late fee will be assessed if payment is not posted to your account by 3 pm (Mountain Time) of the course start date (or the business day before if the course starts on a weekend or a holiday).

To learn more about tuition and fees, please see the University Business Services' Student Accounts Web page.

Required Books/Materials

  • Course materials will be provided by the instructor on the first day of the class.

For More Information

contact Diana Paterson at or 406-994-5679.

How to Register

Register Online

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