Field Workshops

Public and Inhouse Field Workshops

There is no better training than learning from real rocks! Our field workshops are high-quality training courses immersed in beautiful outdoors geology. Participants not only learn about the specific regional topics but also the scientific background and generic methodologies that apply to a wide range of working scenarios. 

Public field workshops are open access and have a set schedule and content. Inhouse field workshops can be scheduled by a client as convenient and customized to fit their specific needs. The workshops have an unconventional or conventional focus and often combine classroom, field and core training. 


Unconventional UW_P01     Public and Inhouse

Rick Sarg  22-26 October 2018 
Unconventional UW_E01  
Public and Inhouse

“Tight OIL Reservoirs Workshop in Classroom, Core and Outcrop:  Austin Chalk,  Buda and Eagle Ford Shale”

Ursula Hammes and Sherilyn Williams-Stroud

TBD 2019 
  Conventional CW_V01           Public and Inhouse 

“Death Valley, NV – Extensional Tectonics Workshop”

James W.  Granath   8-12 October 2018 
Unconventional UW_B01     Public and Inhouse

“The Lodgepole – Bakken – Three Forks Petroleum System”

Ted Doughty and George W. Grader  28-31 August 2018  
Unconventional UW_M01     Public and Inhouse

“The stratigraphic and structural architecture of Devonian gas shales of the Appalachian Basin”

Terry Engelder 17-21 Juni 2019  



Unconventional Workshop  UW_P1.0 

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Permian Basin Field Trip – Guadalupe Mountains
Permian Sequence Stratigraphy and Sedimentation in a Mixed Siliciclastic-Carbonate System

Permian rocks of the Guadalupe Mountains, sequence Stratigraphy and Sedimentation in a Mixed Siliciclastic-Carbonate System.
Type: Field
Location: Carlsbad and Guadaloupe Mts. 
Instructor: Rick Sarg
Price:  USD 4,200/person; all-inclusive     (USD 3,800/person Double Occupancy)
Length: 5 days
Inhouse: Schedule and customize as needed
Scheduled: October 22-26, 2018
Registration: September 28th, 2018 

Dr. J. Frederick ‘Rick’ Sarg received his Ph.D. (1976) in Carbonate Sedimentology and Stratigraphy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Rick obtained his M.S. (1971) and a B.S. (1969) in Geology from the University of Pittsburgh.  He has extensive petroleum exploration and production experience in research, supervisory, and operational assignments with Mobil (1976), Exxon (1976-90), as an Independent Consultant (1990-92), with Mobil Technology Company (1992-99) where he attained the position of Research Scientist, and with ExxonMobil Exploration (2000-05), where he achieved the position of Stratigraphy Coordinator.  Rick was a member of the exploration research group at Exxon that developed sequence stratigraphy, with his emphasis on carbonate sequence concepts.  He has worldwide experience in integrated seismic-well-outcrop interpretation of siliciclastic and carbonate sequences, and has authored or co-authored 46 papers on stratigraphy and carbonates.  In August of 2006, Rick joined the Colorado School of Mines as a Research Professor in the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering.  Rick’s current projects at CSM include low-permeability, fractured carbonate mudrocks; and the lacustrine carbonates and stratigraphy of the Green River Formation in Colorado and Utah.  Rick served as President of the Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM) (2004-05), and is currently the President of the SEPM Foundation.  Rick was awarded the 2013 Robert R. Berg Outstanding Research Award by the AAPG.

 This three day field trip will introduce participants to a series of some of the finest outcrop exposures of carbonate and deepwater siliciclastic rocks in the world.  Two principle themes of the trip are: (1) to observe the characteristics of a wide variety of sedimentary environments and lithofacies in the Permian section of the Permian basin, including examples of conventional and unconventional siliciclastic and carbonate reservoirs, and organic-rich mudrocks; (2) ) to observe sequence stratigraphic architecture at seismic scale; and (3) to observe reservoir flow unit architecture.  Continuous outcrops in West Texas and New Mexico expose the majority of the Paleozoic rocks which are producing both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons in the Permian basin of West Texas.

The field trip will begin in El Paso and will encompass four days in the field focusing on the Permian rocks of the Guadalupe Mountains, including the deepwater basin filling siliciclastics of the Brushy and Cherry Canyon formations, and the stratigraphy, lithofacies, and reservoir architecture of the San Andres and Grayburg formations.  The San Andres is the most prolific conventional reservoir in the basin.  The basin floor sandstones and carbonate debrites comprise the facies involved in the unconventional Wolfberry play of the Delaware basin.  Traverses will also include organic-rich lime mudstones and siltstones of the late Permian interval. The field trip will end with a visit to the world famous Carlsbad Caverns that contains karst features analogous to the ancient karst developed during major Paleozoic unconformities in the region.

This 5-day course will allow you to:
  • Evaluate unconventional and conventional Permian reservoirs
  • Determine processes (depositional, diagenetic, etc) that control facies distribution and lateral variation?
  • Determine the stratigraphic framework for basin to shelf-margin correlation in the Bone Spring to Avalon interval of the middle Permian section
  • Evaluate facies continuity and controls on facies variation?
  • To use well logs and seismic to interpret the stratigraphy and facies variations in this classic shelf to basin transition

Day 1, Gather in El Paso, TX

  • Hotel: Hotel at El Paso Airport (There are several hotels at or on the             edge of the airport)

Day 2, Travel to Carlsbad

  • Overview of Guadalupe Mtns. geology, and Basin & Range tectonics; introduction to deepwater sandstones, carbonate debrites and deepwater limestones, and Castile gypsum.
  • Hotel: Best Western Stevens Inn, Carlsbad, NM (4 nights) (Stevens             provides good field lunches and has a free hot buffet breakfast)

Day 3, Guadalupe Pass

  • Brushy and Cherry Canyon confined channels, overbank deposits, and draping organic-rich shaley siltstones – Picnic Area, Salt Flat Bench, and Guadalupe Canyon

Day 4, Western Escarpment traverse

  • Carbonate bank margin to basin facies, basin margin unconformities, deepwater carbonate debrites and turbidites, and deepwater sandstone onlap and stacked confined channel deposits.

Day 5, Sitting Bull Falls-Last Chance Canyon – San Andres/Grayburg

  • mixed carbonate/shallow clastic prograding system, and sequence architecture. Mouth of Last Chance Canyon – Grayburg Formation wedge containing tidal carbonates and siliciclastics.

Day 6, AM – Carlsbad Caverns. PM – Fly Home.

Will return to El Paso for flights 4:00 PM and after

Logistics: Overnights in hotels, field trip with van

Physical demand: moderate.
Hikes will range from roadside stops, short traverses of less than ½ mile, to 2-3 mile roundtrip hikes over the span of a day.  Off-road hikes are on well-maintained Park Service or National Forest trails and encompass relief of 100-600 feet.  Weather conditions will be cool to warm, and generally dry.  

Pricing: Price for the workshop is per participant for the entire course


  •  Hotel for 4 nights with breakfast in Carlsbad, NM
  •  Last night dinner in Carlsbad, NM
  •  Lunches for five days
  •  Transportation El Paso – Carlsbad – El Paso
  •  Manuals and maps

Not included: 

  •  Transportation to and from El Paso, TX
  •  Hotel for nights before or after the course. We can help you find accommodation for those nights if requested. 
  •  Dinners except last night dinner in Carlsbad, TX

Unconventional Workshop  UW_E1.0 

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Tight OIL Reservoirs Workshop in Classroom, Core and Outcrop
Austin Chalk, Buda and Eagle Ford Shale

Case study of an unconventional tight carbonate mudstone reservoir – sequence stratigraphy, fracture development of  Upper Cretaceous Eagle Ford , Austin Chalk and Buda Fms.
Type: Classroom, Core and Field
Location: Austin and South Texas
Ursula Hammes and Sherilyn Williams-Stroud
USD 4,450/person; all-inclusive    
(USD 4,100/person Double Occupancy)
Length: 5 days
Inhouse: Schedule and customize as needed
Scheduled: TBD 2019

Ursula Hammes, PhD

Dr. Ursula Hammes obtained her Diploma in Geology from the University of Erlangen in Germany in 1987 and her PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1992. She spent ten years working as a consultant, performing postdoctoral research at the Bureau of Economic Geology, and as exploration geologist in industry. Dr. Hammes worked at the Bureau of Economic Geology and the University of Potsdam, Germany, as a Research Scientist and currently teaches at Texas A&M University as Halbouty Visiting Chair. Since January 2017, she has been consulting for a variety of oil and gas companies as well as teaching classes in evaluation of shale oil/gas plays.  Her main research focus is in shale-gas/oil systems specializing in basin to nano-scale characterization of shale basins. Other research interests and specialities include clastic and carbonate sequence stratigraphy, analyses of depositional systems, and carbonate and clastic diagenesis. She has published more than 200 papers, 400 abstracts, and served as AAPG Bulleting Editor, AAPG session chair, GCSSEPM President, and lecturer.


Sherilyn Williams-Stroud, PhD

Sherilyn Williams-Stroud is a consulting geologist based in southern California. Her areas of expertise include fracture modeling, structural restoration, reservoir stress/strain analysis, and rock fracture mechanics with applications to oil and gas exploration and production in conventional and unconventional resources. She received her MA and PhD from The Johns Hopkins University and her BA from Oberlin College. Her more than 25 years of experience in government and industry includes research and technical support in the exploration and production technology departments of major oil companies, as well as providing consulting services to operators world-wide while employed at Midland Valley Exploration and MicroSeismic Inc. In addition to teaching industry short courses in her areas of expertise, she taught geology at the University of Houston while employed full time in the oil and gas industry and is a former full-time faculty of Whittier College. She has significant expertise interpreting and utilizing microseismic data, and is the co-author of a patented methodology to integrate microseismic data into geologic interpretations for fracture modeling of microseismic results for use in reservoir simulation.


 This combined classroom, core and field course will explore the sedimentology, stratigraphy, structure, and geochemical signature of tight carbonates and organic-rich mudrocks and provide a better understanding of the Eagle Ford, Buda, and Austin Chalk formations and age-equivalent rocks of South Texas in the subsurface. We will focus on understanding the significance in interpreting subsurface facies and examine the reservoir characteristics, sequence stratigraphy, fracture and fault development of the Upper Cretaceous Eagle Ford and overlying Austin Chalk and underlying Lower Cretaceous Buda formations. We believe the learning from the Eagle Ford can also be applied to other unconventional carbonate mudstone reservoirs by addressing important questions on continuity of beds, fractures, and faults, and their responses to hydraulic fracture stimulation. Hands-on examples of the characteristics that can determine carbonate mudstone and tight carbonate producibility will be explored in core and outcrop. Understanding these rocks, their facies, the environments in which they were deposited, and the processes responsible for their development into valuable economic plays provide important insights for interpreting Buda, Austin Chalk, and Eagle Ford and other similar unconventional reservoir rocks. 

This 5-day course will teach you how to:

  • Evaluate tight carbonate and shale oil/gas reservoirs
  • Learn factors determining organic-rich/-poor parts of the Eagle Ford Formation
  • Explore reservoir characteristics of tight carbonate formations
  • What processes (depositional, diagenetic, or other) control facies variations?
  • How does facies continuity vary? What controls it? What impact does variability have on reservoir performance?
  • Understand controls on the formation of fractures and faults
  • How to use microseismic data to interpret stimulations and explore geologic concepts determining successful wells in the Eagle Ford shale and Austin Chalk.
This class will utilize lectures, and core and outcrop examination to address reservoir characterization, sedimentology, facies, and sequence stratigraphy of shale-gas/oil bearing carbonate mudrocks. Concepts of petrophysics, fractures, microseismic, and geochemistry will also be addressed.
Day 1: Classroom – Austin, TX
•   Approaches to understanding the Eagle Ford shale-gas/oil plays
•   Overview of the Eagle Ford organic-rich mudrock system and Buda and Austin Chalk Fms
•   Tectonic and depositional setting
•   Factors determining organic-rich and tight carbonate deposits
•   Interpretation of depositional environments in shale basins:
•   Facies interpretations, sedimentary structures and depositional processes
Day 2: Classroom – Austin, TX
•   Stratigraphic framework of the Eagle Ford, Buda, and Austin Chalk formations
•   Structural processes and tectonic evolution:
•   Factors controlling fracture and fault patterns, in shale rocks and in the Eagle Ford Shale, Buda and Austin Chalk
•   Hydraulic fracture stimulation and natural fractures, influence of rock properties and in-situ stress on fracs
•   Interpretation of microseismic data, methods for estimating stimulated rock volume
Day 3: Bureau of Economic Geology Core Repository– Austin, TX
•   Core viewing of selected intervals of cores from the Bureau of Economic Geology: examine a variety of cores of the Eagle Ford, Buda and Austin Chalk formations to learn about     updip-downdip differences in facies, geochemistry and fracability.
•   Drive to Del Rio
•   Stay at Ramada Inn in Del Rio
Day 4: Eagle Ford Outcrops South Texas
•   Visit four Eagle Ford and Buda stops along Highway 90
•   Stay at Ramada Inn in Del Rio
Day 5: Eagle Ford Outcrops South Texas
•   Visit 4 Eagle Ford and Austin Chalk stops along Highway 90

Drive back to Austin/Houston

Logistics: Overnights in hotels, class room training in hotel meeting room, field trip with van

Physical demand: low, mainly outcrops along the road

Pricing: Price for the workshop is per participant for the entire course


  •  Hotel for 2 nights with breakfast in Austin, TX
  •  Hotel for 2 nights with breakfast in Del Rio, TX
  •  Core Viewing at BEG Austin, TX
  •  Last night dinner in Del Rio, TX
  •  Lunches for five days
  •  Transportation Austin – Del Rio – Austin
  •  Manuals and maps

Not included: 

  •  Transportation to and from Austin, TX
  •  Hotel for nights before or after the course. We can help you find accommodation for those nights if requested. 
  •  Dinners except last night dinner in Del Rio, TX

Conventional Workshops  UW_V1.0

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Death Valley, CA
Extensional Tectonics Field Workshop

Fundamentals of extensional structural geometries, trapping styles,  and seismic interpretation in extensional settings using Death Valley, CA as a case study
Type: Classroom and Field
Location: Las Vegas and Death Valley, CA
Instructors: James W. Granath
USD 4,600/person; all-inclusive 
(USD 4,200/person Double Occupancy)
Length: 5 days
Inhouse: Schedule and customize as needed
Scheduled: October 8-12, 2018
Registration:  September 15th, 2018

James W. Granath

Jim Granath is a consulting structural geologist based in the Denver, Colorado, area.  He holds his PhD from Monash University in Australia, and a BS and MS from of University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.  He specializes in structural analysis at all scales, hard and soft rock: traditional techniques as well as modern cross section construction/restoration, seismic interpretation; tectonics, and regional geological synthesis.   Current research interests include intraplate block faulted terrains, both extensional and compressional, regional tectonics of Africa, and the Kurdistan thrust belt.    He had 18 years of industry experience in a major in research, exploration and new ventures roles.  He opened his consulting practice in 1999, focusing it on structural geology and tectonics as applied to exploration problems. He is on the Graduate Faculty of the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.  Over the years he has worked on projects in some 40 countries, and is the author of numerous research papers and co-edited several multi-author compendia. 


Extensional structures provide some of the world’s largest known oil reservoirs and remain one of the major frontier plays of the immediate future, both onshore and, particularly, in deep water offshore. 3-D seismic has revolutionized structural mapping.  However, making the most realistic geologic interpretation of these structures is only as good as our ability to recognize and exploit the fundamental characteristics of the forms that are possible. This course presents outcrop, subsurface, seismic sections, and model analogs that will provide the starting point for structural interpretation in a wide range of extensional environments. Interpretations are validated by restoration and comparison to balanced models. This course covers the latest restoration techniques and the use of predictive kinematic models appropriate for rifted and other extensional and transtensional areas.

This is a five-day workshop designed to treat exploration problems presented by oil and gas activities in extensional environments, dominantly those of rift basins.  The format is a 3-day classroom session emphasizing extensional geometries and seismic expression of the same, followed by a two-day, overnight excursion to Death Valley.  This field trip crosses what’s called the Death Valley extensional field,and covers the procedures for elucidating the structural style from surface geology and minimal seismic coverage. 

  • Extensional structural styles and their plate–tectonic habitats
  • Models for rifting and passive continental margin evolution
  • Trans-tensive structures
  • Detached and basement-involved styles
  • Map patterns
  • Half grabens and full grabens
  • Footwall uplift
  • Pre-inversion normal faults
  • Ramp-flat and listric-fault related structures
  • Rotated block with keystone graben style
  • Structural validation criteria
  • Selecting the best balancing and restoration technique
  • The variety of restoration ‘algorithms’ : rigid-block, flexural-slip, simple shear, trishear models of drape folds  
  • Area-depth technique for section validation, depth to detachment, bed-length changes and fault prediction
  • Sequential restoration of growth structures

 Field Trip topics

  • Mesozoic Servier thrust belt as expressed in the Spring Mountains: the grist for the extensional field
  • Stateline fault and breakaway for Death Valley extensional field
  • Rotated blocks and their breakaways: rotated domino blocks east of Death Valley
  • Valley fill
  • Greenwater Range, Black Mountains
  • Amargosa chaos and the problem of early extension
  • Death Valley itself, valley-parallel strike slip, turtleback structures in rotated fault plane
  • Badwater on hanging wall, and Dante’s Point overview from footwall
  • Structures along the Furnace Creek transfer fault zone
  • Las Vegas shear zone and volcanism

You will learn how to: 

  • Distinguish the characteristics of extensional and trans-tensional deformation for predominantly basement-involved, but with application to thin-skinned styles
  • Apply mechanical-stratigraphic principles governing the formation and evolution of extensional structures and apply restoration and balancing techniques
  • Predict structural geometry from sparse or inconsistent data using kinematic models
  • Recognize typical extensional and trans-tensional petroleum-trapping geometries in seismic data sets

Day 1  – Day 3   Classroom  Las Vegas


Day 4  Field

  • Depart Las Vegas via shuttle
  • All day in the field:  Basin and Range structure between Las Vegas and Death Valley; underlying thrust belt geometries and their effect on the Tertiary structure
  • Overnight Death Valley TBD

Day 5  Field

  • All day in the field:  Death Valley structure and relationship to current western plate margin.  

Geological Itinerary

The following is a list of geological locations we visit.  As this region is prone to summer monsoon with road washouts that are not necessarily repaired by the time we visit, the exact itinerary is dependent on conditions.

  • Spring Mountains:  foundation for the extensional terrane is the Mesozoic Sevier/Central Nevada thrust system and its alternating Mesozoic thrust/normal faulting in Mesozoic time
  • Pahrump Valley:  megascale picture of the breakaway and its relationship to the thrust systems.  View of  Nopah and Resting Spring Ranges: eastward rotation of hanging wall thrust features
  • Resting Spring Pass volcanics: roadcut thru acid volcanics-obsidian dike and tuffs
  • Rhodes Hill: Amargosa chaos and regional relationships of Black Mtns-Greenwater Mtns
  • Vista of southern Death Valley, Jubilee Pass:  more chaos relationships, DV itself, and relationship to Panamint Range
  • Black Mountain front fault system just north of cut cinder cone: late faulting and its geometry
  • Mormon Point and Copper Canyon Turtlebacks: element of Black Mtns fault system
  • Badwater, Devil’s Golf Course, and Zabriskie Point:  Death Valley sedimentary fill
  • Dante’s View overlook:  Death Valley regional structural features
  • Mosaic Canyon: ductile deformation along rotated normal fault system
  • Basement outcrops with dipping fanglomerates into Emigrant Pass detachment:  rotated fill into fault surface in crystalline basement
  • Emigrant Pass detachment and panorama view of north Panamint Valley:  Hunter Mtn, Cottonwood Mtn
  • Deformed fans along Furnace Creek Fault Zone; Eagle Mountain view: rotated thrust fold, vasement blocks, and volcanics
  • Rhyolite view:  superimposed faults in Yerington-Bullfrog Hills areas
  • Amargosa Valley, nuclear test center, Las Vegas shear zone 

 Return late (approximately 6:00 p.m.) Friday evening to Las Vegas

Logistics: Overnights in hotels, class room training in hotel meeting room, field trip with van
Physical demand: low, mainly outcrops along the road
Pricing: Price for the workshop is per participant for the entire course
•   Hotel for 3 nights with breakfast in Las Vegas, NV
•   Hotel 1 night with breakfast in Death Valley TBD
•   Last night dinner in Death Valley
•   Lunches for five days
•   Transportation Las Vegas – Death Valley – Las Vegas
•   Manuals and maps
Not included: 
•  Transportation to and from Las Vegas, NV
•   Hotel before and after workshop
•  Dinners except last night dinner in Death Valley


Unconventional Workshops  UW_B2.0

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The Lodgepole – Bakken -Three Forks Petroleum System
Field Workshop for Geologists, Engineers, and Operators in Western Montana

Sequence stratigraphy, geochemistry and basin architecture in conjunction with engineering aspects of the Bakken and Three Forks Fms. 
Type: Classroom, Core and Field
Location: Three Forks, Montana
Instructors: P. Ted Doughty and George Grader
USD 3,800/person; all-inclusive
(USD 3,500/person Double Occupancy)
Length: 4 days
Inhouse: Schedule and customize as needed
Scheduled: August 28-31, 2018
Registration:  July 30th, 2018