top of page

Join us for the 44th Annual TRGS Field Conference in Deer Lodge, MT on July 25-28!


Deer Lodge is central to the Boulder Batholith and Elkhorn Mountains volcanic field, the Anaconda Metamorphic Core Complex, the Gold Creek placer mines, and the Butte and Anaconda mining districts and their notorious industrial superfund sites. Deer Lodge is also home to the Old Montana Prison and the Grant Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site. It is the ideal base camp for a diversity of geologic field trips and outdoor adventures.


The regional geologic history is rich and varied. Cordilleran folding and thrusting was accompanied by emplacement of the Late Cretaceous Boulder Batholith and Elkhorn Mountains volcanic field. The comagmatic batholith and volcanic field preserve an unusually complete record of Cordilleran continental arc magmatism. Eocene collapse of the fold-thrust belt was marked by caldera-forming eruption of the Lowland Creek volcanic field, extension along low angle detachments, and formation of the Anaconda Metamorphic Core Complex. Precious and base metal mineralization—including formation of the Butte Hill copper deposits--accompanied every stage of contraction, collapse, and magmatism.


The region is still seismically active, continuing the basin-and-range-style block faulting that created deep basins in the Deer Lodge, Elk Park, and Whitetail valleys, and lateral transtension in the Lewis and Clark Zone.

Conference Schedule:


Friday, July 26, 2019

7– 8AM: On-site registration at the Powell County High School. Use the West Entrance at 709 Missouri Ave, Deer Lodge, MT 59722.





9:00 – 9:30 AM: Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:30 – 9:45 AM: Coffee Break

10:00 - Noon: Talks

1. “Geologic Map of the Butte North 30’ x 60’ quadrangle, southwestern Montana” – K. Scarberry (Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology)

2. “Rise and Fall of the Deer Lodge Valley” – C. Elliott (Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology)

3. “Emplacement of large-volume felsic plutons in active fold-thrust belts: A review of models for the Boulder batholith (Montana) and new ideas” – D. Lageson (Montana State University)

4. "Provenance and paleogeography of Proterozoic-Mesozoic strata from the Bridger Range, Montana."- Devon A. Orme, Chance Ronemus, Sophie Black, Saré Campbell, John Cook (Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University)

5. “Sinkholes in the Anaconda Range” – C. Gammons (Montana Technological University)

6. “Mystery rock from the Elkhorn Mountains volcanic field” – H. Owen

Noon–6PM: Field Trips, departing from the west parking lot at Powell County High School. Sack lunches provided with field trip fee.

​Trip A1: Champion Mine and Elkhorn Mountains volcanic field.

Champion Mine is lode-Au system that cuts the 76 Ma Butte Granite. The 84 to 78 Ma EMV's include lower member basalt-andesite and middle member rhyolite to dacite ignimbrites.
Several stops, some short hikes.

Trip A2: The death and rebirth of Silver Bow Creek

Overview of the restoration of Silverbow Creek.
Mostly a driving tour with short walks.

Evening: Dinner on your own.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

7 – 8AM: Breakfast and sack lunch assembly. Powell County High School

8AM- 6PM: Field Trips, departing from the west parking lot at Powell County High School.

Trip B1:  Geology along the western contact between the Boulder Batholith and the Lower and Middle members of the Elkhorn Mountains volcanic field. (Scarberry, Coppage and English)

This trip tracks the western margin of the Boulder Batholith. We will examine Late K mineral deposits at the contact between the batholith the EMV's, as well as Tertiary extensional faulting.
A short but possibly semi-challenging hike is planned for this trip.

Trip B2:  Multiphase extension in the hangingwall of the Anaconda Detachment Zone

An overview of the Anaconda Core Complex and syntectonic sedimentary deposits.
Will involve short walks up and down steep slopes.

Trip B3:  Avon Volcanic Field

Volcanic rocks and tertiary sediments of the Avon Valley.
Will involve moderate to strenuous hiking.


Catered BBQ Dinner 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Tri-County Fairgrounds Picnic Pavilion



Sunday, July 28, 2019

7 – 8AM: Breakfast and sack lunch assembly. Powell County High School

8AM- 6PM: Field Trips, departing from the west parking lot at Powell County High School.

Trip C1: Geology along the eastern contact between the Boulder Batholith, the Elkhorn Mountains Volcanic field, and Cretaceous – Paleozoic sedimentary rocks (Scarberry, Gammons and Kallio)

Tracks the eastern margin of the Boulder Batholith. Examines Late K mineral deposits at the contact between the batholith and Pz-Mz sedimentary sequences. Discussion of Q faulting tectonic geomorphology along Bull Mountain border faults.
Will involve shorter and more casual walks.

Trip C2: Ringing Rocks

A geologic oddity and magmatic relationships related to the Boulder Batholith.
One stop with light walking.

Trip C3: Anaconda Metamorphic Core Complex

Further views on the AMCC.
Will involve hiking.


Dinner on your own.


Register online, or fill out the mail-in registration form.

Apply For Travel Grants

The purpose of the Richard I. Gibson TRGS travel fund is to provides support for travel expenses to attend the TRGS summer field conference. "Travel expenses” means things like lodging, airfare, vehicle rental, or gasoline for personal vehicles. The recipient must attend substantially all of a TRGS meeting, i.e. typically a Friday-Saturday-Sunday. The awards will be to undergrad and graduate students in geosciences, as well as to young professionals (to age 30 at the time of the award) including those in academia and other earth science professions.The award money available to applicants each year is $1,000. The maximum amount that can be awarded to one person is $500. Payments will be made after the conference. Applications are due on July 1st.

Apply Here

Want to help with the conference?

Contact Sandy Underwood at


There are two camp grounds in town, and rustic camping in the nearby Deer Lodge National Forest. For attendees who eschew camping, hotels and restaurants could be a more civilized option. We recommend making reservations early. 

Western Big Sky Inn

210 N Main St, Deer Lodge, MT 59722

(406) 846-2590


Travelodge by Wyndham Deer Lodge Montana

1150 N Main St, Deer Lodge, MT 59722

(406) 545-2858


Budget Inn

809 Main St, Deer Lodge, MT 59722

(406) 846-2810


Indian Creek Campground

745 Maverick Ln, Deer Lodge, MT 59722

 (406) 846-3848


Deer Lodge KOA

330 Park St, Deer Lodge, MT 59722

(406) 846-1629


Bernie & Sharon’s Riverfront RV Park

Garrison MT, 11 miles north of town


Racetrack Campground

Deer Lodge National Forest

12 miles south and west of town


Lost Creek State Park

30 miles south and west of town


Kaleb Scarberry, field trip and paper submissions



Colleen Elliott, logistics



Petr Yakovlev, logistics



Locations of Past TRGS Field Conferences

2019 Deer Lodge, MT

2018 Bozeman, MT

2017 Leadore, ID
2016 Heise, ID
2015 Elliston, MT
2014 Republic, WA
2013 Salmon, ID
2012 West Yellowstone, MT
2011 Superior, MT
2010 Anaconda, MT
2009 Philipsburg, MT
2008 Red Lodge, MT
2007 Dillon, MT
2006 Libby, MT
2005 Sun River-Choteau, MT
2004 White Sulphur Springs, MT
2003 Missoula, MT-Salmon, ID
2002 Virginia City, MT
2001 Wallace, ID
2000 Butte, MT
1999 Lewistown, MT
1998 Lincoln, MT
1997 Livingston, MT
1996 Twin Falls, ID
1995 Dillon, MT
1994 Cranbrook, BC
1993 Indiana Univ. Geologic Field Station, MT
1992 Red Lodge, MT
1991 Great Falls, MT
1990 Salmon, ID
1989 Dillon, MT
1988 Missoula, MT
1987 Helena, MT
1986 Moscow, ID
1985 Bozeman, MT
1984 Boise, ID
1983 Kalispell/Whitefish, MT
1982 Dillon, MT
1981 Pocatello, ID
1980 Spokane, WA
1979 Anaconda, MT
1978 Missoula, MT
1977 Anaconda, MT
1976 Bozeman, MT

bottom of page