Optional field course

Fieldwork in the Himalayas

Unit code GEOG36661

Our Himalayan field course gives you a once-in-a-lifetime chance to traverse the Indian Himalayas and to experience the unrivalled scenery and landscape of the 'Roof of the World'
  • When is the fieldtrip?

    The field trip is for 16 days during August/September prior to the start of Year 3. Fourteen days are spent in the field and the other 2 days are travel days.

    Fieldwork will be approximately from 9am to 5pm each day. Evenings are spent enjoyimg lectures and demonstrations by the teaching staff on the geology and geomorphology of the Himalayas, and in writing up your day's research.

  • Where is the fieldtrip?

    You will be staying at the Charu Palace Hotel in Leh, in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir State in northern India. Five days will be spent travelling from Delhi to Leh, traversing the Himalayan mountain range, and staying in a variety of accommodation from hotels to camping lodges.

    Accommodation is catered hotels or camping lodges. All meals will be provided, including packed lunches, drinks and snacks en route.

  • How will we travel to the Himalayas?

    The course officially starts in Delhi so students should make their own way to Delhi. Travel from Delhi to Manali will be by luxury coach, when we will transfer to 4x4 Jeeps for our traverse of the mountain range. Further details will be provided closer to the time of the trip.

  • What equipment will I need?

    Essential field course items are:

    • full waterproof gear, including waterproof boots and warm clothing;
    • UV-protection sunglasses;
    • hat with wide brim;
    • sun block factor 50;
    • rucksack;
    • water bottle;
    • compass-clinometer;
    • tape-measure;
    • mapping board.
  • What will I learn?

    You will see a huge range of dramatic geomorphological features, which will illustrate the evolution of the Earth's youngest mountain range, and you will also observe a complete geology from the Precambrian through to the Miocene as we drive across the region to our destination in Leh. Once in Leh you will undertake your own original research project in groups of 3 or 4 students in either:

    • sedimentary logging and analysis of orogenic molasses sediments;
    • geomorphological mapping of glacial valleys;
    • investigation of dwindling water resources as local glaciers retreat.

    By the end of the course you will be able to:

    • understand the evolution of an orogenic mountain belt;
    • understand the complex geology of this fascinating region;
    • have completed your own piece of research into Himalayan geology/geomorphology.


  • How will the field course be assessed?

    Assessment is based upon the following:

    • group presentation on penultimate day of course [30%];
    • detailed 2000 word write-up of your research project once back in Manchester [70%].
  • Who can I contact regarding the Himalayan field course?

    For more information visit the course unit specification or email course leaders Dr John Nudds (SEES) or Dr Jason Dortch (SEED).

  • What our students say

    Geog-Geol_Himalayas trip_2017

    Harry McKenna

    "The project field work carried out near Leh in the beautiful Ladakh region of North west India allowed us to test and develop our practical skills, during which we were able to shine a new light on the depositional history of Indus basin sedimentary rocks. Prior to our field work we were able to travel through breathtaking valley towns such as Manali and Jispa and immerse ourselves in Indian culture. Not to mention the opportunity of independent travel prior to meeting up with the school, which my friend and fellow Geog-Geol student Oli embarked upon, spending three weeks visiting Dehli, Agra and JaipurThe Himalayan field trip was without doubt the highlight of my BSc Geography and Geology degree."

    Did you know?

    The Himalayas are still being uplifted by approximately 5 mm per year–or 5 km every million years!

    More about the Himalayas

    Compared with a current rate of oceanic spreading in the Atlantic of 2.5 cm/yr, during the Cretaceous Period (70 million years ago) the Indian subcontinent was moving northwards towards Asia at speeds of up to 20 cm/yr. Since the collision of the two continents there has been about 2500 km of crustal shortening and a rotation of India by 45 degrees anti-clockwise in the northwestern Himalaya relative to Asia. 

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