Field Trips

A short (1 day) and several longer field excursions will be organized for delegates and accompanying persons between 25 and 31 May 2025. The preliminary list of field trips is reported below.

Field Excursion Routes Date
Short excursion
Route 1: Chongming Island and National Wetland Park in the Changjiang Delta, Shanghai 25 May 2025 (One day)
Long excursions
Route 2: The Hulu Cave—High-Resolution Record of East Asian Monsoon and Anthropologic Evolution, Jiangsu Province 25–26 May 2025  (Two days)
Route 3: Upper Yangtze Devonian-Triassic Sedimentary Geology and the Beichuan Earthquake Site, Sichuan Province 25–27 May 2025  (Three days)
Route 4: The Yellow River Basin—Geological Fieldtrip to Ancient Chinese Heritage, Shaanxi Province 25–28 May 2025  (Four days)
Route 5: A Celestial Odyssey—Fieldtrip to the Tibetan Plateau, Tibet Autonomous Region 25–31 May 2025  (Seven days)

Note: The field trip fee will be charged according to the agency price. Whether these five field trip options (especially the fourth one) can be organized will depend on the number of people interested and enrolled, and Chinese governmental policy. Please kindly note that each excursion requires a minimum number of participants (10 people) and can accommodate a maximum number of 30 participants. Please also note that availability is on a first come, first served basis. We reserve the right to cancel any excursion route that fails to meet the minimum number requirement. 


Route 1: Chongming Island and National Wetland Park in the Changjiang Delta (25 May 2025 )

The field trip route starts and ends in Shanghai.

Chongming Island

In the Tang Dynasty when the Wude Emperor reigned the nation about 1,300 years ago, Chongming Island emerged from the river and was then called “Dongsha” and “Xisha”. In A.D. 705 (the first year of Shenlong; the Tang Dynasty), the Emperor set up a town in “Xisha” and named it “Chongming”, meaning a vast and flat land above sea level (“chong”, literally meaning high, and “ming” literally meaning open and vast).

Chongming Island, reputed as “the door of Changjiang” and “Yingzhou in the East China Sea” has a vast land area of 1,267km2. Changxing Island lies at the south water channel of the Yangtze River outside the Wusongkou, and covers a land area of 88km2. Hengsha Island, with a land area of 56km2, is the eastern-most island of the Changjiang estuary. Chongming Island, Changxing Island and Hengsha Island, forming the shape of a triangle, constitute the now Chongming District of Shanghai, with 16 towns and two townships. The three Islands have a registered population of 688,000 people.


Route 2: The Hulu Cave—High-Resolution Record of East Asian Monsoon and Anthropologic Evolution (25–26 May 2025 )

The field trip route starts and ends in Shanghai.

The Hulu Cave at Tangshan Mountain, Nanjing

The famous Hulu Cave (Nanjing Homo erectus Cave) is situated on the north slope of Leigongshan Hill in the east part of the Tangshan Hills. The cave extends east-westwards, and is 64m long (west-east) and 25m wide (north-south). The entrance of Hulu Cave is in the northern wall opening to the hill slope and its altitude is 21m higher than the cave floor. Expect for a large cone-shaped limestone breccia in the northern part of the cave (about 8m high, with a slope of 35°-50°) most of the cave is without deposits.

The Hulu Cave is filled with Quaternary sediments composed of clastic sediments and carbonates. The stalagmite deposit in the cave has the advantage that the layer can be counted annually, which has been widely applied for high-precision dating in paleoclimate reconstruction. For example, depending on the precise absolute U-series dating and layer counting of the stalagmite deposit in the Hulu Cave, Wang et al. (2001)1 reconstructed a high-resolution record of East Asian monsoon activity during the last glacial period.

Wang, Y., 2001: A High-Resolution Absolute-Dated Late Pleistocene Monsoon Record from Hulu Cave, China. Science, 294: 2345-2348.


Route 3: Upper Yangtze Devonian-Triassic Sedimentary Geology and the Beichuan Earthquake Site (25–27 May 2025 )

The field trip route starts and ends in Shanghai.

Northwest margin of Sichuan Basin

The complete outcrop of Devonian-Triassic marine strata at the northwest margin of the Sichuan Basin is a typical area for understanding the sedimentation and paleoenvironmental evolution of the Yangtze Plate during this period, and an ideal place for paleoclimatic and paleontological research. The well-developed Devonian clastic to carbonate marine depositional environment in the Beichuan Ganxi section of the Longmen Mountains has a rich stratigraphic interface and cyclonic records, diverse primary sedimentary structures and abundant biological fossils.

The extremely developed storm depositional record of the section is a faithful record of the Devonian greenhouse climate. This section has become one of the ideal areas for studying Devonian stratigraphy in China. The Middle-Late Triassic section in Mianzhu Hanwang Guanyingya and Qingyanggou, northwest Sichuan, is the geological evolutionary history of a series of tectonic, sedimentary and paleoclimatic “conversion” events on the western edge of the Yangtze Plate, as shown by the transformation of the basin type from a passive continental margin carbonate terrace to an extruded Longmenshan foreland basin; the westward retreat of the seawater of the ancient Tethys Ocean. Since then, no marine carbonate rocks have been deposited; the dry and hot ancient climate has changed to a humid and rainy monsoonal climate.


Route 4: The Yellow River Basin—Geological Field trip to Ancient Chinese Heritage (25–28 May 2025 )

The field trip route starts and ends in Shanghai.

Loess Plateau

Photo from

The Loess Plateau, in Chinese (Pinyin) Huangtu Gaoyuan or (Wade-Giles romanization) Huang-t'u Kao yüan, is a highland area in north-central China covering much of Shanxi, northern Henan, Shaanxi, and the eastern Gansu provinces. It also covers the middle part of the Huang He (Yellow River) basin. Averaging about 1,200m (4,000ft) in elevation and covering some 400,000km2 (154,000mi2), it is the world's largest loess plateau. The region is overlain by a mantle of fine-grained, wind-deposited, yellowish alluvium known as "loess", which is also carried in suspension by the Huang He. The loess layers average 50-80m (165-260ft) in thickness, and mask the detailed relief of the underlying surfaces. The loess is highly subject to erosion because of sparse vegetation, heavy precipitation in summer, and gullying. The government has conducted programs to control erosion through afforestation and terracing on an extensive scale to permit better agricultural use of the land. Grain is the major crop on the plateau.


Route 5: A Celestial Odyssey—Field trip to the Tibetan Plateau (25–31 May 2025)

The field trip route starts and ends in Shanghai.

Tibetan Plateau

The Tibetan Plateau and Himalaya are among the most interesting areas in geosciences because of their effect on regional and global climate during the Cenozoic, the influence on monsoon intensity, and reflection of the dynamics of continental plateaus. Moreover, a number of representative field outcrops can be directly observed in the Tibetan Plateau, which experienced complex plateau growth varying in time (from pre-India-Asia collision to gradual uplift after the India-Asia collision, and to more recent abrupt uplift), and varying in space, from northward stepwise growth of topography to simultaneous surface uplift across the plateau.

A snow-capped mountain rises majestically at Purang, Ngari Prefecture, Tibet, July 26, 2015. [Photo by Wei Jian/ All rights reserved by]

The Tibetan Plateau is tectonically composed of the Lhasa, Qiangtang, and Songpan-Ganzi terranes that successively accreted onto Asia during the Mesozoic. The field trip mainly focuses on the Himalaya terrane. Geologic observations will be made along the Yarlung Zangbo Suture Zone (YZSZ) - the southernmost of four sutures in the Tibetan Plateau. This suture is a nearly east-west trending suture between India to the south, and the Lhasa terrane to the north. The YZSZ is a complex subduction system probably preserving the imprints of both the Paleo-Tethys and the Neo-Tethys. Besides examining the deep-water fan and deposits, we will stop at several outcrops to observe the four basic lithotectonic units of YZSZ: 1) the Gangdese arc; 2) the Xigaze forearc basin; 3) the Yarlung Zangbo ophiolitic belt and associated mélange; and 4) the accretionary prism.