Students go west for winter break geology course
Sixteen students explored canyons and hot springs and camped under the stars during winter break as part of their Field Geology of Plate Boundaries course, led by Les Hasbargen, geology professor in Earth & Atmospheric Sciences.
This course partially satisfies a capstone requirement for Geology majors and allows them to utilize everything they have learned in geoscience in an applied field setting, identifying rocks, fossils, faults, geomorphic features, folds and sedimentary structures in their natural settings.
Students were able to visit some extraordinary places right on the plate boundary between the North American and Pacific plates. They were able to see evidence of recent fault movement and the results of rock deformation along the plate boundary.
The students made many field observations and recorded them in a field book. They collected data along this boundary, from which they will create maps and diagrams that reveal how the Earth is tearing apart, shearing and colliding in this region. Most of the diagrams and data analysis will take place back at Oneonta during the spring semester.
Assisted by Dr. Chris Karmosky and Dr. Kathryn Metcalf, Hasbargen and his class hiked for several hours a day in desert environments. Temperatures were in the 70s.
In the evening, students prepared meals together and slept in tents at private, county and state park campgrounds.
Russell Carpenter, a meteorology major, said the trip was beneficial both academically and socially.
"This trip was a great hands-on opportunity to learn new information while sightseeing in a region of the U.S. that is new to me," Carpenter said. "In addition, it was great meeting people outside of my major."