2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


SHOSA, Jennifer, Geology Department, Colby College, Waterville, ME 04901-8840, jdshosa@colby.edu

The outcrops of the Waterville formation on the Kennebec River in south-central Maine offer a unique opportunity to teach the basic techniques of structural geology by guiding students through the development of a comprehensive field-based research report over the course of the term. Students are introduced to the Waterville Formation in the third week of the term when they map the site and describe the lithologies present. Each week thereafter they revisit the Waterville formation to apply the concepts and techniques covered that week in lecture to the outcrop. The class compiles a data set consisting of the bearings for map construction, orientations of bedding planes and fractures, and descriptions and measurements of fold geometry. Each student writes a final comprehensive report based on his/her interpretations of the class data set. Their reports include base/geologic maps, descriptions of lithologies, rose diagrams and statistical analysis of fracture orientations, and an analysis of fold geometry including stereonets of poles to the bedding surfaces. The students also research the tectonic history of the area in the literature and in the field during trips to other locations. Their reports incorporate their observations into detailed discussions of how the structural features of the Waterville Formation fit into the “big geologic picture”. The continual study of this particular formation in its tectonic setting over the course of the term allows students to become increasingly familiar with the formation and to develop and apply and develop both basic and interpretive skills within a contextual framework. Discussions among students who have taken the class have lead to the conclusion that conducting this term-long, field-based class research project provides students with the hands-on skills they need to identify and evaluate structural features in a field setting within the context of a tectonic setting.