INTEGRATING FIELD-BASED COURSES AND RESEARCH ACROSS THE GEOSCIENCE CURRICULUM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS
The advanced field course is typically taken during the senior year and allows students to use the skills and knowledge acquired from previous field work and courses. Students work on original research with guidance from the faculty. In 2004, the course consisted of two projects, the Bitter Spring Project and the Snowball Earth project. The Bitter Spring Project objective was to collect data by detailed mapping, measuring stratigraphic sections, and collecting ash samples. This area had never been mapped in detail and could provide valuable evidence for the tectonic evolution of the southern basin and range province. The Snowball Earth Project involved using a gamma spectrometer to take K, U, and Th readings of the Noonday Dolomite, a cap carbonate in Death Valley, to see if it has a unique gamma signature compared to other carbonates, hopefully shedding light on details of the snowball Earth theory. Data from this advanced field study served as a foundation for a senior capstone course and the results were presented by the students at the spring meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
We believe that this integration of field-based courses and research across the geology curriculum, culminating in a senior capstone experience, allows students to grasp the main concepts of a geology major effectively and in great depth