2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM


POLLARD, Brittney, FEELEY, Todd, UNDERWOOD, Sandra, WILSON, Luke, ABRAHAMSON, Syverine and FERNANDEZ, Adriana, Earth Sciences, Montana State University, 200 Traphagen Hall, Bozeman, MT 59717, tfeeley@montana.edu

In order to further public education and awareness of the geology of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, we created a self-led geologic hiking guide for the informally named Johnson Ridge Trail. The guide describes the dramatic volcanic geology on the north side of Mount St. Helens visible while hiking the 8.76 mile trail (one-way) from the Johnston Ridge Observatory to Windy Ridge (or vice-versa). Many geologic features visible from the trail were created during the May 18, 1980 – 1986 eruptive episode, although younger and older geologic features are also visible, including spectacular views into the currently active crater. Specific rock units traversed while hiking the trail include faulted and tilted Tertiary volcanic rocks on Johnston and Windy Ridges; May 18, 1980, debris avalanche and surge deposits on the Spillover; May 18, 1980, pyroclastic flow deposits on the Pumice Plain; Castle Creek eruptive period (~1700 ka) basaltic lava flows; and May 18, 1980, lateral blast and air fallout deposits on Windy Ridge. Following final field check, the hiking guide will be made available to the public for a nominal cost at the Johnson Ridge Observatory visitor facilities.

Creation of the field guide is a service-learning project performed in the spirit of linking the results of scientific research, student education, and public outreach. Service-learning is an inquiry-based, active learning mode that directs education activities toward issues of societal concern. Community service work combined with these activities provides an influential learning experience because it gives students involved in the project an opportunity to engage in dialogue with the public and to directly apply scientific knowledge through their activities. Other benefits to students include fostering of life-long learning skills such as written communication aimed for public distribution, independent learning, teamwork, and critical thinking; increased proficiency researching published scientific literature, including journal articles and maps; and sharing in the excitement of generating a product that is actually used.