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

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM


MARSHALL, Jeffrey S., Geological Sciences Dept, Cal Poly Pomona University, Pomona, CA 91768-2557, marshall@csupomona.edu

Costa Rica provides an extraordinary setting for international Earth Science field trips and research experiences with undergraduate students. This beautiful Central American country features a diverse assemblage of geologic terrains and tropical ecosystems that offer rich educational field opportunities for visiting students. Located along the Middle America convergent margin, Costa Rica exhibits a spectacular tectonic landscape of active volcanoes, abrupt fault scarps, sheer mountains, plunging canyons, rugged coastlines, and broad alluvial lowlands. Abundant outcrops exhibit diverse rock types and textbook structure. Earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic eruptions are frequent, and their impact on Costa Rica's landscape and human history are readily apparent. In addition to geology and natural hazards, students can also examine environmental problems related to population growth, deforestation, water resources, and tourism.

Costa Rica has won a global reputation as a premiere destination for eco-tourism. The world-renowned National Park and Nature Reserve system encompasses over 20% of the country's territory, protecting a spectacular array of geologic and ecologic environments. For added adventure, Costa Rica is known for world-class river rafting, spelunking, rainforest trekking, canopy tours, and close-encounters with exotic wildlife. The country has a well-developed transportation infrastructure and offers a full range of lodging facilities. Access from the U.S. is easy and airline fares are affordable. Costa Rica's two major universities (UNA and UCR) have active Earth Science research and teaching programs with talented faculty and modern facilities. Government agencies and NGO's also conduct geologic and environmental studies. Together, these institutions offer many opportunities for interaction between visiting students and Costa Rican scientists.

For over 15 years, the author has traveled to Costa Rica to conduct geologic fieldwork, direct student research, and lead field trips. His undergraduate field excursions and research projects have ranged in size from a few students to groups of several dozen. This presentation offers insights into the art of designing intriguing geologic itineraries and guiding successful undergraduate field experiences in Costa Rica.