2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 1:50 PM


CROSSEY, Laura J., Earth & Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico, Northrop Hall, Albuquerque, NM 87131, KARLSTROM, Karl E., Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Univ of New Mexico, Northrop Hall, Albuquerque, NM 87131, SEMKEN, Steven, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-1404, WILLIAMS, Michael, Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003-9297 and CROW, Ryan S., Earth and Planetary Science, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001, lcrossey@unm.edu

The Trail of Time is a collaborative geoscience education project involving UNM, NPS, NSF, ASU, and UMass (http://epswww.unm.edu/TrailofTime/). The concept of developing a walking timeline trail, with outdoor exhibits for visitors that portrays the geologic history of Grand Canyon, was conceived in 1995. The concept has matured through NSF planning grants, Advisory Board workshops, evaluations, and Park meetings. Funds for installation of the Trail along the South Rim between Yavapai Point and Grand Canyon Village were awarded by NSF in 2006. The Trail will become a visible reality to visitors in Fall 2007 with installation of bronze time markings. Small circular bronze markings every meter portray the million year heartbeat of geologic time; larger circular bronze markers every 10 meters are labeled with their age along the geology timeline trail. First stage installation involves counter sinking about 2000 markers into the asphalt trail; markers will extend from time zero (today—near Grandeur Point) back to just before Grand Canyon's oldest rock (1840 Ma-- near Verkamps in Grand Canyon Village). A temporary (one year) walking guide and entry signs will convey the basic message that the Trail is a geology timeline, and help visitors to locate a few key rock layers from the appropriate position along the Trail. Development of stage 2 waysides and documentation is ongoing: rocks from most of Grand Canyon's rock units will be collected and installed along the Trail, large wayside signs will identify key events, entry portals will be constructed, and a more detailed brochure will be written, all in the next 2 years. We anticipate opening of the complete exhibition in summer 2009. Design of exhibit components by Merriell and Associates is closely coordinated with content development and with exhibit goals and objectives. Evaluation by Selinda Research Associates is refining design concepts to reach the wide and diverse Park audiences (5 million per year). Research on public cognition and misconceptions about deep time and geology will continue to use the Trail of Time as a research instrument during and after installation. Bronze moldings and other design elements, geoscience content, and evaluation results are available for other Parks for similar efforts in what could become a unique national geoscience education program.