Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 10:00 AM


SCHMEISSER MCKEAN, Rebecca L. and FLOOD, Tim P., Department of Geology, St. Norbert College, 100 Grant Street, De Pere, WI 54115,

A fantastic place to take undergraduates for their first experience with field geology is northern Arizona. Northern Arizona offers many different types of geology (sedimentology, stratigraphy, paleontology, volcanology, astrogeology, hydrogeology, geomorphology, and structural geology) with rocks of a variety of ages (Precambrian to Quaternary) that can be easily accessed within a relatively small area. In addition, as a domestic trip for those within the United States, the logistics and cost of the trip are manageable. Faculty members from St. Norbert College (De Pere, Wisconsin) organized an 11 day field trip to northern Arizona as part of a 2-credit course for undergraduate geology majors in mid-May. The basic goals of this course were to introduce students to the geology of the region and to develop their basic field skills. Students met with faculty before the trip for several lectures and were assigned readings.

Nine students and two faculty members flew into Phoenix and made several geological stops on the drive up to Flagstaff, including stops at a paleochannel, a sinkhole, and a fault zone. Three days were spent at Grand Canyon National Park. Students hiked along portions of the Kaibab and Bright Angel trails, examining the sedimentology and stratigraphy of the upper formations in the canyon. Guided instruction from faculty covered how to identify formations, describe rocks in the field, and determine paleoenvironments. A stop at the Glen Canyon Dam gave students firsthand insight into the hydrology of the west and the impacts of a large dam. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Mount Elden, and other volcanoes in the San Francisco volcanic field provided excellent venues for discussions related to relatively recent volcanic features. Petrified Forest National Park is an excellent spot to see fossils in place and was visited along with Meteor Crater, a large impact crater with reversed stratigraphy, via a one-day drive from Flagstaff. A final stop at the USGS campus in Flagstaff allowed students the opportunity to discuss career options with working geologists, a highlight of the trip for many of the students. To sum, a trip to northern Arizona is highly recommended for other undergraduate programs that are looking to expose students to a variety of geologic field experiences within a relatively small area.