Rocky Mountain Section - 64th Annual Meeting (9–11 May 2012)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM


BRYANT, Gerald Craig, Colorado Plateau Field Institute, Dixie State University, 225 S 700 E, St. George, UT 84770,

At Dixie State College in St George, Utah, an experiential learning initiative featuring the unique opportunities inherent in the institution’s location adjacent to both the Colorado Plateau and Basin and Range has resulted in the completion of successful pilot programs. Among these, one providing orientation and support for the completion of fieldwork for 10 senior physical geography theses at the University of Swansea, in Wales, is reported here. This program developed from the professional contacts of two geologists, one from each institution, independently involved in research regarding the deformation of unconsolidated sand. Two weeks of collaborative research in the Navajo Sandstone provided the basis for student projects the following year (2011). For the students, preliminary training at Swansea culminated in an intensive, 2-week field experience that began with an orientation to the sedimentological details of the fluvial/eolian transition between the Kayenta and Navajo Formations, viewed in numerous outcrops. Subsequent outcrop data collection, by the students, supported independent architectural analyses of a series of related outcrops in the vicinity of Kanab, Utah. Preliminary student analyses were evaluated in the field. Further development and presentation of this work is currently taking place on the Swansea campus.

Enthusiastic reviews by all student and faculty participants in this project indicate a positive educational experience, one that will facilitate program development and student recruitment at both institutions. The remarkably extensive and accessible outcrops visited during this field experience, along with their extraordinarily vivid sedimentological details, enabled effective transfer of classroom learning to the research experience and provided an excellent platform for development of a broad stratigraphic and paleogeographic context. Group camping at nearby Coral Pink Sand Dunes afforded experience with modern analogues of eolian processes represented in the ancient deposits at the study sites. This location also enabled efficient excursions to Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon National Parks, further enhancing the educational and esthetic benefits of the field program.