Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 4:00 PM


FINSTICK, Sue A., Colorado State University Global Campus, 8000 E. Maplewood Ave, Bldg 5, Suite 250, Greenwood Village, CO 80111,

The Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG) sponsored a field trip to Cuba in March of this year (2013). The U.S. embargo on Cuba created challenges for planning the trip, requiring nearly two years of working out the details and completing the paper work required for Americans to legally travel to the Republic of Cuba. We obtained authorization for our travel through Insight Cuba, a division of Cross-Cultural Solutions and a licensed provider of people-to-people travel to Cuba. Traveling under this license requires a full schedule of activities that promotes educational exchange between Americans and Cubans, making this field trip unique for its combination of geology and cultural interactions.

We arranged for Dr. Manuel Iturralde-Vinent, a renowned Cuban geologist, to meet us in Havana and accompany us on our travels. In the Pinar del Rio Province in western Cuba, Dr. Iturralde introduced us to an amazing landscape of steep-sided residual karst hills called mogotes rising from flat valleys where Cuba's best tobacco is grown. We saw evidence of the K/T boundary in a formation which contains shocked quartz and iridium, as well as a spectacular thick fining-upwards limestone cataclastite related to the impact. In the Soroa area, also west of Havana, Dr. Iturralde showed us breccias resulting from the K/T impact. We also investigated serpentinites and organic-bearing carbonates in this region. In central Cuba, we examined outcrops of ophiolitic mélange resulting from a Mesozoic to Tertiary-aged plate convergence which resulted in accretion and subduction.

Our cultural interactions in Cuba included visiting community projects focused on art, music, sustainable agriculture, and eco-tourism. We also spent an enjoyable evening meeting informally with a group of university geology students. We visited historical sites, including monuments, museums and churches. We enjoyed the hospitality of several Cuban families who welcomed us into their homes. Our people-to-people experiences enhanced our field trip to Cuba more than we had anticipated.