Paper No. 22
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM
ARIZONA GEOLOGY: A BOUNTIFUL FIELD LABORATORY FOR STUDENT LEARNING AND DISCOVERY
Arizona is an inspiring field laboratory for engaging students in field-based detailed structural analysis. As a young assistant professor I could not have landed in a more favorable teaching/research environment. Proximity to outstanding systems of structures as well as favorable academic-calendar weather conditions permitted weekly research-based teaching of graduate-level structural geology. The active learning goals for graduate classes were achieved through 1/ field-based student immersion in essential concepts and methods during fall semesters; and 2/ field-based engagement in class research projects during spring semesters. Class projects were taken to publication. This formulaic approach contributed to original interpretation of important episodes of geological history, demystification of the publishing process, and framing of ‘local’ but scientifically meaningful thesis and dissertation projects. Because of proximity and compelling challenge, the dominant concerted efforts over the years were applied to the Catalina-Rincon complex. In the 1970’s and 1980’s these efforts were instrumental in discovery and elucidation of metamorphic core complexes. Since then collective accomplishments have been in topical areas of interpretation of fabrics, strain, shear zones, fault zones, and fabrics. Structures within the youngest tectonic systems (now known to be metamorphic core complexes and Basin and Range deformation) could only be fully understood in a backdrop of what came before. It is with this in mind that I value particular class projects and theses/dissertations that, over a broad geographic reach, explored metamorphic tectonites in Mesoproterozoic rocks, continental rifting and diabase intrusion in Neoproterozoic rocks, transpressional deformation in Jurassic rocks, and Laramide deformation by thrusting and folding. It was my predecessor, Evans B. Mayo, who urged us all to simply ‘follow the rocks’ in our mapping and analysis. It was the Arizona Geological Survey that was a constant advocate for geological mapping and field-based studies. It is the Geological Society of America that has been the dominant vehicle for presentation and publication of research results.