Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 2:45 PM
A 10-DAY FIELD GEOLOGY COURSE IN ICELAND
Iceland offers an excellent opportunity for students to study a variety of geologic processes in close proximity to one another and therefore in a short amount of time. During August of 2011, a 10 day field-based course entitled Field Geology of Iceland was offered by the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Louisiana State University. The course was populated by 22 students ranging from Junior level undergraduates through PhD students and led by 3 faculty members. Through the duration of the course, the group made a counter-clockwise course around the perimeter of the island beginning and ending in the capital city of Reykjavik. Due to the small size of the island nation, most of the time each day was dedicated to field based study rather than commuting. The course covered topics such as hotspot and mid-ocean ridge tectonics, submarine eruption, basaltic volcanism, pyroclastic volcanism, volcanic landforms, geysirs, hydrothermal activity, glaciers, volcano-ice interaction, ecology, and human history in Iceland. While visiting features and deposits, students were led to make microscopic through regional scale observations, to collect lithologic and spatial data, to make sketches, maps, and graphs and to combine all of these data to draw conclusions about the volcanic processes that have occurred and how they fit into the tectonic context of this unique locality. Each student prepared ahead of the trip to become the group expert on a specific locality, process, or feature. They then led the discussion of this topic in the field. The combination of upper-level undergraduate students, masters students, and PhD students provided outstanding student interactions. Those who did not have much field experience gained valuable perspective, and those with some field experience had not been in a basaltic hot-spot setting before and so gained from the course as well. The experience of a field based course leads to insights and perspectives that are not likely to be attained otherwise. This benefit applies to all students no matter the subdiscipline of focus.