Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM
AN INTRODUCTORY STUDENT’S PERSPECTIVES ON A GEOLOGY FIELD TRIP TO THE BOOK CLIFFS OF UTAH
The Southern Utah University geology program visited the Wasatch Plateau and Book Cliffs of Utah for three days in the fall of 2012. Participants included fifteen SUU undergraduate students and eight undergraduate students from Snow College, led by professors from SUU, Snow College, and the University of Montana. The main objective of the field course was to learn about the wealth of sedimentary deposits and structures associated with the Cretaceous Sevier orogeny. We completed basic mapping and stratigraphic and sedimentologic analyses across a transect from the proximal alluvial deposits in the Sevier highlands to the nearshore and offshore deposits in the foreland basin. This transect allowed us to observe a variety of geologic features, including overturned folds, thrust faults, and a diversity of sedimentary facies. One of the most valuable experiences for an undergraduate student was the unique opportunity to learn how to interpret a range of depositional environments from the rock record. Most memorable is the progression of sedimentary deposits representing depositional environments that began in high energy alluvial fans, transitioned to braided and meandering channel systems, and concluded in deltaic deposits and low energy nearshore and offshore shales. As an introductory geology major, I was exposed to topics in the field that typically are learned in upper level courses. These experiences helped me build a strong foundation for learning advanced concepts in the classroom, relating classroom concepts to field studies, and transferring field studies into geologic research and interpretation. Taking what I have learned in the Book Cliffs to the classroom has helped greatly in the understanding of material well beyond the scope of a textbook and lecture.