Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 4:00 PM
LANDING ON THE MOON IN IDAHO: INTERPRETING A VOLCANIC LANDSCAPE FOR VARIED AUDIENCES AT CRATERS OF THE MOON NATIONAL MONUMENT
As a Summer 2013 GeoCorps Participant at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve near Arco, Idaho, I had the awesome opportunity to share my geologic knowledge with the public as a Geology Educator/Interpreter. Craters of the Moon showcases some of the most well-preserved basaltic rift volcanism features in the eastern Snake River Plain and in the United States in general, including spatter cones and lava tubes. The park has made many of these amazing features accessible with a seven-mile driving loop so even less experienced hikers can enjoy and explore the geologic features easily. I led interpretive hikes such as the Broken Top Loop Hike, Cave Walk, and Evening Stroll and delivered short formal presentations called Patio Talks on geology-related topics. Finally, I developed an evening program presentation entitled “Mysterious Mammals in the Lunar Lava Tubes” on how the geology in the park gives the eleven species of bats a perfect habitat. Through all of these interpretive programs, I challenged the perspective that geologists only study rocks and presented evidence of geology’s connections to biology as well as other disciplines. One challenge I faced was making somewhat complex geologic concepts such as magma formation, the geothermal gradient, rift volcanism, and Basin and Range extension accessible for visitors of varying age ranges with no earth science backgrounds. The park inspires a natural curiosity in visitors and invites exploration and continued study. My volcanism knowledge was definitely expanded by studying the features in the park. Hopefully the interpretive programs I developed helped visitors to understand the geology of the park, broadened their perspective of geologists and geology in general, and made them want to help protect the amazing features there for generations to come.