GSA Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA - 2017

Paper No. 77-12
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


NIEMI, Tina M., Department of Geosciences, University of Missouri - Kansas City, 5100 Rockhill Road, Flarsheim Hall 420, Kansas City, MO 64110 and BUSBY, Cathy J., Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Davis, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616,

The Baja Basins Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) is a three-year, NSF-funded collaboration between UMKC, UC-Davis, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, Universidad de Guanajuato, and the Minera Boleo copper mining company in Santa Rosalía, México. The goal of the Baja Basins REU project is for student participants to develop skills in conducting and communicating scientific research, using an integrative field and lab research approach, while collaborating side-by-side with Mexican students, professors, and mining professionals. In the field, students use the Fieldmove Clino smartphone app to digitally record orientation data, make notes, and photograph outcrops and sample locations. Surface Pro tablets were also used as a platform for geologic mapping. Natural and strip mine outcrops were imaged using drone technology and photogrammetry software to make orthophotomosaics for stratigraphic mapping. Field data were combined with modern analytical lab analyses to address research questions on the tectonic evolution of the Gulf of California rift in the Santa Rosalía region, Baja California Sur, México. Each year in January, the Baja Basins REU students and project team leaders from Mexican and U.S. universities spent three weeks in Baja California Sur conducting geologic fieldwork. Then in July of each year, they reconvened for a month of lab work at UMKC Department of Geosciences, in topical groups that included sedimentology, volcanology, tectonic geomorphology, and economic geology. This culminated in preparation of student poster displays for a local symposium and abstracts for the annual GSA or AGU meetings. Advantages of this REU split format include: 1) fieldwork in excellent desert exposures during cooler weather conditions, 2) experience in an active mine with international collaborators from academia and industry, 3) time for samples to be prepared for the lab component (e.g. thin sections, geochemistry, mineral separations, geochronology, etc.), and 4) time off allows students to return refreshed and energized. Students may choose to continue reading and learning about their project during the spring semester, but it is not currently required. Many REU students continued their research after the REU ended (e.g. senior theses).