GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 301-3
Presentation Time: 2:10 PM


RAMON-DUENAS, Carolina, SISSON, Virginia B., WELLNER, Julia S., LYTWYN, Jennifer and HAUPTVOGEL, Daniel, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204

Over the last several years, there has been increased interest in introductory geology classes at the University of Houston in understanding coastal processes. This trend is related to the close proximity of the campus to the coast, only ~50 miles, and several major hurricanes that affected Houston and the Texas region. The Texas coast is a highly active environment that quickly responds to rising sea level, storms, and human activities. As part of our introductory geology classes, a one-day Upper Texas Coast Field Trip is offered to students. We have created a virtual version of this field trip to help students that cannot attend in the field or want an introduction before attending the in-person field trip.

Our virtual field trip was built over a period of a year with the participation of professors and graduate students. It has seven stops along the coast from the Brazos River, down to its mouth in Freeport, and to the eastern tip of Galveston Island. Each stop addresses different coastal elements and processes, including rivers, deltas, barrier Islands, back-bay and marsh areas, dune formation, longshore currents, erosion, sediment transport and deposition, and human impact. Each stop has a 360 degrees photographic experience, with imbedded videos, that walk students through different geologic features and process that affect the coast. Along with the field trip, a set of interactive exercises has been prepared to enhance the learning experience and ensure students understand what they observe. The exercises are an important part of the experience, students can discuss and clarify ideas with their professor and teaching assistant any time they need through emails and personal tutoring in the Geoscience Learning Center (GLC). The GLC is a space available for students to access additional material and access tutoring.

The field trip has been successfully implemented in summer classes and we are in the process of implementing it in all the introductory geology classes during the Fall 2019. Until now, the students’ experiences have been positive. This field trip has proven to be a powerful tool to introduce and develop the basic geologic skills and to understand the geologic processes in the Texas coast.

  • Ramon-Duenas, (2.9 MB)