Paper No. 11-31
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
PREPARING GUIDES TO THE GEOLOGY OF HENRY COE STATE PARK: A STUDENT RESEARCH EXPERIENCE
California’s Henry Coe State Park, located in the Diablo Range ~ 25 miles southeast of San Jose, features spectacular examples of the Franciscan Complex and its unique rocks. However, there have been few detailed studies of the park’s geology and existing interpretive materials and programs focus mostly on plants, wildlife, and human history. In response, the San José State University (SJSU) Coe Geology Project (CGP) engages students in scientific research combined with development of interpretative materials designed to make geology more accessible to park visitors and staff. Interns recruited from undergraduate geology classes are mentored by an SJSU Geology professor and several experienced park volunteers. One student team is developing and leading “geo-hikes” which tell the story of how geologic processes, past and present, shape Coe and how humans play a part in those processes. They have also presented an overview of the park’s rocks as part of a training session for Coe Park volunteers. As students work to help the public and park staff develop new perspectives with which to view the landscapes of Coe Park they gain not only knowledge of the Franciscan Complex, but also an appreciation for the importance of communicating scientific information in a way that is meaningful and relevant to a general audience.
Through investigation of Coe geology, students develop field skills, such as mapping and sampling techniques, and laboratory skills, such as rock cutting and thin section preparation and analysis. Photomicrographs are used to enhance outreach materials and whole-rock and mineral chemistry will be used to constrain the tectonic setting in which intra-Franciscan serpentinite formed. Future plans for the CGP include geochemical and petrologic investigations, development of additional geo-hikes, creation of a display in the Coe Visitor Center that outlines the Park's geologic history and features representative rock samples, and development of Spanish-language outreach materials.