Northeastern Section - 54th Annual Meeting - 2019

Paper No. 2-1
Presentation Time: 8:10 AM


CHAN, Marjorie A., BENO, Carl J., LIPPERT, Peter C. and CERLING, Thure E., Geology & Geophysics, University of Utah, Dept. Geology & Geophysics, 115 South 1460 East, Rm 383, Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Geoscience material artifacts make excellent displays to showcase captivating aspects of our science. A relatively inexpensive option is the broad range of polished rock slabs and remnants typically used for kitchen countertops. These materials can show large outcrop-scale relationships, with an additional opportunity for detailed mineralogy and thin sections. Some materials are available as donations from stone companies or as small remnant leftover pieces from fabricators that may be commonly discarded or available at considerable discount. When these pieces are creatively and thoughtfully located and well-lit in geoscience buildings, they can be aesthetically attractive while teaching important geologic concepts of mineralogy, processes, and Earth history, in a safe, inclusive, and accessible format for students of all abilities.

Artistically displayed slabs in the geology building at the University of Utah have enjoyed a decade of success. Here the displays have raised visibility, instilled inspiration, and contributed valuable teaching resources across the undergraduate and graduate curriculum. Students surrounded by this environment are proud to call this their academic home. Other disciplines on campus and geoscience programs nationally are impressed by the results and have attempted to emulate the approach.

This academic building space with its displays has also been an excellent site to host twice yearly public open houses. These successful gatherings have attracted several hundred visitors for each event, with many hands-on activities for kids, and an accessible general science lecture by a member of the faculty. Student volunteers enthusiastically share their knowledge and gain experience in outreach and geoscience education.