GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 26-6
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM


ESPINOZA, Mariana1, FAIRCHILD, Megan1, RIVERA, Tiffany1 and JICHA, Brian2, (1)Westminster College, 1840 S 1300 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84105-3617, (2)Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1215 W. Dayton St., Madison, WI 53706

The Black Rock Desert Volcanic Field in south central Utah has erupted basalt to rhyolite over the past ~ 2.5 million years. Episodic volcanic activity produced intriguing landforms and features including cinder and tuff cones, lava tubes, a lava lake, rhyolite domes, pyroclastic deposits, and obsidian flows. This virtual field trip takes the viewer through a series of map locations that were chosen to best represent the uniqueness of Black Rock Desert, and aims to increase the general public's knowledge and awareness about geologically young volcanism in central Utah. By increasing the availability of information, it will result in a variety of benefits.

One such benefit of a virtual field trip is to increase accessibility of field geology to those unable to visit the sites. As Utah may not be a convenient trip for many, with this program, the learner will have similar learning experiences as an in-person trip could provide. This self-guided field trip was developed using the Google Earth Web platform, which allows the creator to add images, videos, web links, and text to map locations that are combined into a trip. This research team visited the sites over several years to acquire media for the virtual field trip. Photos and videos were acquired with professional cameras, iPhones, and uncrewed aerial vehicles. At each site, a hand sample was collected and its physical characteristics were described as well as a location description. Thin sections were made from the samples and photomicrographs are included in the virtual field trip to provide learners with information about these samples at a variety of scales. Text content reviews igneous rock chemistry, geochemical classification systems, and rock and mineral identification techniques. All encompassing, this field trip will provide information about Quaternary volcanism in south central Utah through virtual exploration.