Joint 118th Annual Cordilleran/72nd Annual Rocky Mountain Section Meeting - 2022

Paper No. 11-4
Presentation Time: 2:35 PM


SERPA, Laura, Earth, Environmental and Resource Science, University of Texas at El Paso, 500 University Ave, El Paso, TX 79968 and PAVLIS, Terry, Earth Environmental and Resource Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso, 500 W. University Ave, El Paso, TX 79968

Digital mapping and high-resolution terrain models from Structure-from-Motion/Multiview Stereo (SM) photogrammetry provide new tools that can replace some field experiences and broaden interest in geosciences; a hypothesis we are testing with new data from the Death Valley CA region. Many universities are seeing decreased numbers of majors in their undergraduate programs that may be related to the continued pandemic but also is a continuation of a more long-term trend in the US of cyclic enrollment driven by job markets. In response to the pandemic many faculty have struggled to adapt lab and lecture courses to remote learning experiences and Google Earth has become a proxy for some field experiences. Even prior to the pandemic, many institutions were reducing or eliminating field trips and courses because they were considered potentially dangerous and expensive. The dropping number of undergraduate majors put many geoscience programs in danger of elimination or required mergers with other programs such as environmental science and meteorology in order to increase their enrollments. These are not necessarily all bad changes; the merging of programs and reduction of field activities was highly beneficial in some cases but for many faculty it entailed the loss of what is often considered critical aspects of the teaching of geology. Our view of these changes are mixed but we contend it is time to change how we present field geology and the tools that have been used for, in some cases, more than a century. We have developed SM terrain models from the Death Valley region to test several methods applicable to both teaching and research and will showcase some of these techniques in this presentation.