Joint 56th Annual North-Central/ 71st Annual Southeastern Section Meeting - 2022

Paper No. 42-8
Presentation Time: 3:35 PM


WEISS, Jennifer, Geology & Environmental Science, James Madison University, 801 Carrier Drive, Harrisonburg, VA 22807 and WHITMEYER, Steven, Geology & Environmental Science, James Madison University, 801 Carrier Drive, MSC 6903, Harrisonburg, VA 22807

An essential part of geologic research is the observation and analysis of structural and depositional features at outcrops. To help students build these skills, field trips and laboratory exercises are typically incorporated into classes to offer hands-on experiences. During the COVID-19 pandemic, classes at universities had to move online and on-location field trips had to be cancelled, forcing professors to reexamine how geology is taught. Online learning revealed the benefits and challenges of virtual tools, suggesting how instructors could utilize hybrid learning to help students moving forward.

Corridor H, a highway spanning the Valley and Ridge and Allegheny Plateau provinces in northern Virginia and West Virginia, offers a prime location for students to observe key structural concepts related to the Alleghenian deformation of the region. This project collected structural data along Corridor H to create targeted field exercises which address the structural concepts covered in the Advanced Structure, Stratigraphy, and Tectonics (ASST) course at James Madison University. Field data included strike and dip measurements and GPS data from roadcuts along much of the highway, in order to create a generalized cross section of the region. Specific outcrops displaying features of interest for ASST exercises were identified for further study. Samples, photomosaics, and lithologic descriptions were used to build analyses of the selected outcrops. These analyses were then used to create exercises that focused on topics such as parasitic folds, stereonets, cross sections, tectonic shortening, and sigmoidal veins. The exercises are organized within a field trip that offers students hands-on opportunities to practice these methods.

In order to increase accessibility to field work, the ASST field trip was designed with a hybrid (online and in-person) format that uses Google Earth to facilitate remote learning, and also includes on-location data collection at outcrops. This project merges several structural analysis techniques along one transect, which serves as a useful model for integrating field-focused observations, analytical techniques, and syntheses in exercises for introductory structural geology courses.