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Geoscience students visit Death Valley, Mojave Desert for field-based course

Sixteen WKU Geoscience students spent their spring break week examining the geology of Death Valley and the Mojave Desert as part of a field-based geology course.

Dr. Andrew Wulff of the Department of Geography and Geology led the 15 undergraduates through a broad range of field experiences including mapping exercises, rock identification, ancient and recent volcanic activity, structurally deformed rocks, and several “classic” field locales in Death Valley and the surrounding area.

“This region offers excellent field locales for studying the effects of large-scale extension of the Earth’s crust and processes of erosion and landscape change in an arid environment,” Dr. Wulff said. “Our students were introduced to a set of geological processes and conditions representing an extreme difference from those back home.”

Everyone camped out, cooked their own food, and did fieldwork the entire week, and will contribute their individual expertise to a “virtual fieldtrip” to be available on the departmental website.

The students who participated were geology majors and minors: Yik Yu Au (Goodlettsville, Tenn.), Rachel E. Bowles (Bowling Green), Matthew R. Downen (Columbia), Christopher B. Driver (Crofton), Christopher R. Hart (Elizabethtown), William G. Hess (Bowling Green), Kelsey Kidd (Geneva, Ill.), Kelly L. Kramer (Bowling Green), Danielle C. Marsh (St. Charles, Ill.), Austin Moyers (Smiths Grove), Jennifer Schultz (Scottsville), Dalene F. Smith (Bowling Green), Chasity L. Stinson (Springfield, Tenn.), Heather R. Williams (Elkton) and Amber M. Yates (Bowling Green).

“Field-based research trips such as these are essential to our student-research-centered geoscience curriculum as they help students to have a much better understanding of the environmental challenges facing our communities as we continue to integrate into a global society,” said Dr. David Keeling, head of the Department of Geography and Geology.

Contact: Andrew Wulff at (270) 745-5976 or andrew.wulff@wku.edu

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