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WKU students examine geology of Death Valley, Mojave Desert

Fourteen Hilltoppers spent their 2014 spring break week examining the geology of Death Valley and the Mojave Desert as part of a field-based geology course facilitated by Study Away at WKU.

A group of WKU students spent their 2014 spring break week examining the geology of Death Valley and the Mojave Desert as part of a field-based geology course led by Dr. Andrew Wulff.

A group of WKU students spent their 2014 spring break week examining the geology of Death Valley and the Mojave Desert as part of a field-based geology course led by Dr. Andrew Wulff.

Dr. Andrew Wulff of the Department of Geography and Geology led the 13 undergraduates through a broad range of field experiences including mapping exercises, rock identification, ancient and recent volcanic activity, structurally deformed rocks, gigantic sand dunes, and several “classic” field locales in Death Valley and the surrounding area. Several students extended research they had started during previous Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs.

“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 that were very different from those in Kentucky.”

The group camped out, cooked their own food, did fieldwork the entire week, soaked in hot springs, and will contribute their individual expertise to a “virtual fieldtrip” to be available soon on the departmental website.

Students who participated were Josh Allison of Fountain Run; Cayla Baughn of Westmoreland, Tenn.; Michelle Foley of Salvisa; Darrin Green of Beaver Dam; Jacob Hughes of Alvaton; Jacob Lord of Elizabethtown; Amanda Moreland of Park City; Steelman Morss of Franklin, Tenn.; Matthew Smith of Bowling Green; Brad Stanley of Owensboro; Ron Waterbury of Oakland; Brian Way of Villa Hills; and Sarah Zibart of Auburn.

Contact: Geography & Geology, (270) 745-4555.

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