Nine students enrolled in GEOL 3700 spent two weeks in August 2017 exploring the geology of Oregon with Professor Scott Brame. They spent a week traveling south from Portland down the coast and then a week coming back north up through the Cascade Mountains. Oregon offers an actively evolving geologic experience as it sits on an active margin of a subduction zone with frequent (on a geologic time scale) earthquakes and volcanoes. The students examined a wide diversity of geological features including Columbia River basalt flows that came all the way from Idaho, sedimentary formations that accumulated on distant continents before becoming part of Oregon, pillow basalts, marble caves, oceanic crust that now comprises an entire mountain range, stratovolcanoes, lava tubes, hot springs, and unique rocks like serpentinite.
Alice Bridgeman remarked, “Going to Oregon was truly special. What made it even better was that I got to share the experience with eight other Geology majors and one of my favorite professors. The trip opened my eyes to a side of Geology that you CANNOT receive from behind a desk in a lecture hall. Seeing amazing formations of columnar basalt was one of the highlights of the trip for me. These are the kinds of things that you can’t describe, not fully, anyway. You have to see them in person.” Another student, Halle Murphy, commented, “I enjoyed traveling to Oregon with my fellow geology students over the summer. One of my favorite attractions was the Devil’s Punchbowl, a collapsed cave on the Oregon coast.”
GEOL 3700, Western US Field Study, is one of many opportunities students have to experience geology in the field. The course will next be offered during Maymester 2018, where students will explore national parks and monuments in Utah. Interested students should contact Professor Brame or fill out an Interest Form before November 30, 2017.