Students in GEGN 203: Terrain Analysis shared a memorable field trip during the weekend of September 7, 2012. The expedition included 25 stops throughout the state of Colorado.The trip included geologic areas of interest such as Lake Dillon, Mount Sopris, Black Canyon and the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Terrain Analysis professor, Dr. Paul Santi was there every step of the way to enlighten the students and provide an educational element during the trip. Santi understands that this field trip is quite demanding – missing a day of school and surrendering an entire weekend – but he believes the learning experience is unparalleled. Nonetheless, sitting on a charter bus and absorbing geological facts for 10 hours at a time is unexpectedly tiring. However, any student who attended the trip would agree the cost and time commitment was completely worth it. “After dinner and an entire day of sitting on the bus, all I wanted to do was sleep,” said sophomore Andrew VanDuesen. But VanDeusen added that “each day was better than the one before.”
Other geological sites included the famous Marble Mill Site, the Garden of the Gods, and countless landslide formations. Of the numerous stops, most students agreed that the highlight of the trip was either the Great Sand Dunes or the Black Canyon. The Black Canyon, located just outside of Montrose, Colorado, is two million years old, and the erosional forces of the river have carved the canyon 2,300 feet (700 meters) downwards. That equates to roughly the width of a hair eroded every year; quite fast, geologically speaking. And for Colorado native Preston Rich, the view was worth the trip. “I’ve lived in Colorado my whole life and never seen the Black Canyon,” said Rich. “If you have the time, you should go.”
Overall, students on the Terrain Analysis field trip were able to learn, hands on, about the marvels of the diverse geology in Colorado. Many students developed new friendships due to the tight confines of the bus. “It was pretty crowded [on the bus], but I met some people I probably wouldn’t have talked to otherwise,” said Austin Wilkes. Armed with new geological, students now find it hard to go anywhere without beginning to analyze the history, potential threats, and geographic composition of the area.
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