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Field Trips

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences sponsors many field trips, some as parts of classes and some as extracurricular learning opportunities. Most trips are open to both undergraduate majors and graduate students.Many Department courses include required field trips as an essential teaching tool. For example, EARTH 442 includes a trip to Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes area to to investigate glacial and atmospheric geomorphology features. All the Camp Davis courses include extended field trips that take advantage of the Camp's location near Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Dinosaur National Park, and other sites in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming.In addition, Department faculty often plan a field trip in May or August to the Southwest US, Florida, or Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. International field trips often take place during the summer or over Winter vacation. These large trips are subsidized by the Department from alumni donations so that the cost to students is very low. 

2018 EARTH 467 Field Trip

Professor Naomi Levin and a group of students spent the April 14 weekend looking into the geology and stratigraphy of Ordivician and Siliurian rocks in western Ohio. The trip was a culmination of the skills they learned in EARTH 467 (Stratigraphy and Basin Analysis) this semester and focused on making direct observations of sedimentary sequences to evaluate depositional environments and basin evolution.

On the way south, the group stopped to examine the Greenfield Dolomite at the top of the sequence and tried to make sense of the low-lowing mounds exposed on the bedding surface along the Maumee River in Side Cut Metropark. Everyone else along the river was taking advantage of the good fishing and had no interest in the 430 Ma rocks.

(Picture by Nikolas Midttun)

On the second day, the group got up early to beat the midday rains and spent the morning measuring multiple stratigraphic sections in Oakes Quarry Park, east of Dayton, to characterize temporal and lateral variation in the lower Siliurian Brassfield Formation. This part of the section was chock full of fossils (e.g., crinoids, brachiopods, corals, bryoazons, sponges, molluscs, and trace fossils). The group didn't need signs to find the fossils but this group photo seems appropriate in the context of topics on relative age dating that the students tackled earlier in the semester. (Picture by Meg Veitch)  

(Picture by Meg Veitch)


2018 Maryland Structural Geology Field Trip

Professor Ben van der Pluijm got lucky again on the 3-day Maryland Appalachians geology fieldtrip with Michigan undergrads (and a 5 grads support team). Cold, but the 2-4" of snow never came. Great group and all sites accessible, even with 6 minivans. We saw great structures, had nice group meals, and luxurious Super8 lodging. Group photo on day 3 at the NW-stepping ramp anticline (or fault-bend fold) of Willis Mountain, that is marked by ridge-forming Silurian sandstone/quartzite.

(Picture by Nikolas Midttun)


2017 Ohio Stratigraphy and Basin Analysis Field Trip

Associate Professor Naomi Levin led her Stratigraphy and Basin Analysis class to southwestern Ohio to measure section and check out the fossils in outcrops of Silurian carbonates. On the two day trip, the group got glimpses of the nearshore and coastal facies of the Salina Group along the Maumee River near Waterville, OH and then examined lateral variation in near shore and deeper water facies from the lower the Silurian exposures at Yellow Springs and Oakes Quarry Park, east of Dayton.

Ohio, 2017

2016 Field Trip-Sudbury and the UP

Kacey Lohmann, Adam Simon and Peter Knoop led a seven-day field trip for undergraduate and graduate students to Ontario and the Upper Peninsula during the last week of August. The students spent time near Elliot Lake examining diamictites and stromatolites that record oxygenation of Earth’s atmosphere, and in Sudbury they examined evidence for a giant asteroid impact that resulted in ore deposits that are the source of platinum that is the base for synthesizing the chemotherapy drug Cisplatin, which is used to fight a wide variety of sarcomas, carcinomas, lymphomas, bladder cancer, cervical cancer and germ cell tumors.  As on all of our field trips, students were encouraged to look at the rocks and develop their best scenarios for their field observations. Students also learned how to pack up camp really quick in the dark to avoid a thunderstorm, how to make wonderfully delicious shish kabobs over a camp fire, and spent a lot of time discussing life and career paths with the faculty.  The trip provided a wonderful opportunity to connect the students to the geologic events that make humans possible and enrich the fabric of modern society.

Lecture in the field.