On Saturday October 26, Professor Scott Meek took two of his geology classes to Capitol Reef National Park to do some first hand studies.
Capitol Reef is home to some of the world’s most diverse rock formations. These formations hold a complete history of Utah’s geologic history, making it an ideal place for a class to do field studies. “[Capitol Reef] has, in my opinion, the most interesting geology of the parks in Utah,” Meek says. “It has the natural bridge, it has canyons, fossils, basically anything you could see in one of the other parks you could see in Capitol Reef.”
The students in the classes had to wake up early to meet by the science building for the trip. It was a two hour ride to the park, but Meek made the most of it, pointing out geologic points of interest such as the gypsum mine in Sigurd, the Covenant Oil Field, and the salt mine in Redmond.
The company stopped outside of the park first, looking at a formation called Chimney Rock, a fault line that had disrupted the rock layers, as well as an area near Chimney Rock where they were able to examine some petrified wood.
The main event of the trip was a hike up to Hickman Natural Bridge, a 133 ft bridge made by erosion by a creek, unlike arches, which are primarily formed by erosion from wind and sand. Students were able to see the Navajo sandstone, the natural bridge itself, and some of the black boulders that seem out of place throughout the park. They also got to look at fossil evidence in and out of the park, visiting a dinosaur bone mostly encased in a cliff, and a clam shell field outside of the park.
The field trip was also a good way for students to make friends in class. Allison Bishop, one of the geology students said, “I also really enjoyed the change in our class that happened throughout the trip. By the end of the day it felt like we had gone on an outing with friends instead of a school trip.”
Although it was a long trip, the group came home in good spirits with a great educational experience under their belts.