On the morning of October 1, Snow College Survey of Geology and Physical Geography students left for Capitol Reef National Park, accompanied by earth science students from Gunnison Valley High School.
At Capitol Reef, the students got a chance to see some of the stunning geological landscapes that make up many of Utah’s five national parks. They also got to see multiple examples of large-scale cross bedding on the park. “[One of the main goals was] learning how to interpret geology in the field; being able to look at rocks and identify them, and things we just can’t do in the lab,” said Renee Faatz, the geology professor at Snow College. “You can’t look at large-scale cross-beds in the lab.”
Students also got to see a dinosaur bone – and Brekka Jensen, after learning that a person’s tongue would stick to bone due to its porous nature, licked it. “[The dinosaur bone] was sticky and tasted like rock. It soaked up the moisture in my tongue.” Jensen states.
Along with the dinosaur bone and cross bedding, students had the chance to test a couple of rocks with a gentle acid. The bubbling reactions that resulted revealed many of the rocks in the area contained the mineral calcite.
“Generally speaking, in geology a day-long field trip teaches you more than months in class,” Faatz continued. “It is such a neat thing that we can do that, and a neat thing I think that the college continues to support it. Generally speaking, geology departments don’t do field trips for students who are not geology majors.”
The trip lasted most of the day. Students arrived back on campus in the evening carrying a few fossilized clam shells and chunks of quartz and chert as souvenirs they collected off the park on the way home. “[The trip] was a lot of fun,” says Natalie Dickman, one of the students who attended. “It was a great opportunity.”