Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ever Wished for a Guide to the Geology of Southern California?

Speaking of places I once lived, you can all have a chance to see and learn about the geology of Southern California at the meeting of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, Far West Section, taking place on April 17-19 at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut California. These meetings are a great place to meet students and teachers of geology from California, Hawaii and Nevada, and represent a grand opportunity to learn about the geology of the region from some experts. The meetings are inexpensive, and the organizers have also made arrangements for discounted rates at local hotels.

Field trips will explore evidence for Tertiary floodplains, oceans, & volcanoes in the Santa Monica Mountains; Martian analogs in the Mojave Desert; geology of the Conejo Valley & Western Santa Monica Mountains, Ventura County; natural hazards in the eastern San Gabriel Mountains, and engineering geology on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Conference attendees will also receive a really nice guidebook containing all of the field trip narratives. Other activities at the conference will include seminars on teaching college-level earth science to high school students, the science of global warming, and strategies for teaching K-12 students about earthquakes in their area. There will also be a walking tour of wildlife sanctuary at Mt. San Antonio College.

Information and registration forms for the conference can be found on the Far West Section website at I am a past president of the section and the current webmaster, and I can attest to the value of these meetings. Much of whatever success I have had at teaching can be attributed to ideas and inspirations I have received from interacting with the hundred or so teachers and students that I meet at these conferences. And they're fun!

Anyone with an interest in geology and education is encouraged to join us (non-members are welcome), and if you live outside the region, this is a great way to see some interesting west-coast geology. Ontario International Airport is just a few miles away from the meeting site, and I would be glad to answer any questions long-distance travelers might have about getting around southern California. And heck, I would love to meet some fellow bloggers and blog-readers!

Check it out!

The mountains surrounding the Los Angeles basin are spectacular treasures that are not really well-known outside the region. The picture is Cucamonga Peak (8,859 feet) at the eastern end of the San Gabriel Mountains from the vicinity of Ontario, California. One of the field trips at the conference will include an exploration of Icehouse Canyon which is hidden deep on the north flank of the mountain (and yes, I know that Lytle Creek is really the first canyon north of it; Icehouse is two ridges over). Picture is courtesy of Susan Hayes.