Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Headed into the Back of Beyond (Again)

I had hoped to finish our blog journey through the most dangerous plate boundary, but there was just too little time between real-world trips. The next journey is taking me and nearly two dozen students on a trip through time, both geological and anthropological. Our combined geology and archaeology class is exploring the fascinating landscapes of the Ancestral Pueblo people and other groups of the southwestern United States.
Archaeologists learning geology, and geologists learning archaeology. It's a symbiotic educational relationship that enriches students of both disciplines. We've done this trip a number of times, and it seems to get better every time.
This summer equinox picture of Fajada Butte at Chaco Canyon is emblematic of our trip, as we see Cretaceous sedimentary rocks of the Mesa Verde Group making up the cliffs and slopes. In the foreground, a small ruin from the people who lived on this land for more than a thousand years as a distinct culture. They then abandoned the region and 700 years later, a different group of people started to build roads again, with an asphaltic covering material (and mechanical air conditioning in their dwellings).
And all of the students are willing to dabble a bit in biology as well, especially when the object of their attention is so colorful.

Geotripper is going to be hit and miss for the next few weeks. I look forward to sharing our adventures in a few weeks!
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