Thursday, August 18, 2016

You've Read About Them: How About Seeing Them in Person? California's Volcanoes Field Studies, Sept. 22-26, 2016

Mt. Shasta, the second tallest and most voluminous volcano in the Cascades
I write so much about my travels around the American West and elsewhere, and some might wonder where I find the time. Well...I tend to have a group of students with me. Geology, perhaps more than any other science, is best learned in the field, and our school recognizes the importance of field experiences.
Lava Beds National Monument
The community college system in California is of course one of the best alternatives for beginning a college education, a gateway to transferring into universities, but we also recognize lifelong learning as a part of our mission. Education doesn't just end with a degree. Professionals in one career can benefit from courses in related disciplines as a way of improving their job performance, or advancing up the pay scale. And all citizens can benefit from becoming better informed on the political issues of the day, such as climate change, or energy development (pulling some examples from geology).
Medicine Lake, glacio-volcanic lake occupying a large caldera.
With this in mind, I wanted to let my Modesto-based readers know about some great field studies trips coming up this fall. On September 22-26, I'll be teaching Geology 185, the Geology of California's Volcanoes. We'll be exploring Mt. Shasta, Lava Beds National Monument, Medicine Lake Highland, and Lassen Volcanic National Park, as well as Castle Crags and McArthur-Burney Falls State Parks. We will be camping at Woodson Bridge State Park the first night, spend two nights at Lava Beds National Monument, and the last night at McArthur-Burney Falls State Park. There will be hiking and caving opportunities, and some simply incredible scenery among some of the youngest volcanic features in the western United States.
Jot Dean Ice Cave. The ice persists in the cave year-round.
If this sounds intriguing, you can find more information at California residents pay the normal tuition rate (2 semester units), but the rate is higher for out of state participants. The $90 fee for the course covers the van transportation and fees at the various parks and campgrounds. The students provide their own food (we'll have stoves and fuel). For my local readers, we'll have an organizational meeting on Thursday, September 8 in the Science Community Center at Modesto Junior College, room 326, at 5:30 PM. Contact me if you have questions.
Lassen Peak and Manzanita Lake. Lassen erupted in 1914-15, while Manzanita Lake formed behind a debris avalanche about 300 years ago.
This isn't our only field studies opportunity! Watch for other announcements soon.

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