Archive for June, 2010

Half way through field camp

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

The field camp students are back in Durango. Three weeks done, three weeks to go. So far they’ve been near Silverton with David Gonzales, in Utah with Ray Kenny, and in the mountains above Vallecito Creek with me (Kim Hannula). Here are some pictures from last week:

Our field area was on Middle Mountain, between the Vallecito and Pine River valleys. We backpacked for about four miles and camped in the headwaters of Second Creek, at about 11,800 feet, near tree line. The field area extended north for about a mile and a half from our camping site, and was a mixture of forest, rock, and high altitude lakes.

Northern part of field area

The snow is mostly gone, and the skies were perfectly clear. The nearly full moon made it bright enough that we could have mapped all night. (But we didn’t.)

Moon over Middle Mountain

It was warm, too. Temperatures in Durango were apparently in the 90s. Ours were in the 70s, which would have been beautiful, except that the little lakes and warm temperatures combined for the most vicious crop of mosquitoes I’ve ever experienced (and I’ve worked in Alaska).

Here’s a sample from my field notebook:


I swear the clouds of mosquitoes were going to carry some of the students away. Fortunately, they didn’t, and the students are safe to continue to northern New Mexico, where they will be working with Lauren for three weeks.

Welcome to the FLC Geosciences blog

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Welcome to our new blog! The Fort Lewis College Department of Geosciences is going to be using this space to pass on news about the department and geological happenings in Durango.

Today is the last day of the first summer session. On Monday, Field Camp begins, with work in the San Juan Mountains (with David Gonzales next week and Kim Hannula on June 21-25), Utah (with Ray Kenny, June 14-18), and northern New Mexico (with Lauren Heerschap, June 28-July 16). We’ll use this space to share pictures and stories.

We’re also busy getting ready for the Rocky Mountain AAPG meeting, to be held on campus June 13-16. The meeting field trips include an examination of the Pennsylvanian Hermosa Group (led by Gary Gianniny), an overview of the tectonics of the western San Juan Mountains (led by David Gonzales), a transect through the oil and gas reservoirs of the San Juan basin (led by Don Owen and FLC alum Chip Head), a look at gas seeps of the Fruitland Formation, and an excursion to dune-facies sandstones in Utah (led by FLC alum Katy Duncan-Benitez). Several of our recently graduated seniors will be giving presentations on their senior thesis work in the technical sessions.

We’re also looking forward to the annual Four Corners Gem and Mineral Show, July 9-11. It’s always a lot of fun, whether you’re a collector, a rock-ogler, or a kid who likes to play with rocks.