Monday, June 16, 2008

summer fun

Last week I spent some time in the field with a group of elementary teachers looking at the geology of the Uncompaghre Plateau, specifically along Dominguez Creek and the Gunnison River. The week started at the Colorado School of Mines campus in Golden where we re-acquainted ourselves with simple geologic processes and then these lessons where put to the test in a 3 day field trip.

My big push has always been to try to understand the environment where the rock units we are studying were formed. To get the idea of different energy regimes in stream flows we calculated the discharge of Dominguez Creek near our camp.

To examine the difference in stream velocities we hiked upstream to an area where the creek was had eroded a small channel through much harder Pre-Cambrian Metamorphic rock thus a much smaller stream cross section. Discharge was approximately unchanged but the velocity was much higher. To test our findings we did as any geology class would do...we made a butt dam to see if we could stop the flow of water. We were unsuccessful. The space on the right was left for me and even though I tried I could not fill the gap.

It was a great time where we were able to discuss some local geology as well as how to incorporate more of the earth sciences to elementary classrooms.