Monday, July 21, 2008

Going in the field with students

Thanks for the welcome back comments, everyone. It’s good to be back.

When I saw Ron Schott’s call for submissions to the Accretionary Wedge on the topic “Field Camp Geology” on Saturday, I thought, wow, what an appropriate way for me to re-enter the scene on blogging. University above the Arctic Circle is located in the middle of world class outcrops of rocks from the Precambrian to the Quaternary and teaching is strongly focused on field based activities. This is one of the things that attracted me to this location in the first place, but it is also a challenge. Not the least in the practical sense. In a few weeks I will be leading a field course to several localities I have never visited before. There are no road signs here, and one needs to know from which side of the mountain the ascent is easier, where the best outcrops are or where it would be convenient to place, say four groups of students, who should work on the same formation, but not breathe down each other’s necks. This kind of knowledge requires a familiarity with the localities that cannot be achieved from the literature and which isn’t easy to obtain in the course of a few weeks as a new faculty member. Therefore I’m happy to have been asked to tag along as a co-teacher on another field course in the department, led by an experienced colleague who has been working on these outcrops for a long time. We are leaving today and alas this trip is also getting in the way from me writing a more coherent post on my thoughts on field camps/ field excursions or dig out some old stories on time for the Accretionary wedge. I will leave you with a photo from one of the places we’ll be going to and I’ll be back to talk more about field trips in general and this one in particular in a week’s time.


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