Geosciences in Alaska(page 1 of 2)
| Under a gray, brooding sky, at a prolific
dinosaur fossil site on the Colville River more than 200 miles above the
Arctic Circle, they kneel in front of their quarries or sprawl on mats
to give their aching knees a break. These were the words of reporter
Amy Mayer, as she
The team treads carefully down the Matanuska glacier. (Alaska photos courtesy of Phelana Pang and Chris Tolentino)
described the adventures of nine science teachers from
West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) involved in a unique
summer field and research project in Alaska. The teachers themselves described
their summer adventure as the trip of a lifetime!
For four weeks, these teachers were immersed in a new learning experience, focusing on the geologic processes at work in Alaska. This was followed by participation in a dinosaur research programall part of Geosciences in Alaska, a joint project of UCMP and the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks, in collaboration with WCCUSD.
The project began in April with a trip to Pt. Reyes as a kind of warm-up primer to field geology. The next meeting of the team took place in early July in Anchorage, where teachers stayed on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus, meeting with Judy Scotchmoor (UCMP) and Drs. Ann Pasch (UAA) and Roland Gangloff (UA Fairbanks), who introduced them to a bit of Geology 101. Following a few days on seismology, glaciology, and paleontology, the group headed toward Fairbanks, taking time to visit the Matanuska glacier and several other sites. This gave them the chance to apply what they had learned: recognizing depositional environments, determining the sequence of geologic events, and taking strike and dip, which would prove useful during the quarry work yet to come.
Several days on the UAF campus helped to prepare the teachers for the upcoming field research along the Colville River. To get there, the group traveled by van along the partially paved Dalton Highway to Alaskas North Slope. They camped for three nights, making stops to dip their feet in the Yukon River, to mark their crossing into the Arctic Circle, and to explore additional sites of geologic interest. After heading over Atigun Pass, the campsite near Castle Rock proved popular for