Photos from Anthropology Club / Geology
Club fieldtrip to the Four Corners region (Colorado/New Mexico) -
I'm the advisor for the Geology Club (and Outdoors Club,
too!). Over the years, we've grown good at planning and executing
big field trips. This year, we worked with the Anthropology Club
to plan a joint fieldtrip to the Four Corners region (Colorado and New
Mexico) to see geological and anthropological sites in the area.
Our first stop was the Great
Sand Dunes National Monument in southern Colorado.
The Great Sand
Dunes are a great example of sediment recycling as sands worn by
weathering from the San Juan Volcanic Field are blown across the San
Luis Valley to the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. As
sediment is blown up onto the Sangre de Cristos, rivers running off the
mountains wash it back down into the valley to be blown onto the dunes
to the top of this dune. She is the tiny spec where the peak
meets the sky.
We camped at
San Luis Lakes State Park. It's very near the dunes and very reasonably priced!
National Park is an archeological wonderland. Ancient Puebloan
(Anasazi) villages built in alcoves in the cliffs are very well
preserved. The builders took advantage of the geology of the
strata. The alcoves provide shade during the hot part of the day
and allow warming sun in during cooler times. The alcoves
themselves formed by groundwater infiltrating the overlying sandstone
and percolating down until the water reached an impermeable shale
horizon. Since groundwater cannot flow down through the shale,
the water flows laterally to escape the rock as springs in the backs of
the alcoves, providing the Anasazi with fresh, flowing water!
ladders on cliffs to access some of the ruins. The Park Service
gives some great tours!
The San Juan
Mountains are a scenic range of young volcanic rocks. This photo
is taken near Wolf Creek Pass, Colorado.
Chaco Canyon is
another truly extraordinary site of Anasazi ruins. The
Archeaology Club really enjoyed this stop!
formations at Chaco Canyon had some great differential weathering
left petroglyphs in some of the sandstone cliff faces.
takes a rest after hiking up a steep trail to some nice