In January the Mojave Rocks

Monday, March 7, 2016

During MIT's Independent Activities Period (IAP) each January, Geology Field Camp takes students to the eastern Mojave Desert in California to practice methods of modern geological field study off-campus during an intensive four-week fieldwork experience.

Image credit: Ben Klein

This year five students participated: Three from MIT, undergrads Madonna Yoder (XII '17) , and Elezhan Zhakiya (X '16) and EAPS graduate student Billy Shinevar, plus Sujay Natson (an undergrad from Brown), and Sam Wilson-Fletcher (a Harvard grad student). In recent years the trip was been led by Prof. Oliver Jagoutz, with participation from Daniel Sheehan the MIT Library Senior Geographic Information System (GIS) Specialist. This year's TA was EAPS graduate student Ben Klein.

Image credit: Sujay Natson

Exercises include geological and geomorphological mapping on topographic and photographic base maps of a wide variety of bedrock and surficial rocks to try to correlate geochemical and geophysical field measurements with geology. A preparation class, was taught last Fall by Prof. Clark Burchfiel. Follow up classes continue through the Spring as students prepare maps with the data they collected.

The mapping area changes every year. In January 2016 the students mapped in the Marble Mountains staying at the Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Station, part of the University of California Natural Reserve System

Story image - Image credit: Madonna Yoder.