Students in EPS 115 (Stratigraphy and Earth History) spent Spring Break in the Death Valley region for a course field trip. Led by Prof. Nick Swanson-Hysell and graduate students Yuem Park and Alex Bryk, the students investigated modern and geologically recent alluvial and lacustrine depositional processes in the Badwater and Tecopa Basins. They measured stratigraphic sections through ancient Pahrump Group sedimentary rocks that record the conditions before, during and after Snowball Earth glaciation ca. 700 million years ago. As a capstone to the field trip and the course, the students conducted small group research projects putting to use the interpretive field skills and knowledge of sedimentary processes they have been building up through the course in order to develop new insights into Earth history.
Students take notes of observation and measurements within an incised debris-flow-dominate alluvial fan.
Exposure of the Badwater alluvial fan in a recent fault scarp leads to excitement
Observation of rocks within the Kingston Peak Formation
Students measured a stratigraphic section through this Pahrump Group exposure on the third day of the trip.