Location:Alpine VisitorCenter, Rocky MountainNational Park
This course will meet at AVC and conclude on the west side of RMNP.Participants from the east side who wish to car-pool to AVC from the RockyMountainFieldSeminarsConferenceCenter should indicate this at the time of course registration.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The western part of Rocky Mountain National Park offers a grand opportunity to see some of the oldest rocks in Colorado as well as some beautiful examples of very recent (geologically speaking) glacial features. In this course, participants will learn how geologists interpret the nature and history of the rocks they study, as well as the processes that created and deformed the rocks. We will be looking far back in time and deep into the earth to understand how metamorphism changed sediments that may have been more than 2 billion years old into the 1.75-billion-year old schists and gneisses that dominate western RMNP's bedrock. We will examine the effects of tremendous tectonic forces that began over 69 million years ago and caused these rocks to be heaved over 2 miles above sea level. The extensive volcanic activity that occurred just 25 million years ago in the NeverSummerRange on the west side of the park will be another topic of our investigation.
Ever since the present day Rockies were uplifted to their highest elevations, erosion has been at work demolishing these majestic mountain ranges.Glaciation was a principle agent of erosion that began its work about 300,000 years ago and continued until about 12,000 years ago. We will investigate the glacial features produced during the two major periods of glaciation during that time. The western side of RockyMountainNational Park displays many wonderful examples of both erosional and depositional glacial features.
In this course, our time will be spent in the field examining features of geological interest. The goal is to provide both a general knowledge of the geologic history of this region and the thought processes and geologic tools used by geologists to decipher this history. Much remains to be learned about some of the geologic processes that shaped the geology of the western part of the Park.
Whereas most of our observations will be made from roadside stops, we plan to take a few short hikes, time permitting. Our hikes will not be strenuous, but you will need to bring raingear, good shoes for hiking, water, and a lunch. Since part of our day will be spent above tree line, it would also be advisable to bring a warm layer or two of clothing.
Some of this seminar will be at elevations exceeding 11,000 feet.
Brief Instructor Biography (additional information available at www.rmna.org):
Keith Graham is a former high school teacher from Illinois who is currently a volunteer on the west side of RockyMountainNational Park.He has B.A. and M.A.T. degrees in geology and has enjoyed 35 years of teaching geology and other earth sciences. He is actively involved in the study of the geology of RMNP and other parts of the Front Range. He leads a weekly tundra geology hike for RMNP visitors during the summer months. He has conducted many geology field trips throughout the Park, is actively involved in the study of RMNP geology, and has co-authored several papers pertaining to Park geology.
Expectations:Professional conduct will be expected from participants at all times.Individual ideas will be respected.Except during course breaks, cellular phones, pagers, and personal entertainment devices are strictly prohibited in the classroom and during field sessions.
Car-pooling:Rocky Mountain Field Seminars courses utilize car-pooling to limit vehicles traveling into the Park.Car-pooling makes it easier to keep the group together, reduces transit time, and allows courses greater access because fewer parking spaces are required at destinations.In addition, it provides an opportunity for participants to discuss course material in small groups during transit.Typically, a few participants from each course volunteer the use of their vehicles for car-pooling to course locations.
Tentative Course Schedule:
We will start our day at the AplineVisitorsCenter. Please meet at the flagpole in the parking lot at . We will spend the morning on the tundra. Here we can readily study rock types along with features of tectonic and volcanic activity. We can also see how erosional and weathering processes have affected the tundra region. The afternoon hours will be spent driving down into the KawuneecheValley where we can experience the depositional features of alpine glaciation.Some stops will include short, easy hikes to examine geologic features.
Alpine VisitorCenter: Introduction
Gore Range Overlook:Overview of uplift, volcanism, glaciation
Rock Cut:Short hike to examine mushroom rocks and patterned ground. We will also examine pegmatite for comparison with pegmatite at MilnerPass..
Pullout just west of Rock Cut:Examine schists/gneisses.
Medicine Bow Curve: Never Summer volcanics, SpecimenMountain glacial valley, solifluction
Lahar deposits: Slickensides, inclusions, possible downwash of volcanics
Sheep Rock:Continental Divide. Short hike to pegmatite spires to compare pegmatite with Mushroom Rock pegmatite.
Beaver Creek:V-shaped valley
Farview Curve:Glacial erosional features, Grand Ditch, pegmatite intrusion into gneiss/schist complex
Fault below Farview Curve
KawuneecheVisitorCenter: Erratics, moraine
Grand Lake Lodge:Pinedale, BullLake moraines
Tunnel Road: Till exposure
Hike East Inlet if time permits: AdamsFalls, meadow above AdamsFalls overlook.
What to Bring:
·Sack lunch, snacks, energy bars, Water
Hand lens (optional)
Remember to Bring the 10 Essentials:
RockyMountainNational Park recommends that hikers always carry the 10 essentials in their daypacks.
RaingearMap and compassFlashlight or headlamp
Sunglasses and sunscreenCandlesMatches or other fire starter
PocketknifeFirst-aid kitExtra layers of clothing
Sack lunch, snacks, water
Note:Rocky Mountain Field Seminars recommends that participants for all courses dress in layers and wear comfortable, sturdy hiking boots/shoes.Participants should be prepared for sudden changes in temperature and weather conditions.
Vincent Matthews, Katie Keller Lynn, and Betty Fox Mess, Eds. Message in Stone
Omar Raup.Geology Along Trail Ridge Road
Bernor and Dixon. The Practical Geologist
Teacher Recertification Credit:
Most courses are eligible for teacher recertification credit through the Centennial Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES).The fee is $25.00 per seminar (.5 unit) or $25.00 per series of threaded seminars (1.0 - 3.0 units).A list of threaded seminars can be found online at www.rmna.org.Participants must enroll in all seminars of a threaded series in order to qualify for the $25.00 multi-unit fee. Please be prepared to pay for this credit with a check, made payable to BOCES, on the first day of a seminar or on the final day of a threaded series of seminars.
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