18 September 2012

Stratigraphy session

Posted by Callan Bentley

What are these students up to?

I’ll give you a hint: this is Dinosaur Provincial Park in the Great Plains of southern Alberta. The badlands style topography here offers a nice vertical section through clastic sedimentary rocks originally deposited adjacent to the Western Interior Seaway.

On our Canadian Rockies field course in July, my co-instructor Pete Berquist (from Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Virginia) led an afternoon exercise in introductory sedimentary description and the construction of a stratigraphic column.

Pete laid out some of the basic principles for the geometrically-arranged arc of students:

Then we turned them loose on the rocks, and had them systematically document what they saw.

After the students had a go at it, and when the sun started dropping in the sky, we debriefed the exercise together.

Then it was back to camp for dinner …and mosquito-induced misery! A major FYI to anyone planning to visit Dinosaur PP in July: the mosquitoes are horrifically numerous and persistent.