GEOL 105 Earth Lab: SAND!

SAND! A journey from mountains to beaches and western deserts! Students in SAND! took a journey to follow sand's modern path, as it erodes from the high Blue Ridge Mountains into the James River and down toward our barrier island beaches, and then leap with sand grains through the air in western sand dunes and trace its ancient path from the Appalachians west to the stunning cliffs of Zion National Park on the Colorado Plateau of Utah. Where does sand originate? How does it get into rivers and eventually the sea, or the desert? Students explored these questions on local field trips and in the lab when they put some sand under a microscope to learn more about how geologists view these fascinating grains. They learned and camped on Assateague Island, where Appalachian sand is formed into the dunes, inlet bars and beaches of the barrier islands. They explored the rocks from the ancient Appalachians to learn about long-ago seas, beaches, and rivers. Then they went west and camped in dunes on the Colorado Plateau to see how modern winds move sand in ripples and dunes, and explored Zion National Park to learn about the deposition of ancient sandy desert sand grains, including those that geologists know came from the ancient Appalachians!

Partially funded by the Jockey John Robinson First-Year Earth Lab is a FY Seminar dedicated to promoting the sciences by engaging first-year students in special topic seminars.

No prerequisites other than being a FY student.