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Geology group from UH Hilo gathered for a photo at Rainbow Basin in the Mojave Desert.

Geology students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo took a two-week hands-on field trip in May to some of California’s most amazing geological formations as part of the geology department’s Field Education Program.

“From Rainbow Basin to Death Valley, we dived into advanced field methods during our unforgettable two weeks at Geology Field Camp. Mapping techniques, road trips and epic hikes were just the beginning! Our adventure reached its peak at the White Mountain Research Center, where we delved deep into mapping the magnificent Poleta Folds. This was no ordinary camp; it was our Field Boot Camp,” explained the UH Hilo Geology Club on its Instagram.

Professor Steve Lundblad and Associate Professor Jim Anderson co-led the trip. The students had already taken a field methods class that included extensive field training on Hawaiʻi Island. Students on the trip were Celia Chmielowski, Caiti Fix, Paige Johnson, Teagan Maher, Baylee McDade, Ski Mecham, Edward Miller, Hannah Steiner, Natsumi Takeda and Hunter Valencia.

The group spent a few days in the Mojave Desert, an area near Barstow, California, in a place called Rainbow Basin. “Students got a lot of practice orienteering with map and compass, and created a map of a feature called the Skyline Tuff,” said Lundblad.

Students taking picture with a sign
Students at Badwater Basin.

The geology students also took a day-long field trip to see some of the features in Death Valley National Park, including Badwater Basin, which is below sea level and the lowest spot in North America.

The group also spent time at the University of California’s White Mountain Research Center in Bishop, California.

In addition to the mapping projects, the group explored some of the spectacular geology near Mammoth Mountain and Mono Lake in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

“The students gained valuable experience working in the field and applying the skills they learned in the classroom to real world situations,” said Lundblad. “This year was a special one with the heavy rain and snow over the winter. Many great flowers in bloom in the desert!”

For the full story check out UH Hilo Stories.

By Susan Enright

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