Taking geology to the next layer: Professor Tom Bush traverses Utah with students in tow

Hannah Pederson, Reporter

For 12 days during spring break, March 25 to April 3, Tom Bush will be leading a group of Pierce College Puyallup students on a tour around southeastern Utah for the interactive portion of GEOL&115, the geology of national parks.

The course is five credits, the pre-trip portion consisting of six weeks of online instruction covering basic geologic principles and giving students a solid foundation for geology.

“This isn’t a camping trip to Utah where you get five credits,” Bush said. “It’s a five credit class that happens to be taught in Utah over break.”

This will be the ninth time Bush has led this specific excursion to Southeastern Utah, which will consist of visits to Arches National Park, home of the greatest concentration of natural stone arches in the world, Canyonlands National Park and a stop at Dead Horse Point.

“Textbook geologic features are found there (Southeastern Utah), literally,” Bush said. “Open up just about any geology textbook and you’ll see things from that part of the country.”

Touring around those locations includes a significant amount of hiking, about 37 miles for the whole trip with the shortest hike being half a mile and the longest being 11. Bush assures that an amateur hiker would be fine, but that a pair of good hiking boots and a warm sleeping bag are a must.

During the hikes or while observing geologic phenomenon from afar, students will analyze the exposed layers of sedimentary rock that the region offers, as well as other features that result from the deformation of the earth’s crust over time, such as faults, fractures and folds.

“We’re looking for what the layers tell us about the geologic history of the region,” Bush said.

The maximum number of students this trip can support is 14. The deadline for registration and final payment was Jan. 15.

“There’s no better way to learn about geology than to experience it firsthand in the field,” Bush said.

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Hannah Pederson

Taking geology to the next layer: Professor Tom Bush traverses Utah with students in tow

by Hannah Pederson time to read: 1 min