The final two weeks of the UGalapagos marine science study abroad program ended with a bang as our fifteen intrepid undergraduate students learned about the geology and volcanic origins of the Galapagos Islands. When you’re studying geology, the entire world is a classroom and the great outdoors is a natural laboratory, where concepts and theories learned in the classroom come to life before your eyes every time you step outside. The students were led by Dr. Larry Peterson, a marine geologist and coordinator for the spring semester program, and Dr. Falk Amelung, a geophysicist whose remote sensing studies of the volcanoes in the Galapagos Islands provided invaluable firsthand insight to the local geological setting.
The students were given the chance to explore the geological wonders of Isabela Island with nearly daily field excursions to the abundant lava flows and volcanic features on the island. Highlights of the class included hiking along the eastern rim of the caldera on Isabela’s largest volcano, Sierra Negra, to a field of cinder cones, where multicolored basalts and tephra made the landscape resemble a volcanic badlands; exploring an old lava tube complex in the highlands; and an overnight camping trip on the western rim of Sierra Negra, with sweeping views of the other islands, and a hike down into the floor of the caldera to visit some very active, and very smelly, sulfur fumaroles. It was the perfect finish to an amazing twelve weeks in the islands and marked the successful completion of our third year of offering this unique semester abroad experience.
Graduate Student, Marine Geology & Geophysics
Dr. Larry Peterson
Professor, Marine Geology & Geophysics
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