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Students explore geology of American West

Aug. 13, 2015--Sixteen students in the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) and College of Engineering recently took the ultimate summer road trip through the American West.

Field course Geology 306 took the phrase “field trip” to the next level as students traversed 19 states and 6,500 miles over four weeks, experiencing America’s natural wonders and reading the lines in the sand that tell the country’s geological past.

Led by Michael O’Neal, associate professor of geology, the caravan camped for four to five days in each location, with stops including the Grand Canyon, the Badlands, Yellowstone and Arches National Park.

Students ate, slept, studied, explored and even played Wiffle ball in front of several million-year-old structures together.

“The students basically didn’t see the inside of a building for four weeks,” said O’Neal, who also coordinated the trip.

Through coursework, they analyzed geological landmarks, deciphering history from the formations, incisions and deposits found in layers of rock that indicate things like ancient rivers or tectonic movements.