Earth Science 35LV
Geology of the Long Valley Caldera

Instructor: Jeff Tolhurst, Ph.D.
Office
: Sugar Pine 119
Office Hours M-W 4:30-6:00 pm in Fir 1; MW 1:00-2:00 pm in Sugar Pine 119; or by appointment
Phone
: (209) 588-5235 office (+ msg); (209) 588-5104 (fax)
Email: tolhurstj@yosemite.edu

Course Credit: 2 semester hours
Prerequisites: None
Day and Time: TuSu 8:00-5:00 pm, Sept. 20-23
Room: SUG 115 (Wed, Sept. 12) pre-meeting
Text: None Required



Objectives:  Given information on the geological history and the main geologic processes occurring in the Long Valley Caldera/Mammoth Lakes region, you will be able to explain: 1) what has happened in the past; 2) what’s going on currently; and 3) what geologists expect to occur in the future.


Procedures:  We will meet two times: 1) in class (Wednesday, September 12th  6-7:30 pm); and 2) for the trip (Thursday through Sunday, September 20th – 23rd).  The mandatory pre-trip meeting will cover information on what to bring, what to expect, and what to complete for credit.  We will also cover some information on the geological background of the Long Valley Caldera system to prepare us for the trip.  A trip itinerary will be given.


Itinerary: (Note: this is a tentative schedule - due to weather/road/snow/other conditions.)

Thursday, September 20th:  We will meet at the dorms on campus. We will leave by 8:00 am. We will meet at Little Sweden to observe an overview of the Sierra Nevada western slope and to discuss the geologic evolution of the Sierra. We will then meet at Cold Springs to observe lahar deposits that outcrop there. Our next meeting place will be Donnell's Vista to observe glacial evidence on the western slope. Our next meeting place will be at the High Sierra Institute at Baker Station for a restroom stop. We will then meet at the East Flange Rock overlook to observe Sierran granitic rock. We will then meet at Sonora Pass to observe volcanic outcrops there. Our next meeting place will be at the Pickle Meadows overlook for lunch and a discussion of the geology visible there. Our next meeting place will be in Bridgeport for a restroom stop. Our next meeting place will be at the Mono Lake overview near Conway Summit for a discussion of the geology of Mono Lake. We will then meet at the Mono Lake Visitor Center, which has exhibits and a bookstore. We will then Meet at South Tufa to hike along the edge of Mono Lake. After the hike we meet at camp around 5:30 pm. Camp temperatures have dipped into the mid 20 degree range in the past, so please be prepared for FREEZING temperatures. We will be sleeping at 8,000 feet elevation. The daytime temperatures have gotten into the 80’s and 90’s on past trips, so please be prepared for HOT, DRY days.

Friday, September 21st: After breakfast, we will leave by at 8:00 amWe will meet at Panum Crater, the northernmost volcano in the Mono Crater chain and hike into the volcano to observe features associated with this type of volcano, common in the area.  We will then meet at the following geological sites: 1) Convict Lake + hike to observe features associated with glaciation, faulting, and metamorphism; 2) McGee Creek to observe the Sierra Nevada Frontal Fault System cutting glacial moraines; and 3) the Owens River Gorge to observe the Bishop Tuff and features associated with the supervolcanic eruption of the Long Valley Caldera 760 thousand years ago. We will return to camp by approximately 5 pm.

Saturday, September 22nd:  After breakfast, we will leave by at 8:00 am.  Our first stop will take us to the Inyo Craters to observe two explosion craters, typical of the area. We will then meet at a feature that appears to be an earthquake fault near the town of Mammoth Lakes.  You will observe some of the features associated with tectonic processes occurring in the area.  Will will meet at the Visitor Center in town to look at some of the displays they have of the geology of the area and to check in with the Ranger to check on the status of the Horseshoe Lake area. Next we will meet at the Horseshoe Lake tree kill, near Mammoth Mountain, to observe the effects of excess carbon dioxide (CO2) on trees. Depending on the amount of time we have left, we may be able to examine some of the glacial features near June Lake. We will return to camp by approximately 5 pm.

Sunday, September 23rd: We will pack up and leave by 8:00 am Monday morning.  We will first tour the U.S. Pumice Company's pumice mine. The tour takes approximately 1-2 hours and samples may be taken home. We will then meet for a tour of Mammoth Pacific's geothermal facility, just outside of the town of Mammoth Lakes. This tour lasts approximately 1 hour. We will then meet at Hot Creek, a geothermal feature in the resurgent dome of the Long Valley Caldera.  Our trip will end at Hot Creek.


What to Bring:

-- clothing for both HOT and COLD/WET/FREEZING weather

-- food - three meals a day (click here for more detail)

-- cooking/eating utensils

-- a sleeping bag that will protect you to temperatures as low as 25-30 degrees

-- air mattress/pad

-- a tent that will shelter you from rain

-- sturdy hiking/walking shoes

-- sunscreen/chapstick

-- sunglasses

-- a hat

-- toiletries

-- money for miscellaneous items at the campground store a learning log (to be turned in for credit)

-- a camera and film

-- flashlight

-- other
 


What to Expect:

Expect cold, freezing nights and potentially hot days.  The weather is usually nice there this time of year, but who knows what will happen!  The region is usually warm and dry during the day this time of year and cold at and it will be difficult to say what the weather will be like.  Be prepared for varying conditions.


What to Turn in for Credit:

In order to assess your learning, I'll ask you to keep a learning log for the trip.  You will be expected to turn this in to me at the end of the trip.  This log should document the things you would like to learn before the trip as well as why you are taking the class.  You should also enter into your log the things you learned about: 1) the Long Valley Caldera; 2) volcanic processes; and 4) potential hazards associated with volcanism in and around Long Valley. You will be asked to make an entry at each stop on the trip as well as add an additional entry at the end of each day, reflecting on what happened during the day.  To summarize, the learning log should include:

1.   a description of your background - turn in with field log (why you're taking the class, what your interests are (i.e. major, travels, etc.), and other things you've done)

2.   an entry at each stop along the trip of observations and new material learned

3.   an entry at the end of each day reflecting on what your overall impressions of the day were

4.  a brief 4-5 page summary of the trip including what you learned about: 1) the Long Valley Caldera + geologic history; 2) volcanic processes; 3) geothermal energy features; and 4) potential hazards associated with volcanism in and around Long Valley.


Due Date: All deliverables are due on Monday, October 8th, 2018, by the end of the day (6 pm) in my mailbox in the Manzanita building, or you can digitally submit everything and email it to me at:

tolhurstj@yosemite.edu.
 


Grading Scheme:

A = satisfactory completion of 1-4 above with strong demonstration of understanding of geological concepts encountered on the trip. Also, appropriate conduct and behavior expected of a college-level geology student will be factored into your grade.   (Click here to read the Student Code of Conduct from the Columbia College Catalog)

B = field log incomplete; lack of comprehension of geological concepts observed. Also, appropriate conduct and behavior expected of a college-level geology student will be factored into your grade.

C = no field log; poor comprehension of geological concepts observed. Also, appropriate conduct and behavior expected of a college-level geology student will be factored into your grade.

D = attendance on field trip only; no field log turned in. Also, appropriate conduct and behavior expected of a college-level geology student will be factored into your grade.

F = no attendance or left trip early and did not turn any work in. Also, appropriate conduct and behavior expected of a college-level geology student will be factored into your grade.

Note: I have had to add these statements based on past student behaviors: 

1) All campgrounds we stay in ask for quiet after dark.  If you (individually or  in a group at the campground) have to be asked to be quiet after 9 pm your grade will be dropped.  If you have to be asked again your grade will turn to an "F" and you will fail the course;

2) NO SMOKING during field lectures and activities.  If you cannot adhere to this requirement you should not sign up for - or drop - the course.  I'm serious about this - you can't smoke in class, so don't smoke on my field trips.

That having been said, I hope we all have a good trip! Feel free to contact me at the phone number or email address above if you have any questions before or after we leave.


Mammoth Lakes/Long Valley Caldera Geology PPT


“For students with disabilities, (i.e. physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, occupational, financial, etc., in nature), who believe that they may need special accommodations in this class, I encourage you to discuss options with me within the first 10 days of instruction.”