rock samples on table

When the Wild West is the College Lab

Earth and Environmental Science majors study in the natural geologic laboratory of the Rockies

Posted in: Students

Geology students consult map on hillside
Earth and Environmental Science majors work in their “summer laboratory” high above the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River.

After a year of pandemic challenges, Earth and Environmental Science majors took advantage of the world slowly reopening to travel this summer to Montana and Wyoming, where the wonders of the northern Rockies were a welcomed laboratory after a year of virtual learning.

Associate Professor Matthew Gorring led the expedition with students in the Field Geology course gaining hands-on experience in geologic mapping of bedrock and glacial deposits.

“Sometimes out West you’ll get surprised, not by the geology, but just by the wildlife that you come across,” Gorring says.

The summer course took place from May 24 to June 29, offering a mix of natural labs. Before heading west, the students focused on the environmental geology and hydrology projects at a preserve walking distance from the Montclair State campus.

Photos shared by the class – seniors Matt Voelker, Ryan Munson, Matthew Munson and juniors Patrick Tuohey, Ashley Greiss, Kristen Kakascik, Rebecca Radigan, Alex McLaughlin – show the spectacular beauty of their summer laboratory.

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