rock samples on table

Reaching New Heights

Student researchers study geologic wonders of the American West to help them protect earth’s resources

Posted in: Academic, Students

2022 Field Geology class
At Clarks Fork Canyon in Wyoming, Montclair students in the summer’s Field Geology course measure rock layers in the Bighorn Dolomite, a geologic formation that preserves fossils dating back 460 million years.

After a summer field program studying the geological wonders of the American West, Kerry Murphy, a senior who will graduate in August with a degree in Earth and Environmental Science, says she’s now prepared to dig deeper to better understand the world beneath our feet.

Murphy was among nine Montclair State University students who joined an expedition led by Associate Professor Matthew Gorring in the College of Science and Mathematics’ Field Geology course (EAES 404) to study ancient rocks and glaciers for geologic mapping.

Not only did I get to see some of the most beautiful parts of the country, but I also got to learn about [the Rockies] from a rare and special perspective, a geologic one. Structural geology, stratigraphy, plate tectonics, geologic mapping and sediment identification – it’s one thing seeing these geologic structures in a textbook or PowerPoint, but having the opportunity to see them in person gave me a much better understanding of so many concepts.

Kerry Murphy

The geologic wonders were just part of the experience as the students also discovered the impact of natural disasters exacerbated by human-induced climate change as they explored different areas of the iconic landscapes of Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, Montana and Wyoming.

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