Reaching New Heights

After a summer field program studying the geological wonders of the American West, Kerry Murphy ’22, who graduated 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 students in a summer expedition led by Associate Professor Matthew Gorring in the College of Science and Mathematics’ Field Geology course 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,” says Murphy. “It’s one thing seeing these geologic structures in a textbook or PowerPoint, but seeing them in person gave me a much better understanding of so many concepts.”

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. Montclair’s Field Geology course provides intensive field training with the students’ mapping of the Northern Rockies shared with the Bureau of Land Management for geological purposes.