Graduate Student Field Course Examined Lithofacies in New Mexico

Seven-Day Stratigraphy Field Seminar Supported by Chevron

Beverly & Students
Dr. Beverly and students resting on a paleosol, which is forming badlands-type topography.

University of Houston and University of Minnesota graduate students traveled to New Mexico for a terrestrial and littoral facies field course offered by Dr. Julia Wellner from UH. The littoral portion of the course was led by Wellner, and the terrestrial portion of the course was led by Dr. Emily Beverly from the University of Minnesota. This course and trip were made possible by a gift from Chevron.

Students approaching an outcrop of Cretaceous shoreline deposits.

For seven days in early May, students went to the field to examine the sedimentology and stratigraphy near Cuba, NM, where two major uplift events (Uncompahgre and Laramide) and transgression/regression cycles of the Cretaceous Interior Seaway were recorded.

Students at Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

This field course provides an excellent opportunity for students to study the effects of sea level and basin subsidence on the formation of different shallow marine and coastal depositional systems. Students were also able to study the paleosol sequences which recorded the Eocene Thermal Maximum with guidance from Beverly and Dr. Andrew Flynn, a paleobotanist from the Smithsonian Institution.

Wellner & Students
Wellner and students at the Abiquiu Dam spillway outcrop of fluvial deposits.

During the semester, students led discussions on lithofacies and created a field guide, preparing for the field work. While in the field, students not only were able to see the outcrops and lithofacies discussed, but also to learn from each other.

The participating graduate students from UH’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences were Deborah Bailey, Shawn Fields, and Asmara Lehrmann. The participating students from University of Minnesota’s Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department were Jared Asselta and Madison Rafter.

An additional expert in the regional geology, Mark Blakemore of the Jicarilla Apache Oil and Gas Administration, joined the group in the field. To make this trip accessible to future students and potential students, Tom Beverly, a professional sound and video producer, recorded many of the trip activities to create a virtual field trip.

We are grateful to Chevron for the ongoing support of graduate student stratigraphy field seminars.

- Asmara Lehrmann and Shawn Fields, UH EAS Graduate Students