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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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VIDEO: The Benefits of SDSU Field Trips

SDSU Geology students gain essential skills and treasured memories on course camping trips
By Sarah White; Video by Rachel Crawford and Scott Hargrove

Fieldwork is fundamental to being a geologist.


“San Diego State is one of the oldest geology departments in the state of California, and right from the beginning, we’ve always had a strong field program,” said David Kimbrough, professor emeritus of geology.


For decades, Kimbrough and his wife, Joan Kimbrough, an instructional technologist for SDSU’s Department of Geological Sciences, have led students on field trips across the western United States.


On annual excursions to the Grand Canyon and weeks-long trips to the outskirts of California’s national forests and parks, students practice identifying geological features like faults and folds as well as the processes that caused them.


“I love these field trips; they are the reason I wanted to major in geology in the first place,” said Emily Imperato, a first-year master’s student in the department at SDSU.


“You get to be in nature and you get to see what the textbooks teach you,” Imperato added.


In addition to developing hands-on mapping skills for geology careers, these field courses deepen students’ love for their major and spur research projects.


For example, Jasmine Peach (‘21) relied on what she learned about local faults as an SDSU undergraduate and teaching assistant on a recent trip to gather data and metamorphic rock samples from Ecuador for her master’s thesis. She is attempting to characterize how the plate tectonics responsible for the Andes might have changed during the Mesozoic period.


“I love working out in the field and being able to share that experience with other students,” Peach said. “The best part about it is having time to develop friendships and make memories, to struggle together and succeed together.”