Alum Adam Carr talks about Field Trips taken as a KSC Student
"One can’t be a Geologist without getting his or her hands dirty and likely a little cut up and calloused if done properly. While it’s true some of a Geologist’s work is done safely tucked away toiling and analyzing in a lab, much of what a Geologist learns and discovers is in the field. Which is why Keene State is one of the best places to pursue the field," says alum Adam Carr.
"The location of Keene State for doing geology is phenomenal," says Carr, who currently works on an oil rig in Pennsylvania as a field geologist for Chesapeake Energy/Nomac Geology. "There is an example of nearly every geologic process within driving distance of the campus. This allows for immersion in the geologic processes and gives great hands on experience of them. "
There are glacial lake beds, literally steps outside of the Science Center on campus. Mt. Monadnock is just a hike away and there are fold and fault features all over the face of Keene, Carr says. Not to mention there are glacial potholes in Gilsum, kames in Swanzy and glacial erratic boulders in the woods everywhere.
Slightly further afield, there is a Triassic rift basin in Massachusetts marked by basalt flows and proximal conglomerates, just a short drive south and a jog to the northwest lands you in the obducted and metamorphosed ophiolite suites where the ocean floor thrust onto the continental margin in Vermont. "There are many more examples of the great amount of geology which can be found within driving range of the campus," Carr says. "The proximity of these features allowed the program to bring what was learned in books to life, cementing them firmly in my brain.
"Overall the combination of experience, size, location, field orientation and equipment allows the Keene State Geology program to compete against much larger programs from around the country." And department faculty take full advantage of these natural classrooms by including field trips into the curriculum.
For Carr, the Field Methods class was the most useful for his current position as a wellsite geologist, but there were others which sparked the curiosity that got him started studying Geology in the first place.
"We did a study on Goose Pond in Keene, and deciphered how exactly the last glacial period shaped the land we were observing," he says. "We hiked Mt. Washington to see first-hand what a cirque was and to see numerous other glacial features … we also went on numerous trips during the semester and over summer in order to increase our time in the field and show us what we were learning about in class."
Those trips included visiting the beach to study coastal processes and facies changes and time spent in the Catskills looking at and studying the formation of the giant Catskill Delta, the very bottom of which is presently being drilled to get at the gas bearing Middle Devonian Marcellus formation. His class also went to the Adirondacks to study the tectonic changes which brought them about and traversed VT Rt. 100 to visit the talc/serpentine belt in order to look at study the ophiolite packages which were obducted onto the coastal margin.
"There were many more, including a trip to down the Blue Ridge Mountains to study the unique physiographic provinces of the eastern seaboard," Carr says. "In all, these many trips and case studies highlighted the processes and forces involved in forming the ground that we walk on and all we see. "With all of the examples that I have seen in my time spent at Keene State, I can look at a structure or a mountain valley and give a good educated guess as to how it became. I can also get out my rock pick, hand lens and brunton and dive into the geology of the area using the skills and knowledge I gained in the Geology program, and answer my own curiosity."