Field studies in Tanzania, May 2013

May Experience Furman University

Photo: Tanzania (Photo credit: Rick & José and Rian Houston)

This May-X will travel to Tanzania, East Africa. Tanzania is home to the Serengeti National Park - the site of the largest wildlife migration on earth and Ngorongoro Crater- a 12-mile-wide extinct volcano and one of the natural wonders of the world. We will also travel to Zanzibar Island, which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains highly biodiverse marine and coastal environments. We will spend three weeks exploring the cultural uniqueness and significance of these sites. We will study the geologic history, biodiversity, and natural resource management as well as issues related to livelihood and economic development. This May-X will provide a unique interdisciplinary experience for students to better understand the nexus between environment and development issues. We will explore the positives and negatives of marine and wildlife biodiversity conservation in the context of Tanzania’s history and politics. We will also examine how people depend on these valuable natural resources for livelihood security. For more information, contact Dr. Betsy Beymer-Farris or Dr. Suresh Muthukrishnan.

Field studies in Sierra Nevada Mountains

May Experience Furman University

Photo: A panoramic view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains (Photo credit: Stephen Campbell)

This program offers a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the region where John Muir first traveled in the early 1900s. This program was offered for the first time in May 2012 during the centennial of Muir’s memoir, "My First Summer in the Sierra", and involved study of geology, ecology, and cultural history of the region. An important component of this program also included an in-depth study of outdoor education (i.e. the wilderness ethic, mountaineering, search and rescue, wilderness medicine) and conservation. The students spend three weeks backpacking and camping in the area in and around Yosemite National Park. For more information and questions on when this will be offered again, contact Dr. Bill Ranson.

Field studies in Iceland

May Experience Furman University

Photo: A 13km high ash plume rising from Eyjafjallajökull, viewed from the Island of Himay (50km south of volcano)

Iceland is one of the most dynamic geologic places on Earth, and the only place where a Mid-Ocean Ridge volcanism can be seen on land and coexists with mantle plume activity (hotspot). Students will be able to witness first hand active volcanoes, historic lava fields, roaring rivers, deep canyons, and high glaciers all within short proximity, truly a geologist’s paradise.

This Maymester travel program offers a rigorous, hands on introduction to the concepts of plate tectonics and ridge volcanism, geological history, glacial and volcanic landforms and landscape changes through intensive field study and observation in Iceland. In addition to the spectacular geology, Iceland also provides a great opportunity for students to learn issues related to sustainability including renewable energy, carbon sequestration, sustainable fisheries, and ecotourism.

This program is open to all Furman students although is intended for current or perspective EES/SUS majors. Due to the nature of the program and its content, we strongly encourage interested students to complete at least one EES/SUS class before program departure. Introductory level background will be rewarding and give you a very different perspective on everything you see in Iceland.

We usually spend anywhere between two to three weeks traveling in Iceland. It is our expectation that the students will produce a report either prior to departing or after returning from Iceland as well as post blog entries during our travel in Iceland. To learn more contact Dr. Suresh Muthukrishnan or Dr. Brannon Andersen in EES Department. The following website provides information and photographs from previous Iceland programs.

Iceland: Land of Ice and Fire

Field studies in Appalachian Geology

May Experience Furman University

Photo: (Left) 2009 group photo, taken at the diabase wall of Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg. Pickett’s frontal charge on July 3, 1863 came across the field from the woods in the background toward the Federals crouching behind this diabase wall. (Right) Chickies Rock along the Susquehanna River. The Cambrian sandstone layers are folded here into a prominent anticline.

This field-based domestic travel program is centered on the study and interpretion of rock exposures in the central Appalachians of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York. These classic localities have been used by many geologists over the years to piece together the region’s complex Precambrian through Mesozoic igneous, stratigraphic, metamorphic, structural, and plate tectonic history. A geologic guidebook describing the geologic localities to be visited is prepared on the first day of the program using each participant’s research. Emphasis is placed on student learning, observation, discussion, and participation at individual outcrops. Emphasis is also placed on developing student note taking skills and their field notebooks, detailing geologic observations at these exposures.

Localities visited during this trip include the Gettysburg Battlefield (with Dr. Roger Cuffey as the geologic guide), the Newark Triassic-Jurassic basin, the Bear Valley anthracite strip mine, the Yuengling Brewery, Precambrian rocks in the Adirondacks (with Dr. Jim McLelland as the geologic guide), the best Devonian fish fossil collecting locality in the eastern U. S., a mountaintop coal removal site in West Virginia, and a rafting adventure on the New River. Open to both EES majors and non-majors. For more information, contact Dr. Bill Ranson or Dr. Jack Garihan.

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