This summer featured a more complex mix of activities than previous summers.
There were two classic GDEP field and lab research projects, a research trip
out to Rapa Nui (Easter Island), an extended field trip, and a teaching
workshop. Here is a brief overview of each of these.
Palos Verdes Hydrogeology Project
Dr. Greg Holk
led a classic GDEP field and lab research project out to
the Palos Verdes Peninsula. There, the team collected well water samples
around the Portuguese Bend landslide. In the lab, they did chemical isotope
analyses to learn the sources of the water at depth, which lubricates the weak
layers in the landslide. They found that quite a bit of this water is exotic,
with isotope signatures suggesting exotic irrigation water. This would have
been useful information back in the 1950s and 1960s, after the slide
reactivated and suburban homeowners claimed that Caltrans' work on the
Crenshaw Extension is what triggered it!
Recovering and Stable California Sage Scrub
Drs. Paul Laris
and Chrys Rodrigue
led a project that tried to
find factors that might differentiate areas where CSS is recovering into
exotic annual grassland from those in which it has been unable to make headway
into the exotic grassland. The team took soil samples and did plant
identification and coverage studies along several transects across that
ecotone, mainly in the westernmost Santa Monica Mountains (which required
campouts). Soil turned out not to be significantly different on either side
of these boundaries, but the team was able to identify pioneering species that
can lead the way into the grassland, which may be useful information for
Dr. Chris Lee
led a small team out to Rapa Nui, where they worked on
GPSing the moai or giant head scultures for which Easter Island is famous.
They also worked on creating a digital elevation model of the island.
Meanwhile, back in the CSULB labs, Drs. Carl Lipo
worked on developing educational materials about Rapa Nui based
on this fieldwork and the fieldwork done there last summer.
Tour of Central California
Dr. Lora Stevens
organized an extended field trip for high school and
community college students. The team drove up the central California coast,
over the Coastal Ranges and across the San Joaquin Valley into the Sierra
Nevada, learning about California geology and geography while camping under
the stars at night. They drove back down the Owens Valley and the Mojave
Desert and wound up seeing an amazing array of California's diverse
landscapes, which hopefully excited them as much as field trips, hiking, and
camping got a lot of geologists and geographers interested in the geosciences!
Drs. Rick Behl
and Tom Kelty
developed an intensive workshop for
K-12 teachers to give them information and ideas for conveying the Earth
Science Standards to their students. In K-12 education, various groupings of
academic disciplines are conveyed through the Standards. Geology and physical
geography fall under the Earth Sciences Standards, which are a part of the
Science Standards. Teachers are always looking for ways to get the Standards
across to their students, and this GDEP workshop was a way of bringing them
together with practitioners of these disciplines to bounce ideas around, learn
new concepts, and develop appropriate lesson plans and curricula. This
workshop drew nearly 100 teachers, and GDEP will deliver a lasting impact on
huge numbers of students through these teachers!