Over a dozen PennWest California students spent the summer traveling across the heart of the United States as part of a course on geology field work.

The three-week trip featured visits to several national parks and monuments, including Badlands, Tetons, Dinosaur and Rocky Mountain national parks. The course, taught by professors Dr. Kyle Fredrick and Dr. Daniel Harris, provided hands-on field experience to students with a focus on understanding the relationships between rock compositions and the formation of geographic structures. The course also taught students how to properly log a field book, a crucial element in geological study.

The trip and course were documented by Andrew Holleran, a senior geology major and social media coordinator of the PennWest California Geology Club. As the class trekked across the country, the club’s Instagram showcased photos and video of the trip, documenting work and study done in Wisconsin, Wyoming and Utah.

“One of the great things about traveling to so many different places and seeing different geological settings is the questions my peers asked,” Holleran said. “Just seeing something in the field and being able to ask a professor about it is a great way to learn.”

Holleran also noted that, because the course covered so many different areas of the United States, students got to experience many distinct aspects of geology.

The trip and course, now in its 15th year, is a valuable and unique experience for any student.

“It is most definitely a once-in-a-lifetime sort of trip that I will never forget, and it has vastly improved my geologic knowledge,” Holleran said. “To visit any one of the national parks we stopped at would be an amazing trip, and I cannot put into words how breathtakingly awesome the whole experience was. I'll be thinking about it for the rest of my life.”

To view the Geology Club’s photos of the trip, visit their Instagram at @pennwest_cal_geology. The club has also uploaded videos of the course on YouTube.