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Geological Excursion to
Death Valley, California

Comments from Recent Participants.

"The Death Valley field trip introduced me to the Earth sciences at Columbia and provided a first taste of the excitement of geologic field work. I have since recommended the trip to anyone I meet who is interested in the Earth sciences or the Earth in general, as I found the week-long trip both more enjoyable and more instructive than many semester-long classes. As even students with no scientific background found the trip inspiring, the Columbia community would be well served by the creation of many more similar opportunities to explore the earth sciences in the field." - Stephen Cox, CC'09, Environmental Science (2006 trip)

"The Death Valley trip was one of the best things I did during my four years at Columbia. It gave me a true appreciation for the study of Earth Science in a way that no normal class ever could - being in the field and seeing the way Earth processes work was both beautiful and awe-inspiring. It also increased my awareness of the environment, and helped teach me to view the earth as a dynamic, living system." - Joseph Rubinstein, CC'08, Music (2006 trip)

"Do not miss out! The excursion to Death Valley is the best class you can take at Columbia. Although the actual trip is only a week long, you get to ponder and learn about the strike slip faults, turtlebacks, volcanoes, and other cool geology of Death Valley while walking, hiking, climbing, and occasionally trying not to fall off cliffs. Combine this with the camaraderie of sleeping under the stars, taking turns cooking for each other, and driving in a van with Professor Christie-Blick and you have the experience of a lifetime! - Cleo Chou, CC'10, Environmental Science (2008 trip)

"Briefly, I'm not a science person - I'm a philosophy major. But the Death Valley trip made a scientific subject not only interesting in my mind, but important. - Brendan Ballou, CC'09, Philosophy (2006 trip)

"As a budding geologist, it was a fantastic opportunity to be able to go to a such an ideal locale and learn from such enthusiastic and expert teachers. The trip solidified my geologic ambitions and sparked a further passion for the subject matter." - Peri Sasnett, CC'11, Earth Science (2008 trip)

"The opportunity to travel with, and learn from, a professor as knowledgable and personable as Professor Christie-Blick is a rarity - and I should know, Columbia was my third college! The combination of in the field learning, camping and hiking, and getting to know fellow students made the Death Valley trip a highlight of my time at Columbia. The experience deepened my understanding of the processes that shaped the natural world and reinforced my personal commitment to its preservation. - Sarah Ashley Simmons, GS'09, Political Science (2006 trip)

"There's something about waking up in the freezing cold morning air of Death Valley, whether in the valley or on top of a rocky mesa, that is absolutely exhilarating. Add to that days spent in the blazing sun, sketches of outcrop after outcrop, treks up to hilltops followed by lunch at the summit, endless discussions about tectonic movement, date shakes in the oasis, and all the random adventures to be had with people who are like new best friends. The result is the best educational experience you will ever have: Geological Excursion to Death Valley." - Halley Hair, CC'11, Earth Science/Archeology (2008 trip)

"We devoted an entire class to studying the geology of Death Valley and then after our appetites were whetted we actually went there. I felt like I stepped inside the textbook and lived there for a few days." - David Fierroz, CC'11, Astronomy (2008 trip)

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Updated October 29, 2008
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