The Geology of Hawaii course is science in action. Instead of learning in a lab or classroom environment, students walked on, watched, and touched active geologic processes while they learned in the field. Students learned about volcanoes and plate tectonics in the classroom and lab, which enabled them to identify different rocks and processes while in the field. When the students traveled to the island of Hawaii they had the opportunity to see geology in action, as new rocks were formed from molten lava. Many geologic processes are imperceptibly slow, so observing lava cooling and forming new rock was amazing. It was awesome to see and learn about lava trees, mantle xenoliths (chunks of the Earth's interior brought to the surface by rising magma), fire fountains, lava flows, and other geologic formations associated with active volcanoes. These experiences don't happen everyday for residents of California or Stockton. The spring break trip to Hawaii is a fun and educational experience for both Earth Science students and non-majors. The great mix of swimming at the beach, hiking, and seeking out rocks provides the ultimate learning experience.
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