Geology of the Sierra Nevada and White-Inyo Range, California
4 -11 August 2007 (8 days) GeoHostel Trip Full
Type of Trip: Geology
Location: Mammoth Lakes & Crooked Creek Research Station, CA
Scientific Trip Leaders: Steve Lipshie & Gary Ernst
Minimum Number of Participants: 15
Maximum Number: 25
REGISTRATION FULL !
Trip Cost: $1295
Deposit Deadline: $300, 2 July 2007
We will start and end our tour in Reno, NV. The first three-and-a-half days we will explore the Quaternary geology of the east-central Sierra Nevada region of California. We will see Pleistocene glacial moraines and lakes and volcanic deposits that erupted during and between glaciations. At Mono Lake we will walk amongst the tufa deposits that are still being formed today. Farther south, we will walk on lava domes and craters that are less than 700 years old and visit the classic columnar jointing at Devils Postpile National Monument. The trip will include stops to look at air-fall ash and ash-flow units within the Bishop Tuff, the product of a cataclysmic eruption 760,000 years ago that produced the Long Valley caldera and spread ash as far east as Nebraska. Within the caldera we will visit hot springs and look at the resurgent rhyolite dome that formed after its collapse. All throughout the region, we will be surrounded by spectacular scenery at the boundary between the Sierra Nevada and the Great Basin.
The last two-and-a-half days of the trip will focus on the structural, stratigraphic, igneous, and metamorphic geology of the White-Inyo Range, across the Owens Valley from the Sierra Nevada. We will explore the uppermost Proterozoic and lowermost Paleozoic sedimentary rocks and late Mesozoic plutonic rocks of the region, and will have some magnificent views of the east-facing Sierra Nevada escarpment. At Devils Gate we will see disharmonic folding and local faulting on an impressive scale. We can also expect to find abundant Cambrian trace fossils (especially abundant worm tracks), even possibly including the ever-elusive, shy and retiring trilobite. In the White Mountains we will walk among stands of ancient bristlecone pines, some of which are as much as 4600 years old, and observe the dolomite on which they preferentially grow. During this part of the excursion, the group will stay two nights at the University of California research station at Crooked Creek, at an elevation of 10,150 feet in the White Mountains.
Scientific Program and Itinerary
The first half of the trip will emphasize the Quaternary volcanic history of the Long Valley caldera and surrounding areas and will also address the glacial history and geomorphology of the region. The relation between the silicic volcanism of the Long Valley magma chamber and the mafic volcanism of the region will also be discussed. The presence of other, younger sources of silicic magma in the region will also be considered; examples of these younger silicic lavas, some of them younger than the Magna Carta, will be visited. We will also visit geothermal features, both ancient and active, including hot springs, fumaroles, and zones of hydrothermal alteration (including a stop at a kaolinite mine—bring your sunglasses!). The second half of the trip will emphasize the pre-Cenozoic structure and stratigraphy of the White-Inyo Range and will look at a number of the uppermost Proterozoic and Lower Cambrian formations in the range. Contact relationships between some of the sedimentary formations will be studied on the outcrop. Intrusive bodies of late Mesozoic granitic magma will also be examined. The broad structure of the White-Inyo Range will be discussed, as will some of the smaller folds and faults that will be seen during the trip. Lastly, geologic and topographic control on the distribution of ancient bristlecone pine groves and other characteristic botanical associations in the White-Inyo Range will be reviewed. Click here for a detailed daily itinerary.
Who Should Attend?
Professional and amateur geologists. A basic background in geology is required.
Your Scientific Trip Leaders
Dr. Steve Lipshie. Steve, who has a B.S. degree in Geophysics from Caltech and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Geology from UCLA, has worked off and on in the Eastern Sierra region between Bishop and Mono Lake since 1972. He has taught or co-taught summer field geology camps in California and New Mexico and has done field mapping in California and Alaska. He has been an engineering geologist with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works for 17 years, and he periodically teaches Engineering Geology at California State University, Northridge. He has also taught geology and geophysics courses at North Carolina State University and Iowa State University. In 1976 he wrote a guidebook to the Long Valley-Mono Craters region; this guidebook, revised in 2001, will be used for the first half of this GeoVentures trip.
Dr. Gary Ernst. Gary received his BA, MS, and Ph D degrees from Carleton ('53), Minnesota ('55), and Johns Hopkins ('59). Joining the UCLA in January 1960, he was chair of the Dept. of Geology, 1970-1974, the Dept. of Earth & Space Sciences, 1978-1982, and UCLA director of the Inst. of Geophysics & Planetary Physics, 1987-1989. In September 1989 he moved to Stanford for a 5-year term as dean of the School of Earth Sciences. Since 1999, he has held the Benjamin M. Page Chair, in Stanford's Geological & Environmental Sciences Dept., going emeritus in September 2004. Author of six books and research memoirs, editor of 14 other research volumes, and author of >200 scientific papers, Gary studies petrotectonic relationships of Circumpacific- and Alpine-type orogens in California and other fine places. He received the Geological Society of Japan Medal in 1998, the Penrose Medal of the GSA in 2004, and the Roebling Medal of the MSA in 2006.
Tour Fee, Deposit & Payment
Cost: $1295 for GSA Members & Spouses; $1395 for Non-members. Not a member? Join Today!
Deposit: $300, due by 2 July 2007. Full Balance Due: 16 July.
Read flight info & cancellation/refund policy. Please make sure that GSA has confirmed the trip will run before purchasing your airline tickets.
Included in Tour Package & Registration Fee:
All hotels, transportation, all entrance fees, most meals, and guidebook.
Not Included in Tour:
Airfare to & from Reno, NV, and some meals.
Questions about the tour agenda and registration?
Contact Wesley Hill, , 303-357-1005
Questions about the science?
Contact Steve Lipshie at
Please contact Wesley Hill at GSA for any special needs that you may require. GSA is committed to making this program accessible to all people interested in attending.
return to top