FIELD TRIPS

GSA invites you to join your colleagues on one or more of the following field trips. Trip fees include transportation during the trip as well as a trip guide. Other services, such as meals and lodging, are noted by the following: B—breakfast, L—lunch, R—refreshments, D—dinner, ON—overnight lodging. All trips begin and end at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel unless otherwise indicated. Details about the precise trip itineraries will be provided by the field trip leaders directly. For more information, contact field trip coordinators Duane Eversoll, and Jesse Korus.

1. Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park, Orchard/Royal, Nebraska.
Sat., 26 April., 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Cost: US$70.
Principal organizer: Shane Tucker, University of Nebraska State Museum, .
Co-organizers: Rick Otto, Ashfall Fossil Beds/University of Nebraska State Museum; R. Matthew Joeckel, Conservation and Survey Division/Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences/University of Nebraska State Museum; Michael R. Voorhies, Ashfall Fossil Beds SHP/University of Nebraska State Museum.
Nearly 12 million years ago, hundreds of rhinos, three-toed horses, saber-toothed “deer.” camels, and other animals died and were buried around a watering hole. These exceptionally well-preserved skeletons lay undisturbed in a blanket of volcanic ash, which originated from a Yellowstone supervolcano, until the 1970s, when scientific excavation of the fossilized remains began. This snapshot in time captures the animals’ death poses after their lungs filled with ash and they suffocated over a period of weeks. This one-day trip will visit the lagerstätten at Ashfall Fossil Beds, a National Natural Landmark located three hours from Lincoln. Participants will take a guided tour of the 17,500-square-foot “Rhino Barn,” observe fifty skeletons preserved in three-dimensions, explore exhibits throughout the facility, and visit the gift shop. The group will stop for lunch at a nearby restaurant (participants will be responsible for expenses). More information about the park can be found at www.ashfall.unl.edu.
2. Pleistocene Geology and Classic Type Sections along the Missouri River Valley.
Sat., 26 April., 7:40 a.m.–6 p.m. Cost: US$95.
Principal Organizer: Charles Rovey, Missouri State University, .
Co-organizers: John Boellstorff, Nebraska Conservation and Survey Division; Art Bettis, University of Iowa.
We will visit quarries along the east side of the Missouri River Valley (MRV) with spectacular exposures of the three widespread loess sheets in the Midwestern U.S.: the Peoria Loess, Pisgah Formation, and Loveland Silt. These stops include the type sections of the Pisgah and Loveland, along with the type location of classical Nebraskan till. Exposures will be paired with cores taken from locations farther from the MRV to display changes in thickness, morphology, and paleosol development with respect to the valley, which was a major source of loess. The cores will also be used to illustrate the entire sequence of six pre-Illinoian tills in this region, along with evidence pertaining to the timing and origin of the MRV in its present location between Iowa and Nebraska.
3. Building and Ornamental Stones in the Nebraska State Capital Building.
Sat., 26 April. 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Cost: US$18.
Principal Organizer: Joe Hannibal, Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
Co-Organizers: Robert Ripley, Roxanne Smith, and Karen Wagner, Nebraska Capitol Commission.
This field trip will examine the building and decorative stones used for the Nebraska capitol, a stunning Art Deco structure located in the heart of Lincoln, which includes outstanding examples of various stones quarried in the United States and Europe. This field trip also provides an overview of the geologic setting and paleontological iconography of the capitol. This trip is suitable for guests as well as geologists.
4. Quaternary Landforms and History of the Nebraska Sand Hills.
Departing Sat., 26 April, 8 a.m., returning Sun., 27 April, 6 p.m. Cost: US$155. Minimum of 10 people.
Principal Organizer: Dave Loope, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Co-Organizers: Paul Hanson, University of Nebraska–Lincoln; Joseph Mason, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Dave Wedin, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
This field trip will explore the geology and ecology of the Nebraska Sand Hills—a dunefield that occupies 50,000 km2 in the Central Great Plains. Although the landscape is currently stabilized by prairie vegetation, optically stimulated luminescence dating of dune deposits indicates widespread mobility multiple times in the Holocene, with the latest event dating to 800–1000 years ago. Samples recovered during coring into large dunes have yielded ages that cluster at about 15,000–17,000 years, but the dunefield was clearly active long before that. The eastern Sand Hills are dominated by linear bedforms that are 10–15 m high and oriented NW-SE. Barchanoid ridges over 100 m high with E-W oriented crests are widespread in the central part of the dunefield. Lakes and marshes are widespread today in interdune areas. Lake muds, buried peat beds, bison tracks, and gopher burrows provide glimpses of ancient ecosystems.

 

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