Developing a Geology Field Trip for Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Students

Friday 3:00pm-4:00pm Beren Auditorium
Poster Session Part of Friday Poster Session


Patricia Gallagher, Drexel University
Walter Yerk, Drexel University
Philip Getty, P.G., Boucher & James, Inc.
Kristin Sample-Lord, Villanova University
Loyc Vanderkluysen, Drexel University
Robert Swan, Jr., Drexel University
Geotechnical engineering faculty at Drexel and Villanova Universities collaborated with an environmental hydrogeologist from a local civil engineering firm and a volcanologist from Drexel University to develop a field trip for their engineering geology courses. A small seed grant provided a unique opportunity to begin this collaboration, which enhanced the geotechnical engineering faculty's knowledge of geology, provided field experience in geologic interpretation, and improved their engineering geology courses. The team selected a section of restricted-access trail in Wissahickon Valley Park as the location because it provides a major stream ecosystem within a geologically diverse setting that has been highly impacted by development of the surrounding City of Philadelphia. Additionally, it can safely accommodate a group of 60-80 students and students with limited mobility. Most of the outcrops consist of igneous and metamorphic rocks, but the stream valley provides many examples of sedimentary processes as well. In addition to looking at outcrops and evidence of geologic processes, we considered engineering issues associated with infrastructure in the valley, storm water management, and the impact of development on the stream valley. This trip is novel compared with classical geology field trips intended mostly for geology students. This poster will describe the development of the collaboration, the field trip, and the reception by the students. It will provide an example for other faculty who would like to incorporate similar elements in their courses. We expect that the field trip will complement our strategy of active learning we implemented in the course. We anticipate that students will be more engaged in learning geology and exit the course with an appreciation of the relevance of geology to civil, architectural, and environmental engineering.