Oxnard College’s Earth Science, Oceanography, & Geology Program Integrated with Field Trips of Extinct Volcanic Centers, Hydrocarbon Seeps, and Shoreline Sand Migration in Central and Southern CA

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


Joseph Saenz, Oxnard College
Thomas O'Neil, Oxnard College
Frank Denison, Geology Consultant

Our Oxnard College students are involved in learning about Oceanography, Geology, and Earth Science in the Ventura County area. Learning is combined with Canvas course software supporting textbook instruction, and multiple field trips as part of the course curriculum either by Zoom, or face to face instruction. We use field work that is often too rare for any student these days, as we take the students from the classroom environment and out into the field.

Many of the students are from the Oxnard-Hueneme area, and come from a very diverse-ethnic, social economic backgrounds. We find that using tangible information for course materials by using multiple techniques and instruments is a great way to instruct. We use power points and poster presentations, multimedia videos, globes, sand sieve equipment, tape measures, portable sand size charts, GPS units, cameras, microscopes, navigation charts, topographic and geologic maps, Brunton and baseplate compasses, beach balls to assess longshore current, periodic table of elements, samples (rocks, minerals, and fossils), including a wide variety of laboratories for Oceanography, Geology, and Earth Science courses.

Over the years, our students have been undertaking three major projects as they learn about Extinct Volcanic Centers in the Santa Monica Mountains; Hydrocarbon Seeps in the Santa Maria and Santa Barbara Basins; and Ventura County rivers and beach sand migration at local shorelines, the longshore current, and anthropogenic influences.

Presently, our students are learning that Ventura County is situated along a very dynamic stretch of coastline. Critical infrastructure and valuable ecological resources are vulnerable to present and future coastal erosion. The main driver of these vulnerabilities is a reduction in sand supply along the local shorelines. Students learn that quartz sand is migrating down the Ventura and Santa Clara Rivers, and Calleguas Creek, as the "life blood" of this coastal system supplying beaches.