Introduction to Virtual Geological Field Trips

This is another one of my ongoing projects. It began as a resource for my geology students at Texarkana College. I took them on geology field trips into the Ouachita Mountains area of Arkansas, which was not too far, and there was a lot of geology to see there. However, that area has plenty of vegetation to hide the geology. Places that we went to - road cuts, spillways, hillsides, etc. - became more and more overgrown as the years went by. Hence, I began using pictures from my Big Bend trips in the classroom and eventually putting them online with explanations so that students could look at them at their leisure.

West Texas, and especially the Big Bend area, which includes Big Bend National Park, has long been of great interest to me. Unfortunately, it is a long way from the places I've lived over the past several decades, and I haven't been able to get out there nearly as often as I would like. The current material is from trips my brother, Randy, and I have been taking since May, 2006. We have been driving and hiking through Big Bend, examining the geology on the way. We both take pictures with our digital cameras, so quite a few of the photographs shown here are his, although not always credited. Now that I'm retired and generally useless otherwise, I've continued and hope to continue my trips to Big Bend and expand this work.

The geology of West Texas is fascinating - even unique. And, because of the dryness of the Chihuahua desert, which is nevertheless subject to infrequent episodes of intense erosion, the geology is exposed and readily visible. Erosion is the real star of the show in Big Bend National Park and its environs. Millions of years of weathering and differential removal of the rocks emplaced by igneous and sedimentary processes, has resulted in the creation of the area's incredible topographic features and the revelation of its unique geological history. This virtual field trip is a sort of slide show with notes. I have made considerable effort to be as accurate and up-to-date as possible.

The geologic history of Big Bend can be roughly divided into five episodes.

Constructive comments and criticisms are welcome - even solicitated (Francis Redfern). I hope you enjoy the show.


Virtual Field Trips