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Geoscience Students Participate in Oregon Lava Flow Research

Nine Geoscience students accompanied faculty members Nick Deardorff and Jon Lewis into  the wilderness of Oregon to study volcanic deposits and collect samples and other data.

Students pause for a brief photo op and much needed rest on a lava flowThe group hiked over very unstable terrain as they worked on lava flows ranging between 1,000 and 7,000 years old, dealing with daytime temperatures of about 105–110°F on the lava. 

Right: Students pause for a brief photo op and much-needed rest on a lava flow near Davis Lake, Oregon

The students took these and other challenges in stride, helped by the extraordinary beauty of the Oregon Cascades.

The group mostly studied scoria cones and their surprisingly voluminous lava flows (some over five miles long) in and around Newberry Volcano. They also explored deposits from large explosive events, called ignimbrites, and volcanoes that erupted up through a lake during the end of the last ice age. 

Students collecting data to understand the Llao Rock Obsidian Flow at Crater Lake, Oregon

Left: Students collecting data to understand the Llao Rock Obsidian Flow at Crater Lake, Oregon

The group camped throughout central Oregon in places such as Newberry Volcanic Monument, the Three Sisters Wilderness, and Crater Lake (to name a few), with only the occasional visit to civilization to enjoy the superb coffee shops and restaurants in Bend, Oregon. They were also lucky enough to avoid the multiple wildfires burning in the region this summer.

All travel expenses for this three-week experience were provided by donations from alumni and friends of the Geoscience Department to the newly established Next Generation Field Geology Fund.

Group photo of Nick Deardorff, Jon Lewis, and geoscience students

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