Exploring More with Geology

Thursday, December 1, 2022
Geology students on a field trip

A group of planetary geology students just returned from an exciting field trip, aptly named the “Holey Tour” to Northern Arizona, where they got to experience the incredible geologic forces that have shaped our planet’s surface. As part of their trip, they explored landforms that exemplify the 4 basic planetary surface processes. Steve Kadel, Geology Instructor at Glendale Community College, explained, “We call it the Holey Tour because we visit various relevant kinds of holes in the ground around Arizona.”


The objective is to have the students see examples of real geology up close and in person, which augments previous classroom study of photographs of the Earth, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars, plus participation in labs that simulate the processes. The four planetary surface processes are: impact cratering, tectonism (earthquakes/faulting, mountain-building, etc.), volcanism, and gradation (erosion plus deposition). On this field trip the group traveled to the following locations in Arizona: 


  1. Montezuma's Well - a sinkhole produced by underground cavern collapse (gradation)
  2. Stoneman Lake - shallow water body occupying either a sinkhole OR possibly a volcanic caldera crater
  3. Mormon Lake - shallow water body occupying a fault- and lava flow-bounded depression (tectonism and volcanism)
  4. Meteor Crater - best-preserved meteorite impact explosion crater on Earth (impact cratering)
  5. Mt. Elden/San Francisco Peaks - volcanic dome and composite cone (volcanism)
  6. Sunset Crater - youngest cinder cone and lava flows in Arizona (volcanism)
  7. Bumble Bee exit off-ramp on I-17 northbound - to see lava flows, folded and faulted layers (volcanism and tectonism)


“Arizona has world-class geology study sites as well as areas that were used during the training of numerous Apollo astronauts before they went to the moon,” stated Steve.


At GCC, we urge you to Explore More! GCC offers thousands of classes and hundreds of course options. This coupled with GCC’s affordable tuition makes it the perfect place to explore classes outside your field of study, so you can take interesting classes like Planetary Geology (GLG 105) and go on fun field trips.