During the first few days, the Earthwatch scientist and research staff explained how geological investigations relate to local and global issues. As the expedition progressed, team members took the lead, reporting their findings to the group and to the world through lectures and web-based presentations.
Volunteers learned how to identify rocks and minerals, make qualitative geological observations and collect quantitative strike and dip measurements, use a rock-core drill, and properly orient rock cores. They also participated in equipment and safety training. In the field, assignments included describing minerals and rocks in scientific terms, and understanding why different minerals are found in different rocks and why different rocks are found in different geologic environments; constructing a detailed stratigraphic section of the rocks sampled in the San Juan volcanic field by using a Jacob’s staff (an instrument used in surveying), compass, tape measure, hand lens, and GPS unit; drilling rock cores in the ignimbrites and other volcanic rocks of the San Juan volcanic field, orienting and marking the cores, wrapping all samples, and packing them for transport to the paleomagnetic laboratory.
The participants worked hard but also took time to check out the wildlife, wildflowers, and amazing scenery. They also took recreational trips to various natural and cultural attractions within an easy drive of the research area.