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Intended audience for the field trips and web site:
The field trips in the Field School Web Page were originally conducted during the the Geology Summer Field School, a geology course taught for high school earth science and middle school physical science teachers from Virginia. Thus, the field trips, and the pages in this web site, are geared for the teachers and students of geology who are not professional geologists.
The pictures and explanations are not intended for the pure novice. We assume some prior fundamental knowledge of rocks, minerals, and geological processes. However, the language used is "plain English", and where geological terms and jargon are used, definitions and explanations are integrated into the text. Professional geologists are referred to the reference page for the publications used as primary source materials for the trips.
The intent is to instruct the user in an interesting and fun manner without shying away from serious content. The learning method of the field trip pages is: 1) observation; 2) question; 3) thinking; and 4) answer, as if the reader was actually visiting the rock exposures on a real field trip with us during the Field School. Geological reasoning is stressed at every stop. There is neat stuff to see everywhere, and we try to point out as much as possible. Virginia is a place of great natural beauty, and we build into the field trips through our photos and text, time to appreciate what is around us.
How to use the field trip pages:
If you actually go on the field trips:
Directions to the trip sites are from a base at Radford Univeristy in Radford, Virginia. If you happen by the campus, stop in , say hello, and look around! We are located on the first floor of Reed-Curie Hall. The Geology Department main office is in room 101.
All field trip stops are done with the logistics of handling groups of 20 or fewer people in mind. Most are road cuts, and most do not require any significant hiking. If hiking is required, we have avoided anything that we consider overly strenous for a person in reasonable physical shape. However, due to the dangers inherent in road cuts along sometimes busy highways, we recommend that children not participate in the field trips. Due to tight parking and narrow shoulders at some locations, we do not recommend large groups of people.
It is against Virginia state law to visit rock exposures along railroad tracks. Therefore, none of our field trips involve railroad cuts.
Feel free to hammer and collect specimens. However, in national, state, and municipal parks, hammering is not allowed, and we will mention which stops are "no hammer stops".
When hammering rocks, always use eye protection to avoid flying chips. It is wise to have a first aid kit with you. Use caution while climbing rock exposures. Always make sure you have a firm footing and that there is no one below you. Wear sturdy hiking shoes with soles that give you good traction. We recommend wearing long pants to avoid cuts and scrapes. Many of the field trip stops are on road cuts on public roads. Be very careful that you park your vehicle where oncoming traffic can see you. Groups of people may require a safety monitor to watch for traffic. Our experience in doing countless field trips is that aside from minor bruises and scrapes, the most common cause of problems on field trips is vehicle mishaps (accidents, getting stuck, etc.). Common sense is the rule.
Fair use and referencing of the web pages:
Users are encouraged to read, download, and print one copy for personal use. However, we ask that you obtain our written permission if you wish to distribute multiple copies of Field School materials to others. The design of the web site is the creation of the Field School and if you wish to reference us in that regard, you may do so by using our web address (http://www.radford.edu/~fldsch) or by referring to us as "Radford University Geology Field School". Please note that the members of the Field School staff in most cases are not the primary research geologists for the field trips, and we refer you to the reference pages for the proper scientific citations in the geological literature. Please seek out these references for the most complete and detailed information.