EAS Student Group Organizes Spring Geology Field Trip

EAS Student Group Organizes Spring Geology Field Trip
Group Explores Canyon Lake Gorge in the Hill Country of Central Texas

Spring Geology Field TripThe Wildcatters, the AAPG student chapter in the University of Houston’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS), organized a field trip on Saturday, February 22, to examine outcrops of the early Cretaceous Glen Rose Formation. The outcrops are exposed in the Texas Hill Country near Canyon Lake dam about 20 miles northwest of New Braunfels, Texas.

The type location of the 300-meter-thick Glen Rose Formation is in the Paluxy River and Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose, Texas, 52 miles southwest of Fort Worth. The limestone formation was exposed during an extreme rainfall event in 2002 when the waters of Canyon Lake overtopped a Canyon Lake dam, cascaded down a valley and removed all vegetation and soil cover from the Glen Rose outcrops.

Eighteen EAS geology and geophysics students, including Wildcatters student organizer Carolina Mejia, toured the outcrops along with two guides from a foundation that oversees the area and two UH faculty advisors, Drs. Joel Saylor and Paul Mann.

Features of interest in the 115-105 million-year-old limestone deposited in a shallow marine to shoreline paleoenvironment included trackways of two different dinosaur species (photo); marine fossils including bivalves, corals, large foraminifera, echinoderms, gastropods and rudists; Miocene age normal fault features related to the Balcones fault zone, limestone hydrology, environmental geology, and petroleum geology.

Spring Geology Field TripFunding for van rental and entrance fees was provided by donations to EAS from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Gulf Coast Section of the Society of Sedimentary Geology related to student poster prize winners from the EAS department. The Wildcatters at UH are one of the largest AAPG student chapters in the United States.