Sequence Stratigraphy Field Trip to Wyoming

Participants Studied Cretaceous Mesa Verde Rocks

Field Camp Participants
Field participants at The Glades, near Flaming Gorge. Photo by Kurt Rudolph.
Field Camp Participants
Kurt Rudolph discussing sediment structures at an outcrop of the Blair formation near Salt Wells Creek, Wyoming. Photo by Aydin Shahtakhtinskiy.
Field Camp Participants
Field participants scale terrain to examine an outcrop. Photo by Aydin Shahtakhtinskiy.

From August 24–30, 16 University of Houston graduate students participated in a field trip to study the Cretaceous Mesa Verde rocks in the West Green River Basin, Wyoming. The field trip was part of the sequence stratigraphy graduate class taught by Dr. Julia Wellner.

The field trip was led by Kurt Rudolph, a former ExxonMobil geologist and an adjunct professor in the UH Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences. Lee Shannon, a geologist from Anadarko Petroleum (now Occidental Petroleum) with over 19 years of experience in the area, joined the students in the field.

The two industry geologists with backgrounds in sequence stratigraphy led UH students of diverse background in geology, geochemistry and geophysics. Field trip participants included Maddie Bishop, Thomas Casteel, Ben Chang, Michael Fonseca, Spencer Fuston, Tarek Galhom, Nahid Hasan, Mei Liu, Christian Martinez, Hasan Ozer, Sean Romito, Aydin Shahtakhtinskiy, Andrew Stearns, Anna Vielma Amarista, and Hualing Zhang and TA Carolina Ramon. Participants stayed in the dorms at Western Wyoming Community College, which also supplied classrooms for the group.

The students were divided into five groups and performed detailed descriptions of lithofacies and biofacies, while referring to paleontological logs and well logs, to interpret depositional environments. These lithofacies and interpreted depositional environments were used to evaluate sequence stratigraphy stacking patterns and systems tracts and their relationships with regional tectonics and petroleum systems.

On the final day of the field trip, students gathered in a classroom, presented their observations and interpretations, and discussed the regional sequence stratigraphy and basin evolution.

The field trip was made possible thanks to Chevron. Chevron has sponsored a series of stratigraphy field trips for UH graduate students, giving them the opportunity to learn in classic field localities that are not easy to access from Houston.

Previous Graduate Student Field Trips

- Michael Fonseca, EAS M.S. Geology Student