Comparative Planetology: Field Trip

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We had the unique opportunity in our comparative planetology class to take a weekend field trip around central Florida. All students chose a research topic earlier in the semester and prepared a field trip handout, which we all presented at various points on the trip.

We first drove down to Sebastian Inlet to learn about tidal formation processes, then drove west to a giant sink hole called Gator Sink (due to the alligator that lives there). More formation processes such as karst (limestone being dissolved by water) and fluvial activity (running water) were discussed before driving to our overnight destination at Chassahowitzka Hotel. The morning brought kayaking to see Florida springs and then a hike to view some caves, also formed by karst. Some of the research presentations were on these specific formations, while others were about similar features observed in our Solar System, mainly Mars and Titan because they are the only others who have ever had liquids on their surface.

Explore Florida with us!

Expert Dr. Zarillo, called in by Dr. Neish, explains to us how the Sebastian Inlet was formed.

Expert Dr. Zarillo, called in by Dr. Neish, explains to us how the Sebastian Inlet was formed.

 

Bobby on the rickety “pier” out over Gator Sink. No sign of the alligator that lives there . . .

Bobby on the rickety “pier” out over Gator Sink. No sign of the alligator that lives there . . .

 

Dr. Petit, Charlotte, Jaskiran, and Becky show the fossils we found at Gator Sink (probably manatee or whale).

Dr. Petit, Charlotte, Jaskiran and Becky show the fossils we found at Gator Sink (probably manatee or whale).

 

Climbing down into a karst formation . . .

Climbing down into a karst formation . . .

 . . . while Becky stares down at us .

. . . while Becky stares down at us. Hello!

 

 

 

 

Inside the karst formation.

Inside the karst formation.

 

Unlike the first karst formation, this one was more like an actual cave and required flashlights.

Inside a second karst formation. Unlike the first one, this was more like an actual cave and required flashlights.

 

Never fear, the camera flash saved us!

Never fear, the camera flash saved us!

 

Thanks to Dr. Neish for such a fun weekend, and a great way to compare planets. Cocoa-Cocoa Puffs or Citri for life!**

 

*Comparative Planetology class of Spring 2015:

Left to right, back to front: Timothy Drost, Nicholas Lowing, Ramana Sankar, Elena Botella, Krisin Shahady, Mariah MacDonald, Rebeca Kinser, Michael Morrison, Pranav Mohanty, Omar Aldabbagh, Brooke Adams, Jaskiran Behl, Deirdra Fey, Charlotte Eaton, Sailee Sawant, Lauren Amsbary, Robert Schmelzle. Attending faculty (not pictured): Dr. Catherine Neish and Dr. Véronique Petit.

**Our van team names.

 

 

 

 

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