Using the Earth as Inspiration: Learning Geology at Valles Caldera


– There’s always been an understanding that
it’s really important for us to all collaborate to make this kind of thing happen. – There’s only so much any one group can know,
so when you get a lot of different groups together, that’s where you really start to
learn new things. – And the scientists that were around us from
the State of New Mexico, and across the entire United States as well, were teaching these
kids how they do their work. They were opening their eyes into how much
geology is around them and how much they actually rely on it for their daily lives. These kids were hungry to learn. They were in the best classroom that there
is, which is the one with no walls. – Throughout my childhood, I had no idea this
place even existed. – I live close to here, but I didn’t know
much about the history. – I love the nature out here, and I love looking
at plants and flowers and rocks. [Laughing] I love rocks. – It’s just that scientifically meaningful
firsthand encounter with the natural world. And you can get that at Valles Caldera or
in the middle of a city where you see human interaction with the natural systems. – And there’s a series of large valleys throughout
the Caldera that define this giant hole in the ground, where we had this massive super-eruption
about 1.25 million years ago. – We learned about the history of Valles Caldera
and what volcanic activity was in the Jemez Mountains. – We got rock samples from an ash fall, and
we measured the samples of what we got. – Obsidian, graphite, rhyolite, and then pumice. – It’s a special place because it represents
a very unique volcanic hazard throughout the Southwest. There are hundreds of young volcanoes, but there’s only
one supervolcano. – It gives you a window into what’s been going
on for thousands of years that made this landscape into what it is today. And it’s understanding the past like that,
that let’s us have a window into where we need to go in the future. – Hopefully we can solve geologic problems
that way, if we continue to work together, training one generation after the next. – I see a lot of myself in these kids. You don’t really know until later on in your
life how important and informative these experiences are. – This kind of education – the kind that
sticks – we are inspired by it. And it causes us to want to do the kind of
jobs that connect people to these landscapes and help preserve and protect them, and understand
them.

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