During Winter Session, nine high-achieving undergraduate students and their lecturer Dr Lloyd White, travelled to Colorado, USA to take part in a unique field trip. The trip formed part of a subject that is co-taught by UOW and the University of Colorado, Boulder. Classes alternate year on year between a unique location in Australia and in the USA.

The aim of this year’s field excursion was for the students to learn about how mountains and glaciers form, as well as to study a vast inland sea that once covered a large portion of the USA, one-hundred million years ago, when global sea levels were two hundred meters higher than they are today. However, there were so many other incredible things to see – such as dinosaur footprints and some of the world’s oldest ‘trace fossils’ – that is the tracks left behind by 450-million-year-old critters on the seafloor. Students also visited amazing examples of volcanic rocks – including the base of massive ash flow, where the temperature difference between the ground and cascading ash flow was so different it caused the ash to ‘freeze’ and turn to glass.

Students were extremely grateful to participate in such a unique cultural experience and have the opportunity to work with students from another country. The program was supported by funding from SMAH International, the Office of Global Student Mobility and the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences, with plans to expand the program with another university in South America.