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Coastal Geology

Coastal Areas of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina

Session: May 29 - June 9 ( in Florida, Georgia, S. Carolina)

Register for:
GLY 4947 Coastal Geology Field School (2 credit)

Instuctor: Dr. Ping Wang

Goals: The coasts of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina represent some of the most diverse coastal reaches in the world. As we all know, more than 50% of the world population lives within 100 km of the coast. A geologist must have a good background in coastal processes, coastal sedimentology and stratigraphy in order to be able to provide the expertise to manage all types of issues in coastal environments including infrastructure, pollution, erosion, zoning changes, etc. This course will provide the student with experience in:

  1. coastal surveying and mapping both on land and in shallow marine environments
  2. observing and interpreting tidal and wave processes
  3. taking and interpreting sediment and core samples a bay-head delta, and
  4. field observation of a wide range of coastal environments, including storm impacts to developed and undeveloped areas

Where: The coasts of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, including both high-energy and low-energy settings, with sandy and muddy sediments. We will examine various environments including barrier islands, coastal marshes, tidal flats, and estuaries.

Why: Coastal geology is important, you get 2 credit hours toward your degree, and it is lots of fun to work on the coast.

Who: Geology majors with 12 credit hours of upper-level Geology courses, preferably from the core courses. You are encouraged to discuss with the instructor, Dr. Ping Wang, about details of the class.

What to Expect:

As is true with all field courses, you will work hard, learn a lot, and hopefully enjoy the course. We will be in the field all but two lab days, when we will be working on analyzing data, sediments, and cores. We will have two days off. The course will be based here at the Tampa campus, except for three nights during a 4-day trip to the northeast coast of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Be prepared to work long days. This time of year we should have warm water, calm wave conditions and a hot sun!

Typical Course Schedule:

Day 1 - Monday Field Day
Meet: 8:15 a.m. at SCA parking lot
Activities: Course introduction and tour of the Pinellas County coast, looking at the variety of natural coastal environments and the human impact to them.
Target return: 5:30 p.m.

Day 2 - Tuesday Field Day
Meet: 8:15 a.m. at SCA parking lot
Activities: Topographic surveying and mapping using GPS and level-and-transit at Upham Beach. Bathymetric surveys using shipboard RTK-GPS and a depth sounder at Blind Pass Inlet. Target return: 5:30 p.m.

Day 3 - Wednesday Field Day
Meet: 8:15 a.m. at SCA parking lot
Activities: Trip to Ft. Desoto Park and Shell Key for environmental data collection and mapping.
Target return: 5:30 p.m.

Day 4 - Thursday Field Day
Meet: 8:15 a.m. at SCA parking lot
Activities: Trip to Peace River bay-head delta system. Sediment coring and subaqueous surface sediment samples will be collected.
Target return: 5:30 p.m.

Day 5 - Friday Lab Day
Meet: 8:30 a.m. at Chemistry Building
Activities: Data processing and analysis in the lab.

Day 6 - Saturday Day off

Day 7 - Sunday Day Off

Day 8 - Monday Lab Day
Meet: 8:30 a.m. at Chemistry Building
Activities: Continued data processing and analysis in the lab.

Day 9 - Day 12 (Tuesday - Friday): Field Trip
A 4-day field trip to northeastern Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina coasts. Transportation and lodging is provided by the department. General information is provided below:

  • Day 1 of the 4-day field trip
    Meet: 7:00 a.m. at the SCA parking lot
    Activities: Trip to Florida east coast to observe high-energy wave-dominated barrier-island environment at Matanzas Inlet and Saint Augustine Beach, FL.
    Lodging: Crooked River State Park, GA
  • Day 2 of the 4-day field trip
    Meet: 8:00 a.m. at the Day 1 lodging
    Activities: Field exercises along the meso-tidal Georgia coast to observe mixed-energy sandy-muddy coastal environments at Crooked River, Saint Simons, and Tybee Island, GA.
    Lodging: Crooked River State Park, GA
  • Day 3 of the 4-day field trip
    Meet: 8:00 a.m. at the Day 2 lodging
    Activities: Field exercises along the South Carolina coast at Hilton Head, SC, and observe meso-tidal marsh.
    Lodging: Crooked River State Park, GA
  • Day 4 of the 4-day field trip
    Meet: 8:00 a.m. at the Day 3 lodging
    Activities: Field exercises at Jekyll Island, GA, then return from the trip.
    Target return: 7:00 p.m.

Grading

Grades in the course will be based on your performance on several small projects, and on your participation in the field and in the lab. There will be no exams in the traditional sense; you will be examined every day in the field and in the lab.

Needs for the course:

  • Field notebook
  • Hand lens (a few will be provided by department)
  • Brunton compass (a few will be provided by department)
  • Field clothes (all weather conditions, rain or shine)
  • Wading shoes (not sandals or flips, but entirely closed toe)
  • Towel
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen