Field Trips & Workshops

Registration for field trips and workshops is completed as part of the online registration process for the meeting.


Mona Island
Aerial view of Mona island. Photo courtesy of Jack Morelock and the Geology Department, Univ. of PR - Mayaguez.
1. Problem-Based Learning Activity Workshop in Earth Science (Grades 4–9). — Canceled
2. Coastal Hazards of Puerto Rico: Low-to-High Tech Assessment and Monitoring. — Canceled


1. Geology of Mona Island. — Canceled
Cosponsored by GSA Sedimentary Geology Division; GSA Mineralogy, Geochemistry, Petrology, and Volcanology Division.
Sat.–Tues., 16–19 March.
2. Karst Terranes of Puerto Rico: A Mix of Lithology, Hydrology, and Climate.
Cosponsored by GSA Hydrogeology Division; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.
Thomas Miller, University of Puerto Rico–Mayagüez,
Tues., 19 March. US$85—includes transportation, field guide, entry to the Camuy Caverns, beverages, a snack, and a box lunch. Max: 32.
This is intended as a pre-meeting activity, linked to a regular session at the regional meeting on Circum-Caribbean Karst Development and Paleo-Climate.The itinerary is for a bus ride west visiting karst springs and contaminated wells of the coastal karst of the Florida and Rio Indio karst blocs. This will be followed by a long stop at the Rio Camuy Park to tour the cave, and view the Tres Pueblos and Espiral entrances. If time and weather permit, a visit to the ponors of the Sistema Bocacaz, and/or Observatory may be made. Stops will focus on hydrologic concerns of quantity and quality, on the evolution of the Puerto Rican karst with its “tropical karst” morphology and coupling to lithology, and the paleoclimate proxies of speleothem. Karst terranes are widespread throughout the Caribbean and flanking areas. A long-standing and unresolved discussion concerns the extent to which climate has dominated in the development of “tropical karsts” such as cockpit and mogote and cone karst. These geomorphic terranes are not represented in the United States, but are well-known and well-developed in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico also contains many areas of karst landscapes that are more familiar to U.S. geologists, and is therefore well-situated for a stimulating and hands-on discussion of karst processes in conjunction with a session focused on karst. Karst aquifers are an important water resource, especially in Puerto Rico. Recently, mineral precipitates (speleothems in caves) have been identified as important proxies of paleoclimate.

Aerial view of the Soufriere Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat in the Lesser Antilles. Photo courtesy of The Watchers blog.
3. Volcanic Evolution of Montserrat: From the Silver Hills to the Soufriere Hills Current Eruption.
Cosponsored by the Asociación Latinoamericana de Volcanología (ALVO); GSA Mineralogy, Geochemistry, Petrology, and Volcanology Division.
Lizzette A. Rodríguez, University of Puerto Rico–Mayagüez,
Alan L. Smith, California State University–San Bernardino,
Paul Cole, Montserrat Volcano Observatory,
Fri.–Tues., 22–26 March. US$1,350—includes field guide, transportation (air, ground), lodging (double/triple occupancy), car rental & gas, departure tax (from Montserrat, US$21), and a portion of the meals (two breakfasts, one packed lunch, and three dinners); does not includes snacks, other meals (two breakfasts, two lunches, one dinner), and cost of boat tour (~$60). Max: 19.
Registration for this field trip closes on 15 January 2013, one month before the early registration deadline. This field trip travels through two different countries—valid passport required.
Three days post-meeting. This field trip goes to the island of Montserrat, in the northern part of the Lesser Antilles volcanic island arc, which formed from the subduction of the North American plate under the Caribbean plate. The island is 16 km long (north-south) and 10 km wide (east-west) and has three mountain ranges: the Silver Hills, the Centre Hills, and the Soufrière Hills-South Soufrière Hills. The Soufrière Hills volcano (SHV) is an andesitic stratovolcano which started erupting on July 18, 1995 and its activity has been characterized by periods of dome growth and collapse or explosive activity (with pyroclastic flows and surges, tephra falls, lahars, and a sector collapse and debris avalanche) followed by periods of quiescence (with residual activity). The field trip will focus on visiting the SHV and its deposits, depending on the activity, and on visiting the old deposits from the SHV, the Centre Hills and the Silver Hills (e.g., remnants of andesite lava domes, pyroclastic flow deposits from lava dome collapses, debris avalanche and lahar deposits, tephra fall deposits). This is meant to give an overview of the geological and volcanic evolution of Montserrat. In the case of the SHV deposits, we plan to visit some of the pyroclastic flow and surge deposits in the northeastern part of the volcano and the lahar deposits in the Belham Valley. We will visit the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, tour of the facilities and learn about the different types of monitoring techniques used each day at the volcano. Visiting an active volcano is a unique opportunity and we hope to attract participants from many geological backgrounds. This field trip complements the sessions on Lesser Antilles: Volcanology, Petrology and Monitoring and Volcanic Hazards and Risk in Latin America and the Caribbean.
4. Geology and Landslides of Puerto Rico Day 1: El Yunque Rainforest and Landslide and NE Coastal Geology.
Cosponsored by GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.
James Joyce, University of Puerto Rico–Mayagüez,
Fri., 22 March. US$105—includes field guide, transportation, drinks, a snack, a full Puerto Rican lunch with beverage, and entrance fees to the National Forest and Seven Seas Beach. Max: 30.
We will begin the trip with a stop at the National Forest visitor center. Next, we’ll travel to a large landslide that has closed one of the entrances to the forest since 2004. Attempts to restrain the landslide have not been successful, but it has been the subject of extensive research on the applications of GPS and LiDAR in studying landslides in tropical forested terrains. The remainder of the morning, we will tour and hike around the National Forest, which is the only rainforest that is part of the U.S. National Forest System. At midday, we will enjoy a local lunch in Rio Grande and then continue on to the 7 Seas Beach in Fajardo on the NE corner of the island. We will walk on trails along the shoreline and visit exposures of Late Cretaceous sedimentary and volcanic rocks including turbidites, volcanic breccias, and andesitic pillow lavas. The walk will end at Playa Colorada, a beautiful pink colored beach.
5. Geology and Landslides of Puerto Rico Day 2: Geology and Landslides of the Central Mountainous Interior and Great Southern Fault Zone.
Cosponsored by GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.
James Joyce, University of Puerto Rico–Mayagüez,
Sat., 23 March. US$80—includes field guide, transportation, drinks, a snack, a full Puerto Rican lunch with beverage. Max: 30.
This trip will begin with a stop at the Cañoboncito neighborhood in Caguas that has been impacted by a complex series of landslides that start on the steep slopes above the development and terminate in the roadway on the other side. The most affected portion of the neighborhood was developed over a preexisting landslide mass. From Caguas, we will continue south along the PR52 toll road (autopista) and cross over the mountainous interior core of Early Cretaceous volcanic and sedimentary rocks. Stops will be made along the highway to see road cuts in folded turbidities and tuffs with limestone olistoliths faulted against volcanic breccia and intruded by andesitic dikes in Cayey and spectacular basaltic pillow lavas in Salinas. We will continue on to the west to Juana Diaz. Road cuts through complexly deformed late Cretaceous and early Tertiary sedimentary rocks in the Great Southern Fault Zone will be visited as well as relatively undeformed river bed deposits of Oligocene age. Following lunch, we will visit the Canarico Quarry, where a massive landslide between Late Cretaceous volcanic rocks and Eocene limestone covers a major portion of the mountainside and at one time threatened the entire operation. The limestone is used for a variety of local industrial applications that will be explained by representatives of Carmelo Industries, the operators of the quarry. From the quarry, we will return directly to San Juan and the Caribe Hilton. This trip is suitable for everyone.
6. Geology and Landslides of Puerto Rico Day 3: Geology and Landslides along the Margin of the Northern Karst Plateau and the Utuado Batholith.
Cosponsored by GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division.
James Joyce, University of Puerto Rico–Mayagüez,
Sun., 24 March. US$80—includes field guide, transportation, drinks, a snack, a full Puerto Rican lunch with beverage. Max: 30.
This trip will carry us along highway PR10 from Arecibo on the north coast south to the interior town of Utuado. The first portion of the highway cuts across impressive karst terrain marked by towering mogotes and deep sinkholes. View stops will be made to see the deeply entrenched meandering Rio Grande del Arecibo. We will also stop at a few road cuts along the edge of the karst plateau and see the unconformity between early Tertiary volcanic rocks and middle Tertiary limestone. Besides the problem of crossing sinkholes and towers, the highway construction was plagued by numerous landslides induced by groundwater outflow along the margin of the northern karst plateau. Beyond the karst plateau, the area surrounding Utuado is a large, deeply weathered pluton that is mainly composed of granodiorite. There will be a stop at the river at the northern end of the pluton. From Utuado, we will continue westward along PR 111 and the edge of the northern karst plateau and stop at the Parque Ceremonial Indígena de Caguana (ancient ceremonial ball fields of the indigenous people). The ball courts are surrounded by granodiorite boulders marked with petroglyphs. Next, we’ll stop in Lares, a city that lies below the escarpment along the southern end of the karst plateau and has been afflicted by landslides in the recent past. There will be a stop for a snack of traditional roast pig at a well-known Lechonera. We’ll view Oligocene coral reef deposits at the base of the escarpment. From the quarry, we will return directly to San Juan and the Caribe Hilton. This trip is suitable for everyone.


To GSA Home pageMeeting Home pageGSA's 125th Anniversary