Journal/Blog


Day 5 - Friday

posted May 17, 2013, 10:50 PM by Pamela Gades   [ updated May 17, 2013, 11:00 PM ]


This trip was important to our class in many ways, because of the memories we made that'll leave an impact on us for the rest of our lives. We're all astonished that it is already Friday and already on our way home. Everyone's experiences are different, here are some individual experiences in their own words:

Sammie and Courtney- Watching the raindrops and listening to the thunder made us even more anxious to jump into the water at Cascade falls. Once they opened the doors after the storm had passed and we were told it was safe, everyone rushed out of the bus we finally found out how slippery it was. Many people fell in the mud and got dirty and froze their butts off.  We found out during our swim, that the water was warmer than being out in the raw air. But after clambering around on the rocks layered on top of each other, and exploring the area, it was an amazing experience overall.

Kalie and Hillary- The experience at wind cave was remarkable. Not only did we get to learn about the cave while we were in it, but also get to experience the feelings of what it was like to be in such a secluded area. Our class realized what it was like to be away from the human environment and play around with something unknown, like a cave. Our guide only covered about 5%  of the cave, so there was much more to be discovered. Depending on the level of the cave, geologists tested how long it took for colored dye to absorb into the ground and eventually reach the walls of the cave. We found that in a spot 200 feet down, it took about 5-6 months to reach the cave. We are very fortunate to experience the cave, because not very many people get to.

Brittany and Sami- Badlands! 
Arriving in the badlands and seeing all the colorful rocks throws anticipation into your stomach,  wondering what kind of steps we are going to be doing. We saw rocks that were eroded towards the bottom and had grass growing out of it. We also saw layers in the rocks that were different colors. I got a feeling of danger dangling your feet off the cliff. It was also comfortable in some way sitting there observing and drawing what you saw in the rocks, like the dull but distinct colors in the rocks... It was really interesting hearing the birds chirping and smelling the dryness of the grass. Even though there was a dry climate, there was a nice breeze and it was very relaxing.

Madison- Devil's Tower
My feelings toward Devil's Tower was the fact of coming on to sacred land that was very important to Native Americans. Devil's Tower is such a massive, huge rock that is so sacred to Native Americans, that they made the story of the bear. We saw prayer flags tied to trees around Devil's Tower. I have deep interests in Native American History, that the prayer flags bring up my interests. 

Kylee- Bonding as a Group
Hanging out with your friends we all get excited, but when you hear you are going on a trip with your friends you get ecstatic! When we first all got on the bus we all had smiles on our faces. The first day, most people hung out with the people they usually see at school. As the week went on, we started to hang out with different people and making new friendships. While some people had their ups and downs, we all came together to resolve the conflicts. When you get us as a group, look at the expression on our faces. You can see we are all best friends, but are more like a family.

Rachel- In conclusion
I never thought that I would be able to go and experience all these places. We all stepped up to the plate after Ms. Schoeneck was not able to join us and kept the tradition alive because that's what she would want. A huge thank you to Uncle Dave, Lee, the cooks, and all of the chaperones, and most of all Ms. Schoeneck! Thank you for such a wonderful experience!

Day 4 - Thursday

posted May 16, 2013, 10:53 PM by Pamela Gades   [ updated May 17, 2013, 11:11 PM ]


We went to Wind Cave National Park today! We explored the top soil layer of the lands. We did an assay which is a detailed observation investigation. We studied water, air, vegetation, soil, topography, wildlife, human development and rocks. While we were there we saw buffalo.

After we finished this we went and took a tour of the wind cave. We observed the cave. We observed that it was made of limestone, which is a sedimentary rock, and popcorn forms were spotted. The rock was a tan color with many layers and small crystals. The wind cave is the third largest in the United States and the sixth in the world. There is no cave like this one. This wind cave is different because it didn't have stelegtight but it has box work. We each had questions like, 'Are the rocks in cave talus from the walls'. One thing we found interesting was that the red stripes in the rocks are full of sediments. Another interesting thing was that it was called the wind cave because the hole they discovered had wind coming out of it, making them know that there was a cave there.

Next we drove to Black Hill Geology Research Institute. We had to sketch fossils of different dinosaurs and compare and contrast them. We saw the second largest and second most complete T. rex in the World, Stan. We saw some very pretty minerals and fossils of a lot of different types of animals. We came up with questions for our tour guide. Things like 'how many of these dinosaurs were found local?' 

We topped off the day with a swim at hot springs! The weather was not as good as we wanted so we waited for the thunderstorm to pass. While waiting we ate many cookies on the bus. Once we jumped in it wasn't as cold as we thought but it sure wasn't warm. We had a great time slipping and sliding in the mud and splashing each other. It was another day of fun geology learning but we can't wait to come home and tell people about it.

Day 3 - Wednesday

posted May 15, 2013, 9:02 PM by Pamela Gades   [ updated May 17, 2013, 11:10 PM ]

Today we visited a number of locations that helped us practice recognizing types of rocks as well as processes that caused different structures. Below is a list of our observations at each site, reasonings as to how these structures were formed, and some extra fun facts!

Outcrop observations:
We saw that the outcrop extended out, was really jagged, and the bedrock below the outcrop was visible. We also saw a reddish colored sand at certain points of the outcrop.

Devils tower observations:
There was a lot of talus around the base of the tower, the rocks spread out about a mile out, and the plants grew in every crack primarely coniferous and there were vertical lines that looked like tubes, There are trees growing out of rocks, we viewed a rock with a lens and saw lots of different minerals. We saw a huge bull snake at the tower too!

Valley vs tower observations:
Valley had layers of sediments and was very prone to erosion making us conclude sedimentary rock, rocks at the top of tower were igneous because they were hard to erode.

How was Devils tower formed:
Devils tower is an intrusion that formed from the erosion of the sedimentary rock around the tower. We found out that the tower was 867 ft high!

Spearfish canyon:
Sedimentary because there were layers and the rock was soft.

How was it formed: 
The canyon was formed by a water erosion not a glacier because there are no deposits and glaciers would not leave steep formations but a smoother surface.

The homestake goldmine:
We viewed the goldmine and saw swirled streaks and saw irregular crystals making us believe that they were metamorphic.

Mount Rushmore observations:
We saw a lot of man made talus underneath the faces of our past presidents. There was a vein of darker colored rock underneath george Washingtons head. Vegetation consisting of dry grasses and coniferous trees was found every where that our presidents weren't.

Rock observations at Mount Rushmore:

Giant crystals in the granite indicated slow cooling. This tells us that the rock was deep in the earth when it solidified. The crystals in the granite were large enough to identify with the naked eye, for example, horneblend and what we believe was muscovite. Soil in the area was dry and gravely.

Badlands v.s. Blackhills:
The badlands were dry and hot, with high exposed sedimentary rock formations. The black hills on the other hand, had formations covered in trees with an igneous rock type. We believe that these two areas had very different origins that took place in about the same time period.


Day 2 - Tuesday

posted May 14, 2013, 8:49 PM by Pamela Gades   [ updated May 14, 2013, 10:14 PM ]

full group at The Badlands
Chamberlain rest stop: On the hill across the reservoir there was a noticeable fault line. The plants told us what kind of climate there was, which was dry. The trees had deep roots. The deep roots helped the river by causing less erosion. The river valley was formed from river erosion/water. There was quartzite and sandstone.

Badlands: There was a lot of dry mud. Also a lot of steep drop offs. The sandstone rock, which is sedimentary rock, composed the badlands. There were red lines in the rock, which helped us see if there was any fault lines, and to connect the time periods. There were depressions in the rocks, caused by rainfall. Our group thought it was interesting so we did an investigation. Other groups did investigations on soil temperatures, absorption rate of the soil. The investigations made us want to research further. 

Grasslands: This stop was on the bottom of the badlands. There was less sedimentary rock, and more polished hard rock. We found both igneous and metamorphic rock in different shapes, sizes and colors. We compared rocks with each other to find the differences and the comparisons. We slid down bedrock piles. Bedrock would be at the bottom of the badlands. The mounds were contained of shale, the locals call them 'hay stacks'.

The land got more dry as we went west, and more elevation, different types of grass, desert plants, and different animals that we wouldn't see in MN. 

Mrs. Schoeneck is in surgery for her gall bladder. We hope you get better fast!

Day 1 - Monday Journal

posted May 14, 2013, 7:33 AM by Pamela Gades   [ updated May 14, 2013, 10:12 PM ]

group photo
First stop was Lake Benton for the wind turbines. We saw inside a wind turbine. We also learned the advantages and disadvantages of having wind turbines. The advantages are that it is free and you never run out of wind, you make money and it doesn't cost much to repair unless the gear box breaks. Another advantage is that when the power goes out the windmills will still produce energy.The disadvantages are you can't produce energy when there's no wind. Another one is that they are dangerous in the winter because ice can fall off and hit people or things.

The second stop was pipestone. We learned about how the rocks form and how they moved over time also we learned how talus was formed. Talus is caused by erosion of cliffs so smaller portions fall off. After a long time the cliff would recede. Then we learned about cross bedding. Cross bedding is similar to sand dunes because as the wind blows the sand it pushes up and over and then it turns into a rock. We learned which way the water flowed by looking at the rocks cross bedding.

The last stop was devils gulch. We learned the different formations of quartzite. It was formed by softer rock in the middle and harder rock on the outside the softer rock getting eroded by the river. Most of the rocks are pink and have layers. Rocks tell us what the land was in the past and how old the land is. 

Then for the night we stayed at KOA campgrounds in Mitchell MN.

We're On Our Way!

posted May 13, 2013, 7:16 AM by Pamela Gades   [ updated May 13, 2013, 7:35 AM ]



Bus full of students

We loaded the bus early this morning and we are heading out!

Josh's Grandma Baked Cookies for the Trip!

posted May 10, 2013, 10:39 PM by Pamela Gades   [ updated May 10, 2013, 10:40 PM ]

Cookies for the trip

Our Hoodies are Way Cool!

posted May 10, 2013, 10:35 PM by Pamela Gades   [ updated May 10, 2013, 10:55 PM ]

students wearing new hoodies

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