This virtual field trip was born from an acute geological necessity. During the global situation in 2020 we realized how fragile the geologists’ “ecosystem” was. The geologist needs to observe the natural world around himself or herself and his/hers necessities to touch, smell, lick, hammer, analyze the rocks in their normal environment were deeply affected by the lockdowns or by the restrictions imposed on travel and on the interactions with the communities located on the path to the mighty rocks. During the pandemic, the student of geology was stripped of the best part of the undergraduate study: the field trip. The field trip awakens the innate curiosity in the student, while forging long lasting friendships. Also, if each knowledge information would be a piece of a massive puzzle, the field trip helps the scholar in geology put all the puzzle pieces in their place, helping with the understanding of the world surrounding us as a whole.

We are living in a world that is increasingly virtual. We learned to have meetings online and teach and study online. This virtual world erases the distances and the political boundaries. It makes it possible to visit Himalaya with one click or explore the abyss of the oceans by watching a video. And all these virtual expeditions are requiring no packing nor visas nor interactions with other cultures, but rather a computer system able to play the high definition video and a good internet connection from the comfort of your home. The possibilities of traveling far and  across this beautiful world can create a false sense of security: “I know what to expect because I saw it in a video with explanations”. But the reality is that watching something as exciting as traveling to Mars will never come close – emotionally – to actually experiencing it first hand. Consequently, this field trip doesn’t want to be a replacement for going out in the field, but rather a motivation to go out and see all these wonders on your own. If you want, this virtual field trip has two main reasons to exist: to serve as a guide of what to expect before visiting the Avonlea Badlands and as a reminder after the field trip of all the things to be analyzed and understood.

The Avonlea Badlands area has been chosen for few reasons. The first reason is the proximity to the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, allowing for a quick day trip visit. The second reason is that the study area is relatively easy accessible, taking just a short hike on flat land to get to the destination. The third reason is that the formation exposed in the Avonlea Badlands is beautifully preserved, and it is very characteristic for the Upper Cretaceous in Southern Saskatchewan.

Now, let’s buckle our virtual seat belts and let’s go explore!

Key Takeaways

If there is something to takeaway from this short introduction is:

  • virtual trips should be study guides; they should NOT replace the real experience because

    “It is better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.”




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