Skip to main content
Skip menu links

Earth Science Class Travels to Black Mesa

Submitted By Dr. Beverly Meyer on 09/28/2017 From left to right: Front row, Rachel McDonald and Becky Simmons; Back row, Beverly Meyer and Adrianna Garner —Courtesy photo From left to right: Front row, Rachel McDonald and Becky Simmons; Back row, Beverly Meyer and Adrianna Garner —Courtesy photo

Goodwell, Okla. — The Earth Science Field Methods class recently made their first field trip of the semester. On Friday, September 22, Dr. Beverly Meyer and the three members of the class traveled to the far western Oklahoma Panhandle to hike and observe the geology of the Black Mesa area. Most Oklahoma Panhandle State University students and staff probably don’t realize that just west of us in Cimarron County and beyond in northeastern New Mexico the landscape changes dramatically. The area is famous for its dinosaur fossils and tracks, abundant petrified wood, cinder cone volcanoes with lava flows, and scenic beauty.

The first stop on the field trip was a visit to Black Mesa State Park and Lake Etling. The park and lake are surrounded by beautiful sandstone cliffs that formed during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods of the Mesozoic Era. These cliffs formed on the western shore of an inland sea that existed during the Cretaceous Period. The Black Mesa State Park area is located on the beach where sand accumulated and dinosaurs walked. The second stop was a scenic view overlooking the park where the class observed fossil ripple marks that formed on the ancient beach. On down the road, at the third stop, they collected fossil oysters known as Gryphea.

The fourth stop was in an area famous for its hoodoo rock formations. The Black Mesa area hoodoos are tall spires of eroded rock with a piece of harder rock on top, which protects the sandstone below from the elements. They form where sedimentary rock is eroded by wind and rain. Next, the group was lucky enough to arrive in the friendly town of Kenton at a time when the museum was open and had a quick museum tour. The last stop was a visit to the Black Mesa lava flow and the highest point in Oklahoma. Across the highway from the trailhead to hike the mesa is a narrow road that ends at a creek bed with dinosaur tracks. Unfortunately, the creek was not dry, but the tracks were visible in the mud.

There is so much more to do and see in the area. The road west of Kenton continues into New Mexico where the geology changes to even older rock formations and red rock. The road to the north goes into Colorado and other scenic vistas with lots of canyons and volcanic rocks. The class had to leave that for another day. One day is just not enough time to see it all.

The Field Methods class was developed to provide Physical Science students with upper division hours and familiarize them with field research. It also provides upper division hours for any student who is interested in joining. Future trips this semester include Capulin Volcano in northern New Mexico and Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southeastern New Mexico.

We Are Panhandle We Are Panhandle!

Image Rotator

PBL Represents at State Leadership Conference

PBL members recently traveled to State Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City. —Courtesy photo

Image Rotator

Crops Judging Team Competes at NACTA

The Crops Judging Team recently competed in three contests at the NACTA Judging Conference in Norfolk, Neb. —Courtesy photos

Image Rotator

Will Martin and Addison Munsch Named Aggies of the Year

Image Rotator

Animal Science Students Compete at NACTA

Animal Science students recently competed in multiple contests at the NACTA Judging Contests. —Courtesy photo

Image Rotator

Panhandle State Proud to Add Competitive Cheer as New NAIA Sport

Image Rotator

Panhandle Athletics Celebrate Momentous Event with Two Teams in SAC Conference Tournament

Image Rotator

Art Jubilee Wraps Up 20th Year

Sponsored by the Galleon Restaurant, the 20th Annual Art Jubilee saw over 330 participants with 16 different high schools represented. —Photo by Sydney Dougherty

Image Rotator

Chi Alpha Sigma Celebrates Student Success of 34 Aggie Athletes

Senior Kayln Moore is presented with a red cord for graduation by Dr. Julie Dinger; also present Meghan Mulcahy, Athletic Director (left) and Head Volleyball Coach Angela Franke (right).-Sydney Dougherty photo

Image Rotator

Aggies Name Victor Esparza Head Women’s Basketball Coach

Image Rotator

Great Weekend with Alumni

It was a weekend full of activity as Alumni gathered for the Annual Banquet on April 14th. The weekend started off with the grand opening of the University House on April 13th. —Photo by Danae Moore

Image Rotator

Men’s Team Continues Winning Tradition

Lane Giovanetti represented Panhandle State in a tough weekend of Steer Wrestling. Giovanetti had a time of 4.5 seconds in the long round and placed fifth in the average. —Photo by Dale Hirschman

Image Rotator

Anchor D Receives Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award

Anchor D recently received the Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award. —Courtesy photo