2007 Idaho Earth Science Educator Field Workshop

Island Park, Idaho

July 8-13, 2007

Group Photo

2007 Workshop Participants at 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake Fault Scarp (IGS photo)


Welcome to the Idaho Geological Survey's Summer Field Workshop for Idaho Earth Science Educators. Each summer in July, the IGS takes earth science teachers out of their classrooms and back to the field for an exciting week of field trips and projects organized around the topic of natural hazards. This website documents the 2007 workshop.

Are you interested in attending the IGS summer field workshop? For more information, click on one of these links or contact Bill Phillips.

For More Information Contact:

Bill Phillips
Idaho Geological Survey
PO Box 443014
University of Idaho
Moscow, ID 83844-3014
telephone: (208)885-8928
email: Phillips Email Address


This workshop is funded by the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security, FEMA, and the Idaho Geological Survey.  Additional support is provided by the Idaho Mining Association and the National Energy Foundation. We thank the Idaho Earth Science Teachers Association for their help advertising the workshop. Special thanks to Cheryl Jaworowski and Hank Heasler (Yellowstone National Park), and Dean Garwood (IGS). Finally, muchas gracias to the teachers for their enthusiasm and help with the daily logistics of the workshop.

Island Park Area

The 2007 workshop was held at the Buttermilk Campground Group Site in Island Park, about 54 miles north of Idaho Falls. Island Park lies in the Henrys Fork Caldera adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. The area contains an outstanding assortment of ancient and modern geological features including fault scarps, lava flows, pumice, obsidian, hot springs, and glacial moraines.

Location Map

Location map of the 2007 Field Workshop

Snotel Mtn
Earthquake Lake
Hebgen Lake
L: Snotel Mountain near Island Park ; C: Earthquake Lake, created by 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake; R: Hebgen Lake from Horse Butte (photos Bill Phillips, IGS)

Workshop Activities

As in other years, the workshop focus was on natural hazards. This year, we examined the amazing Island Park area. With so much to see, participants were kept busy from 8 am to 5 pm plus activities such as movies or lectures on most evenings. Here is a brief summary of what we did during the week. For a more detailed schedule, download the Workshop Pamplet. This also contains many maps, location of field stops, and staff biographies.

Sunday, July 8: Workshop participants arrived during the afternoon to register and set up camp on the shores of Island Park Reservoir. Dinner was an  icebreaker barbecue sponsored by IESTA, the National Energy Foundation, and the Idaho Mining Association. Special thanks to Jim Wilcox for his help making the barbecue happen in a sudden rain storm. After dinner, the workshop began with a Survey of Geologic Hazard Teaching Practices by Idaho Teachers (multi-year study conducted by Bill Phillips). Then, Hank Heasler (Yellowstone National Park) presented a in-depth lecture on the geologic setting and natural hazards of the Greater Yellowstone area. Many of us were amazed to learn that not only does Yellowstone have earthquakes, lava flows, ash flow tuffs, hydrothermal explosions, and those famous geysers, but also dangerous concentrations of CO2 that may have killed a herd of bison. Hank's lecture did an excellent job of setting the stage for the next several days of field trips.

2007 Results of Geologic Hazard Teaching Practices by Idaho Teachers (pdf download)

Buttermilk CG Group Site

Buttermilk Campground Group Site (photo Bill Phillips, IGS)

Monday, July 9: Cheryl Jaworowski (Yellowstone National Park) guided the group to Old Faithful and Upper Geyser Basin areas of Yellowstone National Park. We witnessed an eruption of Old Faithful, walk around geyers and hot pools, got a close up view of a rhyolite lava flow, and begin to appreciate the complexity and power of this fascinating area. July is a prime time to visit Yellowstone and we were literally surrounded by hundreds of fellow park visitors. The risk posed each day during the summer by natural hazards to these thousands of  tourists was made clear, particularly when Cheryl showed us a recent hydrothermal steam explosion crater and its debris. A favorite for many of us was Cheryl's demonstration of constructing a time line of geological events using rope and labels. This is a great way to introduce the concepts of geologic time to students. We all benefited tremendously from Cheryl's enthusiasm and knowledge on this trip and during the remainder  of the workshop. Thanks, Cheryl! To top off a long day, a group of die-hard participants viewed the movie "Supervolcano" in the campground. This is a good resource for educators, particularly when the audience is not so sleepy!

Old Faithful Area
Cheryl lecturing
Hydrothermal explosion pool

L: Old Faithful erupts (at last); C: Cheryl points out hydrothermal explosion debris to Randy; R: Site of hydrothermal explosion (photos Bill Phillips and Jim Cash, IGS)

Tuesday, July 10: We rise again early for another full day of field trips, this time led by Bill Phillips and Roy Breckenridge (IGS). Today's focus is on the 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake. With a magnitude of 7.3, this earthquake was the most powerful  recorded in the Rocky Mountains. We began with a short exercise mapping stream terraces on air photos on the Madison River at Missouri Flats. This area has a great view of Holocene fault scarps at the base of the Madison Range and the stream terraces have been deformed by Quaternary tectonism. Next we visited Earthquake Lake where an enormous earthquake-induced landslide dammed the Madison River, killing 23 people. We viewed the National Forest Service video on the 1959 earthquake. The video is quite good, particularly in terms of documenting the cost to human life and property. While at the landslide overlook, we practiced collecting mineral sets for teaching. At the next stop, we took a group photo at the scarp of the 1959 earthquake, and discussed radiometric dating and fault hazard analysis. Then, we moved on to Hebgen Lake Dam and nearby damaged road and building sites. These stops demonstrated how vulnerable dams and reservoirs can be to severe earthquakes. The touring of earthquake damaged facilities is a great idea for hazard educators. We ended up the day on top of Horse Butte where we discussed  the Bull Lake glaciation of the area. After dinner, we gathered for Judy Walling's (Meridian School District) presentation of the Out of the Rock workshop. This workshop focuses on instructional methods for introducing earth materials and natural resource concepts to students. It is particularly strong on mineral ID kits.

Landslide Dam at EQ Lake
Mapping stream terraces
Missouri Flats

L: Participants viewing 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake Landslide Site; C: Fred, Jacque, and Judy mapping stream terraces at Missouri Flats; R: Missouri Flats with Holocene fault scarps on Madison Range (photos Bill Phillips and Roy Breckenridge, IGS)

Wednesday, July 11: After two long days of field trips, we were ready for a bit of a change. Dave Jackson (Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security) presented an entertaining and informative mini-workshop on Natural Hazard Mitigation. Refreshed and still chuckling, we climbed aboard the vans for one more afternoon of field trips. This time, Bill Phillips led a tour of the Henrys Fork Caldera. This feature, often improperly called the Island Park Caldera,displays volcanic features and landforms particularly well. We started at Big Springs (huge springs discharging from the base of a Yellowstone Plateau rhyolite flow), then moved to the central floor of the caldera to discuss post-caldera basalt flows and rhyolite domes. A relatively unappreciated feature of the region is the dissection of the caldera by streams, resulting in several spectacular waterfalls.At Upper and Lower Mesa Falls, the processes of river incision and knickpoint generation and migration were discussed. Then, after an emergency ice cream break in Ashton, we finished up the field trip with mineral collecting at an exposure of the Mesa Falls Tuff. If all this were not enough, it was now party time back at camp. Dropping all pretension of scholarly activity, we enjoyed another IESTA/NEF/IMA barbecue followed by the famous IESTA rock raffle. Thanks to Jim Cash for his help with the Raffle, and to Jena Raino for being such a great emcee. The Rock Raffle is the primary fund-raising activity of IESTA. It is also run at the annual Idaho Science Teachers Association meeting every fall.

Dave jackson
Big Springs
Rock Raffle
L: Dave Jackson, hazard mitigation specialist extrordinaire; C: Lucille (lower left) helps test pH at Big Springs; R: Cathy and Jim at the IESTA Rock Raffle (photos Bill Phillips, IGS)

Thursday, July 12: On the last full day of the workshop, it was time for participants to work on their projects. To get them warmed up, Jim Cash (recently retired from the Moscow School District) presented wisdom gleaned from his many years of earth science teaching with a lecture on "Incorporating geologic hazards in your teaching." Participants spent the remainder of the day working on their projects. Staff were available for technical help as well as transportation to field sites. In the evening, participants gathered for the optional IESTA Board Meeting. See the IESTA website for more information about the activities of this organization.

Friday, July 13: Participants presented short teaching activities based on their workshop experiences, either in small teams of 2 or 3, or individually. These presentations are one of the most important parts of the workshop. They give teachers a chance to try out new ideas and gain feedback from their peers. Summaries of the presentations are archived below for download.

Jim Cash lecture
Mike Emory presentation
Jean Robinson

L: Jim Cash presents his lecture; C: Mike's presentation was a real page-turner; R: Jean describes her time line project for the Yellowstone Hot Spot track (Photos Bill Phillips and Roy Breckenridge, IGS)

Workshop Pamplet (pdf download)
2007 Participant Projects (pdf download)
2007 Workshop Evaluation (pdf download)

Overview of Jim Cash's Activities (pdf download)

Borah Peak Activity (pdf download)

Earthquake Evacuation Lesson (pdf download)

Epicenter Activity (pdf download)

Half-Life Activity (pdf download)

Hebgen Lake Earthquake (pdf download)

Risk Map Activity (pdf download)

Supervolcano Activity (pdf download)

Types of Faults (pdf download)

More Workshop Photos

Roy and Bill at Old Faithful
Collecting Mesa Falls Tuff
Cheryl and George Raino
Relaxing at the rock raffle
Damaged road Hebgen Lake
Cathy and Kathleen at Mesa Falls
UL: Roy and Bill at Old Faithful; UC: Collecting Mesa Falls Tuff; UR: Cheryl and George with glacial erratics at Horse Butte
LL: Cathy and Ted relax at the Rock Raffle: LC: Damaged road at Hebgen Lake; LR: Cathy and Kathleen in Yellowstone (IGS photos by Bill Phillips, Jim Cash, and Roy Breckenridge)

2007 Workshop Staff

Bill Phillips, Workshop Organizer (IGS), Roy Breckenridge (IGS) , Jim Cash (Moscow School District, Retired)
Judy Walling (Meridian School District), Dave Jackson (Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security)

2007 Guest Instructors

Cheryl Jaworowski (US National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park)
Hank Heasler (US National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park)

Further Educational Resources

Yellowstone Hot Spot Information and Links Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (excellent source of information on Yellowstone earthquakes and geology)
Yellowstone National Park (the official US National Park Service website)
Snake River Plain and Yellowstone Hot Spot (good introductory site by the VolcanoWorld people)
Mantle Plumes (complicated but fascinating website discussing the origin of mantle plumes. Has a skeptical bias against conventional plume theory. Technical and slightly wacky)
Is Yellowstone Volcanism Caused by Deep-Seated Mantle Plume?(Technical discussions and resources regarding mantle plumes and Yellowstone features)
Real-Time Earthquakes in the Yellowstone Area (check recent earthquake activity near Yellowstone National Park)
Supervolcano (Official BBC website for the movie thriller)

About Summer Field Workshops for Idaho Earth Science Teachers    

Offered since 1986, the IGS summer field workshops are week-long sessions designed to help teachers develop lesson plans that increase awareness and understanding of the geology and natural hazards affecting Idaho. The workshops also promote excellence in earth science education by providing short courses in geological concepts and methods, and by exposing educators to new technologies and theories. The workshops emphasize "learning through inquiry" in a friendly, non-competitive, outdoor environment. They are open to all Idaho educators regardless of prior training or experience in the earth sciences. Both elementary and secondary teachers are welcome. Photos and other information about past workshops can be viewed at the IGS website (click here).

New! Read FEMA Newsletter Article about the Summer Teacher Workshops (click here for pdf file)

Workshop Funding

Major funding for the workshop is provided by the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security and the Idaho Geological Survey. Other co-sponsors are the Idaho Association of Earth Science Teachers (IESTA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Energy Foundation and the Idaho Mining Association. For further information about these agencies and organizations, see these links:

Idaho Geological Survey
Idaho Earth Science Teachers Association
Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security
Federal Emergency Management Agency
National Energy Foundation
Idaho Mining Association

Workshop Fees

The workshop is designed to be as inexpensive as possible for participants. Costs are reduced by camping in public campsites. There is a $50 registration fee. Grants to the IGS cover camping fees, course materials, and transportation during the workshop. Participants are responsible for their own food and transportation to/from the workshop.

Academic Credit

Participants may optionally take the workshop for two academic credits through the University of Idaho. Special fees for in-service Idaho teachers are available. Registration for academic credit is conducted on-site at the first day of the workshop. Payment is by cash or check only (credit cards are not accepted).

Workshop FAQ's

1. Can my family or friends join me at the workshop? Family members and friends are welcome to camp with participants at the workshop. However, because of insurance restrictions, only registered workshop participants are permitted in University of Idaho vehicles. Also, be aware that participants taking the workshop for academic credit are required to attend all activities,
including some in the evening. Participants will be very busy during the workshop and should not expect much free time.

2. Are dogs permitted at the campground or in University vehicles? Pets are OK in campgrounds. Pets must be restrained or on a leash at all times while in developed recreation areas. Pets (except guide dogs) are not allowed in swimming areas or sanitary facilities. For the comfort and safety of other participants, dogs are not allowed in University field vehicles.

3. Can I use my private vehicle on workshop field trips? We encourage participants to ride in a University vehicle on workshop field trips for safety reasons. Parking is limited at some field stops and long convoys of vehicles are dangerous. Also, it is difficult for instructors to communicate with participants riding in private vehicles. If necessary, participants may use their own vehicles but are responsible for all costs.

4. What kind of vehicles are used for transporation to/from field sites? University of Idaho 15-passenger vans driven by University employees.

5. I don't have formal training in geology. Should I take the workshop? Absolutely!. No formal training in the geological sciences is required.

6. I teach elementary school. Should I take the workshop? Yes. We strive to make the workshop helpful and fun for all K-12 teachers.

7. I am an out-of-state teacher. Can I take the workshop? We must give in-service Idaho teachers enrollment preference. If space is available, out-of-state teachers are welcome to attend. Contact Bill Phillips for more informatioin.

Participant Projects

These are the projects devised by the workshop participants in 2007. They are condensed into simple, one page descriptions for the purpose of this website.

Rock Cycle Goodies

Diary of a Volcanologist

First Graders in Magma

Yellowstone Volcanism

Effects of an Earthquake: Personal Story Experience

Whaz Up?

Finding Home with Google Earth

Earthquake Effects on Streams

Crossing South Georgia Island

3D Topographic Relief Project

Constructing a Yellowstone Hot Spot Time Line

Computing the Rate of Yellowstone Hot Spot Motion (Word file)