Geology and Natural Hazards of Long Valley, Idaho

Idaho Earth Science Teachers Field Workshop, 2004

Long Valley

Cascade Reservoir and Long Valley (photo Kurt Othberg)


Text and many of the photos used in the website are taken from the Spring 2005 IESTA newsletter. Our thanks to Randy Fiscus, James Cash, and IESTA for the newsletter. Feel free to use any text and photos on this website but please acknowledge the Idaho Geological Survey and the author/photographer.


Each summer, the Idaho Geological Survey conducts a summer earth science teachers field workshop.  The Idaho Earth Science Teachers Association (IESTA) cosponsors the workshop along with the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Energy Foundation, and Idaho Mining Association. The workshop helps Idaho teachers become more familiar with Idaho’s varied geology and how it impacts people.  The course is open to both secondary and elementary teachers.

For more information regarding past and present workshops, see Workshop Information

In 2004, the workshop was held at Snowbank Campground along the shores of Cascade Lake.  Its unique location, situated in Long Valley, gave the participants a unique opportunity to see how volcanic activity, tectonic activity, and glacial activity have sculpted the landscape we live on.

Group Photos 2004 Teachers Workshop

2004 Idaho Earth Science Teachers Field Workshop Participants (photo Kurt Othberg)

Workshop Activities

Field TripsThrough a series of trips along the lake shore and into the surrounding mountains, the participants were able to piece together geologic history of the Long Valley area.

Skill Development

Kurt Othberg and Roy Breckenrige helped people identify rocks, use GPS units to mark locations on topographic maps, identify soils, demonstrated the use of a field magnetometer in differentiating the basalt flows of the Columbia River Basalts, and helped people interpret the broader geologic picture at the many panoramic stops.


    Once field data was collected, a series of presentations were given in camp which dealt with the impact of the local geology on the people that live in the area.


Once data had been collected, participants then began to build a series of modules to be used by Carolyn Miller, the naturalist responsible for campground talks at the various Idaho State Parks located around Cascade Lake and the leader of the local Junior Ranger program (designed for students ages 12 and under).  Each of these modules needed to be small enough to be placed in a series of trunks that could be easily transported from campground to campground.  On the last day of the workshop, groups of participants presented their modules to Carolyn in a form that she might use in her evening presentations at a campground.  As you might expect, the modules were as varied as the participants.  Some were collections of local rocks for campers to look at, some consisted of a series of flip charts for demonstration, others were incredibly funny puppet shows designed to both entertain and educate campers in the area.


Project presentation (photo Kurt Othberg)