Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences and
Youngstown State University

Field Investigations In Geology, GEOL 3700

San Salvador, Bahamas

Instructors: Dr. Jeffrey C. Dick, YSU Bahamas Program Director
Prerequisites: Permit from instructor
Credit: 4 SH basic (credit hours can be arranged)

About the Course

Field geology and environmental science is fun, especially in the tropics during winter. Field Investigations in Geology provides a unique and very memorable field-based research experience. The island of San Salvador provides many opportunities to study geology and environmental science principles in an essentially pristine setting with minimal input from human activity.

Field Investigations is a fieldwork intensive course. The majority of the course requirements are satisfied during our one-week visit to the Bahamian island of San Salvador. During our stay at the Gerace Research Centre some of you will participate in field research projects and others will study the variety of features and systems of the island through daily field trips and exercises. Example projects and activities include mapping shoreline change, measuring ancient wind patterns from fossil sand dunes, measuring wave energy and shore currents, exploring caves, collecting, analyzing, and comparing sand samples, navigating and mapping using GPS, observing and identifying tropical marine life forms on near shore reefs and bays, and map interpretation. Anticipate dedicating some time to finishing projects (data analysis, presentations, etc.) after returning to YSU.

Plenty of leisure time is provided to enjoy the natural beauty of the island, relax, and interact with island people and students from other universities using the Research Centre. The beaches are undeveloped, many beautiful reefs are close to shore and marine life is abundant. Plan on bringing a mask, fins, and snorkel to open the doors to a new underwater world.

We can escape from Ohio’s winter, but we can’t escape some sort of daily schedule. A typical day of activity consists of breakfast at 7:00 A.M. followed by departure to the field by 9:00. Lunch depends on daily situations; we may have lunch in the field, at the field station, or a local restaurant (if available). Dinner is served at the field station at 5:30. Following dinner around 7:00 we will gather at the lab/classroom for some analytical work, wrap-up discussions of the day’s activities, and introduction to the next day’s actives. Remaining evening time is personal time to do what you please. Some evening activities include laboratory work, library work, social time at the snack stand, a relaxing stroll to the Short Stop to enjoy your favorite beverage and socialize, or a walk on the beach. The GRC has strict rules/policies about on-campus activities which will be discussed and must be adhered to for the duration of our stay.

Pre-Travel Assignments

Prior to departure for San Salvador there are several exercises and homework assignments to familiarize the class with the geology, geography, culture and biology of the Bahamian Island Chain and specifically the formation of San Salvador. These assignments will be counted towards 20% of the overall class grade and involve a total of 4 in-class/homework assignments coupled with lectures and reading material provided by your instructor.

Travel to San Salvador

The Wednesday prior to Spring Break, our trip will have us flying from Pittsburgh to Nassau, Bahamas. We will stay close to the airport at the Orange Hill Inn and depart for San Salvador Thursday morning. The Inn is located on a nice public beach far from the hustle and bustle of downtown Nassau and has a laid-back atmosphere. The following morning we will fly on Bahamas Air to San Salvador!

Schedule of Activities after Returning to YSU

Course Fee

The course fee is approximately $1500, not including tuition, subject to change. The fee covers airfare from Pittsburgh to the island of San Salvador and back, all room and board during our stay at the field station, use of field vehicles, and hotel accommodations in Nassau.

Alternative Registration

GEOL 5805, ENST 3780, and ENST 6999.