Photograph of a fossil sand dollar in a layer of sedimentary rock.

VFE catalog

Overview

In this section, you can find virtual field experiences (VFEs) from localities across the United States. These VFEs were created for a wide variety of audiences by a wide range of people. There are three sections:

1. Highlighted VFEs, by PRI staff and colleagues, provide examples of a variety of pedagogical approaches to creating VFEs.

2. Map of PRI teacher associate VFEs, shown as pins on a map, which contain VFEs that PRI has played some role in creating, many of which are by teachers from past workshops. By clicking on the pins, you can learn more about the VFEs in a pop-up field to the left of the map. These provide examples of VFEs made and used mostly by secondary school teachers.

3. State-by-state list of VFEs, which lists a wide variety of resources by other individuals and organizations. Some are more focused on providing imagery and tours rather than student activities. Note that many of the VFEs on this third list were not constructed to provide qualities of “fieldwork” and are not necessarily ideal pedagogically in their current form. Nonetheless, you may find them valuable background for teaching or adaptable to your teaching purposes. 

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The VFEs in all 3 sections vary in medium: some are websites, and others are downloadable files to be opened in other software (such as “kmz” files for Google Earth). What they all have in common is a photographically-rich documentation of a geological area

We will continue to add to all of these lists. Because of COVID-19 restrictions on travel, numerous college-level geoscience educators are creating VFEs to replace class field trips and even whole field camps, and we will add those that are made publicly available.

Please contact us if you know of a quality virtual fieldwork experience in the U.S. that should be added to this list.

1. Highlighted VFEs

And their associated projects

We have highlighted several different kinds of VFEs constructed by PRI staff and colleagues as examples of how VFEs are constructed.

The Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory VFE

Created in partnership with Penn State the Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) Network.

This VFE highlights how to tools such as Google Earth and Prezi can be used to help students explore the relationship between environmental data and the 3-D topography of the region. The critical zone is the physical environment in which most life resides, between the tops of the trees and the base of the groundwater; the flow of matter and energy through the system studied by interdisciplinary teams of scientists, reflecting the cores ideas of the Next Generation Science Standards. The Shale Hills CZO VFE website combines a general overview of critical zone science and VFEs, and includes both a Prezi presentation on the Shale Hills CZO.


Prezi presentation about the Shale Hills CZO by Don Haas.


Go to Shale Hills CZO VFE

The Kettleman Hills of Central California VFE

From the Eastern Pacific Invertebrate Communities of the Cenozoic (EPICC) Project collection VFEs.

EPICC VFEs highlight how we can use field site and museum collection imagery to explore the fossil record of a site, and how to use tools such as ESRI Story Maps to presents a visually compelling story while asking students to interpret how a place came to look as it does. The EPICC program is a collaboration among nine natural history museum to make museum research collections of Cenozoic marine invertebrate fossil records from the eastern Pacific coastline; PRI partners with the UC Berkeley Museum of Paleontology to create the VFEs. The Kettleman Hills tell the story of gradually changing shallow marine environments.


Field photograph of a notebook and five fossil specimens.
Fossil specimens discovered during the development of the Kettleman Hills VFE.

Go to Kettleman Hills VFE

Central California Coast VFE

From the Eastern Pacific Invertebrate Communities of the Cenozoic (EPICC) Project collection VFEs.

Like the Kettleman Hills VFE above, this VFE uses ESRI Story Maps as a platform to explore sites important for their Cenozoic marine fossils, in this case Pliocene-aged fossiliferous strata exposed at Capitola Beach, Capitola, Santa Cruz County, California. While the Kettleman Hills VFE focuses more on deposits that are now in a dry inland environment, the deposits in the cliffs at Capitola Beach represent environments that are (relatively speaking) not greatly different than the marine environments immediately adjacent to them. 


Photograph of fossiliferous strata of the Purisima Formation exposed at Capitola Beach, Capitola, California.
Fossiliferous strata exposed in the Pliocene-aged Purisima Formation at Capitola Beach, Capitola, California.

Go to Central California Coast VFE

The Dinosaur Ridge & Ancient Denvers VFE

Created as part of the Regional and Local (ReaL) Earth Inquiry Project VFE.

The Dinosaur Ridge and Ancient Denvers VFE show how we can combine gigapixel-resolution images (GigaPans) and Google Earth files to interpret dinosaur behavior based on dinosaur tracks at a site in Colorado. The VFE complements a real-time experience in which teachers in Ithaca, NY participated remotely via videoconferencing in a field trip of the Geological Society of America annual conference.


Image

Screenshot of a GigaPan image of Dinosaur Ridge captured by Don Haas.


Go to Dinosaur Ridge & Ancient Denvers VFE - Student Page

Go to Dinosaur Ridge & Ancient Denvers VFE - Teacher Page

2. Map of PRI teacher associate VFEs

Additional VFEs that PRI has played a part in developing, primarily through teachers associated with PRI professional development programs, are shared in the map below. Click on the placemarks to explore our collection of VFEs.


3. State-by-state list of VFEs

There are numerous resources by geoscience educators at other organizations; they vary greatly in how focused are on immersive imagery and problem-solving, but even more traditional virtual "field trips" might be usefully adapted if the content suits your teaching needs.

This list is a "work in progress" and is under regular development. Please contact us if you would like your resource to be added to the list, which is organized geographically.

Arizona

Coconino County

Grand Canyon

  • Topics: Rock units & types, rock formations, banding & cross bedding, uplift, erosion
  • Audience: MS, HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience
  • Authors: Geoffrey Bruce, Steve Semken, Ariel Anbar (Arizona State University)

Meteor Crater, Walnut Canyon, Red Mountain

  • Topics: Petrology, stratigraphy, erosion, volcanics, cross-bedding
  • Audience: Undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Field trip blog
  • Author: Ryan Anderson

Maricopa County

Phoenix Mountains

  • Topics: Structural geology, mineralogy
  • Audience: High school students
  • Type of Resource: Field trip blog
  • Author: Callan Bentley

California

San Andreas Fault

  • Topics: Plate tectonics, geomorphology
  • Audience: HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience
  • Authors:
    • Text: Christie Rowe, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Callan Bentley, John Wakabayashi, Kim Blisniuk, with editing by Jenny Lunn.
    • Photos: Christie Rowe, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Callan Bentley, John Wakabayashi, Kim Blisniuk, Nam Thai, Suzi Pratt, Jules Clifford.

Columns of the Giants

  • Topics: Glaciers, igneous rocks
  • Audience: MS, HS students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience
  • Author: Ryan Hollister

Kings County

Kettleman Hills of Central California

  • Topics: Fossil record, geology, and geography of the Kettleman Hills.
  • Audience: MS, HS students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience
  • Authors: Lisa White and Erica Clites (University of California Museum of Paleontology) and Don Haas and Robert Ross (Paleontological Research Institution)

San Benito County

Calaveras Fault

  • Topics: Faulting, geomorphology, creep
  • Audience: HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Trip
  • Author: Joe Dellinger (Stanford University)

San Francisco County

Angel Island

  • Topics: Mineralogy, structural geology, formation, metamorphism
  • Audience: HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience
  • Author: Larry O’Hanlon

Corona Heights

  • Topics: Mineralogy, sedimentology, plate tectonics
  • Audience: HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience
  • Authors:
    • Text: Christie Rowe, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Callan Bentley, John Wakabayashi, Kim Blisniuk, with editing by Jenny Lunn.
    • Photos: Christie Rowe, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Callan Bentley, John Wakabayashi, Kim Blisniuk, Nam Thai, Suzi Pratt, Jules Clifford.
    • Videos: Derek Sollosi, Callan Bentley

Glen Canyon Park

  • Topics: Geomorphology, mineralogy, sedimentology
  • Audience: HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience
  • Authors:
    • Text: Christie Rowe, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Callan Bentley, John Wakabayashi, Kim Blisniuk, with editing by Jenny Lunn.
    • Photos: Christie Rowe, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Callan Bentley, John Wakabayashi, Kim Blisniuk, Nam Thai, Suzi Pratt, Jules Clifford.

Hayward Fault

  • Topics: Geomorphology, faults
  • Audience: HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience
  • Author:
    • Text: Christie Rowe, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Callan Bentley, John Wakabayashi, Kim Blisniuk, with editing by Jenny Lunn.
    • Photos: Christie Rowe, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Callan Bentley, John Wakabayashi, Kim Blisniuk, Nam Thai, Suzi Pratt, Jules Clifford.

Marin Headlands

  • Topics: Weathering, mineralogy, sedimentology, volcanic rocks
  • Audience: HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience
  • Authors:
    • Text: Christie Rowe, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Callan Bentley, John Wakabayashi, Kim Blisniuk, with editing by Jenny Lunn.
    • Photos: Christie Rowe, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Callan Bentley, John Wakabayashi, Kim Blisniuk, Nam Thai, Suzi Pratt, Jules Clifford.

Ring Mountain

  • Topics: Mineralogy
  • Audience: HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience
  • Author:
    • Text: Christie Rowe, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Callan Bentley, John Wakabayashi, Kim Blisniuk, with editing by Jenny Lunn.
    • Photos: Christie Rowe, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Callan Bentley, John Wakabayashi, Kim Blisniuk, Nam Thai, Suzi Pratt, Jules Clifford.

Santa Cruz County

Central California Coast VFE

  • Topics: Fossil record, geology, and geography of the Kettleman Hills.
  • Audience: MS, HS students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience
  • Authors: Lisa White and Erica Clites (University of California Museum of Paleontology) and Don Haas and Robert Ross (Paleontological Research Institution)

Tuolumne County

Sonora Pass

  • Topics: Volcanics, mineralogy
  • Audience: Undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Field trip blog
  • Author: Callan Bentley

Colorado

Jefferson County, Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark

Dinosaur Ridge

  • Topics: Layering, fossils, depositional environment, erosion
  • Audience: College undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience
  • Author: Max Christie

Kentucky

Fort Payne Formation in the Dale Hollow Lake Region

  • Topics: petrology, structural geology, layering, facies, sedimentology
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Authors: Larry Knox and Frank Stupor Jr. (Tennessee Technological University)

Fort Payne Formation in Lake Cumberland Region

  • Topics: petrology, mineralogy, structural geology, layering, fossils
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Greb, S.F., Potter, P.E., Knox, L.W., Stapor, F.W., Jr., Meyer, D.L., and Ausich, W.I., 2011, Geology of the Fort Payne Formation in south-central Kentucky and Tennessee: Kentucky Geological Survey

Stratigraphy of Fort Payne Formation

  • Topics: petrology, structural geology, stratigraphy, facies
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Stephen F. Greb and Paul E. Potter, University of Kentucky

Typical Facies of Fort Payne Buildups

  • Topics: petrology, structural geology, stratigraphy, facies
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Greb, S.F., Potter, P.E., Knox, L.W., Stapor, F.W., Jr., Meyer, D.L., and Ausich, W.I., 2011, Geology of the Fort Payne Formation in south-central Kentucky and Tennessee: Kentucky Geological Survey

Powell County

Trail to Natural Bridges

  • Topics: petrology, mineralogy, structural geology,
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Kentucky Geological Survey

Maine

Pineo Ridge Moraine/Delta Complex

  • Topics: Glaciology
  • Audience: High school, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Trip
  • Author: Unknown

Massachusetts

Northern Connecticut River Valley

  • Topics: Geomorphology, deposition, sedimentology, petrology
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Kurt Hollocher (Union College)

Essex County

Plutons in NE Massachusetts and Southeastern New Hampshire

  • Topics: petrology, mineralogy, layering, volcanics
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Kurt Hollocher (Union College)

Montana

Beartooth Mountains

  • Topics: petrology, mineralogy, deformation, metamorphism, structural geology
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Kurt Hollocher (Union College)

Stillwater Complex

  • Topics: petrology, layering, structural geology
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Kurt Hollocher (Union College)

Palisades Falls in Hyalite Canyon

  • Topics: Volcanics
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Kurt Hollocher (Union College)

Pondera County

Swift Dam

  • Topics: Structural geology, fractures, layering, deformation
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Field trip blog
  • Author: Callan Bentley

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone River

  • Topics: petrology, structural geology
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Kurt Hollocher (Union College)

Mt. Washburn and Absaroka Volcanics

  • Topics: petrology, structural geology, volcanics
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Kurt Hollocher (Union College)

Norris Geyser Basin

  • Topics: Geothermal, hydrothermal
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Kurt Hollocher (Union College)

New Hampshire

Chesterfield Gorge

  • Topics: Erosion, petrology
  • Audience: Middle school, high school, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Field trip blog
  • Author: Evelyn Mervine

New Jersey

Palisades Sill

  • Topics: Igneous petrology, metamorphism, sedimentology
  • Audience: high school, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Field trip blog
  • Author: Ed Marintsch

New Mexico

Guadalupe Mountains

  • Topics: petrology, geomorphology
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Field trip blog
  • Author: Ryan Anderson

New York

Metamorphics of Manhattan Prong

  • Topics: metamorphism, foliation, petrology, glaciology
  • Audience: high school, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Ed Marintsch

Eastern and Central Adirondacks

  • Topics: petrology, mineralogy, metamorphics
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Kurt Hollocher (Union College)

Taughannock Falls State Park

  • Topics: sedimentary rocks, glaciation, geological history
  • Audience: HS, introductory undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience (highlighted)
  • Author: Sarah Brumberg

New York City

NYC Bedrock

  • Topics: Metamorphics, foliation, foliation, glaciology, petrology
  • Audience: high school, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Ed Marintsch

Central Park

  • Topics: outcrops, layering
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Sarah Miller

Chenango County

Norwich NY Outcrops

  • Topics: outcrops, layering
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Sarah Miller

Suffolk County

Montauk Point Glacial Geology

  • Topics: glaciology, structural geology, erosion
  • Audience: MS, HS students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Ed Marintsch

Texas

Big Bend National Park

  • Topics: Layering, fossils, depositional environment, erosion
  • Audience: Middle school, high school students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Cain and Leslie Neal

Blanco County

Honeycut Bend

  • Topics: Petrology, stratigraphy
  • Audience: Middle school, high school students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip
  • Author: Ed Marintsch

Utah

Grand County

Upheaval Dome in Canyonlands National Park

  • Topics: sediment, structure & rocks, soil, deformation, topography
  • Audience: MS, HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience
  • Authors: Geoffrey Bruce, Steve Semken, Ariel Anbar (Arizona State University)

Virgina

Rockingham County

Timberville, VA Quadrangle

  • Topics: Faulting, structural geology
  • Audience: HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Field trip blog
  • Author: Callan Bentley

Shenandoah County

Northern Shenandoah Valley, Northern Massanutten Range, Fort Valley

  • Topics: fossils, geology, and stratigraphy of the Massanutten Synclinorium and its ridges and valleys
  • Audience: College undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience
  • Authors: Callan Bentley, Karen Layou, Russ Kohrs, Shelley Jaye, Matt Affolter, and Brian Ricketts (North Virginia Community College)