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

Virtual Fieldwork Experience Database

Contents

Virtual Fieldwork

  1. Virtual Fieldwork Experience Database
  2. Tools and Suggestions for Creating VFEs

Image above: A fossil sand dollar exposed in a layer of sedimentary rock. Image is part of the EPICC Central California Coast VFE.

Overview

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

The VFEs also 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.

Note that many of the VFEs on this 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. 

We will continue to add to this list. 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.

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

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.


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.

This VFE focuses on Pliocene-aged fossiliferous strata exposed at Capitola Beach, Capitola, Santa Cruz County, California.


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

Additional Highlighted VFEs

Additional VFEs that PRI has played a part in developing are shared in the map below. Click on the placemarks to explore our collection of VFEs.


Other Virtual Fieldwork Resources

The list of virtual fieldwork resources below 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

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

Meteor Crater, Walnut Canyon, Red Mountain

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

Maricopa County

Phoenix Mountains

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

California

San Andreas Fault

  • 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.
  • Topics: Plate tectonics, geomorphology
  • Audience: HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience

Columns of the Giants

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

Kings County

Kettleman Hills of Central California

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

San Benito County

Calaveras Fault

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

San Francisco County

Angel Island

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

Corona Heights

  • 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
  • Topics: Mineralogy, sedimentology, plate tectonics
  • Audience: HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience

Glen Canyon Park

  • 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.
  • Topics: Geomorphology, mineralogy, sedimentology
  • Audience: HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience

Hayward Fault

  • 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.
  • Topics: Geomorphology, faults
  • Audience: HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience

Marin Headlands

  • 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.
  • Topics: Weathering, mineralogy, sedimentology, volcanic rocks
  • Audience: HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience

Ring Mountain

  • Author: 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.
  • Topics: Mineralogy
  • Audience: HS, undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual Field Experience

Santa Cruz County

Central California Coast VFE

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

Tuolumne County

Sonora Pass

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

Colorado

Jefferson County, Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark

Dinosaur Ridge

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

Kentucky

Fort Payne Formation in the Dale Hollow Lake Region

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

Fort Payne Formation in Lake Cumberland Region

  • 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
  • Topics: petrology, mineralogy, structural geology, layering, fossils
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip

Stratigraphy of Fort Payne Formation

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

Typical Facies of Fort Payne Buildups

  • 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
  • Topics: petrology, structural geology, stratigraphy, facies
  • Audience: undergraduate students
  • Type of Resource: Virtual field trip

Powell County

Trail to Natural Bridges

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

Maine

Pineo Ridge Moraine/Delta Complex

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

Massachusetts

Northern Connecticut River Valley

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

Essex County

Plutons in NE Massachusetts and Southeastern New Hampshire

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

Montana

Beartooth Mountains

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

Stillwater Complex

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

Palisades Falls in Hyalite Canyon

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

Pondera County

Swift Dam

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

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone River

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

Mt. Washburn and Absaroka Volcanics

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

Norris Geyser Basin

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

New Hampshire

Chesterfield Gorge

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

New Jersey

Palisades Sill

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

New Mexico

Guadalupe Mountains

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

New York

Metamorphics of Manhattan Prong

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

Eastern and Central Adirondacks

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

New York City

NYC Bedrock

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

Central Park

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

Chenango County

Norwich NY Outcrops

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

Suffolk County

Montauk Point Glacial Geology

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

Texas

Big Bend National Park

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

Blanco County

Honeycut Bend

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

Utah

Grand County

Upheaval Dome in Canyonlands National Park

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

Virgina

Rockingham County

Timberville, VA Quadrangle

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

Shenandoah County

Northern Shenandoah Valley, Northern Massanutten Range, Fort Valley

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