EEPS REU summer program is in Minturn, CO to explore a variety of geologic settings spanning from rivers to glaciers, to learn about field skills in mapping, surveying and sampling, and to bond with each other through evening activities such as meal planning and preparation, and group lectures and presentations.

Organized by EEPS faculty project manager Caroline Masiello, fellow EEPS assistant professors Sylvia Dee and Mark Torres, along with EEPS graduate students Jackson Borchardt and William Larsen are the expert guides for various field areas that will be visited over the next few days.

Minturn, CO is a home rule municipality (a city incorporated under its own unique charter) in Eagle County, not far from the more well known ski villages of Vail and Beaver Creek.  The town covers an area of about eight square miles and rests at an elevation of about 7861 feet (2396 meters).
Day 2: Saturday 20 June
On Saturday, the students visited St Mary’s glacier and ice field (image at left taken by Trinity Lavenhouse) to use a FLIR ONE portable thermal imager to measure the temperature of the surface ice and to look for glacial features on the landscape.
“Having never seen a glacier in person, it was such a great experience, even though the trip was cut short due to undesired weather condition. We did get a chance to capture the temperature variation within a small segment of “dirty snow” (see images below captured by Trinity Lavenhouse). Also, afterwards we got to see the remnants of the abandoned Gillman mine, in which they predominantly mined gold, silver, and mainly Zinc (which was perhaps not very profitable during that time).” 
– Neel Rathod

Saint Mary’s Glacier is not actually a glacier, but is a semi-permanent snowfield located in Arapaho National Forest in the Colorado.  The persistence of the snow can allow sufficient compression to create ice.  As the snowfield changes with the season, so can the size and shape of the field, suggesting movement of the ice, which is what defines a glacier.

The colored images above are taken with a FLIR ONE thermal imaging device that connects directly with iOS or Android smart phones.   

“I learned a lot about the biota of the alpine environment. It was really interesting to observe how the dominant plant species changed as we climbed higher up the mountain, moving from full-sized trees to bushes and finally to very small flowering plants. Mountains such as that associated with St. Mary’s glacier have such a huge array of environments and niches that different organisms are adapted to, and I really appreciated seeing these changes during the hike today. It is interesting to consider the numerous impacts that the glacier has had on the flora and fauna on both relatively short and long timespans, shaping the macro- and micro-environments that were so evident on our hike today. ”  – Zachary Scott