This past Monday my classes were lucky enough for a chance to talk with a true expert in the field of landforms and geology. I’ve been searching this year for ways to use Skype to bring in outside experts using video conferencing, and with the help of a former professor of mine from the USC school of Ed, I was able to locate another science professor interested in collaborating with my students.

So, this week was our first chance to get to know Dr. David Barbeau Jr., tectonics and sedimentology expert from USC. Dr. Dave has been studying the mountains of North and South America as well as Antarctica. He spoke with us this week about natural earth processes such as erosion, deposition, and weathering. Students had an opportunity to ask Dr. Dave their own questions, and we listened to him tell us about his type of work.

It was a unique experience to hear about far off places and landforms from someone who has been there and studied them. Dr. Dave told us about his trip coming up this February to Antarctica and how he will be collecting samples of rocks from mountains poking through the ice sheet covering most of the continent. He will be looking at the elements inside the rocks using special equipment like a mass spectrometer to try and solve some questions he has about the movements being made by plate tectonics over the past million or so years.

Hopefully we will be able to actually visit Dr. Dave when he is in Antarctica this February by using Skype. Either way, we are making plans to talk with Dr. Dave some more and maybe even organize a visit with him and his graduate students to our classroom.