Schooled in Alpine Tectonics

On May 16th, eight graduate students from the Jackson School of Geosciences returned from an educational experience of a lifetime: full immersion into Alpine tectonics led by faculty members Danny Stockli and Mark Cloos.

Every other year, a seminar in tectonic problems (GEO 381K) has an international focus. Previously highlighting the geology of Greece, Morocco, and Ireland, this year’s class headed to the Central and Western Alps for an immersive experience of the transition from subduction to continental collision.  Daily field trips—punctuated  by a fondue dinner at Stockli’s parents home in Switzerland and meals in a ninth-century castle, Castello Montestrutto— exposed students to the the Helvetic fold-and-thrust belt in central Switzerland, to the world’s premiere exposures of the lower crust and sub-continental MOHO in the Ivrea Zone, and to the high- and ultra-high pressure metamorphic rock of Sesia and Dora Maira in NW Italy.

“Coming out of COVID, it was important to get this class going again,” said Stockli.  “This was a highlight tour for a great group students to study of world-class geology in the Alps, and we got to stay in the most amazing Airbnb: a medieval castle made of rare high-pressure rocks.”

Grad Class At Castello Montestrutto 1
Class at Castello Montestrutto Image: D. Stockli