Photos From the 2017 Stretch Program

Every year during fall term, students and faculty head west to spend about nine weeks mapping geologic structures, exploring unique landscapes, and examining fragile ecosystems. The program, called the Stretch, is run by the Department of Earth Sciences, and for more than 50 years it has given students a chance to put what they’ve learned in classrooms into practice.

Over the course of the fall term in 2017, the group traveled north to the Canadian Rockies and then south through the American West to a number of national parks and other sites of interest, ranging from Montana to California. The photos in this gallery were all taken by students who took part in the 2017 Stretch.

Find out more about the Stretch from the Department of Earth Sciences.

Photos
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2017 Stretch Program
The 2017 Stretch started on the Athabasca Glacier in the Canadian Rockies. Here, the group walks through the icefall on the glacier. (Photo by Virginia Wala, GRAD)
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2017 Stretch Program
Bob Hawley (right), an associate professor of earth sciences, led the first leg of the Stretch. Here he talks to the students about seasonality on the glacier. The exposed metal pole next to Hawley, which is placed vertically at the beginning of the summer, indicates how much the glacier has melted and advanced. (Photo by Virginia Wala, GRAD)
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2017 Stretch Program
Two participants practice using their hand lenses and compasses after a full day on the glacier. (Photo by Laura Hutchinson ’19)
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2017 Stretch Program
On the last day on Athabasca Glacier, Hawley (right) has students test ice screws, which were placed as part of a rope system students used to descend into the glacier to observe a moulin—an opening on the glacier where surface melt runs to the bottom of the ice. (Photo by Laura Hutchinson ’19)
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2017 Stretch Program
Justin Strauss, a professor of earth sciences, leads students on a hike to Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park. Along the way, the students observed various members of the Belt Supergroup, a rock formation that is approximately 1000 million years old. The hike was part of the 2017 Stretch program. (Photo by Laura Hutchinson ’19)
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2017 Stretch Program
On an off day during the 2017 Stretch program, some of the students in the group hike in the foothills of the Beartooth Mountains in Wyoming. (Photo by Laura Hutchinson ’19)
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2017 Stretch Program
Evan Dethier, a graduate student and teaching assistant on the 2017 Stretch program, teaches a lesson on fluvial geomorphology next to a river in the Sunlight Basin. (Photo by Laura Hutchinson ’19)
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2017 Stretch Program
Students on the 2017 Stretch program relax next to Soda Butte Creek in Yellowstone National Park after mapping the relative elevations of river terraces in an exercise to determine the incision rate of the river at various points in time. (Photo by Laura Hutchinson ’19)
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2017 Stretch Program
Keith Kantack, right, a TA during the 2017 Stretch program, demonstrates macroinvertebrate collection and sorting methods that students used to perform a bioassessment of a creek that runs through a historic mining site near Yellowstone National Park. (Photo by Laura Hutchinson ’19)
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2017 Stretch Program
Students on the 2017 Stretch program camp in Dinosaur National Monument. (Photo by Laura Hutchinson ’19)
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2017 Stretch Program
Students look through North Window Arch in Arches National Park on a day spent learning about the various mechanisms of arch formation. (Photo by Laura Hutchinson ’19)
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2017 Stretch Program
Students scramble down from a high outlook in Pothole Arch in Arches National Park during the 2017 Stretch program. (Photo by Laura Hutchinson ’19)
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2017 Stretch Program
A student runs up a fin, a rock structure that often becomes an arch with time and erosion, in Arches National Park during the 2017 Stretch program. (Photo by Laura Hutchinson ’19)
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2017 Stretch Program
A student looks out over Zion Canyon from Angel’s Landing during the 2017 Stretch program. On the last morning in Zion, several of the students woke up early to hike the iconic route. (Photo by Laura Hutchinson ’19)
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2017 Stretch Program
Students revel in a beautiful sunset while staying at the White Mountain Research Station in Bishop, Calif. (Photo by Laura Hutchinson ’19)
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2017 Stretch Program
A student on the 2017 Stretch program maps a glacial valley in the Sierra Nevada mountains. (Photo by Kevin Gross ’19)
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2017 Stretch Program
Students in the 2017 Stretch program embark on an early morning traverse of Death Valley, where they collected gravity measurements that we later used to estimate the depth of sediment that fills the valley between two prominent mountain ranges. (Photo by Laura Hutchinson ’19)
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2017 Stretch Program
After a long day spent touring various geologic formations in Death Valley National Park, students play around on the sand dunes. Here, a student backflips off the crest of a sand dune. (Photo by Laura Hutchinson ’19)