The rocks talk to us

Steven Semken MMLThe Grand Canyon – one of the seven natural wonders of the world -- is the most-visited site in the United States. The magnificent layers of ancient rocks that make up the canyon’s walls have been photographed and painted by decades of visitors, but few understand what these rocks can tell us.

At 10 a.m., Monday, Nov. 1Steven Semken, Ph.D., will reveal what these ancient rocks tell us about almost two billion years of Earth history. A professor of geology and education at the ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration, Semken was one of a group of geologists and park rangers who built the Trail of Time, an almost three-mile paved walk along the canyon’s rim. The trail provides a visceral appreciation of the magnitude of geologic time, with every meter along it representing one million years of the canyon’s history.

In his presentation, Semken will borrow elements from the Trail of Time and excerpt some recent research findings to offer you a virtual journey through the geologic history of the Grand Canyon. 

Semken is an ethnogeologist and geoscience education researcher whose work integrates geology, geography, ethnography, education, and technology. He investigates the influences of place and culture on teaching and doing research in the Earth sciences in the real and virtual realms. He has a Ph.D. (1989) and S.B. (1980) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.S. (1984) from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Before joining ASU in 2003, he taught for 15 years at the Tribal College of the Diné (Navajo) Nation. With his students, he works in geologically and culturally diverse places of the American Southwest and Latin America. The goal of his research group is to foster improved access to geoscience studies and careers for underrepresented people, environmental and cultural sustainability in underserved regions, and greater public Earth-science literacy.

Tickets to the lecture are $5 each and will be available in the lobby of the Renaissance Theater beginning at 9 a.m. 


For more information:

Steven Semken, Ph.D., Professor at ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration

Grand Canyon National Park website

Trail of Time webpage

ASU Virtual Field Trip to Grand Canyon

Virtual Grand Canyon GeoFest 2020: a series of public webinars on Grand Canyon geology

Books Relevant:

Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau (Blakey & Ranney)

The Grand Canyon Trail of Time Companion (Karlstrom & Crossey)

Grand Canyon Geology (Beus & Morales)

Grand Canyon Geology (Timmons & Karlstrom)