Spring Break Field Course: Floating the Llano River to explore microbial bioherms in a shallow Cambrian sea

Author: Shanan Peters (Professor)

Geobadgers disperse far-and-wide during Spring Break each year, and 2019 was no exception. This year, 18 undergrads, 2 grad students, and Prof. Shanan Peters made their way to the Llano Uplift in central Texas. The focal destination of this year’s trip was the Honey Creek Ranch and the Llano River, where we met carbonate geologist André Droxler from Rice University. André and students have been working on these spectacular Cambrian microbialites for several years, and we enjoyed a first-hand tour of most of the world-class outcrops in the area.

Floating the Llano River is a great introduction and an effective way to see the large-scale features on the cliffy outcrops. It’s also a lot of fun! After a full day on the river, another full day was spent on dry land, along the James River and nearby exposures. Recent floods had swept clean large swaths along the banks, so the timing (and weather!) was perfect to get the most of these rocks and the experience. This trip, like all of those that we enjoy, was made possible by the alumni-supported Student Field Experiences Fund.