Reflections from Cody Mason

This summer during my NAGT/USGS internship I gained a wide variety of important experiences related to field work, laboratory work, and even received instruction on the writing of abstracts and manuscripts. I was given the opportunity to work on a project dealing with geologic mapping, neotectonics, and Pleistocene climate change within the northern Rio Grande rift -- a project which allowed me to work in a region stretching from Taos, New Mexico up to Leadville, Colorado. I spent time working with seasoned field geologists and as a consequence greatly expanded my knowledge of regional geologic history and of what it is like to be a USGS geologist.

On the Taos Plateau I assisted in geologic mapping and sampling for cosmogenic 3He surface exposure dating to examine the timing of draining of paleo-lake Alamosa, and subsequent incision of the Rio Grande gorge north of the Red River. In addition we mapped neotectonic features and Quaternary deposits. Our work in the South Park and Leadville Colorado areas dealt with mapping bedrock and Quaternary deposits in mountainous terrain, and sampling for cosmogenic 10Be surface exposure dating on last glacial maximum moraines and recessional moraines and bedrock in upper cirque basins. In Denver I learned how to process samples for surface exposure dating and learned about how geochronologists attain ages from samples.

Perhaps most significant among my experiences was the opportunity to write, and submit for publication, an abstract and a manuscript as a USGS employee, under USGS review. I was also given the opportunity to travel to a national conference and give a presentation on the results of this study, which will likely foster more fruitful relationships in the geological community. So as my internship and the summer come to an end, I am excited about the upcoming trip, my first presentation at a national conference, and all the possibilities that may develop because of this amazing internship experience.