NTU's Department of Geosciences Launches Cross-national "Field Geology" Course in Collaboration with Cal Tech's Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
After Vice President of NTU, Dr. George Tai-jen Chen made the opening speech, the "field geology" course officially went under way on June 16th. This cross-national course was the result of a collaboration between NTU's Department of Geosciences and Cal Tech's Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences. Except for the first day which was spent inside a classroom listening to briefings on Taiwan's geological terrain, the students of this course spent the other ten days conducting field trips in the wilderness.
This is the fifth jointly taught course since 2001. In the past, four joint courses were taught in Taiwan, and one was taught in the State of California. As Taiwan is situated at an area where many plates intersect, the island falls prey to many earthquakes and neo-tectonic activities, and as such is a perfect natural geological classroom, having exclusive advantage for research work and field study tours. Therefore, for the first three joint courses between NTU and Cal Tech, Taiwan was the chosen location. In 2006, the location for the joint course moved to the Mono Lake high mountain district in North-central California, because that region was distributed with quaternary volcanic accumulations and active faults, which could not be found in Taiwan, so, to NTU students, being able to study seismology in California not only enhanced their professional knowledge, but also provided a very rare experience in their scientific vision.
This new joint course was attended by 9 graduate students from NTU's Institute of Geosciences and 10 students from Cal Tech. Teachers include: Professor J. P. Avouac from Cal Tech, Professor Yue-Gau Chen from NTU's Department of Geosciences, Chair Professor Yoko Ota, post-doctoral research fellow Bruce Hao-te Shu, and research fellow from Academia Sinica's Institute of Earth Sciences, Dr. Jian Cheng Lee. The contents of the course include: the orogenic movements of Taiwan, the physical models of geological calamity, (explaining the key points of Taiwan being a crust compression zone with faults and earthquakes). And the field trips include: active faults, terrain change, volcanic formation, etc.
The academic cooperation between NTU and Cal Tech started from the Chi-Chi earthquake which took place in 1999. Professor Kerry Sieh, Professor J.P. Avouac of Cal Tech and Professor Yue-Gau Chen of NTU felt that academic exchange should not be limited to the discussion among a few professionals. Rather, it should take roots downwards, setting its goal on enhancing the international outlook and research capability of the students of both countries. As a result, they jointly proposed to launch this cross-national course on "field geology."