Inspecting rocks in the Mojave.

Inspecting rocks in the Mojave.

This whole experience has really uplifted my perspective. It wasn’t until recently that I became interested in soils. Working with Blueprint, I could see how exciting geology is.

Kevin Quevedo, a junior at Pitzer College, joined the Blueprint Earth geology team for his first expedition in the Mojave. He shared a few highlights of his experience.

Real-world research
I was trying to find opportunities related to my major in environmental science and minor in chemistry, and I recently developed more interest in calcium carbonates and how they’re related to environments within the southern areas of California. Since I haven’t explored California very much, I thought working with Blueprint would be an exciting experience to get actual field research.

Collaborative teamwork
I mostly worked with the geology team, with two other students who graduated from college, so it was great to have guidance from them. They knew the area and were able to identify a lot of things. We cataloged descriptions of each area, such as different rock formations and their size. We ensure that our information is relatable so that people can really understand the environment. We’re not just saying ‘there was tons of salt and some limestone.’ We explain how big something is and provide detailed characteristics.

Greater understanding
I definitely got greater insight into the whole concept of Blueprint Earth by working with others and asking a lot of questions. It was amazing to consider past events in order to create possible hypotheses about how something might have been formed.

We’re trying to get an idea, for example, how lava domes were formed, considering what events might have occurred and how that could explain the existence of a spring that has an abundant amount of water to allow critters to live there.

Progress
I got the sense that by doing this, we can figure out ways to make up for the mistakes that humans have made. In a desert, you would think there wouldn’t be that much vegetation or that many animals, but it’s supporting a major lifestyle. It’s exciting to see how many creatures have adapted.

Putting the pieces together
It’s phenomenal to see different people working together and to learn about their experiences. It was exciting to see where everyone was at and how they might assist me in developing my knowledge about different fields and how those fields correlate to one another.

Next steps
Blueprint introduced geochemistry to me, so I definitely would like to take some geochemistry courses and see where it goes from there. I am most likely going to go on to graduate school. And before leaving the expedition I was already making certain that I would be able to work with Blueprint again! This is just too much fun.

—As told to Jane Falla, Blueprint Earth contributor

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