11th Grade Summer Academy

The 11th grade Summer Academy takes GeoFORCE rising juniors on a spectacular geologic journey to the Pacific Northwest.

In the previous two academies, students studied carbonate rocks and coastal processes in Florida or Texas (year 1) and ancient sedimentary rocks in Arizona (year 2). In year 3, they travel to an active plate boundary to see how volcanoes and mountain ranges are formed and to compare higher-energy coastal processes with those seen in previous trips. Students will learn what causes earthquakes and will visit several active volcanoes, walk across recent lava flows, and traverse the heart of the Cascades along Lewis and Clark’s historic route to the Pacific Ocean.

Field stops include such geologically renowned places as Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, the Columbia River Gorge, Crater Lake and its world-class clear blue water, and the sandy, gravelly, and rocky shores of the Pacific coast. A popular dose of marine biology is added through visits to tide pools on coastal stops and the Oregon Coast Aquarium. This trip adds igneous rocks, geologic hazards, and active tectonic processes to the students’ growing geologic knowledge and prepares them for the final Academy trip to experience the complex and sometimes obscure geology of the northeastern U.S.


  • “I have seen sights that have taken my breath away completely, met people who can make me laugh until my stomach hurts, and learned about amazing wonders of this country.”