Modern and Ancient Carbonate Systems of the Bahamas

Ben Greenstein, professor of Geology

Immerse yourself

Students will be familiarized with the various marine environments and organisms that are responsible for producing carbonate sediments. They will observe the processes that affect the accumulation of carbonate sediment and the responses to those processes preserved in the sedimentary record in order to understand the critical role of sea level change in producing the carbonate rock record. Ultimately, students will appreciate the inter-relatedness of selected liberal arts disciplines in an environmental context.

Course highlights

  • Residence on the island of San Salvador
  • Class sessions at the Gerace Research Center
  • Scuba diving opportunities
  • Days spent in the field investigating modern shallow marine environments (coral reefs, tidal flats, lagoons, beaches, dunes) and ancient analogs preserved in rock outcrops, caves, and sinkholes

Student reflection

Anne Zegers, Machias, Maine

Geology and creative writing major

Being in the Bahamas was absolutely breathtaking. As much as I love Cornell, it was just wonderful to get a chance to see another part of the world, and any chance to get up and work outside was more than welcome in the dead of winter.

Every day we were in the field we were seeing a different facet of the Bahamas, from the muddy hyper saline lakes to the inside of flooded caves. We got to hold living stromatolites in our hands before we climbed a fossil sand dune and ate lunch on a sandy beach under a palm tree.

If there's one thing this course taught me, it was exactly how valuable field research is, because no amount of preparation in a classroom can quite compare with the kind of hands on experience that a field course offers.