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Honors Program
Course Description

Honors Program: A pathway to excellence.


Discover the geology and cultural history of the Khumbu region of Nepal. This is the famous portal to Mt. Everest, and is one of the most interesting geological settings on the planet as a result of the collision between the Indian and Asian plates. We will learn about the geologic processes that shape the high Himalayan Mountains, and the impacts of the very active geology on the people of the region. The Khumbu is also the center of the Sherpa's Buddhist culture and religion, which we will explore with Krishna Gopal Shrestha, a climbing and trekking guide who grew up in the region. This trekking-based course will be based out of the small village of Phortse (pop. 350) in the shadow of Mt. Everest. Participation is selective due to the physical demands of hiking long distances at over 14,000 feet above sea level.

Students will construct a photo journal documenting in photos and writing their entire trip, from Kathmandu to the Khumbu region of Nepal. Once in the Khumbu region, each student will conduct interviews and gather pertinent data on one aspect of the interrelationships of the natural environment and the lives of the villagers in the Khumbu. As a service project, the students will conduct a survey of damage in Phortse (their home base) caused by the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked the Khumbu region on September 18th, 2011.Their research will be presented at the On the Rocks colloquium at UMW, and the damage report will be presented orally and in report format to the villagers of Phortse.

Substitutions: This course will substitute for GEO 101 Introduction to Physical Geology, GEO 103 Introduction to Environmental Geology, GEO 309 Sedimentation and Stratigraphy, GEO 315 Structural Geology, GEO 378 Surficial Processes, GEO 494 Senior Geology Seminar, ENVS 329 Natural Resource Issues, ENVS 441 Sustainable Resource Management, ENVS 429 Environmental Field Studies.

Instructors: Dr. Rob Thomas

Time: Postponed Indefinitely: Contact Dr. Rob Thomas for details.

Prerequisite: Honors student in good standing and consent of instructor

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