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Split Mountain Gorge

STEM Field Trips

Split Mountain Gorge is in the Anza Borrego State Park.  It is approximately 50 miles from Imperial off Hwy. 78 (Julian road).  The field trip begins in the "Fish Creek" section and travels to the anticline feature covering about 2 miles.  Six learning stations are set up along the nature walk to focus on observable phenomena.

Split Mountain Gorge Learning Stations
About 15 students per group


Fish Creek Alluvial Fan (demonstration and hands-on activity) – Students will mix water in with local soil contained in a clear container. They will mix the solution and then observe as the soil settles. High school students will discuss how the soil behaved as it settled. High school students will point out the way soil behaved as it flowed and settled as it flowed down the gorge.


Mineral Hardness (demonstration and hands-on activity) - Students will watch as high school students lead a discussion about mineral hardness. Then students will use a common hardness tool (penny) to test the hardness of minerals around the area


Armored Mudballs (demonstration and hands-on activity) – High school student(s) will discuss how the armored mudballs were formed on the gorge’s floor. Students will then create their own armored mudball using clay and gravel. Students will mark their mudball, leave it here and then retrieve it on the way out.


Mudstone Breccia (demonstration) – High school student(s) will present the massive mudball, discuss how it was formed and then demonstrate how it was formed with the help of a sieve and some soil.


Sheer Vertical Face (demonstration) – High school student(s) will present the sheer face, discuss how it was formed and then demonstrate the formation using sliding blocks.


Effects of a Sturzstrom (demonstration and recording activity) – Mr. Gibbs will discuss how the layering of the feature took place, demonstrate with foam sheets and then have students observe and record their observations in illustration form using colored pencils, paper and clipboards.

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