Program Details: Open to the public

Teaching NPS Interpretive Staff the Geology of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

Designed to train National Park Service Rangers and Interpretive staff about the geology of Death Valley National Park, this project leverages the teaching and research experience of Professor Karl Mueller, who has worked in this region for over the last two decades. The ultimate goal of the project is to get modern concepts in geology and high resolution Earth imagery into the hands of the general public, of which over 1 million visit the park each year. Professor Mueller's work includes giving lectures and running field trips every fall to seasonal staff as they begin the high season in Death Valley. He is also working with the Southern California Earthquake Center to increase seismic hazard awareness by using Death Valley National Park as the premier natural laboratory for earthquake geology in California. Nearly all the visitors in the park are completely unaware of surface fault ruptures formed in Magnitude 7.3 earthquakes in the recent geologic past in Death Valley and this outreach effort uses these features to frame the tectonics of the park and it's relation to movement on the San Andreas fault system and the Eastern California Shear Zone. As part of this effort, faculty in Geological Sciences and CIRES at CU Boulder are providing the National Park Service with a very high resolution digital elevation dataset that is an outgrowth of their own research in active tectonics in Southern California. These data provide a critical set of measurements that will provide a baseline for future changes in the park by earthquakes, floods and other processes.

This is a public program.


Outside Colorado

  • Death Valley National Park, California

Program Partners

Supporting This Program

  • National Park Service, Death Valley National Park, Southern California Earthquake Center

Sponsoring Units

Arts & Sciences, College of

  • Geological Sciences, Department of

Program Contact

Karl Mueller
303 552-7067

Program Categories


  • Geology
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)

Program Types:

  • Field Trip
  • Professional Development - Other
  • Professional Services
  • Public Lecture/Demonstration


  • Adult Learners
  • Children & Youth (outside school)
  • Families
  • General Public
  • Government

We do our best to accurately represent CU Boulder’s outreach programs and services, but they are subject to change and may no longer be active in a community. Please contact the program directly for current information.