Reflections on the USGS Powell Expedition

Release Date:

The Pacific Islands CASC Science Coordinator Heather Kerkering participated in the 2019 USGS Powell Expedition and shares her reflections on that experience in a new USGS publication and video documentary of the trip.

 Participants from the 2019 Expedition entering Swallow Canyon on the Green River in Utah.

Participants from the 2019 Expedition entering Swallow Canyon on the Green River (UT). 

(Public domain.)

Read the full USGS publication here.

In 1869, John Wesley Powell led a crew of ten men on the first well-recorded scientific river expedition to explore ~1,000 miles of the Colorado River Basin. Powell, who was a veteran and geologist, later helped to establish the USGS and served as its second director. 150 years after the original expedition, USGS employees representing each mission area and region floated down the Green and Colorado Rivers. Expedition participants, including the Pacific Islands CASC Science Coordinator Heather Kerkering, gathered data to be used for educational purposes and a social media campaign around the theme of exploration. A recent USGS publication documents the photographic journey of the expedition with personal vignettes from Heather Kerkering and other USGS participants, Science Stories to explain the scope of the experiments, and Then and Now articles to explore some of the changes that have occurred since the first expedition.

More information about the 150th Anniversary of the Powell Expedition can be found here. A short video presented by USGS detailing the Expedition recreation is provided here.

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