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Girl Scout Troop Visits GSH Geoscience Center


Six members of the San Jacinto Girl Scout Troop 126129 visited GSH Geoscience Center on Shadow Wood Drive in West Houston on the morning of 1st August 2023.


Bill Gafford welcomed the Troop Leader and troop members with an overview of seismic exploration using the graphics and instruments at the museum. Some of the instruments were set out on a table including a variety of geophones; Les Denham explained what they do, using the seismic acquisition light animated ray path chart (Fig1).

Les Denham instrument demo
Fig1: Les Denham explains some geophysical instruments

Les then followed up with a review of several of the elements of the museum, giving the scouts an explanation of their use. A microscope was set up to let them see a fossil, which they found immensely interesting. A geophone response was displayed on a laptop using oscilloscope software, and they also enjoyed seeing a small collection of rock samples. The SEG video “Seeing the Unseen” was played on the large screen monitor (Fig2), and different geophysical careers were discussed.

Girl Scounts watch video
Girl Scouts watch video along with Bill Gafford and Les Denham

After a short break we commenced a demonstration of subsurface coring using geologic model cupcakes (Cover), which garnered immediate attention from the girls. This hands-on exercise showed the scouts how to select and map coring locations, perform cupcake cores using a transparent drinking straw and then diagram the results as a cross-section of the cored location. The cupcakes were made with multicolored batter and set in aluminum foil cake holders so that initial visual inspection only yielded a surface description.


Core sample demonstration
Alan Foley demonstrates how to take a core sample

The scouts took to coring with abandon, noting the different “strata” by color and mapping the core samples on cross sections they drew of each cake. Upon completion of coring and logging, samples were cut open to show the correlation at coring locations. The evidence was then eaten to prevent storage degradation. The scouts declared that “Geoscience is tasty”!


Everyone enjoyed the visit and made good use of the displays and exhibits at the Geoscience Center, made possible by the diligent efforts of Bill Gafford and Les Denham (Museum Committee), Rene Mott and Lisa Buckner (Outreach Committee) who provided the coring materials and guide.


Author: Alan Foley

Coauthors: Bill Gafford and Lisa Buckner

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