After three weeks in western Idaho, the MSU Tectonics team (Mark Brown, Sourav Krishna Nandi, Derek Spurgeon, and Dr. Matt McKay) conducted background work and completed several >10 mile geologic mapping traverses, including backcountry traverses in full packs.
Now, the group (minus Dr. McKay) is deep in the Payette National Forest, near Shannon Corral (a historic ranchers corral several miles from the nearest forest service road) and will be working the area for the next few days. In two weeks, a fourth student, Ashley Gerik, will join the group and Dr. McKay will be back in a support role at base camp.
So far, the team has identified numerous, previously unknown faults and found evidence that contradicts the current classification of the rocks in the area. The area we are working used to be the western margin of North America (i.e. the edge/beach). Everything to the west has been added on in the last 150 million years through the collision of Japan-like islands. During these collisions, the mountains were formed. We are working to understand this process and how long it take to "glue" an island to a continent.