06 June: Departing Beijing – 2014 GSA Distinguished International Lecture Tour


Before leaving Changping (the north outskirts of Beijing) we were able to visit the Ming Tombs arriving early to beat the crowds and long lines of traffic.  I got a tour of impressive facilities at China University of Geosciences closer to the central city of Beijing.  Nearby we visited the Summer Palace vacation home for the Ming and Ching emperors.  At the Old Summer Palace Yuanmingyuan it was sad to see how it had been looted and destroyed in the 1860s.

All of the China geoscience universities feature this prominent statue at the entry gates. Here we get a tour of the campus with host Prof. Hongyu Wang.

In a country of 1.35 billion, in a city of 21 million, a familiar face says hi to me at the hotel breakfast bar.  It is colleague Dr. Lisa Pratt from Indiana who has been doing field work in China.  Ok, we were both staying at the hotel on the China University of Geosciences campus, but still what are the chances of that??!

China University of Geosciences has these brand new university buses for student field trips. I think they get to ride in style!

I also gave a talk at the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences (CAGS), under the government’s Ministry of Land and Resources branch.  This academy conducts frontier, fundamental and strategic studies that are key to geoscience and resources.

At the Chinese Academy of Geosciences, we learned about SinoProbe, a major earth science effort funded by the Chinese government to conduct deep exploration to understand structure, and evolution of China’s continental lithosphere using multiple techniques. The principal investigator is Prof. Dong Shuwen (right of me, with some of his staff).

Nearby, we were able to visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, with great views from nearby temple gardens.  We also enjoyed visiting “798”, an up and coming arts district on the northeast side of Beijing. Of course we couldn’t leave Beijing without having Peking Duck.

Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest public square (looking south from the Forbidden City).

The Gate of Heavenly Peace, by the south entry to the Forbidden City, the largest palace complex in the world.

From Jingshan park, you can see the overview of the Forbidden City with China’s best preserved ancient buildings.

This draws the second trip of the GSA lecture tour to a close.  There were so many great experiences and people in Asia, and I am still trying to absorb all that has happened.  I loved the Japanese culture and even though I am a 3rd generation American, I had always wanted to visit China.  One student tells me, in China I am referred to as a “banana” – yellow on the outside but white on the inside.  Hmmm…. the trip has added many colors, cultures, and landscapes to my perspective.   Most of all, it has been great to share and exchange ideas and enthusiasm for geoscience around the world.

On a warm June evening we saw the famed “bird nest” stadium constructed for Beijing’s 2008 summer Olympics.

In the bustle of Beijing, there are still some serene moments looking at the Summer Palace grounds.

– Margie