Quarry Visits Part 1

One of the things that makes this type of work so important is the opportunity to see so many unique volcanic structures. Over the course of the trip the students had several field trips where they visited multiple quarries throughout the Czech Republic. Quarries provide a unique look at geological features that would normally be underground. Understanding how these volcanoes and features worked is key to helping us better understand active volcanoes today. 

NMHU Geology

Reading the Earth: The Czech Experience

Over the summer of 2022, Monique Nevarez was chosen to join the International Research Experience for Students (IRES) cohort to Czechia. As a Fine Arts undergraduate, she traveled along with geologists Michael Petronis PhD and several students from New Mexico Highlands University. They conducted research on volcanic formations in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Germany. MoniqueI used her technical ability in the arts to help illustrate scientific diagrams of lava flows found in various quarries. In doing so she was able to help depict the field sites from a different perspective to offer other insights that may have otherwise been overlooked. The illustrations were an alternative way to document visual observations. The IRES grant provided the opportunity for Monique to apply her talent in a real-world situation outside of an art studio.

IRES 2022

​The International Research Experience for Students (IRES) is a unique grant that combines geology, media arts, fine arts and international collaborators with the goal of studying the Eger rift system in Europe. The geological research being done on this project is key to understanding ancient volcanic systems in the region. The grant also covers cultural experiences that are documented by the media arts and fine arts participants. This video covers every aspect of the grant and the work that was done in the Czech Republic in the summer of 2022. If you want a more detailed look at specific quarries or art that was done check out the videos below. 

Art Videos

Travel Videos

Quarry Visits Part 2 

With each new quarry comes a different set of questions and a different set of data that needs to be collected. In the case of this limestone quarry south of Prague, Chris Ulibarri was trying to figure out the time in which the limestone was emplaced which required collecting multiple block samples to be drilled for cores. Working on the limestone provided a unique set of challenges. Limestone is notoriously brittle which made taking samples and marking strike and dip rather challenging.  

Dissociation of Color and Form

In the Spring of 2023 Monique had her BFA exhibition at NMHU. The exhibition is best decribed in her own words; "This collection is about finding myself and representing my journey to create for the sake of creation. It is common for people to find solace in our environment. Thus, my intuitive approach to sculpture has inherently developed an organic feel. Many of these ceramic works relate to our living world. The simplification of objects and application of color conceptualize my sculptures. I have always gravitated toward vibrant pigment. Though rare and almost artificial, these colors can all be found in nature. Highlighting them is a metaphoric appreciation of the aesthetics we can uncover if we look closely at everyday life".  ~Monique Nevarez~

2022 Geology Videos


Wrocław is a city located in southern Poland known for its art and history. This year the students were given the opportunity to visit the city and the University of Wrocław. During their time in the city the students visited several cultural sites and museums as well as experiencing the local cuisine. This video highlights the time spent in Poland and some of the art that influenced Monique Nevarez on her exhibit at New Mexico Highlands University. . 

Quarry Visits Part 3

The largest quarry the students visited in Europe was an active quarry in southern Poland. Here there were blocks of country rock sitting on top of an ancient magma body. The goal of the study was to find the extent of the magma body. This research brought together our colleges from Poland, Sam Poppe, Ph.D from the Polish Academy of Science and  Marek Awdankiewicz, Ph.D from the University of Wroclaw. This kind of collaboration is key to expanding our knowledge of geological processes across seas. 

Prague 2022 

The city of Prague is home to Charles University and the Czech Geological Survey. Both of these institutions are close collaborators on the IRES project which makes Prague one of the more important locations for this project. The city is also home to countless historical sites, stunning architecture, incredible food and beautiful culture. All the students who have participated on this project have been taken back by the beauty of the city and this group is no different. This video showcases some of the experiences the students had in Prague.