Geologic Cross Sections
This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process.
This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: May 25, 2008
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Geology majors construct a geologic/structural cross section across any number of major plate boundaries/geologic features.
Best in an undergraduate/graduate level structural geology course
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Students need knowledge of major plate boundaries on Earth, including major tectonic events that have happened in past. They also need basic knowledge of some geophysics (e.g. Bouger gravity anomaly).
How the activity is situated in the course
This project can be a culminating project after semester of undergraduate or graduate structural geology.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Accurate depiction of major structural features and tectonic history across a selected plate boundary.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Comprehending and summarizing research of chosen region, purpose is to show major tectonic/geologic features of region without getting bogged down in details.
Other skills goals for this activity
Poster presentation to other students, in addition to written paper.
Description of the activity/assignment
For this project, students must select a several hundred kilometer long section of Earth's surface, ideally crossing one or more major plate boundaries and research all major tectonic events to construct a cross section. Students should also take into account other factors like age of the ocean floor, average elevation and gravity anomalies across their area. The purpose is to demonstrate the geologic/tectonic history of their cross section and present it in a clear, concise summary.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Oral presentation to professor and other students including immediate feedback/questions on chosen area.
More information about assessment tools and techniques.
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