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Learning About Marine Sediments Using Real Data

Kristen St. John, James Madison University (mailto:stjohnke@jmu.edu)
,

Mark Leckie, University of Massachusetts, Amherst,
Megan Jones, North Hennepin Community College,
Kate Pound, St. Cloud State University,
Larry Krissek, Ohio State University.

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Summary

This exercise set explores marine sediments using real core photos and composition data from the scientific ocean drilling programs DSDP, ODP, and IODP in an inquiry-based approach.

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Context

Audience

Undergraduate courses in oceanography, marine geology, sedimentology, introduction to climate change, historical geology. It can be adapted up or down - it has been successfully used with high school teachers and graduate students.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Pre-req: basic geography, latitude and longitude

How the activity is situated in the course

It is a 4-part sequenced exercise (see Instructor Notes). It has been used in large and small classes. Some parts can be assigned as homework as pre-class assignments. A brief-synthesis lecture on the original and distribution of marine sediments should follow this exercise, but should not precede this exercise as student will derive the sediment distribution map of the seafloor for themselves though this inquiry-based activity and will be making predictions on what controls that distribution.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Goal: To explore marine sediments (a major archive of Earth history) using cores, photos, and smear slide data.

Objectives: After this exercise, your students should be able to:

  1. Describe the physical characteristics of sediment cores.
  2. Identify major sediment components and their origin.
  3. Use composition and texture data from smear slide samples to determine the lithologic names of the marine sediments.
  4. Make a map showing the distribution of the primary modern sediment lithologies of the Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans.
  5. Explain the distribution of modern marine sediments on their map.
  6. Accurately predict what the modern sediment lithologies are at other locations on the sea floor (e.g., in the Indian Ocean).

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Making observations; plotting data on maps; forming questions; making hypotheses and predictions; interpreting data from photos, tables, and maps; integrating and drawing broad conclusion

Other skills goals for this activity

Working with real data, working in groups; working from multiple perspectives; written communication; making persuasive and well supported arguments

Description of the activity/assignment

This exercise set explores marine sediments using core photos and authentic datasets in an inquiry-based approach. Students' prior knowledge of sea floor sediments is explored in Part 1. In Parts 2-3 students observe and describe the physical characteristics of sediment cores and determine the composition using smear slide data and a decision tree. In Part 4 students develop a map showing the distribution of the primary marine sediment types of the Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans and develop hypotheses to explain the distribution of the sediment types shown on their map.

Determining whether students have met the goals

There are several ways the instructor can assess student learning after completion of this exercise. For example:
  1. Students should be able to answer the example questions included in the instructor guide after completing this exercise. To obtain a copy of the instructor guide email Kristen St. John: stjohnke@jmu.edu
  2. Since the focus of this activity is on the Pacific Ocean, with some additional cores selected from the northern Atlantic Ocean the instructor could select locations on the physiographic map of the sea floor that are in the Indian Ocean and south Atlantic Ocean and ask students to predict what the primary sediment would be at that location and why. The instructor could use Rothwell (1989) map as his/her key.
  3. In addition, the instructor could select additional scientific ocean drilling cores and develop an assessment instrument that models the activities in this exercise.
Instructions for accessing additional core data are provided in the instructor guide.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

Download teaching materials and tips

Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

This exercise is an open access chapter from:

St. John, K., Leckie, R.M., Pound, K., Jones, M., and Krissek, L., 2012. Reconstructing Earth's Climate History: Inquiry-based Exercises for Lab and Class. Wiley-Blackwell, 485p; http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-EHEP002690.html.

For other open access chapters from this book go to: http://www.wiley.com/legacy/wileychi/stjohn/sample_chapters.html.

References used in constructing this exercise include:

Aumento, F., et al., 1977, Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, vol. 7, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Austin, J.A., Jr., et al., 1998, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 174A, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.174a.1998.

Barker, P.F., et al., 1999, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 178, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.178.1999.

Bougault, H., et al., 1985, Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, vol. 82, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.Bralower, et al., 2002, Proceeding of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 198, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.198.2002.

Carter, R.M., et al., 1999, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 181, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.181.2000.

Creager, J. S., et al, 1973, Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, vol. 19, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Dziewonski, A., et al, 1992, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, vol. 136, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.136.1992.

Fouquet, Y., et al., 1998, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 169, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.169.1998.

Hayes, D. E., et al, 1972, Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, vol. XIV, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Hayes, D. E., et al., 1975, Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, vol. 28, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Heath, G. R., et al., 1985, Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, vol. 86, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Hollister, C. D., et al., 1976, Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, vol. 35, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Jansen, E., et al., 1996, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 162, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.162.1996.

Keigwin, L.D., et al., 1998, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 172, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.172.1998.

Kennett, J. P., et al., 1974, Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, vol. 29, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Kroenke, et al., 1991, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 130, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.130.1991.

Kulm, L. D., et al., 1973, Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, vol. 18, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Larsen, H.C., et al., 1994, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 152, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.152.1994.

Leinen, M., et al., 1986, Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, vol. 92, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Lyle, M., et al., 1997, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, vol. 167, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.167.1997.

Lyle, M., et al., 2002, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 199, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.199.2002.

Mazzullo and Graham, 1998, Handbook for Shipboard Sedimentologist, ODP Technical Notes No. 8, Texas A&M University.

Mix, A.C., et al., 2003, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial reports, vol. 202, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.202.2003.

Rea, D.K., et al., 1993, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 145, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.145.1993.

Rothwell, R. G., 1989, Minerals and Mineraloids in Marine Sediments: An optical identification guide, Elsevier Applied Science, London, 279 pp.

Salisbury, M.H., et al., 2002, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 195, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.195.2002.

Schlanger, S. O., et al., 1976, Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, vol. 33, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Srivastava, S. P., et al., 1987, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 105, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.105.1987.

Stephen, R.A., et al., 2003, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 200, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.200.2003.

Suess, E., et al., 1988, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 112, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.112.1988.

Tamaki, K., et al., 1990, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 127, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.127.1990.

Tracey, J. I. Jr., et al., 1971, Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, vol. 8, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Westbrook, G.K., et al., 1994, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 146 (Part 1), College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.146-1.1994.

Wilson, D.S., et al., 2003, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, vol. 206, College Station, TX, Ocean Drilling Program, doi:10.2973/odp.proc.ir.206.2003.


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