Cutting Edge > Courses > Paleontology > Teaching Activities > Biostratigraphic and Lithostratigraphic Correlation of Sedimentary Strata in the Atlantic Coastal Plain

Biostratigraphic and Lithostratigraphic Correlation of Sedimentary Strata in the Atlantic Coastal Plain

J Bret Bennington
,
Hofstra University
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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 activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.


This page first made public: Jun 4, 2009

Summary

In this laboratory exercise students work in groups to create a fence diagram cross section of the Atlantic Coastal Plain by correlating a sequence of well logs recorded along a NW–SE transect through coastal North Carolina.

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Context

Audience

I have used this exercise in Introduction to Historical Geology, Invertebrate Paleontology, and Sedimentology-Stratigraphy courses for undergraduates.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Some knowledge of fossils, geological time, unconformities, and correlation is needed and can be introduced prior to doing the exercise.

How the activity is situated in the course

Stand alone exercise designed to introduce students to different methods of correlation and different types of chronostratigraphic markers.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Correlation - lithostratigraphic, chronostratigraphic, and biostratigraphic, index fossils.
Unconformities - disconformity and angular unconformity
Deposition, transgression and regression, subsidence

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Basic interpretation of stratigraphic patterns in both time and space.
Basic calculation and graphing of subsidence rates.

Other skills goals for this activity

Working in groups.
Following detailed instructions.

Description of the activity/assignment

In this laboratory exercise students create a fence diagram cross section of the Atlantic Coastal Plain by correlating a sequence of well logs recorded along a NW–SE transect through coastal North Carolina. The well logs in this exercise are based on actual well logs published by the United States Geological Survey, providing a realistic cross section of the Atlantic Coastal Plain when the exercise is completed. Students must make intelligent decisions as to how best to draw lithostratigraphic correlations between well logs, guided by information provided by biostratigraphic correlations. After completing this lab, students should have a better understanding of how strata are deposited in time and space under the control of transgressions and regressions, how geologists correlate strata, and they should be able to recognize disconformities and angular unconformities in cross sections.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students are observed in group work and individual lab reports with responses to questions posed in the lab are assessed and graded.

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