On the Cutting Edge - Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
Teaching Sedimentary Geology in the 21st Century
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Cutting Edge > Sedimentary Geology > Workshop 06 > Posters

Poster Session


Collaborative Learning in Sedimentary (or any other) Geology Classes and Examinations (Dave Barnes, Western Michigan University)
Collaborative learning has proven to be an especially effective approach to facilitating engagement and mastery of complex (higher level) learning objectives. The incremental increase in comprehension derived from collaborative verbal exchange in the class room clearly justifies the additional logistics and "time away" from lecturing. Effectiveness of collaborative learning is fundamentally dependent on accountability. Students must be evaluated on the basis of their collaborative outcomes. Collaborative activities are effective in either a normal classroom setting, initiated by specific questions as prompts, or in collaborative re-do of examinations with weighted average exam scores from individual and group work.

Interpretation of Seismic Stratigraphy and Processes at Different Scales (Louis Bartek, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill)

Making Sedimentary Structures: A Discovery-based Lab Exercise for Undergraduate Sedimentary Geology Courses (Kathleen Benison, Central Michigan University)
As part of this lab exercise, student teams make their own inorganic sedimentary structures and watch animals making organic sedimentary structures. Assessment shows that this lab prepares students well for the next lab exercise in identifying sedimentary structures in sedimentary rocks.

Applied techniques in sedimentary geology (Barbara Carrapa, University of Wyoming)
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This poster provides a suite of theoretical and practical examples on different quantitative provenance techniques that can be used to trace the tectonic and sedimentary evolution of fold and thrust belts and related foreland basins. Students are introduced to the general concepts of mountain building; the detailed exploration of the foreland basin system is presented via examples of basins in different settings (peripheral versus retro-arc forelands). Different quantitative techniques are presented; including structural investigation, provenance and thermochronology, as a means to constrain the a) sediment source areas; b) paleodrainage evolution; c) rates and pattern of source exhumation; and d) ultimately the tectonic and sedimentary evolution of the source and sink system. In particular, the application of cutting edge techniques such as detrital thermochronology (40Ar/39Ar on white micas, and fission track) is emphasized. This has the aim of exposing the students to state of the art science. Every topic is introduced via a 15 min theoretical explanation followed by a short exercise aimed at involving the student in the lecture. The setting of exercises allows the lecturer to measure the level of comprehension of the students, as well as ensuring that the students are involved in the lecture itself. Scientific papers are given for reading after every lecture and the exercises of the following lecture are partly based on concepts that students will have to learn through homework. In this way, the active participation of the students, through homework and active intervention during classes is enforced. Examples of specific conceptual topics followed by exercises will be provided in this poster.

Stratigraphic sequences in the North Carolina Coastal Plain delineated from well data (PowerPoint 937kB Aug12 06) (Rick Diecchio, George Mason University)
Data are in the form of three wells located normal to depositional strike, and the depths to the tops of time-rock unit boundaries in each. Stratigraphic correlation of each (y-axis - depth) will allow identification of major sequence-bounding uncomformities. Preparation of a correlation diagram (Y-axis = time) will illustrate the temporal extent of each sequence and hiatus. Sequences and unconformities may then be identified in the North Carolina state geologic map. This is an exercise that stresses 3-D visualization and map interpretation.

Increasing students comprehension of assigned readings and participation in class discussions through QRS an active reading strategy (PowerPoint 54kB Aug12 06) (James Ebert, SUNY College at Oneonta)
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Students seldom achieve the level of learning that we intend with assigned readings. Likewise, they do not participate in class discussions of these readings as extensively as we would like. Through QRS, an active reading strategy, students reading comprehension is improved and they come to class with written material that enables them to participate more fully in classroom discourse. Written QRS assignments also function as formative assessments which enable faculty to diagnose gaps in student understanding and effectively target subsequent instruction.

Student Poster and Presentation Exercise on a Sedimentological and/or Stratigraphical Topic (Deborah Freile, New Jersey City University)
A presentation of how student can learn a subject and share what they have learned with the class by picking a theme (this year it was sedimentary structures) and constructing a 24 x 34 poster in PowerPoint as well as presenting their project to the class as a short 10 minute PowerPoint presentation. This workshop will focus on showing the techniques for good visualization of posters and slides; what works and what does not, what to stay away from in the www (which students love to use as sources). The goal of the exercise is to convey oral presentation skills and knowledge transference, which are also key objectives to student learning.

Subsurface sequence stratigraphic correlation using well logs (Acrobat (PDF) 2.7MB Aug12 06) (Royhan Gani, University of Utah)
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Subsurface well logs (gamma and resistivity) are used to construct a cross section based on sequence stratigraphic principles. In this assignment, students will learn how to correlate well logs applying basic concepts of sequence stratigraphy.

A Hands-on Sea Level Change Laboratory; Creating Systems Tract Geometries (Gary Gianniny, Fort Lewis College)
This lab allows students to change the "sea level" in an antfarm-like plexiglass tank that has a current across the tank, different colors of sand to track internal laminations, and an adjustible water level. Students can produce sedimentary packages with progradational and aggradational geometries, lowstand incision, lowstand wedges, backstepping sequences. In addition to watching these stratal geometries evolve due to their manipulation of sea level change, students become acutley aware of the importance of variation in the rate of sediment supply. I was first introduced to this tank by Ed Cotter at Bucknell University. I will include a set of plans for constructing the sedimentation tank/"antfarm".

Sedimentation and Tectonics: Geologic History of the Appalachian Basin (Bosiljka Glumac, Smith College)
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To demonstrate potential links between sedimentation and tectonics students first examine a suite of samples from the southern Appalachians with the goal of interpreting depositional environments and reconstructing a history of relative sea level change. Next, the students compile stratigraphic information for 5 different regions throughout the Appalachian basin and construct burial curves using a sediment backstripping program. The observations and conclusions about sea level change and variable basin subsidence rates are then related to possible tectonic causes to reconstruct the geologic history of the Appalachians.

From Grains to Basin: Examples of Project Based Sedimentology Exercises (Frederika Harmsen, California State University - Fresno)
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To help make the connection between thin-section and outcrop, students undertake field oriented projects. Examples include analysis of stratigraphic successions in a nearby Cenozoic rift basin to the study of core material retrieved from onboard ship in Monterey Bay. Where appropriate, students integrate petrography, scanning electron microscopy, provenance studies, sedimentary structures, paleocurrent analysis, faunal analysis, and seismic interpretation to answer questions ranging from the traditional e.g. geologic history of an area to the applied e.g. petroleum potential of strata.

Using numerical models to teach sequence stratigraphic principles and the nature of the stratigraphic record (Achim Herrmann, Arizona State University)
Sequence stratigraphy has become the paradigm for sedimentology and stratigraphy. While outcrop studies are an important part of introducing sequence stratigraphic concepts to students, computer models go beyond the mostly descriptive approach in that they can be used to evaluate the importance of different factors leading to stratigraphic change (e.g., changes in sea level, sedimentation rates, etc). Students can use a combination of a stratigraphic simulation package (STRATA) and an evolutionary random branching model (BIOSTRAT) to simulate stratigraphic sequences and their bounding unconformities across a basin and the stratigraphic distribution of species within these sequences. Students can explore processes responsible for forming stratigraphic sequences, assess the relative importance of global sea-level fluctuations in unconformity generation, and investigate the underlying causes for the stratigraphic distribution of different species. Furthermore, students can use the simulated data set to perform graphic correlation in order to study how stratigraphic correlation is impacted by correlations across facies changes and important sequence stratigraphic surfaces (i.e., flooding surfaces, unconformities, etc).

Stratigraphy Field Trip (virtual) to the Cretaceous Book Cliffs Project (Ann Holmes, University of Tennessee Chattanooga)
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With an idea to generating a more meaningful classroom experience, project-based learning techniques have been applied to various data collected and published about the classic sedimentary exposures of the Book Cliffs, Utah. Using online and other paper-based resources in 4 exercises, students learn to draw measured sections from datasets, determine depositional environments on the basis of sedimentary and paleo-biological data, interpret vertical stacking patterns, characterize lithology using photographs of thin-sections, and correlate facies laterally.

Google Earth It? Investigating Coastal and Continental Depositional Environments on a Virtual Globe (Peter Lea, Bowdoin College)
Virtual globes such as Google Earth??? provide an exciting means for students to explore depositional environments at the regional to global scale and to become more geographically aware. This session provides a progress report on attempts to harness some of GE's educational potential, using deltas as one example. It will outline some practical tips as well as limitations of using Google Earth, and invite brainstorming on how to hit a decidedly moving target in the future.

Pre-assessment: Gauging students' preparedness for Sedimentary Geology (Acrobat (PDF) 322kB Aug12 06) (Lawrence Lemke, Wayne State University)
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This poster provides examples of (1) a student experience survey and (2) an assessment quiz that can be used on the first day of class. The survey reveals students' backgrounds in terms of related coursework, computer skills, and geologic experiences that the instructor can draw upon throughout the semester. The quiz gives helps to determine students' familiarity with selected concepts and terminology of sedimentary geology and their ability to apply simple mathematical skills (algebra and trig) to relevant problems. Both tools can be used to identify students who may need extra attention early in the course and to plan for supplementary instructional sessions on topics for which many students are deficient.

Increasing the effectiveness of undergraduate field camp through the integration of preparatory courses (William Little, Brigham Young University - Idaho)
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The traditional field camp experience for undergraduate students has been paired down to a five week interval, leaving little time to accomplish the dual tasks of training in field methods and completion of a major, independent project. To increase efficiency and provide students with more time to concentrate on field efforts, the geology program at BYU-Idaho has integrated four courses; Introduction to Field Geology, Sedimentation and Stratigraphy, Structural Geology, and Advanced Field Methods (field camp). Students, therefore, become familiar with methodology, proper report-writing format, and the general geology of their map areas prior to the beginning of the camp. This presentation will demonstrate how these courses can be linked to enhance the effectiveness of field camp for undergraduate students.

Shape of gravel particles. What does it mean? (Patricia Manley, Middlebury College)
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Shape, size and composition are the fundamental properties of particles. Since shape is derived mostly by the processes of transport and deposition, studies on discrete sets of gravel assemblages can yield information on the environmental history of the sediments. Shape however is not easily measured or defined. Using four elements of shape; Form, Sphericity, Roundness and Surface texture students are given two sets of clasts from which they measure and calculate the various shape elements. The resulting measurements are statistical evaluated, plotted on various classification diagrams and evaluated for their depositional environment.

The Tutorial Petrographic Image Atlas for Carbonates (Acrobat (PDF) 1.5MB Aug31 06) (Kitty Milliken, University of Texas at Austin)
Carbonate rocks are different from sandstones in several important respects and this interactive digital resource takes those differences into account in the choice of software used to build the tutorial. High-resolution scans of entire carbonate thin sections are presented as layered pdf files served through a web-type interface. Students are able to inspect specimens across a range of scales, examining carbonate fabrics and individual allochems all within a single zoomable image. Like its companion for sandstones, this tutorial aims to maintain an opportunity for learning petrography in an increasingly subject-crowded undergraduate curriculum.

Bedforms to Facies to Prediction: Walther's Law and Sequence Stratigraphic Analysis, Blackhawk Formation, Utah (Tom Morris and Teagan Tomlin, Brigham Young University)
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This poster examines a field exercise wherein students are challenged to apply their knowledge of bedforms to interpret facies within a vertical section of the Blackhawk Formation, Utah. The students draft a vertical succession of the outcrop identifying key sedimentary structures. Facies are interpreted from their observations and the importance of Walther's Law in predicting facies becomes apparent to them - even to the point of predicting where an economical coal seam may be located within the section. We conclude the exercise by discussing parasequences and challenge them to predict where parasequence boundaries would exist in the outcrop.

Using chronostratigraphic correlation to demonstrate the limitations and strengths of stratigraphic analysis (Robert Ripperdam, Saint Louis University)

Determination of stream discharge necessary to initiate movement of bed material (Reed Schwimmer, Rider University)
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Students will map two sections of a stream and calculate the depth, velocity, and discharge of flows required to move the stream bedload. Students will produce two cross-sectional profiles of the stream, one through a pool and one through a riffle section, and one longitundinal profile. Measurements of sediment size, depth, and velocity, will be determined at meter intervals across each cross transect. Students will also calculate the approximate cross-sectional areas across the pool and riffle sections and associated discharges. Students will also determine the stream gradient along the longitudinal profile. From these data, students will employ hydrodynamic equations to calculate the critical shear stress, and mean flow velocity required to move the bedload. Students can then calculate what the discharge and stream width would be at the time of sediment movement, and compare these data with those calculated for "normal-flow" periods.

Using field trips to local rivers to enhance student understanding of depositional environments (PowerPoint 94kB Aug12 06) (Alexander Simms, Oklahoma State University)
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One important aspect of interpreting ancient environments from sedimentary structures is visualizing the depositional environment in which the rocks formed. Although not everyone has access to spectacular outcrops to use as examples of depositional environments, almost every city has a river or stream nearby. We will show how visits to a local river in Oklahoma can be used to help students link processes, environments, and sedimentary structures.

From Baseball, Beer, and Airplanes to Sedimentology: Teaching Students About Fluid Properties and Particle Transport (Acrobat (PDF) 1.4MB Aug31 06) (Jill Singer, SUNY-Buffalo State College)
Fundamental principles of fluid properties and particle transport can be made more accessible for students by relating concepts and processes to common everyday events. For example, fluid viscosity can be related to the motion of bubbles in beer, fluid turbulence can be connected to baseball (specifically curve balls), and the entrainment of particles can be related to how planes take off. This poster will include a series of cartoons and short articles that can be used in any sedimentology classroom to teach these and other sediment transport concepts.

From Spilled Milk to Making Waves: Teaching Students Using a Flume and Wave Tank (Acrobat (PDF) 796kB Sep13 06) (Jill Singer, SUNY-Buffalo State College)
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Three collaborative projects brought together nine engineering students and three faculty to design and build a wave tank and a recirculating flume.In the design phase of these projects, the students evaluated construction materials, construction costs, maintenance, and performed a stress analyses for each design option considered. Today, the wave tank and flume are used to support a variety of demonstrations in courses including GES 300, Sedimentology, GES 315, Marine Environments, and GES 224, Geological Hazards. One of the students' favorite demonstrations involves pouring gallons of milk down the flume to model turbidity currents. These two successful collaborations resulted in the design and construction of demonstration equipment for geoscience courses that would otherwise have been financially prohibitive. The students were especially excited to think that the wave tank and flume they built will be used for years to come.

Use of Lab-Field Couplets to Link Rock Classification and Facies Interpretation (Acrobat (PDF) 4.5MB Aug11 06) (Allison Tumarkin-Deratzian, Temple University)
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Undergraduate students often experience a disconnect between understanding and applying rock classification schemes in the classroom, and interpreting real-world outcrops in the field. Pairing a field exercise with a laboratory focusing on hand-samples of similar lithology can help to bridge this conceptual gap. This is especially successful if the lab portion emphasizes implications of classification for facies interpretation, rather than the details of the classification schemes themselves. Although the example presented in this session will deal specifically with the Helderberg carbonates of New York State, the exercises can be easily adapted for use with local sequences of any lithology.


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