Estimating the spreading rate of Atlantic and Pacific ridges
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
appreciate how spreading velocity controls bathymetry of ocean
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
appreciate that "all models are wrong, but some models are useful" i.e., the modeled bathymetry does not perfectly match the real bathymetry, but can capture the general subsidence pattern.
Other skills goals for this activity
plotting data in matlab
Description and Teaching Materials
For this lab students are provided with a handout describing the concepts of subsidence of aging oceanic lithosphere and the equation relating ocean subsidence to age. They are then provided data files of bathymetry of the atlantic and pacific oceans.
Students then must write a script to plot the real data and the calculated bathymetry as a function of spreading velocity, and estimate the spreading velocity of each ocean by trial and error based on visual curve-matching.
data for "Estimating the spreading rate of Atlantic and Pacific ridges" ( 22kB Apr30 12)