Teach the Earth > Structural Geology > Structure, Geophysics, and Tectonics 2012 > Teaching Activities > Structure contours, vertical cross-sections, three-point problems and applications

Structure contours, vertical cross-sections, three-point problems and applications

Seth C. Kruckenberg, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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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 1, 2012


This exercise makes use of geologic maps, structure contour and cross-section problems, and three-point calculations to help students conceptualize three-dimensional spatial relationships of geologic structures, with applications to structural geology.



Undergraduate required course in structural geology.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should have a working knowledge of geologic contacts, bedding attitudes, and the basic concepts of strike and dip. Prior exercises to help with spatial reasoning are also useful.

How the activity is situated in the course

This exercise is usually taught early in the course after a discussion of the basic skills and concepts discussed above.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

The goals of this exercise are to: 1) review learned knowledge of specific structures; 2) identify and interpret structural geometries based on the topographic expression of geologic units and associated structural measurements through the construction of map outcrop patterns and cross-sections; and 3) conceptualize and characterize three-dimensional geometric surfaces in the subsurface using well data and three-point analytical techniques.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Spatil reasoning, interpretation of structural observations and tectonic history

Other skills goals for this activity

Description and Teaching Materials

Structure contours, vertical cross-sections, three-point problems and applications (Acrobat (PDF) 3.8MB May4 12)

Teaching Notes and Tips


References and Resources

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