Evolution of Normal Fault Systems During Progressive Deformation
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection
Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review 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: Dec 14, 2004
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
Description of the activity/assignment
There are few resources available that help students visualize the dynamic nature of faulting, especially the complex interplay of faults during growth and evolution of a fault system. Such an understanding is critical, however, if students are to think meaningfully about fault geometries and what they imply.
Conducting scale-model experiments in a class setting is useful, but very time-consuming, difficult for all students to see well, and very temporary, except for the end product. Accordingly, taking a cue from a movie produced by Ken McClay, I constructed a deformation apparatus, conducted and filmed several experiments conducted by McClay, and then produced QuickTime movies of the experiments. This approach makes it possible for students to observe an experiment in a minute or two that took 30-45 minutes to produce and to view the experiment repeatedly, so as to become very familiar with all that is taking place.
Individual frames from the movie provide a template on which students can identify the sequence of fault development, rotation of features, and cessation of motion on some faults as they become inactive. Requiring students to document their observations, establish a chronological sequence of events, and explain in writing what happens during the experiment results in an increased awareness of the faulting process.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Download teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description/Assignment (Microsoft Word 28kB Dec14 04)
- Equal extension movie (large) ( 19.5MB Dec14 04)
- Equal extension movie (small) ( 6.5MB Dec14 04)
- Listric faulting movie (large) ( 28.6MB Dec14 04)
- Listric faulting movie (small) ( 9.5MB Dec14 04)
- Exercise photos and interpretations ( 10MB Dec14 04)
This is a zipped folder of jpg images and pdf annotated images for each exercise.
The sand used in these experiments was purchased from Activa Products, P.O. Box 472, Westford MA 01886, 508-692-9300. It is just listed as craft sand (e.g. Pre-dyed craft sand, 50 lb. bag, dark green). The cost used to be $25/bag.
I have a sketch of the apparatus used in the films (exploded drawing) and a couple of digital photos I am willing to send to anyone who might like to construct a similar device.