On the Cutting Edge - Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
Teaching Structural Geology in the 21st Century
Smith College, Northampton MA

Integrating geophysics and Earthscope into structural geology courses


Geophysical data are vital for structural geologists to characterize the geometry and physical properties of subsurface rocks and structures, and are fundamental to understanding active tectonics. This working group seeks to develop activities and resources for integrating geophysics and the EarthScope data stream into the structural geology curriculum. Two objectives of this effort are (1) to broaden the exposure of our students to problems within the geosciences, building a foundation for integrative science for the next generation of geoscience leaders, and (2) to convey basic concepts of structural geology using powerful tools afforded by geophysical methods.

We are building a collection of activities and exercises that are currently used in courses, identifying gaps in the collection, and creating new activities and exercises to fill those gaps. Resources that can enhance structural geology courses include lab and lecture activities, demonstrations including QuickTime video clips and QTVR animations, and exercises that involve the collection or interpretation of primary geophysical data that can be utilized by non-geophysicists. A preliminary list of geophysical topics that are most relevant to structural geology is posted below.

Rather than just posting lists of web links, we encourage submission of resources and well-constructed exercises that can augment the canon of topics covered in structural geology courses. Our intent is that the next generation of structural geologists will be as comfortable working with a broad range of geophysical data as they are working with maps and compasses. We also plan to develop innovative approaches for integrating Earthscope into the undergraduate structure coursework including hands-on collaborative research opportunities, field experiences, and authentic exercises and projects that utilize the Earthscope data stream.

Please share your best exercises by contributing to this growing resource collection at serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/structure04/resources.html. The resources will be fully searchable through the Digital Library of Earth System Education (www.dlese.org).

Working group charge

Initial participants in our working group*

*Would you like to join our working group? Drop an email to Vince Cronin (Vince_Cronin@baylor.edu) and let us know that you are ready to contribute to our merry band!

Preliminary list of geophysics topics relevant to introductory structural geology