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Rates, Dates and Geologic Time: Teaching about the Temporal Aspects of Geoscience
Cutting Edge > Rates and Time > Teaching Activities > Relative Age Correlation

Relative Age Correlation

Gwen M. Daley
,
Department of Chemistry, Physics and Geology, Winthrop University
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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: Feb 20, 2012

Summary

Students learn to apply basic correlation principles to geologic cross-sections.

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Context

Audience

Undergraduate historical and physical geology students with non-earth science majors

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

1. A basic understanding of how igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks form.
2. An introduction to how faults and unconformities form.

How the activity is situated in the course

It is part of a unit on geologic time which includes relative and absolute dating techniques. It is usually preceded by a unit on how rocks form.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Learn how to apply basic, logical correlation principles to determine the relative age of rocks and other geologic features.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students must synthesize their prior knowledge of how different rocks form with how the processes of formation work in geologic time.

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

The purpose of this exercise is to introduce students to how simple relative age correlation principles can be used to reliable determine the relative ages of rock units and other geologic features. Students will apply the principles of original horizontality, superposition, cross-cutting relationships and inclusion to determine the relative ages of sedimentary rocks, igneous rocks and metamorphic rocks, as well as unconformities and faults.

Determining whether students have met the goals

The students' answers on the two cross-section worksheets are used to evaluate their mastery of the techniques.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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