Cutting Edge > Visualization > Teaching Activities > Normal Fault Visualization

Normal Faulting

Jimm Myers
,
University of Wyoming

Summary

This module demonstrates the motion on an active normal fault. The operator can manipulate the faulting motion, stopping and reversing motion on the fault at any point along the transit of faulting. The action of erosion is also interactive. One activity is an investigation of the control of different faulting styles on regional landscape form. This visual lends itself to an investigation of fault motion, and a comparison of types of faults. The interactive normal faulting visual could be compared to other interactive visuals depicting thrust faults, reverse faults, and strike slip faults (interactive animations of these fault types can be found by clicking on 'Media Types' at top red bar, then 'Animations', then 'Faults'). By comparing the interactive images of different types of faulting with maps of terrains dominated by different faulting styles, students are aided in conceptualizing how certain faulting styles produce distinctive landforms on the earth's surface (e.g., ridge and valley topography [thrust faulting dominant] versus basin-and-range topography [normal faulting dominant]).

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Description of the activity/assignment

This module demonstrates the motion on an active normal fault. Faulting offsets three horizontal strata. At the end of the faulting event, surface topography has been generated. The upper rock layer is eroded by clicking on the 'begin erosion' button. The operator can manipulate the faulting motion, stopping and reversing motion on the fault at any point along the transit of faulting. The action of erosion is also interactive.

One possible activity is an investigation of the control of different faulting styles on regional landscape form. This visual lends itself to an investigation of fault motion, and a comparison of types of faults. The interactive normal faulting visual could be compared to other interactive visuals depicting thrust faults, reverse faults, and strike slip faults (interactive animations of these fault types can be found by clicking on 'Media Types' at top red bar, then 'Animations', then 'Faults'). By comparing the interactive images of different types of faulting with maps of terrains dominated by different faulting styles, students are aided in conceptualizing how certain faulting styles produce distinctive landforms on the earth's surface (e.g., ridge and valley topography [thrust faulting dominant] versus basin-and-range topography [normal faulting dominant]).

Jimm Myers, geology professor at the University of Wyoming, originated the concept of The Magma Foundry, a website dedicated to improving Earth science education across the grade levels. The Magma Foundry designs and creates modular, stand-alone media components that can be utilized in a variety of pedagogical functions in courses and labs.

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