Profiling Earth's Surface using GeoMapApp
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This page first made public: Apr 6, 2007
(2) To relate these features to volcanoes and earthquakes.
(3) To understand that variations in surface elevation reflect variations in crustal and lithospheric thickness.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
The B to B' elevation profile that students should produce using GeoMapApp is provided as a PDF file.
Assignment Handout as PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 689kB Apr3 07)
Assignment Handout as WORD file (Microsoft Word 107kB Apr3 07)
Elevation Cross Section ( 54kB Apr3 07)
Schematic Answer Key ( 136kB Aug2 07)
Teaching Notes and Tips
–One strategy is for the instructor to demonstrate GeoMapApp in class. Students may start the exercise in class, thereby decreasing the fear-factor associated with learning new software.
–The assignment contains little background information on plate tectonics, so the instructor must supply the appropriate context for students. At an introductory level, this might involve a number of lectures before students attempt the homework. At an upper level, this might simply be a brief review of plate tectonic concepts. Encourage students to use their textbooks and lecture notes while completing the activity.
–Students must have a basic understanding of the following concepts to complete this exercise:
- topographic maps, profiles, and geologic cross sections
- plate boundaries (spreading centers, transform faults, subduction zones, continental collisions, and continental rifts)
- active and passive margins
- earthquake locations and depths
- volcano locations
- shallow Earth structure (crust, mantle, Moho, lithosphere, and asthenosphere)
–Note that a schematic answer key is available on this website. Savvy students may find this solution online, so instructors may consider choosing a different location for the profile, which can be done easily simply by replacing the first figure in the assignment.
–To explore tectonic settings in greater detail, an instructor could divide the cross section into smaller segments. This would allow students to investigate regions such as active and passive margins, hotspot volcanoes, trenches, mid-ocean ridges, continental rifts, etc. This strategy, however, will take more time and require additional printing resources.
–GeoMapApp has many interesting features. This exercise is meant, in large part, to introduce students to the software. There may be additional assignments where students will find it useful.
References and Resources
Italian translated version of this activity, hosted by ICLEEN - Un profilo topografico dell'Italia. Introduzione a GeoMapApp