MARGINS Data in the Classroom > Mini-Lessons > Mini-Lesson Collection > Volcanoes of Central America

Volcanoes of Central America

Guatemalan Volcanoes

Michael J Carr
Rutgers University
Department of Geological Sciences, Wright Laboratory
610 Taylor Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8066 U.S.A.
carr@rutgers.edu
Author Profile

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: May 13, 2009

Summary

Interactively plot volcano locations on a vivid topographic and bathymetric basemap to evaluate right-stepping offsets of the volcanic front of an active arc, Central America.

Learning Goals

Test a published hypothesis on factors controlling volcano distribution in convergent margins using original data that is now a few decades old. Next, use a new data set that is substantially richer and more detailed to retest the old idea and develop new hypotheses concerning the relationships between volcanoes and faults (visible in the topography).

Context for Use

Sophomore course in Earthquakes and Volcanoes

Description and Teaching Materials

A five page word document gives background and describes exercises. The exercises require 2 data files and I include an Excel version of each.

Volcanoes of Central America mini lesson (Microsoft Word 331kB Sep17 09)
Smithsonian List of Volcanoes (Excel 21kB Sep17 09)
Central American Vents in 2008 (Excel 152kB May8 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips

The exercise requires GeoMapApp , a free java tool for exploring the earth.

Assessment

Ideally, students will get immersed in the rich data sets of topography, vent location and volcano size and go beyond the first two sections where the goals and methods are defined. That is a real success.

Problem 1: Can identify two or three right stepping offsets and realize that the raw topography works best, after using the vent data to learn to identify the volcanos.

Problem 2: Vent locations show no evidence of volcanic centers or clusters but the profile tool shows the centers quite well.

References and Resources

Most of the papers cited in the exercise are available at http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~carr/index.html.
This site also has a virtual field trip to the volcanoes.

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