Mars for Earthlings > Lesson Modules > Age and Times of Mars vs Earth

Age and Times of Mars vs Earth

Julia Kahmann-Robinson PhD and Marjorie Chan PhD, University of Utah Department of Geology & Geophysics
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This learning module is meant for adaptation in an Earth science course where the geologic history of the Earth is discussed as well as the principles by which Earth's geologic history is defined and rock strata dated by relative dating techniques.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

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Context for Use

Make sure students have a basic understanding of lithologies in addition to the method of crater counting for dating and interpreting the ages of Martian terrain.

Description and Teaching Materials

Compiled In-Class Activities and Homework

In-Class Activity


Teaching Notes and Tips

  1. Expose students to Crater Counting such that students realize the geologic timescale of Mars and dating of the Mars surface is based upon crater counting.
  2. For Homework 1 make sure students have a basic knowledge of lithology in order to interpret unconformities.
  3. Depending on class size, if possible, make copies of the geologic maps for students to use during In-Class Activity 1. If class sizes are larger than 30, include these maps in a course packet. Overhead projection of the maps may not be sufficient to engage fully in the activity.
  4. Homework 1 can be adapted for an in-class activity as desired.


Methods of assessment are within each individual In-Class Activity and Homework.

References and Resources

  1. Image File: Age and Times of Mars vs. Earth (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 389kB May28 13)
  2. YouTube video of the Noachian period on Mars (artist interpretation):
  3. Simplified geologic map of the state of Utah:
  4. Geologic map of Mars: