Eberswalde Delta Mars
In-Class Activity 2
Julia Kahmann-Robinson PhD, University of Utah Department of Geology & Geophysics
Become acquainted with deltas on Earth and apply the principles of delta-formation to Mars images. Students will be able to create an informed hypothesis as to whether or not deltas are present on Mars.
- Acquaint students with delta formation previous to this exercise or as a simultaneous component to your teaching.
- Research and present deltas found here on Earth to serve as analog comparisons. The Engagement section will provide an opportunity, albeit small, for students to see an analog.
Ask students the following question to start off the Activity: When you hear the word "delta" what do you think of?
- List ideas on board
- Discuss each one as it applies
To evaluate current understanding, share with students the following images and have them identify which is a "delta" (see the Image file in the Sculpting Surfaces/Resources for images).
- Horseshoe Bend Colorado
- Lake Powell
- Amazon Delta
- Congo River
Deltas on Mars?
- View the following video from NASA.gov- click on the "+ View Video" link in blue: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_98.html
- As students view the video, ask them to write down the evidence cited by scientists that this is a delta on Mars.
- Compare and contrast their Mars findings with Earth-based observations of the following deltas: Mississippi River and Colorado River (dry).
- You may use a similar Table Format provided in this learning module (Delta Table (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 31kB Oct16 12)) if you plan to have students turn in their observations as a result of this In-Class Activity
- See the Image file for images.
- As students complete the Exploration activity, discuss concepts such as lobe switching and the forces creating different delta geometries (bird's foot vs. cuspate).
- As appropriate share the tripartite classification (consult Bhattacharya & Giosan, 2003 Resources) of deltas and which would be more applicable on Mars (Ehlmann et al., 2008 Resources), if any.
Search and discover other deltas on Earth via Google Image search or the like (HINT: search major river systems). Have students determine which delta on Earth is most similar to Eberswalde Delta on Mars.
- Are any a good match? Ask students to explain why or why not.
- How might the students conduct "tests" on Mars to determine whether or not a delta exists?
- If you use this activity as homework, have students submit the chart and associated questions and assess their answers.
- If you use the Elaboration section, the tests students come up with should indicate their grasp of delta processes.