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 Engage 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
- Horseshoe Bend Colorado
- Lake Powell
- Amazon Delta
- Congo River
- 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.
- Ask students to 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 in References and Resources for images.
What body is/was it emptying into?
Eberswalde Crater, Mars
Mississippi River, Earth
- As students complete the Explore activity, discuss concepts such as delta lobe switching and theforces creating different delta geometries (bird's foot vs. cuspate).
- As appropriate share the tripartite classification (consult Bhattacharya & Giosan, 2003 References and Resources) of deltas and which would be more applicable on Mars (Ehlmann et al., 2008 References and 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.
- Ask students how might the students conduct "tests" on Mars to determine whether or not a delta exists? (HINT: remember that deltas form where sediment is dispersed into a standing body or former standing body of water).
- If you use this activity as homework, have students submit the chart and associated questions and assess their answers.
- If you use the Elaborate section, the tests students come up with should indicate their grasp of delta processes.