Mars for Earthlings > Lesson Modules > Igneous Rocks & Volcanics

Igneous Rocks & Volcanics

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This learning module and related laboratory exercise exposes students to volcanic styles, eruptions, igneous rock textures and their evidence in the Martian landscape.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

Context for Use

This learning module is meant for adaptation in an introductory earth science course and/or planetary science course. Before engaging in the In-Class Activities and/or Homework, students will need to be provided with an overview of igneous rocks (see Teaching Notes and Tips). All In-Class Activities can be adapted to a homework set if desired. Online access is essential for video viewing in association with the In-Class Activities.

Description and Teaching Materials

Compiled In-Class Activities and Homework

In-Class Activity


Teaching Notes and Tips


References and Resources

  1. Image file: Igneous Rocks and Volcanics (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 20.8MB Oct23 12).
  2. Rock Cycle Background:
  3. Columnar Joint Experiment Video:
  4. Columnar Joint Article:
  5. Columnar Jointing in Columbia River Gorge Oregon:
  6. Mars columnar jointing discovery by HIRISE in Geology:
  7. HIRIES columnar jointing image:
  8. Pahoehoe lava flow video:
  9. A'a lava flow video:
  10. Basalt on Mars (Hawaii):
  11. Athabasca Spiral lava flows: Discovery news article: Image source:
  12. Mars Plagioclase mineralogy animation: