Mars for Earthlings > Lesson Modules > Igneous Rocks & Volcanics

Igneous Rocks & Volcanics

Julia Kahmann-Robinson PhD and Marjorie Chan PhD, University of Utah Department of Geology & Geophysics
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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.  Students, before engaging in the In-Class Activities and/or Homework 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

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 Background:

4. Columnar Joint Experiment Video:

5. Columnar Jointing in Columbia River Gorge Oregon:

6. Recent quakes on Mars? [article]

7. Mars columnar jointing discovery by HIRISE in Geology:

8. HIRIES columnar jointing image:

9. -Pahoehoe lava flow video:

10. -A'a lava flow video:

11. -Mars lava coils: Discovery news article: Image source:

12. Basalt on Mars (Hawaii):

13. Athabasca Spiral lava flows: Discovery news article:

Image source:

14. Mars Plagioclase mineralogy animation: