This learning module and related laboratory exercise exposes students to the types of lithologies on Earth that host life and the sedimentary processes that formed them.
- Recognize and identify sedimentary rocks on Earth and Mars
- Identify sedimentary structures that provide clues as to the environment of formation (i.e. mud cracks, cross-bedding etc.).
- Observe the expansion of clays and explain why water influences clay-rich rocks at the molecular level
Context for Use
This learning module is meant for adaptation in an introductory earth science course and/or planetary science course. Students need a prior knowledge of minerals before going through this module. Provide an understanding of grain sorting and sedimentary structures resulting from varying energy in the system (Ex: low energy = laminations; cross-bedding = higher energy system).
Description and Teaching Materials
- In-Class Activity 1: Swelling Rocks
- In-Class Activity 2: Is it Really Sedimentary?
Teaching Notes and Tips
Each In-Class Activity and Homework has its own method of assessment.
References and Resources
- Image file: Life-Hosting Rocks (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 22.2MB Jan20 14)
- Swelling clay-rich soil demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACpuYED9WkU
- Ripple-formation video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRGuMddjRGg&list=PL17AFB4B8AB3DCCF7
- Laminar-flow video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3YZ5veN_Bg