Tom Hickson


University of St. Thomas (MN)

Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects

Activities (10)

Red Beans and Rice: Slope failure experimental modeling part of Cutting Edge:Geomorphology:Activities
Students replicate a slope failure experiment published in Science (Densmore et al., 1997) using a simple, acrylic slope failure box in an effort to forge a link between autocyclic processes, long-term landscape evolution, and slope morphology. This exercise also conveys important concepts about landscape stability.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Deriving bedform phase diagrams part of Cutting Edge:Sedimentary Geology:Activities
Students derive bedform phase diagrams from Middleton and Southard (1984) by plotting the original data (stolen using DataThief software from the publication) in Excel and defining bedform field boundaries. These diagrams are then linked to cross stratification.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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When should we move the marina? part of Cutting Edge:Sedimentary Geology:Sedimentology, Geomorphology, and Paleontology 2014:Activities
In this assignment students use real world data to solve an applied problem in geomorphology. They use ArcGIS and time sequential aerial photography to determine when a marina on Lake Mead must be moved to avoid problems of sedimentation related to a major drawdown of the lake. Students must estimate the rate of delta progradation and come up with a timeframe for when the marina will become unusable. It is set up as a realistic consulting project, based on a project completed by the author.

Tectonic Geomorphology: Exploring activity on the San Andreas fault with ArcGIS part of Cutting Edge:Sedimentary Geology:Sedimentology, Geomorphology, and Paleontology 2014:Activities
In this activity students develop an hypothesis as how slope morphology reflects the timing of motion on a fault, in this case the classic Wallace Creek segment of the San Andreas. It is a scaffolded, problem-based exercise that uses ArcGIS and LiDAR data to test their hypothesis.

Investigating slope failure and landscape evolution with red beans and rice! part of NAGT:Teaching Resources:Teaching Materials Collection
Students investigate the behavior of a slope profile over geological timescales using a very simple experimental apparatus. The lab allows students to understand concepts of equilibrium, controls on slope profile, issues surrounding landslide hazard, and the application of experiments to real geological problems. The lab also precisely replicates an experiment that appeared in the journal 'Science' in 1997.

Visualizing the Shields Parameter part of Cutting Edge:Sedimentary Geology:Activities
The Shields parameter is a fundamental dimensionless variable that embodies the complex factors that interact to initiate motion on a sediment bed. Many students have trouble grasping this (and most other) dimensionless numbers, yet they are fundamental to understanding the controls on sediment transport and deposition. Here I provide a dynamic, interactive equation that plots points on the Shields diagram, thus allowing students to explore the many variables that impact initiation of motion.

Depositional Environments of the Jordan Formation, Winona, MN part of Cutting Edge:Course Design:Course Design Activities
This project involves a field trip to the Jordan Formation in Winona, MN. Student teams are assigned a section of the outcrop from which they are to determine a stratigraphic column. The class then performs a lateral analysis and builds a composite stratigraphic column for the formation. As a final product, the students write up the class's observations about the formation.

Virtual Field Trip to the Jackfork Group, Arkansas part of Cutting Edge:Course Design:Course Design Activities
This project is designed to get students thinking about some of the basic properties of sedimentary rocks that can be used to interpret their environment of deposition. In particular, it focues on characterizing lithology (rock type), bedding style, and grain size for rock units from the Pennsylvanian age Jackfork Group.

Using data from the Experimental Earthscape Facility (Jurassic tank) to visualize basin-scale stratigraphic architecture part of Cutting Edge:Sedimentary Geology:Activities
Students use digital imagery from an experimental subsiding sedimentary basin to visualize the controls on basin-scale facies architecture, Walther's law, and sequence stratigraphic concepts. Students must predict which of three variables (base level, sediment supply, or subsidence rate) was altered to produce the stratigraphy. This project helps forge a strong link between real-world depositional environments, their resultant deposits, and how these systems respond to external and internal forcings.

Basin-scale Controls on Sedimentary Architecture, Jurassic Tank part of Cutting Edge:Course Design:Course Design Activities
In this project, students interpret a high-resolution image of result from an experimental run of the Jurrasic Tank sedimentation simulator at the St. Anthony Falls Lab at the University of Minnesota. They are expected to interpret depositional environments, characterize simulated stratigraphic sections, and interpret the overall sedimentary architecture of the simulated basin. All of these observations are to put together onto a poster which is the final product of the project.

Courses (2)

Earth Surface Processes and Geomorphology part of Cutting Edge:Course Design:Goals Database
This is a sophomore level geomorphology course that mainly focuses on earth surface processes.

Sedimentology and Stratigraphy part of Cutting Edge:Course Design:Goals Database
This course covers the basics of fluid flow and sediment transport, sedimentary structures and textures, and-forming the bridge between modern landforms and ancient rocks-depositional sedimentary environments. The course is designed as a "learning-centered" experience where there are three very well-defined objectives for students to attain. There is a series of three projects that are designed to give students practice in doing the things specified in the class goals. The instructor then provides the students the content that they need to be able to complete the projects.

Other Contributions (2)

Glacial River Warren and the retreat of St. Anthony Falls part of Vignettes:Vignette Collection
Thomas Hickson University of St. Thomas Location Continent: North America Country: United States State: Minnesota City: Minneapolis/St. Paul UTM coordinates and datum: none Setting Climate Setting: Humid Tectonic ...

Using Data to Teach Earth ProcessesAn Illustrated Community Discussion at the 2003 Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America part of Cutting Edge:Data, Simulations and Models:Workshop 03:Activities
These 3 activities (Mammoth Cave Passages; Red Beans & Rice & Slope Stability; Basin and Range Tectonic Geomorphology) involve students in data collection, analysis, and interpretation, with the goal of answering very specific geomorphological questions. In addition, they learn to develop and test hypotheses.

Events and Communities

Sedimentary Geology Workshop 06

Geomorphology Workshop 2008 Participants

Career Prep '03 Participants

Career Prep '04 Participants: Leader

Course Design Workshop 2003 Participants

Sedimentology, Geomorphology, and Paleontology 2014: Leader