Kirsten Menking

Earth Science and Geography

Vassar College

Workshop Leader and Participant, Website Contributor

Website Content Contributions

Activities (10)

Modeling U-Series Concordia/Discordia Using STELLA part of Rates and Time:GSA Activity Posters
U-Series dating techniques are widely used to determine the absolute ages of some of Earth's oldest rocks, but the concordia/discordia diagram can be quite difficult for students to grasp. I have produced a STELLA-based lab exercise to develop students' understanding of this important chronologic technique. Students create models of the two isotopic decay systems and run these models to create the concordia diagram. They then carry out experiments in which they "add" or "remove" varying amounts of lead or uranium in simulation of metamorphism. In the course of the lab, students are introduced to the concepts of exponential decay and secular equilibrium as well as modeling concepts such as the creation of if-then statements.

Daisyworld Model part of Cutting Edge:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
In this exercise, students recreate the classic Daisyworld model of Watson and Lovelock (1983). Daisyworld is a planet covered by two species of daisy, one white and one black, whose growth is determined by ...

Modeling Earth's Energy Balance part of Cutting Edge:Develop Program-Wide Abilities:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
In this exercise, students use the STELLA box modeling software to determine Earth's temperature based on incoming solar radiation and outgoing terrestrial radiation. Starting with a simple black body model, ...

Daisyworld Lab part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students explore a STELLA model of Daisyworld, a self-regulating system incorporating positive and negative feedbacks.

Radioactive Decay and Geochronology part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students create a STELLA model of the radioactive decay process.

Temperature Profiles in Permafrost part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students use STELLA to create a model of heatflow in permafrost to attempt to replicate the findings of Lachenbruch and Marshall (1986), who used inflections in the geothermal gradient of Alaskan permafrost to search for evidence of climatic change.

Lake Level Changes in the Arid West part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students use the modeling program STELLA to see what combinations of runoff and evaporation might have lead to Pleistocene lake level oscillations in California's Owens River system.

Modeling Earth's Temperature part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students use the STELLA program to create hierarchies of models of increasing complexity to understand the absorption of solar energy by the Earth and its radiation of that energy back to space.

Landscape Diffusion Lab part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students create a STELLA model of two marine terrace platforms separated in elevation by a cliff, using the hillslope flux equation to simulate the change in the cliff face over time as diffusive processes tear it down.

Global Phosphorus Cycle part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students create and modify a STELLA model of the global phosphorus cycle to test a number of scenarios.

Essay (1)

Modeling the Earth part of Cutting Edge:Complex Systems:Workshop 2010:Participant Essays
Kirsten Menking, Vassar College The class in which my students acquire the most hands-on experience with complex systems is my senior seminar on numerical modeling, entitled Modeling the Earth. This course ...

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