PRAJUKTI Bhattacharyya

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Geography and Geology
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects

Activities (4)

VEPP: Using volcano deformation data for lava flow hazard assessment and decision making, Part I: what do the instruments measure? part of NAGT:Teaching Resources:Volcano Exploration Project: Pu`u `O`o:Examples
This is an exercise that is in development and has not yet been fully tested in the classroom. Please check back regularly for updates and changes. Brief three-line description of the activity or assignment and its strengths: This is the first part of a loosely linked three part activity. Each part can be used as a stand-alone activity with slight modification. This part introduces students to volcano monitoring using data from tiltmeters and GPS receivers by means of a very simple in-class demonstration of volcanic inflation/deflation, followed by small group discussion of real data and their implications, followed by individual homework assignment based on VEPP data interpretation Full length description: The instructor conducts the in-class demonstration described below (demonstration takes about 20 minutes): Put the wet sand in the tray (fill up to about three-quarters of the tray depth) Bury the balloon in the sand. Attach the pump to the balloon. Shape the sand above the balloon to mimic a volcano. The balloon is the model of the magma chamber inside the volcano. While it stays relatively deflated, the "volcano" above it shows no major change in shape. Air is then pumped in the balloon, mimicking an infusion of magma in the magma chamber. As the balloon begins to fill out, it expands, deforming the volcano above it. The volcano is now "active" and should be "monitored" by different instruments, namely, tiltmeters, GPS, and seismometers. The carpenters' levels mimic "tiltmeters." At this point it might be useful to ask the students to select where the tiltmeters should be placed, making sure one is "tangential" and the other is "radial" (perpendicular to each other). This is a good place to start a discussion about inflation and deflation events and how those are measured by tiltmeters. Once there is enough air in the balloon to create an obvious bulge in the volcano, the use of GPS receivers for measuring volcano deformation can be discussed. Two long pins can be used as two GPS stations and the changing distance between them can demonstrate how deformation can be measured in 3-D. At this point, several inflation-deflation events can be demonstrated by carefully letting air out of the balloon and pumping it back in. This demonstration introduces different geophysical instruments used for volcano monitoring and provides a simplified illustration of how they work. This demonstration is followed by a brief overview of the VEPP website and the type of data available there. Whole class discussion about different data types (example: inflation-deflation events as recorded by tiltmeters over a specific time period). Instructor will lead the discussion and demonstrate how the data is manipulated on-line. The VEPP overview takes 10-15 minutes After the whole class discussion and demonstration by instructor, students break into small groups (3-4 people per group). Instructor provides printed data plots for tiltmeters and GPS time series for the same time period. A map showing the locations of the corresponding instruments is also provided. Different groups get data for different time periods/eruption events. An example plot with clearly marked inflation/deflation events and instructions about how to read the plots will be helpful Questions for students to answer in small groups: Identify the dates/times when tiltmeters record inflation events Identify dates/times when tiltmeters record deflation events What does the GPS data show for each of those time periods? What can you infer about the volcanic activity for those time periods from the data provided? Small group discussion takes 15-20 minutes Each group report back and compare their interpretations. Instructor facilitates discussion/provides feedback (20 minutes) Instructor then demonstrates the webcam images/movies from the VEPP site for the same time periods/events as the data provided to the student groups so they can see whether they interpreted the data correctly or not. This is followed by discussion about uncertainties/ambiguities associated with real data and data interpretation. (10-15 minutes).

Student-designed Authentic Research Projects in a Non-major Environmental Geology Course part of Cutting Edge:Undergraduate Research:2014 Workshop:Activities
Student-designed, data-based authentic research projects can be useful tools for incorporating a dimension of authentic research in non-major science courses. Such an approach has been followed in a geoscience course for non-majors at UW Whitewater. Students worked in pairs and selected a research topic on a local environmental issue, wrote a research proposal, collected, analyzed and synthesized data, and presented their research in a public poster presentation session. They critiqued their peers' proposals and posters, and assessed their own learning. Student self-assessment reports indicated that they found such projects to be personally enriching. Students reported significant learning gains from participating in this project. Such an approach can be applicable in a variety of courses for promoting student engagement in science classrooms.

VEPP: Using volcano deformation data for lava flow hazard assessment and decision making, Part II: Past is the key to the future part of NAGT:Teaching Resources:Volcano Exploration Project: Pu`u `O`o:Examples
This is an exercise that is in development and has not yet been fully tested in the classroom. Please check back regularly for updates and changes. Brief three-line description of the activity or assignment and its strengths: This is the second part of a loosely linked three part activity. Each part can be used as a stand-alone activity with slight modification. This part focuses on the deformation signals generated by lava outbreaks, whether those signals can be used for accurately predicting where and when lava outbreak events will occur, the factors governing lava flows, and hazards of lava flows based on a case study of destruction of Kalapana Village in 1990 Full length description: Students break out in small groups. Each group receives a topo map without the lava flows marked on it, and a printout of a DEM image or a shaded relief map for the area around Puu Oo. Compare the topo map with the DEM image to determine the slope of the area and try to infer the direction of the lava flow in that area. Mark their inferences on the topo map with colored pencil (10-15 minutes) Next the instructor passes around a JPG image of the 1983-86 lava flow (available from the "HISTORY" link of the VEPP site for that time period). Students get to see how closely their inferences match the actual lava flow. Repeat the activity for the next eruption 1986-92 and discuss what could be the possible factors controlling the direction of lava flows (topography, volume of lava erupted, temperature, type and viscosity of lava... etc. ) The statistics of each of the historic flows including the volume of each flow are available in the history section of the VEPP site (Topo map marking, 5-10 minutes, discussion, 10 minutes) Repeat the activity for the 1997-2007 range. (Topo map marking 5-10 minutes, comparing with real data, 10 minutes) Next pick individual events for which GPS and tilt data is available (2004 onwards) and web cam data from 2006 onwards. A good start will be to use the webcam movies as guidelines to pick specific lava flow events and then search for geophysical data around those dates/times. Instructor distributes the tiltmeter and GPS plots for "before" and "after" a specific lava outbreak event. Each group gets a different event to work with. Instructor provides plots/vector maps showing change in line length from GPS data, change in elevation.. etc. Students work in groups to identify (if any) indicative trends in the geophysical data that might be used to predict an eruption Students determine if there is a correlation between the GPS data and tiltmeter data (note: include rainfall data in each tiltmeter data plot and "detrend" them. Tiltmeters tend to drift and move away from the horizontal over time. This gives an overall trend to the data. Detrending identifies and removes the best fit line to neutralize the drift). The small groups work 10-15 minutes with the data. Then each group reports back with their observations regarding the correlation between tilt/GPS data and lava flow events (report 15-20 minutes).

VEPP: Using volcano deformation data for lava flow hazard assessment and decision making, Part III: Putting it all together part of NAGT:Teaching Resources:Volcano Exploration Project: Pu`u `O`o:Examples
This is an exercise that is in development and has not yet been fully tested in the classroom. Please check back regularly for updates and changes. Brief three-line description of the activity or assignment and its strengths: This is the third part of a loosely linked three part activity. Each part can be used as a stand-alone activity with slight modification. This section of the activity depends on the availability of archived lava flow maps for the current eruption (2010-) This part focuses on lava flow hazards, and the human costs associated with it. Students will work in small groups to assess the risks to specific houses and other structures in the path of the current lava flow, and based on the personality profiles of imaginary homeowners provided by the instructor, will compose letters to the owners of those houses advising them about the best course of action open to them in view of the current situation. Full length description: Students break out in small groups. Each group is provided with a printout of a Google Earth maps showing the location of houses in the path of the ongoing lava flow. Each group selects a specific house. Each group is provided with most recent lava flow maps (and at least two previous maps. Not sure how frequently these maps are updated, but I'm hoping to provide map information for the last two weeks) Each group receives the GPS and tiltmeter data for the same time period (about two weeks). They should have one map for the beginning of the two-week period, at least one during that time, and the most recent map. Each group locate and plot "their" house on each lava flow map using the Google Earth printout as a reference. Instructor provieds each group with an imaginary character as the "homeowner". The character sketch includes the age, financial situation, occupation and other information to make the character more realistic Based on the deformation data each group predicts whether "their" house is in danger of being engulfed by the lava flow. Each group composes a letter to the imaginary house owner advising them about the best course of action considering the overall situation. In their letter they have to summarize the deformation data and the criteria they used to determine the risk level and for their prediction.

Other Contribution

Attitude Toward Science, Scientists part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:First Day of Class:Activities
Prajukti Bhattacharyya, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater Course: Introduction to Earth Science 25-32 students Students' negative attitudes toward science can be a surprisingly powerful barrier to learning. ...


Events and Communities

InTeGrate Materials Developers

Using on-line volcano monitoring data in college and university courses: The Volcano Exploration Project, Pu`u `O`o Participants

Early Career '02 Participants

Cutting Edge 2014 Undergrad Research