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Teaching geologic time and rates of landscape evolution with dice
Kate Ruhl, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Landscape evolution provides a convenient framework for understanding geologic time and rates because students can observe how processes like erosion and deposition shape their surroundings. In this example, students build 3-D sandbox models based on topographic maps and design and stage a "virtual adventure race." Sandbox landscapes are used to illustrate erosional processes,while local examples are used to discuss landscapes as transient or steady over different time- and length scales. Dice experiments illustrate radioactive decay and the shape of the age equation curve, and 14C dating, geochronology and thermochronology are introduced as "stopwatches" that start when a plant dies, a crystal forms, or a rock nears the surface and cools to a certain temperature. The sandbox model and thermochronometer "stopwatches" are combined to measure erosion rates and rates of landscape change. Ultimately, model rates (cm/hour) calculated from stopwatch times on the order of seconds can be related to geologic rates (km/My) calculated from real million-year-old samples.

Mid-level spreadsheeting and complex modeling of real-world scarp evolution
William Locke, Montana State University-Bozeman
This exercise is a second or familiarization exercise in spreadsheeting, but is also a mathematical model for slope evolution. It uses the concept of "erosivity" (generally, the relative ratio of driving and resisting forces) and slope angle to reshape an initial topography. Finally, it asks the students themselves to come up with a real-world situation worth modeling.

Investigating slope failure and landscape evolution with red beans and rice!
Tom Hickson, University of St. Thomas (MN)
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, ...

Timeline of the Early Earth
Selby Cull, Washington University in St. Louis
Students assemble timelines of the early evolution of Earth's atmosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere by examining data from Archean rocks and minerals.

Timing of mineralization in the palm of your hand: Cross-cutting relations, copper minerals and ore-forming hydrothermal fluid evolution
Barb Dutrow, Louisiana State University
This lab is designed to familiarize students with the geologic history of an ore-deposit, deciphered in the palm of your hand. By determining cross cutting relations of veins and mineralogy, students decipher the ...

Landscape Models
David Marchetti, Western State College of Colorado
An introduction to using WILSIM, an on-line lanscape evolution model.

Rocks, Weathering, and Erosional Landscapes
Lindley Hanson, Salem State University
Students will identify a variety of silicate minerals and rocks and relate them to their topographic expression according to relative resistance.

Red Beans and Rice: Slope failure experimental modeling
Tom Hickson, University of St. Thomas (MN)
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 ...

Drainage Basins Field Lab
Jeff Marshall, California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
This field activity and follow-up assignment explores the geomorphology of drainage basins in an active tectonic setting. It introduces basic concepts of drainage basin structure and landscape analysis using ...

Landform Interpretation: Table Mountain
Gene Pearson, University of the Pacific
Using topographic maps, geological maps,aerial photos,and Google Earth, groups of students develop hypotheses about a Miocene [9 Ma]river channel [Table Mountain] and post-flow processes that have resulted in the ...

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