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Quantitative Skills, Thinking, and Reasoning Activities


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Continental Crust Mass Balance Calculation
Jennifer Wenner, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
A quantitative skills-intensive exercise using data from the Mineral Mountains, Utah, to calculate mass balance and to address the "space problem" involved with emplacing plutons into the crust.

Viscosity of the Mantle: Constraints from Post-glacial Rebound
David Kohlstedt, University of Minnesota
This laboratory experiment emphasizes the exponential nature of post-glacial rebound and reinforces the relationship between the rate of rebound and the viscosity of the mantle.

Assessing the error of linear and planar field data using Fisher statistics
Vince Cronin, Baylor University
Instruction on use of Fisher statistics to determine the mean and 95% confidence interval of geological vectors, lines or planes, with examples, problems and an Excel spreadsheet for computation.

The Floating Lithosphere - Isostasy
Len Vacher, Dept of Geology, University of South Florida
Students are asked to numerically and then analytically determine the relations governing the depth of compensation.

Interpreting recent carbon dioxide data
Elizabeth Gordon, Fitchburg State University
This activity engages students in viewing and downloading web-accessed data sets to examine latitudinal trends in CO2 over (recent) time and to interpret a time series of CO2 data from a selected location.

Climate as Constraint
Suzanne Pierce, University of Texas at Austin, The
This classroom assignment and discussion guide presents the relationship between groundwater availability, use, and climate conditions. Students are asked to consider the possible implications of regional climate ...

Engaging Question
Karl Wirth, Macalester College Course: Dynamic Earth and Global Change 20 students This activity serves a number of functions, including an introduction to the course, a learning prompt that can be revisited ...

Campus Map Scale
Carrie Davis Todd, University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown
Students are given a map of the campus and asked to devise a method to determine the map scale. The method for determining scale is not prescribed, requiring the students to work in small groups to brainstorm a ...

Measuring the Earth
Peter Copeland, University of Houston-University Park
With a colleague at the University of Kansas, we measure the size of the Earth using the method of Eratosthenese. This is handy because the UH and KU campuses are almost directly on a N-S line.

Chemical Differentiation in the Palisades Sill
Matthew Gorring, Montclair State University
The purpose of this assignment is for students to synthesize field observations, petrography, and whole-rock chemical analyses in order to investigate chemical differentiation processes in a basaltic magma chamber. ...


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