Pedagogy in Action > Library > Field Labs > Field Lab Examples > Post-settlement landscape evolution

Post-Settlement Erosion and Deposition

Mary Savina
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This page first made public: Sep 6, 2006

This material was originally created for Starting Point:Introductory Geology
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.


In this example, a field laboratory in introductory geology becomes a test of a hypothesis: Does the model proposed by Stanley Trimble for Coon Creek, Wisconsin adequately describe the history of post-European-settlement erosion and deposition in a small drainage in southeast Minnesota?

Learning Goals

This exercise includes the following pedagogical strategies:

Context for Use

A version of this exercise can be constructed for any area of the country where agriculture, grazing and/or urbanization has altered the landscape. See references at the end of the .pdf file to resources for the Pacific Northwest and desert Southwest.

Look for the following characteristics in choosing a field site:

Description and Teaching Materials

Students should bring to lab:
Instructors should provide: Full lab handout in .doc form (Microsoft Word 41kB Sep6 06)

Teaching Notes and Tips

Teaching tips for this lab:


From Geology 120 syllabus: "When reading written work, Mary looks for well-defined questions, good understanding of the subject, careful and complete observations of geologic processes, sound logic connecting the observations to the conclusions, clearly stated conclusions and complete discussion of the implications of the conclusions. All sources of information, including web sites, should be cited completely."
For this assignment specifically:

References and Resources

  1. Trimble, Stanley W., 1999, Decreased Rates of Alluvial Sediment Storage in the Coon Creek Basin, Wisconsin, 1975-93: Science, v. 285, p. 1244-1246.
  2. Glanz, James, 1999, Sharp Drop seen in Soil Erosion Rates: Science, v. 285, p.1187-1189

  3. (Both of the previous are in the August 20 1999 issue).
  4. Pimentel, David, Skidmore, Edward L., Trimble, Stanley W., 1999, Rates of Soil Erosion: Science, v. 286: p. 1477. (19 November issue)

  5. (This is a comment and response to Trimble's original article)
  6. Trimble, Stanley W. and Pierre Crosson, 2000, U. S. Soil Erosion Rates - Myth and Reality: Science, v. 289, p. 248-250. (14 July 2000 issue)
  7. M. A. Nearing, M. J. M. Romkens, L. D. Norton, D. E. Stott, F. E. Rhoton, J. M. Laflen, D. C. Flanagan, C. V. Alonso, R. L. Binger, S. M. Dabney, O. C. Doering, C. H. Huang, K. C. McGregor, A. Simon; Stanley W. Trimble, and Pierre Crosson, 2000, Measurements and Models of Soil Loss Rates: Science, v. 290, p. 1300-1301 (17 November issue)

  8. (This is a letter and response to the Trimble and Crosson article).

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