Quantitative Skills, Thinking, and Reasoning ActivitiesHelp
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Roping Geologic Time
Randall Richardson, The University of Arizona
After having talked about the geologic time scale, I ask for two volunteers from the class to hold a rope that is 50 feet long. I say that one end is the beginning of the Earth (4.6 billion years ago), and the other is today. I then give out 16 clothes pins and ask various students to put a cloths pin on the 'time line' at various 'geologic events'. Throughout the activity I have a quiz going on where the students calculate percentages of Earth History for major geologic events, and compare it to their own ages. On their time scale, the dinosaurs died only about two 'months' ago! The exercise is very effective at letting them get a sense of how long geologic time is, and how 'recently' some major geologic events happened when you consider a time scale that is the age of the earth.
Carbon Dioxide Exercise
Rebecca Teed, Wright State University-Main Campus
Students work in groups, plotting carbon dioxide concentrations over time on overheads and estimating the rate of change over five years. -
Estimating Exchange Rates of Water in Embayments using Simple Budget Equations.
Keith Sverdrup, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Simple budgets may be used to estimate the exchange of water in embayments that capitalize on the concept of steady state and conservation principals. This is especially true for bays that experience a significant exchange of freshwater. This exchange of freshwater may reduce the average salt concentration in the bay compared to seawater if it involves addition of freshwater from rivers, R, and/or precipitation, P. Alternatively, it may increase the average salt concentration in the bay compared to seawater if there is relatively little river input and high evaporation, E. Since freshwater input changes the salt concentration in the bay, and salt is a conservative material, it is possible to combine two steady state budgets for a bay, one for salt and one for water, to solve for the magnitude of the water flows that enter and exit the bay mouth. Students will make actual calculations for the inflow and outflow of water to Puget Sound, Washington and the Mediterranean Sea and compare them to actual measured values.
Is There a Trend in Hurricane Number or Intensity?
Todd Ellis, SUNY College at Oneonta
This lab guides students through an examination of the hurricane record to determine if there is a trend in hurricane intensity over the past 40 years and introduces some issues related to statistics and ...
How Do We Estimate Magma Viscosity?
SSAC Physical Volcanology module. Students build a spreadsheet to examine how magma viscosity varies with temperature, fraction of crystals, and water content using the non-Arrhenian VFT model.
Bubbles in Magmas
Module by Chuck Connor, University of South Florida, Tampa. This cover page by Ali Furmall, USF, now at U. Oregon.
SSAC Physical Volcanology module. Students build a spreadsheet and apply the ideal gas law to model the velocity of a bubble rising in a viscous magma.
How Does Surface Deformation at an Active Volcano Relate to Pressure and Volume Change in the Magma Chamber?
Module by Peter LaFemina, Penn State, State College, PA. This cover page by Ali Furmall, University of South Florida, now at University of Oregon.
SSAC Physical Volcanology module. Students build a spreadsheet to examine and apply the Mogi model for horizontal and vertical surface displacement vs. depth and pressure conditions in the magma chamber.
What is the Volume of a Debris Flow?
SSAC Physical Volcanology module. Students build a spreadsheet to estimate the volume of volcanic deposits using map, thickness and high-water mark data from the 2005 Panabaj debris flow (Guatemala).
What is the Volume of the 1992 Eruption of Cerro Negro Volcano, Nicaragua?
SSAC Physical Volcanology module. Students build a spreadsheet to calculate the volume a tephra deposit using an exponential-thinning model.
What is the Relationship between Lava Flow Length and Effusion Rate at Mt Etna?
SSAC Physical Volcanology module. Students use Excel to determine a log-log relationship for flow length vs effusion rate and compare it with a theoretical expression for the maximum flow length.