Virtual Field Trip to the Jackfork Group, Arkansas

Tom Hickson
University of St. Thomas
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see

This page first made public: Jul 14, 2005


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This activity was designed for an Upper Division Undergraduate class on Sedimentology and Stratigraphy.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

As the first project in the class, this project doesn't assume any skills on the part of the students.

How the activity is situated in the course

This virtual field trip was designed to go along with in class discussion for the first 5 weeks of a 15 week term.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

To answer the basic question: "How were the DeGray spillway units deposited and in what type of environment did they form?"

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

This project is designed to get students thinking about some of the basic properties of sedimentary rocks that can be used to interpret their environment of deposition. In particular, it focues on characterizing lithology (rock type), bedding style, and grain size for rock units from the Pennsylvanian age Jackfork Group.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students produce the following deliverables for the activity:
  • A four to five page project write-up
  • A separate analysis of grain size for selected beds from the outcrop that accompanies the writeup

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

Morris, R. C., 1977, Flysch facies of the Ouachita trough; with examples from the spillway at DeGray Dam, Arkansas, in Symposium on the geology of the Ouachita Mountains, Volume I, Stratigraphy, sedimentology, petrography, tectonics, and paleontology, Little Rock, Arkansas, p. 158-168.

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