Hot Topics Related to Deep Earth--Ideas to Generate New Teaching Resources

Here is a list of topics compiled by the Deep Earth conveners identified as being interesting, important or useful in the undergraduate geoscience curriculum. We're hoping that individuals or small groups will be inspired to contribute existing teaching resources, or develop new activities, to help bring these ideas into regular classroom coverage.

New instructional resources may take many forms:

  • a specific activity ready to adopt or adapt for your class use;
  • a problem set, perhaps using Deep Earth data, data tools, or data products;
  • a lab exercise;
  • class demonstrations;
  • teaching with visualizations
  • an annotated bibliography that includes essential readings about a topic (as the basis for further study by students);
  • "primers" or "tutorials" on methods to study Deep Earth (perhaps as new instructional PowerPoints, or we can assist in building a new dedicated webpage);
  • consider introducing Deep Earth science into courses for geology majors (mineralogy, petrology, geophysics, etc.), but also, we should think of creative ways to contribute to Introductory Physical Geology courses, and maybe even use Deep Earth examples for application in other STEM courses (physics, chemistry, math).

Here's an initial list of topics. Please add to these topics via the Threaded Discussion:

  • Farallon Slab—huge implications for evolution of the North American continent!
  • Post-perovskite—what is it , why is it significant
  • Fate of slabs at great depth?
  • Plumes—evidence for and against? How deep? How do we know?
  • Geoneutrinos—what are they, what can they tell us?
  • Physical and chemical properties of core, mantle and lower crust—all you mineral physics folks give us a hand here!
  • How does the dynamo operate? Where does the magnetic field come from?
  • A new meaning of "blue" and "red" states--as defined by seismic velocity maps. What does this mean, why do we care?
  • What's the big deal about K in the core or not?
  • How has Deep Earth evolved (e.g. cooling of Earth system over 4.6 Ga; how have processes changed?)
  • New insights into the crust-mantle connection; how is melt extracted to accrete to base of continental crust, or to create new oceanic crust? Properties of depleted v. undepleted mantle? Refertilization of the mantle—how, on what scale, with what consequences?
  • Deep Earth—Surface Earth—how do Deep Earth processes affect surficial features (plateau uplift, basin development, ...????)
  • Drips—what are they, how do we recognize them, what are the consequences? What's going on under the Great Basin?
  • How do we know about Deep Earth; can we develop tutorials on
    • Geophysical methods—receiver functions, shear wave splitting,....?
      • Using IRIS or USARRAY data?
      • Heat flow?
      • Magnetotellurics?
    • Geochemical methods
      • Isotopic Tracers
      • Trace Elements
      • Phase Equilibria
      • Experimental mineralogy and petrology (multi-anvil...)
  • Xenoliths—mantle and crustal; what do they reveal (compositional, thermobarometry, deep earth processes, history of Earth)
  • How do we teach effectively using
    • Data, data tools, and data products
    • Visualizations
    • Numerical/computational models
    • Demonstrations
    • Experiments