Mapping of LSU Field Camp

Dan Kelley
Department of Geology & Geophysics, Louisiana State University
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This is a one week mapping exercise of the exposed bedrock geology of the 1400 acre Charles Barney Geology Field Camp owned by the Department of Geology & Geophysics at Louisiana State University. It is designed for senior Field Camp students. This activity follows a four day project in which the students build a detailed stratigraphic column of the units at the Field Camp.

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The activity is designed for senior Field camp students. It is done in the second week of a six week field geology course.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

The students must be able to identify and describe sedimentary and igneous rock units well enough to be able to separate units.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is the second of a two part study of the geology in this mapping area. The first exercise is a detailed study of the sedimentary stratigraphy of the site. With the familiarity of the stratigraphy involved, the students can map the contacts and interpret the structure.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

The goals of this exercise are to guide the students to become familiar with the geometry of inclined sedimentary units outcropping on an mapping area with variable terrain. Students need to be able to think three dimensionally in order to generate geologic maps and cross sections. Students are introduced to investigating multiple working hypotheses. Later mapping exercises will ask all of these things, but with more complicated structures.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students work with a partner to repeatedly develop and test multiple working hypothesis throughout 4 days in the field. In the evenings, they are analyzing their observations and working toward the best interpretation. In order to do this, they are sketching possible structural relationships, developing plans for further investigation the next day and more specifically planning for ways to prove or disprove aspects of their interpretation.

Other skills goals for this activity

Once all data has been gathered and mapped, there is one day of office work in which a geologic map complete with all colors, symbols, and rock descriptions is generated as well as two cross-sections. These products demonstrate the end result of the students' analysis of the mapping area and they must be internally consistent.

Description of the activity/assignment

Students, with knowledge of the stratigraphy of the field area will work with a partner to map contacts between adjacent units, measure and record attitudes, make detailed lithologic descriptions of strata across the field area. This data will then be analyzed by the students and a geologic interpretation of the mapping area will be developed. Students will create complete geologic maps along with two cross sections through the field area. Students will write a brief summary of how the geology which they have mapped in this field area fits into what they have been taught about the wider regional geology and geologic history of the area.

Determining whether students have met the goals

A structured rubric will be used to be sure that all necessary observations are included in rock descriptions, enough data stations were used to sufficiently cover the mapping area and locate all contacts or features, all data is accurately placed on the geologic map, and cross-sections and maps are consistent. Also, all geologic interpretations will be checked for feasibility and reasonableness.

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