Coyote Creek Geologic Map
Geology Department, Walyand Baptist University
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Students are required to make field observations, collect data and then create a detailed geologic map and report for a small area (approximately 1 sq. mile) on the edge of the Tularosa Basin in south central New Mexico.
This activity is used in an upper level Field Geology course. Students should be familiar with basic field methods.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
- Students will use basic field methods- note taking, use of Brunton compass, Jacobs staff, GPS, etc.
- Students should have complete background in petrology, sedimentology and stratigraphy.
- Students should be able to analyze and create maps/reports of field data.
How the activity is situated in the course
This is a stand-alone exercise where students practice and apply knowledge from previous coursework in a new situation.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
There is little new content for this activity.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
This activity focuses on application of previously learned material through data collection and analysis and also preparation of appropriate reports and maps. Students are observing a variety of geologic phenomenon in the field and must not only recognize and catalog what they see, but place it in both spatial and temporal context.
Other skills goals for this activity
Students must be able to use basic field instrumentation such as Brunton compasses and GPS units. Data collection and organization skills are needed. Small group dynamics may be emphasized, but are not required. The preparation of reports and maps requires writing and graphic arts skills.
Description of the activity/assignment
Students are required to make field observations, collect data and then create a detailed geologic map and report for a small area (approximately 1 sq. mile) on the edge of the Tularosa Basin in south central New Mexico. The study area is located within the Tularosa NE quadrangle, but maps from the Cat Mountain quadrangle to the East are also useful.
Gently dipping carbonate and siliciclastic beds, igneous intrusions, bioherms and a normal fault are present in the study area along Coyote Creek, a few miles north of Tularosa, NM. The creek generally runs parallel to dip, allowing relatively easy access to inclined strata. Bioherm(s) are present in the lower section. Several dikes are present running both parallel and perpendicular to sedimentary bed strike. One is very non-resistant to weathering, creating unusual troughs as it passes through the carbonate bioherms. A sill is present in the upper section and a N/S trending normal fault roughly parallels strike of sedimentary beds.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Evaluation takes place both in the field during data collection and later upon review of completed maps and reports. The instructor is "in the area" and observes students during field activities, sometimes with active dialogue as when posing questions about specific geologic features or their notes, sometimes viewing their work from a distance. Maps and reports are judged on regular criterion such as completeness, terminology, accuracy, etc. More information about assessment tools and techniques.
Teaching materials and tips
Annotated location image from Google Earth with roads and study area marked.
Annotated study area image from Google Earth with major features indicated.