Geodesy Teaching Activities


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Episodic tremor and slip: The Case of the Mystery Earthquakes | Lessons on Plate Tectonics part of Activities
Earthquakes in western Washington and Oregon are to be expected—the region lies in the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Offshore, the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate subducts under the North American plate, from northern California to British Columbia. The region, however, also experiences exotic seismicity— Episodic Tremor and Slip (ETS).In this lesson, your students study seismic and GPS data from the region to recognize a pattern in which unusual tremors--with no surface earthquakes--coincide with jumps of GPS stations. This is ETS. Students model ductile and brittle behavior of the crust with lasagna noodles to understand how properties of materials depend on physical conditions. Finally, they assemble their knowledge of the data and models into an understanding of ETS in subduction zones and its relevance to the millions of residents in Cascadia.

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy, Seismology, Geoscience:Geology:Tectonics, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards:Earthquakes, Geoscience:Oceanography:Marine Hazards, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards:Coastal Hazards:Tsunami, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards
Grade Level: Middle (6-8), College Lower (13-14), High School (9-12)
Quantitative Skills: Graphs, Vectors and Matrices, Arithmetic/Computation
EarthScope: Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data:GPS/GNSS, Seismic, Data:GPS/GNSS, Seismic
Collection Source: UNAVCO
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Visualizing Relationships with Data: Exploring plate boundaries with Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and GPS Data in the Western U.S. & Alaska | Lessons on Plate Tectonics part of Activities
Learners use the UNAVCO GPS Velocity Viewer, or the included map packet to visualize relationships between earthquakes, volcanoes, and plate boundaries as a jigsaw activity.

Subject: Geoscience, Geology:Tectonics, Geophysics:Geodesy, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards, Natural Hazards:Earthquakes
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), High School (9-12), Middle (6-8)
Quantitative Skills: Vectors and Matrices, Estimation, Models and Modeling
EarthScope: Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data:GPS/GNSS, Data:GPS/GNSS
Collection Source: UNAVCO
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3D View from a Drone | Make a 3D Model From Your Photos part of Activities
Using cameras mounted to drones, students will design and construct an experiment to take enough photos to make a 3-dimensional image of an outcrop or landform in a process called structure from motion (SfM). This activity has both a hands-on component (collecting data with the drone) and a computer-based component (creating the 3-dimensional model).___________________Drones can take photos that can be analyzed later. By planning ahead to have enough overlap between photos, you take those individual photos and make a 3-dimensional image!In this activity, you guide the students to identify an outcrop or landform to study later or over repeat visits. They go through the process to plan, conduct, and analyze an investigation to help answer their science question.The Challenge: Design and conduct an experiment to take enough photos to make a 3-dimensional image of an outcrop or landform, then analyze the image and interpret the resulting 3-d image.For instance they might wish to study a hillside that has been changed from a previous forest fire. How is the hillside starting to shift after rainstorms or snows? Monitoring an area over many months can lead to discoveries about how the erosional processes happen and also provide homeowners, park rangers, planners, and others valuable information to take action to stabilize areas to prevent landslides.

Subject: Geoscience, Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy
Grade Level: Middle (6-8), High School (9-12)
Quantitative Skills: Gathering Data
EarthScope: Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data:Structure from Motion
Collection Source: UNAVCO
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Detecting Cascadia's changing shape with GPS | Lessons on Plate Tectonics part of Activities
Research-grade Global Positioning Systems (GPS) allow students to deduce that Earth's crust is changing shape in measurable ways. From data gathered by EarthScope's Plate Boundary Observatory, students discover that the Pacific Northwest of the United States and coastal British Columbia — the Cascadia region - are geologically active: tectonic plates move and collide; they shift and buckle; continental crust deforms; regions warp; rocks crumple, bend, and will break.

Subject: Geoscience, Geology:Tectonics, Geophysics:Geodesy, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards, Natural Hazards:Earthquakes
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), High School (9-12), Middle (6-8)
Quantitative Skills: Arithmetic/Computation, Graphs, Models and Modeling, Vectors and Matrices
EarthScope: Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data:GPS/GNSS, Data:GPS/GNSS
Collection Source: UNAVCO
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Measuring Plate Motion with GPS: Iceland part of Activities
This lesson teaches middle and high school students to understand the architecture of GPS—from satellites to research quality stations on the ground. This is done with physical models and a presentation. Then students learn to interpret data for the station's position through time ("time series plots"). Students represent time series data as velocity vectors and add the vectors to create a total horizontal velocity vector. They apply their skills to discover that the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is rifting Iceland. They cement and expand their understanding of GPS data with an abstraction using cars and maps. Finally, they explore GPS vectors in the context of global plate tectonics.

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards, Geoscience:Geology:Tectonics, Geoscience
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), High School (9-12), Middle (6-8)
Quantitative Skills: Vectors and Matrices
EarthScope: Geophysics Data: Data:GPS/GNSS, Geophysics GPS/GNSS
Collection Source: UNAVCO
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Converging Tectonic Plates Demonstration part of Activities
During this demo, participants use springs and a map of the Pacific Northwest with GPS vectors to investigate the stresses and surface expression of subduction zones, specifically the Juan de Fuca plate diving beneath the North American plate.

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Tectonics, Geophysics:Geodesy, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards, Geography:Geospatial, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards:Earthquakes
Grade Level: High School (9-12), Middle (6-8), College Lower (13-14)
Quantitative Skills: Models and Modeling
EarthScope: Geophysics Data: Data:GPS/GNSS, Geophysics GPS/GNSS
Collection Source: UNAVCO
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Measuring Ground Motion with GPS: How GPS Works (Demonstration) part of Activities
With printouts of typical GPS velocity vectors found near different tectonic boundaries and models of a GPS station, demonstrate how GPS work to measure ground motion.GPS velocity vectors point in the direction that a GPS station moves as the ground it is anchored to moves. The length of a velocity vector corresponds to the rate of motion. GPS velocity vectors thus provide useful information for how Earth's crust deforms in different tectonic settings.

Subject: Geography:Geospatial, Geoscience:Geology:Tectonics, Geophysics:Geodesy
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), Middle (6-8), High School (9-12)
Quantitative Skills: Models and Modeling
Collection Source: UNAVCO
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Pinpointing Location with GPS Demonstration part of Activities
Using string, bubble gum, and a model of a GPS station, demonstrate how GPS work to pinpoint a location on Earth.Precisely knowing a location on Earth is useful because our Earth's surface is constantly changing from earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tectonic plate motion, landslides, and more. Thus, scientists can use positions determined with GPS to study all these Earth processes.

Subject: Geography:Geospatial, Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), Middle (6-8), High School (9-12)
Quantitative Skills: Models and Modeling
Collection Source: UNAVCO
On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Working with Point Clouds in CloudCompare and Classifying with CANUPO part of Cutting Edge:Enhance Your Teaching:Teaching with Online Field Experiences:Activities
In spring 2020, the world was hit by a pandemic that spread globally by March, causing universities and most of the world to move to remote means. Summer field camps, long hailed as a rite of passage in the ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), College Upper (15-16)
EarthScope: Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data:Structure from Motion, Lidar
On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Getting started with Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry part of Cutting Edge:Enhance Your Teaching:Teaching with Online Field Experiences:Activities
Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry method uses overlapping images to create a 3D point cloud of an object or landscape. It can be applied to everything from fault scarps to landslides to topography. This ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
EarthScope: Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data:Structure from Motion
On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Earthquake Early Warning Demonstration part of Activities
This hands-on demonstration illustrates how GPS instruments can be used in earthquake early warning systems to alert people of impending shaking. The same principles can be applied to other types of early warning systems (such as tsunami) or to early warning systems using a different type of geophysical sensor (such as a seismometer instead of a GPS).This demo is essentially a game that works best with a large audience (ideally over 30 people) in an auditorium. A few people are selected to be either surgeons, GPS stations, or a warning siren, with everyone else forming an earthquake "wave."

Subject: Environmental Science:Natural Hazards:Earthquakes, Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Seismology, Geodesy, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards
Grade Level: High School (9-12), Middle (6-8), College Lower (13-14)
Collection Source: UNAVCO

Science with Flubber: Glacial Isostasy part of Activities
Using two sets of flubber, one representing the Earth and one representing a glacier, demonstrate how the crust sinks and rebounds to the weight of a glacier, and how this motion can be measured using GPS.Flubber is a rubbery elastic substance, a non-Newtonian elasco-plastic fluid, that flows under gravity, but breaks when under high stress. Flubber is useful for demonstrating a wide range of Earth and glacier processes.

Subject: Geoscience, Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards:Subsidence, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards
Grade Level: High School (9-12), Middle (6-8), College Lower (13-14)
Collection Source: UNAVCO

Topographic differencing: Earthquake along the Wasatch fault part of Teach the Earth:Teaching Activities
After a big earthquake happens people ask, 'Where did the earthquake occur? How big was it? What type of fault was activated?' We designed an undergraduate laboratory exercise in which students learn how ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Structural Geology:Regional Structural/Tectonic Activity, Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy, Geoscience:Geology:Geomorphology:Tectonic Geomorphology, Geoscience:Geology:Tectonics, Geomorphology:GIS/Mapping/Field Techniques, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards:Earthquakes
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), College Upper (15-16), Graduate/Professional
EarthScope: Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data:Lidar
On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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OpenTopography Data Sources and Topographic Differencing part of Cutting Edge:Enhance Your Teaching:Teaching with Online Field Experiences:Activities
In spring 2020, the world was hit by a pandemic that spread globally by March, causing universities and most of the world to move to remote means. Summer field camps, long hailed as a rite of passage in the ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy
EarthScope: Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data:Lidar, Structure from Motion

Introduction to Terrestrial Laser Scanning part of Cutting Edge:Enhance Your Teaching:Teaching with Online Field Experiences:Activities
In spring 2020, the world was hit by a pandemic that spread globally by March, causing universities and most of the world to move to remote means. Summer field camps, long hailed as a rite of passage in the ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy
EarthScope: Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data:Lidar

Point Cloud and Raster Change Detection part of Cutting Edge:Enhance Your Teaching:Teaching with Online Field Experiences:Activities
In spring 2020, the world was hit by a pandemic that spread globally by March, causing universities and most of the world to move to remote means. Summer field camps, long hailed as a rite of passage in the ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy
EarthScope: Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data:Lidar, Structure from Motion

Structure from Motion for Analysis of River Characteristics part of Cutting Edge:Enhance Your Teaching:Teaching with Online Field Experiences:Activities
In spring 2020, the world was hit by a pandemic that spread globally by March, causing universities and most of the world to move to remote means. Summer field camps, long hailed as a rite of passage in the ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), College Upper (15-16)
EarthScope: Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data:Structure from Motion

Post-processing GPS/GNSS Base Station Position part of Cutting Edge:Enhance Your Teaching:Teaching with Online Field Experiences:Activities
In spring 2020, the world was hit by a pandemic that spread globally by March, causing universities and most of the world to move to remote means. Summer field camps, long hailed as a rite of passage in the ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy
EarthScope: Geophysics Data: Geophysics Data:GPS/GNSS, Data:GPS/GNSS

Ground Control Points for Structure from Motion part of Cutting Edge:Enhance Your Teaching:Teaching with Online Field Experiences:Activities
In spring 2020, the world was hit by a pandemic that spread globally by March, causing universities and most of the world to move to remote means. Summer field camps, long hailed as a rite of passage in the ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), College Upper (15-16)
EarthScope: Geophysics Data: Data:GPS/GNSS, Geophysics GPS/GNSS, Structure from Motion

Exploring Tectonic Motions with GPS part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
Using a map showing the horizontal velocities of GPS stations in the Plate Boundary Observatory and other GPS networks in Alaska and Western United States, students are able to describe the motions in different regions by interpreting the vectors resulting from long-term high-precision Global Positioning System (GPS) data. Show more information on NGSS alignment Hide NGSS ALIGNMENT Disciplinary Core Ideas History of Earth: HS-ESS1-5 Earth' Systems: MS-ESS2-2 Earth and Human Activity: MS-ESS3-2, HS-ESS3-1 Science and Engineering Practices 4. Analyzing and Interpreting Data 5. Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking 6. Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions Crosscutting Concepts 4. Systems and System Models 7. Stability and Change

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Geodesy, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards, Geoscience:Geology:Tectonics, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards:Earthquakes
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), Middle (6-8), High School (9-12)
Quantitative Skills: Vectors and Matrices
EarthScope: Geophysics Data: Data:GPS/GNSS, Geophysics GPS/GNSS
Collection Source: ANGLE, UNAVCO
On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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