Geology of Yellowstone National Park: Volcanoes

Carol Ormand
,
SERC, Carleton College
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Summary

Students examine and interpret the geologic map of Yellowstone National Park, focusing on its volcanic history.

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Context

Audience

Geology of the National Parks (intro level course for majors and non-majors)

See the course description, including links to all of the other teaching activities for this course.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should be familiar with mafic and felsic volcanic rocks.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is an early lab exercise, the third of several related to volcanoes and volcanic processes.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Students will practice their geologic map-reading skills. At the end of the exercise, successful students will be able to describe how the map illustrates the volcanic history of the Yellowstone hotspot.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Geologic map interpretation

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

Students examine and describe samples of rhyolite, pumice, and tuff, having seen samples of mafic volcanic rocks in a previous lab exercise. They then answer a series of questions about the distribution of volcanic rocks on the geologic map of Yellowstone National Park. Finally, they synthesize what they've learned by answering the question, "In two or three sentences, what does this map show you about the volcanic activity of the Yellowstone hotspot?"

Determining whether students have met the goals

Working alone or in groups, students write a brief report synthesizing what the geologic map of Yellowstone National Park illustrates about the volcanic history of the park. I evaluate the report using a rubric.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

Teaching materials and tips

Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

USGS, Geologic Map of Yellowstone National Park: Geologic Investigations Series Map I-711.

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