Topographic comparison, volcanic terrains

Carol Ormand
,
SERC, Carleton College
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Summary

Students construct a topographic profile through a stratovolcano, then compare it to topo profiles from several other volcanic landscapes.

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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

Reading a topographic map

How the activity is situated in the course

This is an early lab exercise, the fifth (and last) of several related to volcanoes and volcanic processes.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Students will be able to describe the topographic differences between shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes, and calderas, and will be able to explain how these differences are related to magmatic composition.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students will make the connection between magma viscosity and the form of a volcanic landscape.

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

Students construct a topographic profile through ONE of the following:
  • Mt. St. Helens, before the 1980 eruption
  • Mt. St. Helens, after the 1980 eruption
  • Crater Lake
They then compare those topo profiles to each other, to a profile through one of the Yellowstone calderas, and to a profile through Mauna Loa. Finally, they write a brief summary of the topography of mafic volcanism (Hawaii), intermediate volcanism (Mt. St. Helens, Crater Lake), & felsic volcanism (Yellowstone).

Determining whether students have met the goals

Working alone or in groups, students write a brief summary of the topography of mafic volcanism (Hawaii), intermediate volcanism (Mt. St. Helens, Crater Lake), & felsic volcanism (Yellowstone). I evaluate the summary using a rubric.

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