Geologic Cross Sections

Sharon Browning
Baylor University
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Geology majors construct a geologic/structural cross section across any number of major plate boundaries/geologic features.

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Best in an undergraduate/graduate level structural geology course

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students need knowledge of major plate boundaries on Earth, including major tectonic events that have happened in past. They also need basic knowledge of some geophysics (e.g. Bouger gravity anomaly).

How the activity is situated in the course

This project can be a culminating project after semester of undergraduate or graduate structural geology.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Accurate depiction of major structural features and tectonic history across a selected plate boundary.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Comprehending and summarizing research of chosen region, purpose is to show major tectonic/geologic features of region without getting bogged down in details.

Other skills goals for this activity

Poster presentation to other students, in addition to written paper.

Description of the activity/assignment

For this project, students must select a several hundred kilometer long section of Earth's surface, ideally crossing one or more major plate boundaries and research all major tectonic events to construct a cross section. Students should also take into account other factors like age of the ocean floor, average elevation and gravity anomalies across their area. The purpose is to demonstrate the geologic/tectonic history of their cross section and present it in a clear, concise summary.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Oral presentation to professor and other students including immediate feedback/questions on chosen area.

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