Rock-Tectonics synthesis lab
SUNY GeneseoAuthor Profile
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This lab aims to draw together rock identification and plate tectonics as well as relative age relationships. It gets students to "be" geologists...looking at rock suites and trying to see how they fit with the tectonic setting.
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This lab is best used in an introductory course for physical geology taught to non-majors or majors.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Before doing this lab students must know:
- how to identify plate boundary types and to understand what geological activity is taking places at these boundaries
- how to identify some basic rock types
- the relative age principles of superposition and baked contacts.
How the activity is situated in the course
This is a stand alone lab that comes after a tectonics lab, a minerals lab, and a rocks lab.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
The goals of this lab are to a) get students to review their rock identification skills and their plate boundary identification skills and b) to draw together concepts from the rock ID lab and the plate boundary lab and to incorporate relative dating concepts.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Students are asked to gather data from maps (global earthquakes, volcanism, sea floor ages, and topography) and rocks and hypothesize the formation history of the geology of a region.
Other skills goals for this activity
this lab is done as a group.
Description of the activity/assignment
This lab helps students bring together their ability to describe and identify rocks and to push students to think about how the rocks formed based upon their understanding of the geological processes taking place at certain tectonic boundaries.
Determining whether students have met the goals
The immediate lab is graded on completion. Students' grasp of the material is assessed through a quiz the following week as well as through select questions on the lab exam.More information about assessment tools and techniques.
Teaching materials and tips
- (Note: the first page of the assignment is meant to help guide the instructor. Make sure to delete it before creating the student handouts) Activity Description/Assignment (Microsoft Word 43kB Jul16 08)
- Instructors Notes (Microsoft Word 28kB May5 08)
- Solution Set (Microsoft Word 36kB May5 08)
- sample quiz (Microsoft Word 28kB Jul16 08)
The plate tectonic maps that we use are from and activity titled Discovering Plate Boundaries by Dale Sawyer.