Using Google Earth to measure seacliff erosion rates
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
- Recognize that coastal erosion is happening on a human timescale that will affect buildings and places that they can see before them in their lifetimes.
- Measure the rate of coastal erosion.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
- Apply quantitative skills to an issue that will continue to affect buildings that they can see on an every-day basis.
- Recognize that different bedrock surfaces erode at different rates.
- Recognize that some places along the coast are much more susceptible to erosion than others.
Other skills goals for this activity
- Quantitative skills
- Observational skills
- Using Google Earth for something other than gawking at their neighbor's back yard.
- Use and manipulate KML files in Google Earth.
Description and Teaching Materials
- Student Handout for the "Using Google Earth to Measure Sea Cliff Erotion" lab (Acrobat (PDF) 331kB Jun13 13)
- Goolge Earth KML file for the Seacliff retreat lab (KMLFile 5kB Jun13 13)
Teaching Notes and Tips
Some students will need help manipulating KML files.
References and Resources
This USGS site is referenced in the activity. It has oblique aerial photographs of coastal regions taken before and after the last big El Nino.
"Rates and Trends of Coastal Change in California and the
Regional Behavior of the Beach and Cliff System", 2009
This is a nice overview article, more appropriate for instructor prep or advanced student use. I would not give this article to introductory students.