Virtual field trip to Giant's Causeway, Ireland

Jill Schneiderman, Vassar College

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This online assignment takes the students on a virtual field trip to Giant's Causeway in northern Ireland. It begins with a brief video of the geological site, includes some questions relevant to the history of the neptunist and plutonist debate, and asks students to examine online petrographic images to investigate the composition of basalt and examine TAS diagrams so as to understand how fine-grained igneous rocks are classified.

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This exercise may be useful for instructors trying to teach a lab course online inasmuch as it provides the context and opportunity for studying the composition of basalts.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Basic understanding of the main types of igneous rocks.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is a stand-alone exercise.

Activity Length

1 hour


Content/concepts goals for this activity

My goal with this exercise is to replace as much as possible the need to use a petrographic microscope for the study of basalt.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

The higher order thinking skill required for this exercise is the synthesis of ideas related to the generation of extrusive igneous rocks.

Other skills goals for this activity

Description and Teaching Materials

Here is the exercise in a pdf format.
Virtual field trip to Giant's Causeway and formation of basalt (Acrobat (PDF) 66kB Mar29 20)

Technology needs

Access to the internet

Virtual field trip to Giant's Causeway, Ireland -- Discussion  

I'm very much interested in this activity to offer some real world to my petrology course this spring. However, the essence of the trip, and much of the information for students seems to be reliant on a video that is no longer available? When I navigate to the first link, I don't find a video, or much information?

Anyone else have this experience, or know if the video is available elsewhere?


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