Teach the Earth > Structural Geology > Structure, Geophysics, and Tectonics 2012 > Teaching Activities > Lake Louise Field Project

Lake Louise Field Project

Katherine Boggs, Mount Royal University

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During a fall field trip in second year, students measure bedding, cleavage, fold axes and bedding-cleavage intersection lineations. These measurements are used throughout the fall term to introduce the stereonet, and then to analyze folds and principal stress orientations in class and lab exercises. Students then have the option to write this exercise up (including map and cross-sections) to replace previous lab exercises.



This activity is used throughout the term in our second year Structural Geology course (which is a required course for our BSc Geology Major program). Our students will have completed the field portion of their two week Introductory Geological Field School prior to this course.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

During their Introductory Field School, the students will have:
i) started developing their 'geological eye',
ii) started recognizing planar and linear geological features,
iii) learned basic navigation skills, and
iv) used a compass to measure planar and linear features.

How the activity is situated in the course

The weekend field trip is held in early October. The measurements that they collect during this field trip are used in class and lab exercises for the rest of the term. If they chose, the students may submit a written report at the end of the term to replace one of their lab marks.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

This activity is intended to guide students towards:
1. Developing their "geologist eye" (recognize planar and linear features)
2. Understanding and applying the relationship between principal stresses and folds
3. Classifying folds
4. Becoming comfortable with "real world" data versus "canned laboratory" data

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

In addition this activity will also guide students towards:
1. Improving their 3-D visualization skills
2. Synthesizing and analyzing "real world" data

Other skills goals for this activity

In the field, class, and lecture, the students are encouraged to work in groups. If they chose, the bonus written activity summary must be submitted individually.

Description and Teaching Materials

The measurements summarized in the "measurements" file were collected by graduate students at the University of Calgary in October, 1996. These measurements came from outcrops located near the intersection between the Trans Canada Highway and Icefields Parkway (51 26.472N, 116 12.037'W; in the Proterozoic Miette Group). Recently many of these outcrops have been modified due to construction at this intersection. Photographs of useful faults, folds, and bedding-cleavage relationships at this location are located in the "photographs" file. The stereonet plot of this data is located in the "stereonet" file.

Lake Louise Measurements (a 1806 by 1003 pixel JPEG)
Lake Louise Photographs (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 1.3MB Jul12 12)
Lake Louise Summary Stereonet Plot (a 1787 by 1689 pixel JPEG)

Teaching Notes and Tips

I find that some students experience difficulties when working with "real world" data. Therefore I modify how I use the student measurments. For example when introducing basic stereonet skill such as plotting planar or linear features, we will use their data. However, when working with more complicated concepts such as classifying folds or examining the relationship between folds and principal stresses, we start with "canned" laboratory measurements that give nearly perfect results before working with the "real world" measurments. The data provided here could be used as a stand alone laboratory exercise, as smaller exercises throughout a term, or in conjunction with the Google Earth activity that explores the Canadian Cordillera.


In the field all students are observed while taking planar and linear measurements. The midterm, final lab and final lecture exams contain questions related to basic stereonet skills, classifying folds and examining the relationship between principal stresses and folds. The optional activity write up is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

References and Resources