Initial Publication Date: August 13, 2014

Lab 6: Analyzing Sediment Cores

The lab activity was developed by Jeff Lockwood of TERC and Alison Mote of the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders for the EarthLabs project.

Summary and Learning Objectives

In this activity, students put their observational skills to work as they take on the role of sedimentologists in the core description lab. In addition to visual descriptive information, they use proxy data, including microfossils, and Earth's paleomagnetic record to determine the ages of the sediments as they build evidence to interpret changes in Earth's past climate. They use actual core data collected during Expedition 341.

By the end of this Lab, students should be able to:

  • Describe physical characteristics of sediment cores.
  • Use visual descriptive information to make inferences about past climate in S. Alaska.
  • Determine the ages of sediment cores using microfossils and paleomagnetic data.
  • Explain how oxygen isotopes can be used as a proxy for past climate.

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Activity Overview and Teaching Materials

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Printable Materials

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Teaching Notes and Tips

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Student Notebooks

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Science Standards

Lab 6 supports the following Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):

Additional Resources

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