Exploring Marine Sediments Using Google Earth
- Stories from the Sea Floor – A Lesson on How Science Works
- A First Look at Marine Sediments
- Exploring the Distribution of Marine Sediment Types on the Sea Floor
- Refining Your Hypotheses on Biogenic Marine Sediment Distributions
Screenshot from Part 3 - Exploring the Distribution of Marine Sediment Types on the Seafloor×
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
- This activity could be done as homework or in a lab setting with computer access. It is designed to be an exploratory introduction to marine sediments and is best used before lecture on this topic. Follow-up lecture will be important; it can build on the observations and hypotheses students make in this assignment.
- After Some instructors prefer to skip Part 2 and move directly to Parts 3 and 4. Other instructors only do Part 2 and then follow with a lecture on marine sediments.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
The primary goal of this activity is for students to use empirical data to make observations and interpretations about ocean sediments. In doing so, students should be able to address the following questions:
- What are ocean sediments composed of?
- What are the main types (i.e., lithologies) of ocean sediment on the seafloor?
- Is there a pattern to its modern distribution?
- What controls that pattern?
- Introduces the factors that influence the geographic distribution of marine sediments
- Illustrates complex interactions in the Earth system
- Explores a major archive important for paleoceanographic and paleoclimatic reconstructions
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
- Data analysis
- Data management
- Building hypotheses and testing
Other skills goals for this activity
- Introduction to "Big Data"
Description and Teaching Materials
- A-Short-Primer-on-Google-Earth-July-2019.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 1.2MB Jul2 19) - This is an optional mini-exercise to help students get comfortable using Google Earth. It has tips on the best preference settings to use for the main activity.
- EXPLORING MARINE SEDIMENTS USING GOOGLE EARTH_ exercise (Acrobat (PDF) 546kB Jan29 19) - This is the main activity. It includes questions for parts 1 through 4. Students will need access to the KMZ files listed below as they work on the exercise.
KMZ Files Used in the Exercise
- Chlorophyll kmz (From NASA and National Geographic) (KMZ File 352bytes Jan29 19)
- Finding the CCD kmz (KMZ File 3kB Jan29 19)
- World and Regional Sea Surface Temperature kmz (KMZ File 1kB Jan29 19)
- Surficial-Sea-Floor-Sediment-Map-v4 kmz (KMZ File 347kB Jan29 19)
- First Look v4 kmz (KMZ File 149kB Jan29 19)
Video Links Used in this Exercise
How Science Works video (produced by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH0_xC7q9tU CCD video (by Minute Earth): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmpzDfrqliU
Tips for Instructors
- Instructor guide: Instructional faculty can contact Kristen St. John (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a copy of the instructor guide
- GSA presentation 2014 StJohn.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 5.2MB Jan29 19)
- How to pull up core in GE_GSA2.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 554kB Jan29 19)
- WhatIsACore.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 207kB Jan29 19)
- Making Big GeoData Accessible for Education_GSA2.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 1.4MB Jan29 19)
References and Resources
- The Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP, http://www.deepseadrilling.org/about.htm): global data
- The Ocean Drilling Program (ODP, http://www-odp.tamu.edu/): global data
- The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP, http://www.iodp.org/): global data
- The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI, http://www.whoi.edu/): North Atlantic data (global data to be added soon)
- Curators of Marine and Lacustrine Geological Samples Consortium. The Index to Marine and Lacustrine Geological Samples (IMLGS). National Geophysical Data Center, NOAA. doi:10.7289/V5H41PB8 [October 15 2014]. (http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.7289/V5H41PB8.)
- Development of this exercise is supported by the NSF-funded GEODE project.
- This exercise supplements and compliments an NSF-funded exercise on Seafloor Sediments (https://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/intro/activities/29154.html , which is an open-access chapter from St. John, K., et al., (2012) Reconstructing Earth's Climate History: Inquiry-based Exercises for Lab and Class. Wiley-Blackwell, 485p.
- Development of this exercise has greatly benefited from assistance by Cari Rand and Mladen Dordevic, James Madison University.