Colin Amos: Using Imaging Active Tectonics in Active Tectonics Seminar at Western Washington University
About this Course
This seminar course explores the history, effects, and mechanics of earthquake deformation from a geologic and geophysical perspective. Topics covered include ground surface deformation associated with the earthquake cycle, as well as detection and measurement of geologic strain using geodesy and paleoseismology.
Hands-on classroom activities to support topical seminarI used the Imaging Active Tectonics module as the basis for in-class activities and take-home assignments that complemented a traditional seminar class based on readings from the primary literature and term research projects. The modules provided experience analyzing and manipulating geodetic data in support of readings centered on incorporating geodesy and earthquake-cycle deformation toward an understanding of long-term mountain building. Classroom time typically uses student-centered activities to discuss scientific papers—I shifted some of this time toward implementing and discussing the GETSI modules.
Students were engaged throughout the course, in particular during classroom sessions where we worked on module activities in a department computer lab. A particular success came from an in-class compilation of small, lateral geomorphic offset data from student groups analyzing sections of the Carrizo Plain LiDAR data along the San Andreas fault. Students were able to create a high-quality data set in under an hour that reproduced published findings and also sparked a number of interesting new questions and debates about interpreting data of this sort. Additionally, the interactive, online InSAR modeling tool (through 3point Science) really gave the students a good feel for how models complement geodetic observations for understanding earthquake deformation. This hands-on component was an extremely valuable exercise for demystifying this process for the students.
My Experience Teaching with GETSI MaterialsUnit 1: I did not use Google Earth since I did not have access to computer lab for this class meeting. Students used existing files (and infrastructure data sets) for the assignment, rather than researching an additional site.
Unit 2: I did the histogram compilation of Carrizo offsets as a class rather than as part of the homework. Students were not able to get all the kmz files to resolve, so they had to skip the reverse faulting component of the class assignment.
Units 3–5: No modifications.