Module 2: A Global Glance at the Geology of Coastal Landscapes
The primary goal of Module 2: A Global Glance of the Geology of Coastal Landscapes is to provide the geologic basis for coastal processes. This module will provide students the ability to:
- Develop an understanding of the role of plate tectonics in the development of coastal zone characteristics and how processes such as glaciation, climate, sediment supply, waves, and tides also influence coastal evolution;
- Develop an appreciation for the geomorphologic diversity of coastal zones;
- Gain an understanding of the differences between emergent and submergent coasts, depositional and erosional coasts, and how hydrodynamic regime exerts a strong control on coastal geomorphology;
- Use geospatial tools such as Google Earth to examine and analyze the geomorphology of world coastlines in relation to plate tectonics, climate, and marine processes.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
Materials for students for this module are linked below. Teachers can find documentation of the activities at this location as well as rubrics for students. Rubrics for teachers are compiled on the Assessment page. Suggestions for teaching and a list of the assessments are found below. The formative and summative assessment of this module focus on getting students to make observations about coastal landscapes at a range of scales (continental scale to local scale). Students then must use these observations to interpret the coastal geomorphology in the context of plate tectonic setting, climate, and marine processes to develop a more robust understanding of coastal evolution.
Teaching Notes and Tips
What works best for the module?
- Students should be encouraged to explore the extra links and information provided in text and videos. Students who read all of the material and follow the extra, external links will develop the most complete understanding of concepts. There are numerous concepts embedded in the links that will foster a richer understanding of assessment topics, and students should be encouraged to investigate these materials.
- Students should be encouraged to read the material in the module before coming to lab.
What students found tough and how we adapted to that.
- Students who did not thoroughly read the text and look at the accompanying external links had the most problems with the module. These students were unable to relate concepts to one another and consequently had difficulties completing some of the assessments that sought to develop a comprehensive view of the controls on coastal environments. A greater emphasis was placed on examining these materials.
- The module assessments were modified to be more guided and with a clearer direction of where topics of the assessments were embedded in the module text. Additionally some of the assessment questions were scaled down so that students could make more general observations and interpretations.
Reflections on Assignments
Formative Assessment: Plate Tectonics and Coastal Morphologies
- Most of the students were familiar with overhead imagery and how to specifically access Google Earth. These students most easily completed the assessment work. Some students were not as accustomed to Google Earth and for this reason students should, during the orientation week, be told to begin familiarizing themselves with Google Earth. A greater emphasis was placed on examining Google Earth, and students must also be made aware that some settings and toggle button locations vary as a function of the computer operating system being used.
- Students had difficulty understanding how onshore and offshore processes impacted the morphology and width of the shelf on both sides of Africa.
Module Summative Assessment: Controls on Coastal Morphologies
- Students need to feel very comfortable with Google Earth at this stage of the module in order to effectively complete this assessment.
- Students need to expand their way of thinking about coastal zone morphology and tie together the complex interplay between how large-scale regional processes such as plate tectonics or major glaciations affect coastal morphology without losing sight of the fact that localized variability in sediment supply or tidal energy will also secondarily affect coastal morphology. The goal of this assessment is to unite large-scale with small-scale processes and students need to consider the entire range of topics in this module in order to effectively complete the assessment.
- Formative Assessment: Coastal Morphologies — Students observe different coastal morphologies in Google Earth and consider the impact of plate tectonic setting.
- Summative Assessment: Evolution of Coastlines — Students explore their understanding of the various coastal classifications and understanding of the role that various coastal processes exert in coastal evolution and morphology.
References and Resources
- Readings from Student Materials — Module 2: A Global Glance at Coastal Landscapes
- Weathering article on Wikipedia — Gives an explanation of chemical weathering
- YouTube Video on Chemical Weathering — Watch an informative video on chemical weathering
- Nor'easter article on Wikipedia — Details of northeaster formation
- Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms — From USGS, provides a brief description of northeasters