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Unit 5: Mineral Resources Created by Igneous & Metamorphic Processes

Prajukti (juk) Bhattacharyya (University of Wisconsin, Whitewater)
Author Profile

These materials have been reviewed for their alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards as detailed below. Visit InTeGrate and the NGSS to learn more.

Overview

The background reading and reference materials for this activity address DCI ESS2.B2 at the general level in the HS standards as well as at a more advanced/detailed level more appropriate to an advanced HS or introductory college level geoscience class. In addition to mastery of the referenced SEPs, good reading comprehension skills as well as some prior understanding of igneous and metamorphic processes will help students succeed at this activity. This activity involves a good variety of SEPs, from interpretation of data in maps, to engaging in argument from evidence.

Science and Engineering Practices

Analyzing and Interpreting Data: Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships. MS-P4.2:

Engaging in Argument from Evidence: Evaluate competing design solutions to a real-world problem based on scientific ideas and principles, empirical evidence, and/or logical arguments regarding relevant factors (e.g. economic, societal, environmental, ethical considerations). HS-P7.6:

Engaging in Argument from Evidence: Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument or counter-arguments based on data and evidence. HS-P7.4:

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions: Construct and revise an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future. HS-P6.2:

Cross Cutting Concepts

Patterns: Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data. MS-C1.4:

Systems and System Models: Models (e.g., physical, mathematical, computer models) can be used to simulate systems and interactions—including energy, matter, and information flows—within and between systems at different scales. HS-C4.3:

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions: Plate tectonics is the unifying theory that explains the past and current movements of the rocks at Earth’s surface and provides a framework for understanding its geologic history. Plate movements are responsible for most continental and ocean-floor features and for the distribution of most rocks and minerals within Earth’s crust. HS-ESS2.B2:

Natural Resources: All forms of energy production and other resource extraction have associated economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical costs and risks as well as benefits. New technologies and social regulations can change the balance of these factors. HS-ESS3.A2:

Performance Expectations

Earth and Human Activity: Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems. HS-ESS3-4:

Earth and Human Activity: Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios. HS-ESS3-2:

This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process. This rigorous, structured process includes:

  • team-based development to ensure materials are appropriate across multiple educational settings.
  • multiple iterative reviews and feedback cycles through the course of material development with input to the authoring team from both project editors and an external assessment team.
  • real in-class testing of materials in at least 3 institutions with external review of student assessment data.
  • multiple reviews to ensure the materials meet the InTeGrate materials rubric which codifies best practices in curricular development, student assessment and pedagogic techniques.
  • review by external experts for accuracy of the science content.


This page first made public: Oct 16, 2014

Summary

This unit introduces the concepts of igneous and metamorphic processes and how these processes create mineral deposits. The background material provides an overview of the formation and distribution of mineral resources created due to hydrothermal activities, their tectonic association, and acid mine drainage (a major environmental concern for sulfide mining). The activity, in which students analyze a simplified geologic map and use the information for mineral exploration, addresses economic mineral resources created by mostly igneous processes, specifically metallic sulfide deposits. Students also weigh the pros and cons of mining near Yellowstone National Park and on the shores of Lake Superior.

Learning Goals

Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:
  • Explain how mineral resources are concentrated by hydrothermal activity, and how this links to intrusions, volcanism, and plate tectonics.
  • Identify the potential environmental impacts of sulfide mining and associated activities.
  • Identify stakeholders, and weigh their diverse views in determining if, how, and where to mine.
  • Practice geoscientific habits of mind by identifying geologic features and infer spatial distribution patterns on a geologic map for mineral exploration.

Description and Teaching Materials

Pre-Class Work

Reading: General Background on Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks

These resources (also available for students to download at Unit 5 Student Materials or read online at Unit 5 Student Materials Reading) summarize igneous and metamorphic processes that can form economic mineral deposits. Students should have access to (and read) this material before class and should bring copies to class to use as reference material during the in-class activity.

Word/PDF Versions

Background Reading on Mineral Resources of Igneous and Metamorphic Origin in Word (Microsoft Word 811kB Oct5 14) and in PDF. (Acrobat (PDF) 4.5MB Oct5 14)

Unit 5 Glossary of Terms in Word (Microsoft Word 26kB Oct5 14) and in PDF. (Acrobat (PDF) 41kB Oct5 14)

Reading Required for In-Class Activity: Background on Yellowstone National Park and Lake Superior
This document provides the geologic background of the region near Yellowstone National Park and Lake Superior needed for the in-class activity. It is highly recommended that the students review this document before class and refer to it during the in-class activity. This is also available for download on the Unit 5 Student Materials page.

Student Reading on Yellowstone National Park and Lake Superior in Word (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 2.2MB Oct5 14) and in PDF. (Acrobat (PDF) 2.3MB Oct5 14)

Optional Pre-Class Work

WHOI: Hydrothermal Vents (approximately 4 minutes): This is a short informative video about how hydrothermal vents form along mid-ocean ridges, how they create sulfide mineral deposits on the ocean floor, and why they are important. Depending on the need for specific courses, the instructor might want to have students watch this video before class. Students can link to this video directly from the Unit 5 Student Materials page.

In-Class Work

This activity is designed for a 50-minute class period. Ideally, students should work in small groups to complete the in-class activity. The instructor may also choose to use the accompanying reading material (above) during class for a brief overview and introduction.

Student Handout: Metallic Sulfide Deposits in Yellowstone and near Lake Superior in Word (Microsoft Word 362kB Oct5 14) and in PDF. (Acrobat (PDF) 502kB Dec12 14)

Handout 1: Generalized Geologic Map Showing the Locations and Extents of the Copper-Gold Mineral Deposits around Homestake Mine near Yellowstone National Park. (Acrobat (PDF) 693kB Oct15 14) This map should be handed out for use with the in-class activity.

Answer Key and Discussion Guide in Word


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and
in PDF.


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This answer key also contains some general suggestions for guiding the student discussion.

Teaching Notes and Tips

  • Students should bring a copy of the background reading on mineral resources to class (either in print or electronically). Additionally, they should also have a copy of the Background on Yellowstone National Park and Lake Superior, as this will help students answer most of the activity questions.
  • Briefly discussing igneous activity, especially volcanic (extrusive) and plutonic (intrusive) igneous rock formation processes, before the in-class activity might be useful for clarifying terms.
  • The last question on the in-class activity (comparison with Lake Superior and the one-minute position paper) can be omitted, depending on the specific course, especially if this activity is being used as a stand-alone activity for understanding how igneous and metamorphic processes form mineral deposits, and not necessarily as part of the entire module.
  • Even though this activity follows Unit 4 in the module, it also works well directly after Unit 3 to reinforce the Unit 3 mining and mining impacts concepts. The instructor has flexibility in when and how to use this unit to maximize student learning.

Assessment

Student answers to activity questions can be collected and graded, or self-graded and discussed.

Assessments and Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes are addressed by the activity questions as listed below:

  • Explain how mineral resources are concentrated by hydrothermal activity and how this links to intrusions, volcanism, and plate tectonics: Throughout activity.
  • Identify the potential environmental impacts of sulfide mining and associated activities: Activity Questions 5 and 6.
  • Identify stakeholders, and weigh their diverse views in determining if, how, and where to mine: Activity Question 6.
  • Practice geoscientific habits of mind by identifying geologic features and infer spatial distribution patterns on a geologic map for mineral exploration: Activity Questions 1--4.

Possible Exam Questions

Unit 5 Potential Assessment Questions in Word


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and
in PDF.


This file is only accessible to verified educators. If you are a teacher or faculty member and would like access to this file please enter your email address to be verified as belonging to an educator.

Unit 5 Potential Assessment Questions Key in Word


This file is only accessible to verified educators. If you are a teacher or faculty member and would like access to this file please enter your email address to be verified as belonging to an educator.

and
in PDF.


This file is only accessible to verified educators. If you are a teacher or faculty member and would like access to this file please enter your email address to be verified as belonging to an educator.

References and Resources

Humphries, Marc. August 1996. New World Gold Mine and Yellowstone National Park. CRS Report for Congress. http://www.nps.gov/whsa/parknews/upload/CRS%20Report%20on%20Yellowstone%20Gold%20Mine%20Issue-2.pdf.

LaBerge, Gene L. 1994.Geology of the Lake Superior Region. Penokean Press.

Lake Superior Binational Forum http://www.superiorforum.org/.

"Mining and Exploration Activity in the Region of the 1836, 1837, 1842, and 1854 Ceded Territories." http://www.lic.wisc.edu/glifwc/web/mining/.

Minnesota Sea Grant. http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/superior/characteristics.

Morgan, Lisa E., ed. 2007. "Integrated Geoscience Studies in the Greater Yellowstone Area—Volcanic, Tectonic, and Hydrothermal Processes in the Yellowstone Geoecosystem." USGS Professional Paper 1717. http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/1717/.

"Multidisciplinary Studies to Image and Characterize the Mineral Resource Potential of the Midcontinent Rift, USA." USGS Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center. http://crustal.usgs.gov/projects/midcontinent-rift-minerals/index.html.

"Potential for New Nickel-Copper Sulfide Deposits in the Lake Superior Region." USGS. http://pubs.usgs.gov/info/mwni_cu/.

"Responsible Mining Recommendations from the Lake Superior Binational Forum." December 2013. http://www.superiorforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Responsible-Mining-Binational-Forum-2013.pdf.

"Tracking Changes in Yellowstone's Restless Volcanic System." 2004. U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 100-03. http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs100-03/.

Van Gosen, Bradley S. 2007. "The Life Cycle of Gold Deposits Near the Northeast Corner of Yellowstone National Park—Geology, Mining History, and Fate." Chapter M of USGS Professional Paper 1717 http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/1717/downloads/pdf/p1717M.pdf.

Yellowstone's Photo Collection. National Park Service.

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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »