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Post-Settlement Erosion and Deposition

Mary Savina
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This resource received an Accept or Accept with minor revisions rating from a Panel Peer Review process

These materials were reviewed using face-to-face NSF-style review panel of geoscience and geoscience education experts to review groups of resources addressing a single theme. Panelists wrote reviews that addressed the criteria:

  1. scientific accuracy and currency
  2. usability and
  3. pedagogical effectiveness
Reviewers rated the resources:
  1. Accept
  2. Accept with minor revisions
  3. Accept with major revisions, or
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They also singled out those resources they considered particularly exemplary, which are given a gold star rating.

Following the panel meetings, the conveners wrote summaries of the panel discussion for each resource; these were transmitted to the creator, along with anonymous versions of the reviews. Relatively few resources were accepted as is. In most cases, the majority of the resources were either designated as 1) Reject or 2) Accept with major revisions. Resources were most often rejected for their lack of completeness to be used in a classroom or they contained scientific inaccuracies.

This page first made public: Sep 6, 2006

This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project


In this example, a field laboratory in introductory geology becomes a test of a hypothesis: Does the model proposed by Stanley Trimble for Coon Creek, Wisconsin adequately describe the history of post-European-settlement erosion and deposition in a small drainage in southeast Minnesota?

Learning Goals

This exercise includes the following pedagogical strategies:

Context for Use

A version of this exercise can be constructed for any area of the country where agriculture, grazing and/or urbanization has altered the landscape. See references at the end of the .pdf file to resources for the Pacific Northwest and desert Southwest.

Look for the following characteristics in choosing a field site:

Teaching Materials

Students should bring to lab:
Instructors should provide: Full lab handout in .doc form (Microsoft Word 41kB Sep6 06)

Teaching Notes and Tips

Teaching tips for this lab:


From Geology 120 syllabus: "When reading written work, Mary looks for well-defined questions, good understanding of the subject, careful and complete observations of geologic processes, sound logic connecting the observations to the conclusions, clearly stated conclusions and complete discussion of the implications of the conclusions. All sources of information, including web sites, should be cited completely."
For this assignment specifically:

References and Resources

  1. Trimble, Stanley W., 1999, Decreased Rates of Alluvial Sediment Storage in the Coon Creek Basin, Wisconsin, 1975-93: Science, v. 285, p. 1244-1246.
  2. Glanz, James, 1999, Sharp Drop seen in Soil Erosion Rates: Science, v. 285, p.1187-1189

  3. (Both of the previous are in the August 20 1999 issue).
  4. Pimentel, David, Skidmore, Edward L., Trimble, Stanley W., 1999, Rates of Soil Erosion: Science, v. 286: p. 1477. (19 November issue)

  5. (This is a comment and response to Trimble's original article)
  6. Trimble, Stanley W. and Pierre Crosson, 2000, U. S. Soil Erosion Rates - Myth and Reality: Science, v. 289, p. 248-250. (14 July 2000 issue)
  7. M. A. Nearing, M. J. M. Romkens, L. D. Norton, D. E. Stott, F. E. Rhoton, J. M. Laflen, D. C. Flanagan, C. V. Alonso, R. L. Binger, S. M. Dabney, O. C. Doering, C. H. Huang, K. C. McGregor, A. Simon; Stanley W. Trimble, and Pierre Crosson, 2000, Measurements and Models of Soil Loss Rates: Science, v. 290, p. 1300-1301 (17 November issue)

  8. (This is a letter and response to the Trimble and Crosson article).


Geoscience:Geology:Sedimentary Geology:Techniques of Sedimentary Geology, Sediment Transport and Deposition

Resource Type

Activities:Field Activity:Importation of field observations into the classroom, Field laboratories

Special Interest

Field-Based Teaching and Learning

Grade Level

College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level

Ready for Use

Ready to Use:Meets Peer Review Standard:Anonymous Peer Review, Ready to Use

Earth System Topics

Surface Processes:Soils, Solid Earth:Earth Materials:Rocks, Surface Processes:Weathering, Erosion, Mass Wasting


Human Dimensions/Resources, Earth surface


Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Sedimentary Geology, Teach the Earth:Enhancing your Teaching:Teaching in the Field

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