Ocean Stratigraphy Challenge
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This is a complex puzzle beginning with a description of a stratigraphic section from a deep-sea core. The students are asked to explain the sequence of rock and sediment types and to devise an experiment to test this hypothesis. It is intended for students with some prior knowledge of oceanography, sedimentary geology, and plate tectonics and requires them to synthesize all of this knowledge to answer the question.
This question enables students to:
- connect geoscience concepts that were originally learned separately.
- recognize concepts previously learned in a new context and apply
this information in new ways.
Context for Use
This is a piece of someone's exam, but could be the basis of an in-class puzzle. It involves a combination of concepts, as do many real-world problems and might work very well at the end of an intro course (perhaps as a practice for the final exam).
Teaching Notes and Tips
Print the question as a handout and give it to small groups or pairs of students to work on for 15-20 minutes. The next 30+ minutes can be spent going over the solution and discussing concepts behind it.
This exercise was originally one of three questions on a 75-minute exam and with the helpful rubric could easily become part of another exam.
References and Resources
The Teacher's Information page (link down) contains a number of links to resources used to teach the material that this question tests. (http://eesc.columbia.edu/courses/ees/lithosphere/dlese/plat_strat_answr.html)
Marine Geology and Geophysics, Geoscience:Geology:
Resource TypeDatasets and Tools:
Grade LevelCollege Lower (13-14):
Ready for Use
Ready to Use
Earth System TopicsSurface Processes:
Coastal Processes, Solid Earth:Earth Materials:
Ocean Basin Topography
Deep Sea Floor/Abyssal
Time/Earth History, Ocean:
Marine Geology and Geophysics, Solid Earth, Earth surface:
ThemeTeach the Earth:Course Topics:
Sedimentary Geology, Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments: