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This geohydrology course is built around a winter pond study and a snowpack analysis of a skiing area. Both projects are ice- and snow-dependent projects for use in the Vermont winter.
The pond project goals are: to have students learn to survey, make bathymetric maps, measure water temperature and conductivity, calculate lake volume and water residence times, and collect and analyze a sediment core. The ski area project goals are: to calculate the volume of water in the snowpack, establish the relationship between water equivalent of snow and elavation, record snow stratigraphy, and calculate the effect of a hypothetical late-winter rainfall event on the snowpack. In general, the goals are to have student learn how to collect date, organize observations, make surveys, and collect cores. In addition to the scientific goals, the other goals are to have students get to know each other, work together, and acclimatize to working outside in cold weather.
Context for Use
The geohydrology course is structured around three day-long weekend field projects. Lectures are minimized and no exams are given. Students write reports in the form of a formal scientific papers. Each year 15-20 students enroll in the course. Students must be science majors or have permission to enroll.
Teaching Notes and Tips
Student snowpack data is used by the ski area.
Students write reports in the form of a formal scientific paper. No exams are given. Students peer review each other's papers and obtain extensive evalutations from the instructors on their written papers.
References and Resources
Gran, S.E, P.R. Bierman, and K.K. Nichols, 1999, Teaching Winter Geohydrology Using Frozen Lakes and Snowy Mountains, Journal of Geoscience Education, v.47, p. 420.