What Can (and Cannot) Be Learned from Scientific Drilling Using Examples from Margins Initiatives
This is a lecture segment that could be used in an introductory geoscience class to help explain and demonstrate what can be found out by scientific drilling. It should follow lectures on rocks, minerals, Earth's layers and simple plate tectonics, and be incorporated into a discussion of how we know what the Earth's interior is like. The lesson uses two examples from Margins Initiatives as problems that can be addressed successfully using scientific drilling: 1) the concept of reference sites for subduction factory inputs, and 2) understanding the mechanical behavior of sediments/rocks involved in seismogenic zone earthquakes. The lesson begins by pointing out that scientific drilling is NOT how we learn about the earth's deep interior, which is a common misconception among beginning students.
Concepts/content to be understood: 1) that scientific drilling has been used to explore the Earth's crust (but not the deep interior); 2) that important information can be learned from scientific drilling; and 3) some specific examples of problems that can be addressed through drilling that will improve students' understanding of subduction processes as well.
Context for Use
The lecture segment could be used in an introductory geoscience class to help explain and demonstrate what can be found out by scientific drilling. It could also be used as a presentation for high school Earth Science teachers. It should follow lectures on rocks, minerals, Earth's layers and simple plate tectonics, and be incorporated into a discussion of how we know what the Earth's interior is like.
Alternatively, the segment could be used as a review for an upper level class, and to launch more quantitative lessons in petrology, stratigraphy, or geophysics using Margins data.
Description and Teaching Materials
Teaching materials are information slides and online resources that are embedded in the 21 slide powerpoint file.
Lecture segment/review (PowerPoint PRIVATE FILE 2.3MB May28 09)
Teaching Notes and Tips
The lesson will take about one half hour with instructor commentary. It can be used in a large class (100 or more) if the instructor can ask questions of the class.
There are some questions for students embedded in information slides 10, 12 and 19. There is also a list of questions for thought at the end. Pausing to answer these questions will add to the time needed for the mini-lesson, but is worthwhile to be sure that the class is following the thread of the lesson. The questions at the end (slide 21) can also be assigned for homework.
The lesson includes links to several online resources that can be used to expand the lesson according to the interest of the instructor. These include the ODP Legacy site, margins data resources and IODP/Natroseize project (see References and Resources for links).
For assessment, I usually ask exam questions related to the major learning objectives, and sometimes a question about the specific examples to get a sense of the level of detail students are processing. To gauge interest, I usually give an optional extra-credit assignment - one of the questions in the list on page 21, or some research using the linked online resources.