A Geologic Safari of the East African Rift and the Newark Basin: Why these areas are more alike than you know
Students visualize earthquake, volcano, topographic data, geologic maps, and photographs of geologic structures to identify similarities and differences between the Newark Rift Basin and East African Rift using interactive powerpoint presentations and GeoMapApp.
- learn about continental rifts and their evolution through time
- synthesize information about earthquakes, volcanoes, topographic data, bedrock geology, and photographs of geologic structures for two continental rifts at different stages of evolution
- identify volcano type from topographic profile plots
- demonstrate facility with GeoMapApp
- visualize topographic data in map and profile views
Context for Use
- This activity, though specifically targeted for students from New Jersey, could be easily adapted to be instructive for students living anywhere along the East Coast of the US or in any region containing an aulacogen.
- Students should be familiar with plate tectonics, volcanism, faults, igneous and sedimentary rocks, and groundwater.
- It can be used as a classroom activity led by an instructor, used by students at a computer terminal for an in-class exercise, or used by students at home.
- Students should have some familiarity with GeoMapApp, but it is not essential for students to have to engage in this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
East Africa Rift background powerpoint (PowerPoint 5MB May28 09)
East Africa Background handout (Microsoft Word 27kB May28 09)
GeoMapApp handout (Microsoft Word 38kB May28 09)
New Jersey PowerPoint (PowerPoint 7.8MB May28 09)
New Jersey Handout (Microsoft Word 12kB May28 09)
Teaching Notes and Tips
- The first part uses the East African Rift powerpoint and handout to explore the background of rifts and East Africa more specifically.
- The second part uses the handout that describes the hands-on exploration of East African Rift features using GeoMapApp.
- The third part is a powerpoint and handout that relates the rift features to older structures in the Newark Basin.
I have greatly simplified some of the geology of Eastern Africa for this lesson. For example, I do not discuss the fact that there are stratovolcanoes in Eastern Africa or any felsic igneous features. Students might identify these volcanoes in section #2, so this could be a jumping off point for a more in-depth discussion.
Informally, the profile plots submitted with the lesson will enable the instructor to assess if the student has demonstrated that they are comfortable using GeoMapApp. If this is done in a lab setting, eavesdropping on students can help the instructor identify is students are having trouble with the application.