Quantitative Skills > Teaching Resources > Activities > Temperature Profiles in Permafrost

Temperature Profiles in Permafrost

Vassar College
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection

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This page first made public: May 3, 2006


Students create a STELLA model of heat flow in the outer km of Earth's crust and then perform experiments to change the air temperature variable in an attempt to replicate the findings of Lachenbruch and Marshall (1986). These workers used inflections in the geothermal gradient of Alaskan permafrost to search for evidence of recent climatic change.

Learning Goals

The Heat Flow in Permafrost exercise has several purposes:

Context for Use

This activity was developed for a class introducing dynamical systems modeling to upper level undergraduate students.

Teaching Notes and Tips

Instructor Notes (Acrobat (PDF) 66kB Apr10 06)

Teaching Materials

Heat_Flow_in_Permafrost_Exercises.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 20kB Jun7 05)
heat_flow.v5.STM ( 59kB Jun7 05)
Heat_Flow2.f90 ( 4kB Jun7 05)


Heat_Flow_in_Permafrost_Lab_Answer_Key.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 239kB Jun7 05)
assignment_assessment__3.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 5kB Jun7 05)

References and Resources

The following are readings for this exercise:

Turcotte, D.L., and Schubert, G., 2000, Geodynamics, 2nd ed., Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, p. 132-143, 150-152.

Lachenbruch, A.H., and Marshall, B.V., 1986, Changing climate: geothermal evidence from permafrost in the Alaskan Arctic, Science, v. 234, p. 689-696.

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Controlled Vocabulary Terms

Subject: Geoscience:Hydrology, Geology, Atmospheric Science:Climatology
Resource Type: Activities:Lab Activity, Computer Applications
Special Interest: Complex Systems, Computer-Based, Quantitative
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Quantitative Skills: Models and Modeling
Ready for Use: Ready to Use
Topics: Hydrosphere/Cryosphere, Climate, Earth surface
Theme: Teach the Earth:Teaching Topics:Water, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Hydrology/Hydrogeology, Teach the Earth:Incorporating Societal Issues:Climate Change, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Atmospheric Science

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