Monday, May 31, 2010

Teaching Folds - Using Play-Doh

One day when I was coming up with a lesson idea for showing students what folds look when the have been eroded, I kept thinking cinnamon rolls would be awesome to show them. But they might not work right, you can't really change the folds, and it would be expensive. That's when I thought of Play-doh. Basically it overcomes all those obstacles. You can find a PDF of this exercise as well as any other Out of the Box Geological Lessons at my website here. So here we go.

Step 1: you need Play-doh in at least 3 colors. I purchased a box of 16 and combined like colors to get enough to work with. Play-doh mixes rather well with a little work. A rolling pin and a knife. I prefer something sharp so the lines are clean.

Step 2: Roll out each of the colors. Try to keep them thick and about the same size.

Step 3: Stack the layers together.

Step 4: Trim the edges so you have a nice neat rectangle.

Making sure the layers are thick enough. I found that if you roll the layers after they have been stacked to make the surface area larger causes a real big head-ache when trying to get the Play-doh apart again.

Step 5: Make your folds. I found that making a syncline with 2 anticlines on the outsides help make the plunging syncline produce the best structures. It also saves time on making different models.

Step 6: Non-plunging folds. Cut clean across the top creating nice parallel bands.

Step 7: Plunging folds. Cut at an angle across the fold. I found the best plunging syncline is produced when you cut across from the bottom corner to the top back corner as shown in the picture.

The direction of plunge in down in the picture. It corresponds to the right side in the previous picture.

Another view to show the front anticlines and syncline.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

GeoJeopardy! Part 4


Derived from Latin meaning "dug up", it's the remains of a plant or animal preserved in rock
A fracture in the earth along which the sides are displaced; the San Andreas is a dramatic example


It's the shallow body of water enclosed within an atoll

This "powdery" mineral is number 1 on the Mohs scale of hardness

Longer than an era, this is the longest geological time unit
You can either google the answer or find it out at my new GeoJeopardy! portion of my website.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Out of The Box Geological Lesson Ideas

So I set up a new portion of my website under the GeoEducation banner for my Out of The Box Geological Lessons. The first lesson up is a retooling of something I posted about a little while ago, which was my Introduction to Science lecture (now in PDF format). I should have a new post up in the next couple of days with another OoTB Geological Lesson idea.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

GeoJeopardy! Part 3


It describes the mouth of the ancient hadrosaur & the mouth of the modern platypus


The name of the ichthyornis comes from the Greek for "bird" & this type of animal


It was similar to the mammoth but it had different teeth


Continent that was home to the albertosaurus


The fossils of these common 3-lobed primitive arthropods are useful date markers

You can either google the answer or find it out at my new GeoJeopardy! portion of my website.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

GeoJeopardy! Questions 6-10

Rocks and Minerals

Term for the minerals from which metals are extracted

Single-letter chemical designation of a diamond


Largest block ever found of it in U.S., 56 tons, was used for Tomb of the Unknown Soldier


Mark Twain defined it as a hole in the ground with a liar standing at the top


Fizzing when acid is applied, this mineral is the base of the Portland cement industry

You can either google the answer or find it out at my new GeoJeopardy! portion of my website.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

GeoJeopardy! Questions 4 & 5


Earth's atmosphere layer which lies between the troposphere & the mesosphere
Rainwash, wind action & differential weathering formed this S. Dakota area

You can either google the answer or find it out at my new GeoJeopardy! portion of my website.

Friday, May 21, 2010

GeoJeopardy! Question 3


Pliny the Elder, Roman geologist, died while observing this volcano erupting

You can either google the answer or find it out at my new GeoJeopardy! portion of my website.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

GeoJeopardy! Question 2

GeologyThe mouth of the Mississippi or a Helen Reddy "Dawn"

You can either google the answer or find it out at my new GeoJeopardy! portion of my website.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

GeoJeopardy! Question

I was thinking the other day that Jeopardy! has had a ton of geology related questions. And although they are relatively easy for geologists, the do offer some interesting questions. So I figured I would start to catalogue them over on my site and offer them up as questions here. Hopefully once a week at the least. The first question up is:


The Star of India is what kind of precious stone?

You can either google the answer or find it out at my new GeoJeopardy! portion of my website.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Worst name for a Geoscientist Group - Ever

So I was catching up on GSA Today's from a couple of months ago and I came across this article on the Inaugural Young Earth-Scientists Congress being held in Beijing. I was interested because I had never seen anything for young-earth creationists in GSA Today before so I took a read at it. I noticed a lot of topics similar to normal geology meetings and I wondered why would they would go through the effort of hosting this thing if not to address the young-earth thing. Then I got to the line "need to educate policymakers on earth-science issues that will significantly affect the younger generation."
I assumed Young Earth-Scientists meant Young-Earth Scientists or just Young-Earth Creationists. I was wrong. It was aimed at the younger generation of earth-scientists. It matters a lot where that hyphen is. But if I read it the wrong way, how many other people would read it the same way I did?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

SEM Update - Part 4

Well it has finally arrived. Truth be told, I actually had written them off in my mind. (Mentioned back here Part 1, part 2, and part 3) But even though they said 2 weeks and it actually took 3 months I got back the results of the rock I sent in. I copied a couple of the images that they sent along below but you can check out the full report if your so inclined Here. Overall, not bad. The images are nice and clean, although I have no clue what part of the rock they scanned. But they did send back an elemental analysis which I was not expecting. So I would give them a grade of B- for nice pictures but a major delay in getting them and an unknown location of scans.

And as of today they did not post my pictures up on their blog like they said they would but they might do so at some point in the future.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My First Class :-)

It's Official!!! I finally am listed as the instructor of my very own class even though I'm still a student. Yea for my first non-TA real class. :-D

Friday, May 14, 2010

Random Pic of the Week

So I went and bought that huge geological map that is always (or was always featured) in the back of the GSA Today magazine. The only problem was where to put it. Well luckily I have a huge wall space in my office with fairly high ceilings. And it actually looks pretty cool there. Now when I am zoning out, I can stare at the beautiful geology of North America.