Reading the Rock Record of Ancient Environments: A Grand Canyon Example

Sedimentary rocks provide insight into the changing environments of the past. Students should already know how to identify several key sedimentary rock types, and have an understanding of the conditions under which they formed. In this exercise students will look at sedimentary sequences that record the history of the western United States from the PreCambrian through the age of the dinosaurs. Students will evaluate data on two different spatial scales: (a) variations within Grand Canyon, and (b) differences between rocks at the western and eastern ends of Grand Canyon.

Hawaii and Indonesia – Activity and Information for Students

Part I: Overarching Question: What is the relationship between the motion of the Pacific plate and that of the Hawaiian hot spot over the last 70 million years?

See also: Teaching About Volcanoes in a Plate Tectonic Context

Begin by examining a map of Hawaii that shows the entire volcanic chain including the Emperor Seamounts ( is one nice example).

Exploration for Petroleum and Natural Gas in the Nittany Valley

This exercise was developed as a collaborative effort by the faculty in the Department of Geoscience.

The major source of power for industrial use, the home, and transportation comes from burning fossil fuels including petroleum, natural gas and coal.  To a lesser extent, wood and peat are also burned as a source of power but these two sources are less commonly used and neither accounts for a major fraction of the fuel used world wide.

Pack A Truck for a Paleontological Excavation

I came across this exercise on the Project Exploration website and have used it as an in-class exercise for a course I teach on Dinosaurs.  My goals are to get students to think about what is involved in preparing and carrying out a field expedition, as well as to engage students in a basic quantitative exercise.  I like to expose my students to the process of science, and in this case, what it takes to think about and prepare for an expedition in the desert.