Volcano Discussion Forum

Assignment One

 

Volcano Discussion Forum

The Prompt – Read All of this at least twice!!

 

Oh No! Mt. Rainier has erupted with an explosive force ten times that of the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption, so this is a big one and you are a news reporter based in Tacoma, Washington. Your specialty is science and you’re really talented at explaining science news to the public. Your editor wants an article on the eruption that not only tells what is happening, but explains why it is happening. Get to work!

Your editor wants you to cover at least the following list, but he expects you to do a lot of research on your own, cite your sources, and have a great article ready to go for tomorrow’s paper. Your editor is giving you the front page so this should be a substantial news report with lots of details, background info, room for a map and pictures…..

  • Were there any precursers to the eruption, what were they and why were they happening?
  • What’s the eruptive history of Mt. Ranier?
  • What is the tectonic setting of the volcano and how does this affect the type of explosion that is occurring?
  • Describe the type of eruption that occurred and what type of materials were ejected.
  • Describe other hazards caused by the eruption such as mud flows….
  • Describe how the surrounding area is being affected and what the emergency response is.
  • Interview a local volcanologist and include a few quotes from her.
  • You’re trying to educate the public, so use those geological terms but explain what they mean.

Grading Notes

All of the information in your news report should be well-researched and factually accurate to a real life eruption at Mt. Rainier ten times as large as the Mt. St. Helens eruption (don’t know how big this one was… look it up!). The eruptive style should match what scientists think would happen here. Section 6.14 in your Reynolds book should help you get started, but you’ll need to do additional research on your own. CITE all of your sources!!!!

 

You should complete this assignment in Microsoft Word! You can then copy and paste it into the DB or attach it as a file. The very best articles will look and read like a real news article.
 

Assignment Two

 

Geologic Timescale Assignment

 

Concept

 

To better understand the concept of geologic time, your assignment is to produce a time-scale illustration that is true to scale and reflects some of the important events in the history of the earth (see list below-you only have to put the events in boldface on your illustration). The exercise requires that you produce an illustration to share with the class on our discussion board and that you write a short essay that: (1) discusses why you chose the metaphor you used; (2) shows an example of one of your math calculations; and (3) discusses what you learned from this exercise including your perspective of where humans fit in the grand scheme of things. Have fun! Be creative! No Illustration is too silly, as long as your math is correct and your choice has meaning to you. Your instructor appreciates unusual and distinctive efforts.  However, if you’re not feeling very creative on this one, just pick a simple approach and do a neat, accurate job.  Don’t get hung up obsessing over your approach, pick something that works for you and do it.  Remember that you are trying to convey a sense of Earth’s entire history with an illustration so neatness counts, color coding is helpful, pictures are also useful.  Email me with any questions that you have.

 

Posting your Work

 

You can produce your illustration in any way that you choose.  It can be a Word document, scan of a hand drawn picture, graphic design, video, photograph…. Whatever best shows your work.  It does need to be easily visible and clear so that your fellow students and your instructor can clearly see your work.  You can attach it to your thread or embed it in your essay.

 

How To

The method used to determine a true-to-scale illustration will be similar for all choices. Units in the illustration can be in time, distance, volume, mass, etc. depending upon what type of illustration you choose to work with. The general equation used to generate numbers in your illustration which will be true to scale is:

Known age of past event (years before present     =                Your time scale illustration equivalent unknown (x)

Known age of the earth (years before present            Your illustration’s max measurement (time, distance, volume, mass, etc..)

For example, suppose your illustration uses distance as its “guiding light.” Remember, the use of time, volume, or mass in an illustration would be just dandy. Since we are using a distance illustration as an example here, a football field with a length of 100 yds will do just fine. To find where on the football field, let’s say, the “first oxygen” yard mark would be, you would set up the ratio shown below and solve for X:

 

2,700,000,000 (Age of Oxygen Buildup)   =   Distance (x) from the 0  yard line             = 58.7 yds (from 0 yard line)

4,600,000,000 (Age of Earth)                            100 yds (Length of Football Field)

 

HINT:  Divide 2,700,000,000 by 4,600,000,000 then multiply by 100 to solve for X.

The “build up of oxygen” location on the football field would be (X) yards away from the goal line of your choice! (The example above assumes that the 0 yard line is the present day and the 100 yd line is the beginning of earth history.)

 

Example

 

Here is a great example of this concept from the University of Saskatchewan.  Your illustration will have more dates than this simplified one.

Citation:  University of Saskatchewan (http://homepage.usask.ca/~mjr347/prog/geoe118/geoe118.043.html)

 

 

Resources

 

I don’t usually cite Wikipedia, but I found their article on the geologic timescale to be very good.  They also have some illustration examples that might help you get started.  Here is the citation:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologic_time_scale

 

Below is a very condensed table of events in our long Earth history.  There is a lot more to our history that is covered in your textbook.  You only have to use the events in bold on your illustration!

Event

Years before present

Present

0

Modern man

10,000

Neanderthal man

100,000

First use of fire

500,000

Homo erectus

1,300,000

Linking of North and South America

1,500,000

Oldest stone tools

1,600,000

Beginning of Quaternary period (end Tertiary/Neogene)

1,800,000

Australopithecus (early hominids)

3,000,000

Beginning of Antarctic ice caps

10,000,000

First evidence of ice at the poles

25,000,000

Collision of India with Asia

40,000,000

Start of global cooling (to present day)

40,000,000

Early horses

50,000,000

Separation of Australia and Antarctica

50,000,000

Early primates

57,000,000

Alps form

60,000,000

Beginning of Tertiary/Paleogene period (recent life)

65,000,000

Dinosaurs became extinct

65,000,000

Rocky Mountains form

80,000,000

Cretaceous Period begins (Jurassic ends)

140,000,000

Early flowering plants

150,000,000

Early birds and mammals

180,000,000

Opening of Atlantic Ocean

200,000,000

Jurassic Period begins (end Triassic)

208,000,000

First dinosaurs

215,000,000

Triassic Period begins

245,000,000

Final assembly of Pangaea

280,000,000

Early trees, formation of coal deposits

318,000,000

First reptiles

340,000,000

Beginning of Carboniferous/Mississippian period (end Devonian)

360,000,000

First insects

400,000,000

Early land plants

450,000,000

Early fish

490,000,000

Beginning of Ordovician period (end Cambrian)

510,000,000

Early shelled organisms

544,000,000

Beginning of Cambrian period (end of Precambrian time) – rise of multicellular organisms

544,000,000

Beginning of Paleozoic (ancient life) Era

544,000,000

Early multi-celled organisms

700,000,000

Breakup of early supercontinent

800,000,000

First known animals

1,200,000,000

Formation of early supercontinent (Rodinia)

1,400,000,000

Buildup of free oxygen in atmosphere

2,700,000,000

Early bacteria & algae

3,400,000,000

Oldest known Earth rocks

3,960,000,000

Formation of Earth’s atmosphere

4,200,000,000

Formation of the Moon

4,500,000,000

Precambrian time begins

4,600,000,000

Origin of earth

4,600,000,000

 

 

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