2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 2:10 PM


CHAN, Marjorie A., Geology & Geophysics, Univ of Utah, 135 S 1460 E, Rm 719 WBB, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0111, ATWOOD, Genevieve, Earth Sci Education, 30 U Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84103-4301 and CURREY, Donald R., Dept. of Geography, Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, machan@mines.utah.edu

Geoantiquities record Earth systems history and environmental change, and provide opportunities for hands-on, school-based, geoscience education in urban areas such as the Wasatch Front, Utah. We used shorelines of Pleistocene Lake Bonneville and Holocene Great Salt Lake to teach principles of climate change, landforms, and environmental science to K-12 teachers. The first challenge was to introduce concepts of geoantiquities. We define geoantiquities as natural landscapes that preserve material evidence of geologically recent surface processes and environments. In regions undergoing rapid rural-to-urban land conversion, many geoantiquities are endangered. The concept of geoantiquities is consistent with international trends in geoconservation, and parallels the well-established cultural antiquities management for preservation of prehistoric human artifacts.

In a geoantiquities workshop on Antelope Island State Park, teachers observed prominent Pleistocene shorelines, subtle intermediate shorelines, and walked Holocene shorelines identified by modern trash. Teachers gained confidence by recognizing geoantiquities in a field area protected from development. Then they graphed the Lake Bonneville hydrograph and understood how geoantiquities are historians of recent climate change. For homework, they hypothesized past conditions at their schools, and looked for geoantiquities in their schoolÂ’s neighborhood. About half the teacher participants said they would use local, urban geoantiquities in their teaching. Subject matter included math (graphing the rise and fall of Lake Bonneville); literacy (such as a creative story about Max the Immortal Mosquito); drama (skits of Lake Bonneville overflow); Earth system science (shorelines as evidence of local and global climate change); art (tracing shorelines with erasable markers on school windows); social studies (influence of lake sediments on pioneer agriculture); and chemistry (salts of Great Salt Lake).