2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 43
Presentation Time: 6:30 PM-8:30 PM


HOLM, Daniel K., MOORE, Andrew and HACKER, David, Department of Geology, Kent State Univ, Kent, OH 44242, dholm@kent.edu

Traditional compartmentalization of subject material in courses such as structural geology, petrology, and stratigraphy often hinders a student’s ability to connect the sub-disciplines of geology. In order to promote a more mature understanding of geology, we now have students construct a geologic map of a classic mapping area in the classroom and lab during the academic year; an area which they visit during field camp the following summer. Our students are first taught the stratigraphy of the Boulder Park region in the northern Black Hills, South Dakota. Expanding upon Searight and Malone (1996), the geologic information from about 60 stations is accurately located by the student using the topozone.com website and plotted on an enlarged USGS topographic base map. Students are instructed throughout the course on the elements of proper construction of a geologic map (i.e., location of contacts, rule of V’s, use of topography, stratigraphic thickness determinations, etc.). The completed colored Boulder Park maps are returned to the students during the Kent State University field course in the Black Hills. Before their first mapping project, we do a one-day walk through the Boulder Park map area. Using their own geologic maps, we find that students are much more attentive to mistakes and inaccuracies. This exercise allows students to overcome the tendency to simply assume that a geologic map is correct. They understand that their own observations can add substantially to their understanding of an area that they have already studied in the lab and in the literature. They look critically at their maps, are open to mistakes, and make necessary changes needed to get it right. Following the walk through, students construct a cross section through the map area. We have found that this exercise helps students to better tie together stratigraphic, structural, and geologic mapping principles. An added bonus is that it familiarizes students with the names of rock units and a map area, thus making them more aware of (and more comfortable with) what is expected of them at field camp.