Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 9:15 AM
WEAVING VOLCANOLOGY INTO THE VISITOR EXPERIENCE: INQUIRY-BASED ACTIVITIES AND RECENT UPDATES TO THE GEOLOGY GUIDE OF CRATERS OF THE MOON NATIONAL MONUMENT AND PRESERVE
Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve (COM) in the eastern Snake River Plain (Idaho, USA) is a phenomenal landscape showcasing a wide array of basaltic volcanic products and features on many different scales. COM is not only a feast for the eyes in its unique, rugged beauty, but also a feast for the brain in its capacity as a natural laboratory and classroom. The geology of COM is complex and often surprising, manifested in nearly every type of basaltic feature. Moreover, ongoing geologic processes (e.g. eolian) have altered the landscape since the last episode of volcanism and often features of COM’s biota evidence this. To better utilize the seemingly-endless wonders present in the features of COM as learning tools, an inquiry-based educational product, “Brain Teasers,” was developed this summer under the support of the Geological Society of America (GSA) GeoCorps program. This product is a worksheet packet which highlights some out-of-the-ordinary geologic features along the short, frequented “Spatter Cone trail,” and encourages the students to ask “why?”. It contains photographs and background information at each stop along the trail and is accompanied by a teacher’s guide that diagrams the relevant geologic processes and includes analogies and video links to foster a deeper understanding. Additionally, the “Geology of Craters of the Moon” guide was updated this year under the support of the GSA GeoCorps. This guide is a summary of the geology of COM as a whole is geared towards the “geology-buffs” of the visitor population. It was updated to include additional diagrams and a compilation of recent research on COM and the Yellowstone-Snake River Plain volcanic province at large.