Paper No. 1-2
Presentation Time: 8:20 AM
KEY ELEMENTS OF TEACHING NUCLEAR AND RADIOACTIVE ASPECTS OF GEOLOGY
Science education must improve by framing the nuclear and radioactive aspects of geology in proper context. All geologic materials are ultimately the products of nuclear processes and were much more radioactive at the beginning of biological evolution than they are today. Heat from the decay of radioactive isotopes drives much and possibly most tectonic and volcanic activity. Temporal and spatial variability of natural background radiation stretches over several orders of magnitude. Classroom instruction ignoring, for example, Precambrian natural nuclear reactors, borders on educational malpractice. Literal regulatory overkill results largely from misconceptions about the natural radioactivity of minerals and rocks. In an ideal education environment, the integrative "glue" of nuclear processes and radioactivity would bond all branches of natural science.