2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 35-10
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


ROBINSON, Caroline, Department of Geology and Environmental Science, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, FIRTH, John, Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, Texas A&M University, 1000 Discovery Drive, College Station, TX 77845-9547 and ST. JOHN, Kristen E., Geology and Environmental Science, James Madison University, MSC 6903, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, robin5cm@dukes.jmu.edu

A primary objective of marine science classes is to learn the location and formation of ocean sediment types. Paper text and online multimedia both fall short of the experience of handling real ocean sediment. Real samples enhance learning through sight, touch, and smell, and microscope slides allow students to better comprehend the tiny sizes and forms of various sediment components.

Real samples provide only pinpoint examples of the ocean floor, yet they swim within a virtual ocean of geological data that is best utilized with online visualization tools like Google Earth. We have merged both the real and the virtual by creating a Google Earth based supplemental information resource for each example of ocean sediment from an IODP Sediment Core Kit consisting of core catcher sections and sediment smear slides that teachers may borrow for classroom instruction.

47 years of scientific ocean drilling has produced over 50,000 short core catcher sections that are sparsely used for post-cruise scientific research, making them an excellent resource for teaching, providing opportunity for engaged active pedagogies, and a more scientific approach to learning about the Earth.

IODP's online databases and publications have a wealth of associated information to supplement physical cores. To complement the Core Kit, we created a virtual resource for each section in the kit. This Google Earth addition shows core locations and how their location influenced their sediment type. Each core has a paragraph describing sediment type, with links to images, core descriptions, maps, geologic interpretations, and other data to fully understand the site. Questions are included to spark interest and lead students to future discoveries. The Core Kit Virtual Resource provides comprehensive, efficient access to information condensed down to essentials for learning. An interactive animation shows core photos emerging from the ocean floor, illustrating how deep the sediments are cored. The physical and virtual Core Kit is an exciting new educational resource for those wanting hands-on and interactive teaching options for basic Earth and ocean science. It can be used alone or with other Google Earth resources on marine sediments, including a new virtual map of 3000 marine sites showing the distribution of primary seafloor sediment types.