GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 108-9
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


DIECCHIO, Richard J., Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences (retired), George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030 and CONE, Kim A., Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401

In the 1980’s I was teaching a course titled “Geological Development of North America” at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, using the text by Philip King on “The Evolution of North America” (1977). I taught about regional geology, the geologic time scale and the geologic development of North America.

In class, I reviewed in greater detail the geologic and geomorphologic development of each physiographic region of North America. The students extracted data from state geologic maps to construct cross-sections spanning two or more states. In the cross-sections students had to include the thickness of the crust, the structural geology, sedimentary and stratigraphic information, and historical information. I asked the students to use their state geologic map to study the area and be able to describe the geological development of the area. It was a challenging project. Plotting the surface data on a cross-section is a simple transfer of data, but interpreting the subsurface geometry is very difficult, requiring a synthesis of data and processes.

The exercise demonstrated that the students were able to take the principles of geologic history and structural and surface development to create final cross-sections that reflected a relatively accurate interpretation of their states. While this assignment was done years ago, the exercise would still be relevant today.