Writing Assignment One, Chapters 1 through 5
Essay Questions (100 points total).
Note the attached PDF of this assignment…1. Explain thoroughly how it took 55 years (from 1915 until 1970) for the hypothesis of Continental Drift to develop into the theory of Plate Tectonics. Your answer should be no less than 500 words. (50 points)
READ THIS! – In other words, use the theory of Plate Tectonics to show how the Scientific Method was used to “flesh out” the hypothesis of Continental Drift put forth by Wegener, by adding new data provided by new technology and people until general buy-in was obtained in 1970, when the term “Plate Tectonics” was coined. (Chapter 1, especially 1.3, The Nature of Scientific Inquiry; and Chapter 2, especially 2.1 through 2.3, and 2.9, “Testing the Plate Tectonics Model”). Do not spend time discussing what came before 1915! Wegener did a great job of laying out the evidence he had available at the time. After your introductory paragraph, I do not expect to see the name “Wegener” again.
Be sure to explain:
- WHO were the key players?
- WHAT were the key observations and conclusions?
- WHERE were the observations made?
- WHEN were the key discoveries made?
- HOW were these discoveries accomplished, including fields of study, equipment, etc.?
2. Use plate tectonic theory to explain the origin of Mount St. Helens (and by extension, the Cascades and all Andean-type mountains). Your answer should be no less than 500 words. (50 points)In your answer, include a discussion of:
- the plate tectonic process involved
- the origin of the magma and rocks
- the composition of the magma and rocks
- the type of eruptions that occur there
- other geologic features associated with Andean-type mountains.
For these questions, check the text and MasteringGeology Study Area (of course), and also study the links on the accompanying materials. It should go without saying that you should have successfully completed the Mastering Homework for the first five chapters.
Important: know the meaning of the word PLAGIARISM – no plagiarism!
Links for Writing Assignment 1, Geology 100
- PDF of Hali Felt PowerPoint (1.587 MB)
- PDF of How plate tectonics clicked (1.257 MB)
- PDF of When Continental Drift Was Considered Pseudoscience (91.08 KB)
Links for Writing Assignment 1, Geology 100
Part 1. Hypothesis vs. Theory — Continental Drift vs. Plate Tectonics
- For starters, consider the following Smithsonian Magazine article from 2012, entitled When Continental Drift Was Considered Pseudoscience: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/when-continental-drift-was-considered-pseudoscience-90353214/?all
- Here’s a recent perspective from Naomi Oreskes, Nature Magazine, entitled How plate tectonics clicked: http://www.nature.com/news/earth-science-how-plate-tectonics-clicked-1.13655 – printed on the 50th anniversary of the publishing of the definitive article on sea-floor spreading, by Fred Vine. Please listen to the Podcast, if you’d like!
- Let’s not forget Marie Tharp! Unfortunately, I didn’t seriously learn about her until I heard a Bob Edwards interview of Hali Felt, who wrote her biography, entitled Soundings – a fascinating read. Here are a few links you may find useful:
- Here’s a link to a New York Times video summarizing Marie’s obituary: http://nyti.ms/1cdkZlV
- Here’s a link to an hour-long talk by Hali Felt, at Columbia University: http://vimeo.com/53380314 and a link to a PDF of the PowerPoint used in the Hali Felt talk: http://online.geology-guy.com/pdfs/gebco_sixth_science_day_felt2.pdf
- And here’s a PDF of the obituary that started it all: http://online.geology-guy.com/pdfs/MarieTharp_NYT.pdf
Part 2. Cascade Mountains (including Mt. St. Helens) — an example of Andean Plate Boundary I have a special affinity for this volcano, since I had volcanic ash fall on my head some 550 miles to the east, at the edge of Yellowstone National Park (itself a “super” volcano!). That was Sunday evening, 18 May 1980, before most of you were born, I assume. I was driving back from a geology meeting in Utah, where I had listened to talks by USGS scientists describing the volcanic activity which had just begun two months earlier. I had not heard that the Mountain had erupted, because there was no radio reception along the way, through the mountains of Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. I was quite surprised when ash began to fall from the sky and show up in my headlights!The Google Earth image above shows how far the volcanic ash traveled in about 12 hours! The red triangles on the map are active volcanoes, and the yellow dots are earthquakes that occurred in the previous week.USGS Publication: Eruptions of Mount St. Helens: Past, Present, and Future:Link: http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/MSH/Publications/MSHPPF/MSH_past_present_future.htmlLinks to several videos which will give you more of a feel for the power that was released on May 18th, 1980!
- NOVA – Mt. St. Helens: Back From the Dead (not closed captioned, but a transcript is available in “Videos”) – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/mt-st-helens.html
the following are closed captioned, on my YouTube channel (you’re welcome!)
- Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980 (released in 1981) – http://youtu.be/Jn52OAPK8nI
- Mount St. Helens: May 18, 1980 (30th anniversary video) – http://youtu.be/_CrBp9KWY0o
- Mount St. Helens: A Catalyst for Change – http://youtu.be/6g927Z54E0Q
This link will take you to the part of the USGS Volcanic Hazards Program website that summarizes the major types of volcanic hazards: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hazards/ Note the links to the main types of volcanic hazards:
- Volcanic Gases
- Volcanic Gas and Climate Change
- Air Pollution
- SO2 Aerosols
- Pyroclastic Flows
- Volcanic Landslides
- Lava Flows
This is a folder full of videos to help with your understanding of question 1 for assignment 1:
Link to the folder under “Videos…” at left.May 18th 1980, 8:32 AM
Questions you’ll be asking…
I can see clearly now – you’ll be wondering, in the very near future:
- when is this assignment due?
- where do I turn it in?
- what form should the document be in (and do I need to cite references, and should they be MLA, APA, GSA, etc.?)?
All good questions, I’m sure… The answers:
- As it says in the syllabus, there is only ONE “due” date – the last day of the session. However, I would hope that you’ll get to work on this assignment as soon as you’ve finished the homework for the chapters specified, and get this assignment behind you according to the directions – word count, make sure the actual questions are answered…
- You’ll submit the document below, when I have made the link available. If it isn’t available yet, simply save your document on your computer or on a flash drive or your cloud drive, or… Hint: give the document a meaningful name, maybe including your name in the title, like “j-smith-geology-assgt1.pdf” for instance.
- The form it should be in is PDF attachment. You might have created it in Microsoft Word, Google Doc, Open Office Writer, or even Apple Pages, but convert your document to PDF (‘export to’, ‘save as…’, ‘convert…’). If you use someone else’s words in your report, that requires you let me know from whence they came. I’m definitely NOT an English instructor, but I’ll expect that in your citation, I should be able to find those words in the place you suggest, preferably with a single click of the mouse. And “google.com” or “wikipedia.org” is not a valid, specific reference.
Before you turn in this assignment…
- Before you turn in this assignment.pdf (34.471 KB)
Before you turn in this assignment, check your work – ask yourself:
- Have you finished the Mastering homework associated with the subject matter? (if you haven’t, I won’t grade it!)
- Did you check out the extra study material provided, such as videos and web links, etc.?
- Did you answer all parts of the questions?
- Are the essays of sufficient length (check the word counts in your word processor)?
You should submit your work in Blackboard, as an attachment to the assignment.*** acceptable attachment format: Adobe Acrobat (PDF), period
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