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ERIC Number: EJ1164749
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
Introducing Field-Based Geologic Research Using Soil Geomorphology
Eppes, Martha Cary
Journal of Geoscience Education, v57 n1 p11-22 Jan 2009
A field-based study of soils and the factors that influence their development is a strong, broad introduction to geologic concepts and research. A course blueprint is detailed where students design and complete a semester-long field-based soil geomorphology project. Students are first taught basic soil concepts and to describe soil, sediment and rock properties using standard description procedures. Then, with minimal geological or field experience, they are led to design and execute a project that examines how soil properties differ as a function of processes, parent material and time. By designing and executing the semester-long project, students gain familiarity with the entire geologic research process including basic field observation, hypothesis development and testing, interpretation and presentation skills. During the course, students learn 1) the basic knowledge necessary to describe geologic materials (soil, rock, sediment) in the field, 2) to make observations and interpret them in the context of geologic hypotheses which they have developed, 3) to develop, and execute a field-based research project, 4) to integrate and draw conclusions about complicated semi-quantitative data sets, 5) to map and survey in the field and 6) to present their research in a public forum. By the end of the semester students are able to make and test hypotheses relating soil properties to the depositional environment, age and/or type of geologic deposits in which they form. The knowledge, skills and research experience gained in this simple, semester-long project serve students well in upper-level courses and beyond. An example project is presented from a 2nd order stream and its adjacent tributary alluvial fans in the Piedmont of North Carolina.
National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Carleton College W-SERC, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057. Tel: 540-568-6675; Fax: 540-568-8058; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A