Earth Science Week Classroom Activities

Virtual Fieldtrip to the Whaleback Anticline

Activity Source:

American Geophysical Union. Developed by Lindsay Mossa, AGI.

Many geoscientists study Earth’s features, which typically requires going out into the field. The Whaleback Anticline, located near Shamokin, Pennsylvania, is a unique and well-studied geologic formation. This site is located on privately owned land, making it difficult to access. Technologies, such as drones and other unmanned aircraft, have been used to take pictures and collect other data of the site, making it accessible online.


  • Computer with Internet access


  1. Go to: to read a brief description of the geology of the Whaleback Anticline.

  2. Go to the Virtual Field Geology site:

a. Read the quick start guide to learn about the game’s controls.

b. Open the tutorial.

  1. Open the game by going to ​ and clicking on “Field Adventure”.

a. Watch each segment of the tutorial and try out each tool being demonstrated.

b. Note: To change perspective, right‑click the mouse to change direction. If using a touch screen, use two fingers but only move one.

  1. Choose one tool and use it to collect data.

  2. Organize your data into a table.


  1. Describe what your data reveals about the Whaleback Anticline. How could someone use this data to describe or interpret the feature?

  2. What other data would you want to collect from the Whaleback Anticline site? Explain your thinking.

  3. Search “Whaleback Anticline” using Google Earth.

a. What information can you get by looking at the site on Google Earth that you cannot get on the virtual fieldtrip site?

  1. The model of Whaleback Anticline was created with structure-from-motion technology. Research the technology to summarize its use.

  2. What is one benefit of virtual field trips? What is one drawback?

  3. Choose an area near you that could be used for a virtual field trip.

a. Why did you choose this site?

b. What geologic feature(s) would you highlight in the virtual fieldtrip and why?

  1. The Whaleback Anticline has been named a geoheritage site. Read about Pennsylvania’s geoheritage sites at

a. Describe why the Whaleback Anticline is a geoheritage site.

b. Research your state to discover geoheritage sites near you.


Arizona State University virtual fieldtrips: ​** **

Science Education Resource Center: ​** **


SEP :Developing and Using Models; Analyzing and Interpreting Data

DCI :ESS1.C: The History of Planet Earth

CCC :Scale, Proportion, and Quantity; Systems and System Models


4 : Quality Education

9 : Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure