Any evidence of past life preserved in a geologic context, such as within rock or sediment, is called a fossil. In this activity you will work as a paleontologist — a scientist who studies fossils to understand ancient landscapes, climate, and life on Earth — to find and identify fossils.
We find carbon everywhere on Earth ─ in trees, rocks, fossil fuels, oceans, and even you! Carbon doesn’t stay in one place, through. Scientists study how carbon moves from one place to another. This is the carbon cycle.
Drilling is the only way to be sure that oil and gas fields exist and exactly what is present in the formation. Core samples reveal the physical and chemical nature of the rock. In this activity, you will create a model formation and “drill” for samples.
An EarthCache is a special site that people can visit to learn about a unique geoscience feature or aspect of our Earth. Visitors to EarthCache sites can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage the resources and how scientists gather evidence to learn about the Earth.
Have you ever seen a fossil? A fossil is any evidence of past life preserved in sediments or rocks. Do you think you could have dinosaur fossils in your family car’s gas tank? Did you ever hear that oil and natural gas are “fossil fuels”? Do you think oil and natural gas can be made from fossils? How long do you think it takes fossil fuel to form?
This activity will have students collect data, graph it, and compare the information to what they already know about radioactive elements and dating the planet's age.
Unraveling time and the Earth's biologic history are arguably geology's most important contributions to humanity. Yet it is very difficult for humans to appreciate time beyond that of one or two generations, much less hundreds, thousands, millions and billions of years. Perhaps we can only hope that students catch glimpses of our rich geologic heritage, particularly when most of our teaching is done in a classroom and not in a field setting. This exercise begins to make time more "three dimensional" and most importantly, students gain a better appreciation for geologic time and our Earth's history.
Dendrochronologists use tree rings to go back in time to learn more about past climate. Using straws to recreate tree rings, you can learn how dendrochronologists work.
Learn about the Earth's magnetic poles and paleomagnetism in this activity from Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
Learn about fossil preservation, paleontology, and stratigraphy in this detailed activity from the USGS.