Who Dunit? and the Law of Superposition

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Link to Resource: https://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/publications/WhoDunit.pdf
Resource Type:Classroom Activities; Curricula and Instruction
Grade Level:
K 1 2 3 4 5
Organization:United States Geological Survey (USGS)
Summary:Rocks are generally deposited horizontally. After one rock layer has been deposited, another is laid down on top of it. Thus, the rocks on the bottom of the stack are the oldest, and the rocks on the top are the youngest. Once the rocks have been deposited they sometimes get moved around. They can br broken by faults, tilted into mountains, intruded by magma, or cut through by rivers and streams. By looking at the rock layers and seeing in which order these processes occurred, we can determine how old the rocks are in relation to the rocks around them, as well as the general timing for things like fault ruptures and magmatic intrusion. This law, proposed by Nicolaus Steno in 1669, is called the Law of Superposition. This law is the basis for the understanding of the sequence of past geological events. In this exercise, students will determine the order of a sequence of events and then apply this skill to a geological exercise in order to determine a sequence of hypothetical geological events and their relative age.
Earth Science Big Ideas:Big Idea 1; Big Idea 2; Big Idea 3; Big Idea 4; Big Idea 8
NGSS Discplinary Core Ideas:ESS1.C
NGSS Performance Expectations:4-ESS1-1
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:Patterns
Subjects: elementary school; geology; k-3; k-4; k-5; k-5 geosource; rocks
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