Viscosity Experiments: Physical Controls and Implications for Volcanic Hazards

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Resource Type:Classroom Activities; Curricula and Instruction
Grade Level:
11 12
Organization:Teach the Earth
Summary:This activity is a laboratory-style exercise that involves investigating the physical controls on viscosity by pouring different syrup mixtures down an inclined plane and using Jeffreys equation to calculate viscosity. Students time the syrup flows and then calculate viscosities. The four sets of experiments include examining the effects of temperature, dissolved water, solids and bubbles on syrup viscosity. Students then use Jeffreys equation to calculate the velocities of a variety of lava flow compositions. They also investigate the effects of composition, temperature, dissolved water and solids numerically using the freeware program MAGMA by K. Wohletz.
Earth Science Big Ideas:Big Idea 1; Big Idea 8
NGSS Discplinary Core Ideas:ESS2.B; ESS3.B
Subjects: hazards; natural hazards; volcano; volcanology
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