Geologic History Activities

  1. As part of an experimental program to bring together arts and sciences at your school, you are requested to create an art piece that shows in three dimensions -- through drawings, sculptures, computer animations, or other forms -- the sequence of geologic events that took place in the Northeast United States over the past billion years. It is thought that the sequence of events, represented in different colors and changing shapes, may give an interesting art form as well as illustrating geologic history.


    Create your own artistic piece, of the history of the Northeast, showing:

    1. the Grenville passive margin,
    2. the Taconic convergence,
    3. the Acadian convergence,
    4. the rifting apart of Pangea,
    5. the Coastal Plain passive margin.
  2. Your art piece is selected to go on display in your local art museum. The Director of Exhibits there asks if you could create another three dimensional piece that represents a stack of rocks of various ages from your own area. This will help show people at a local scale the influence of these geologic events on the rocks under their feet. You are asked to please use colors consistent with the first piece, so that the two pieces are complimentary. 

    Create a second artistic piece, representing local rocks through time, consistent with (1).

  3. You have another creative idea. You apply for and receive a grant to create three more pieces for local geology as in (2), each of them in a different place that, all together, can help tell the large-scale story of number (1).

    (a) Create three more art pieces for areas of the Northeast that are each geologically different from each other, so that altogether they represent how large scale geologic events have affected local rocks. You choose the locations. Create an artwork representing the series of rocks present at each locations. 

    You decide each piece of art should somehow include actual specimens of rocks representing each event or geological period. Though it is clear that you can go to the three places and find rocks at the surface, the rocks under the surface from previous geologic periods will be buried; you reason that you can find rocks of similar age and origin exposed at the surface elsewhere. Fortunately you had the foresight to see that you'd need to do some fieldwork, and have a modest travel budget as part of your grant. 

    (b) Describe in highway travel the most efficient way to collect appropriate samples that represent the subsurface samples you need. Create a travel report listing each segment of the trip, what you collected, how many miles you traveled, and what your travel costs were.