Non-Mineral Resources Activities


  1. A local architect hires you for a summer internship. Knowing that you know your regional geology, she has you make a list of where to obtain a variety of stone building materials. Among the materials she wants you to find are:

    • tan or gray (marine) sandstone
    • red sandstone
    • granite
    • slate
    • gneiss
    • limestone

    The architect has you rent a truck to pick up a little bit of each kind of building stone. For her official records, she has you write up a travel report, in which you must answer the following questions: What route would you follow? Where would you go?, and What is the geologic context under which these rocks formed? The following is a list of the contexts:  

    1. the Grenville passive margin
    2. the Taconic converge,
    3. interval (Silurian-Early Devonian) between Taconic and Acadian
    4. the Acadian convergence,
    5. interval (Mississippian-Early Permian) between Acadian and Alleghenian
    6. the Alleghenian convergence,
    7. interval (Early-mid Triassic) between Alleghanian and rifting
    8. the rifting apart of Pangea, and
    9. interval (mid-Jurassic-late Jurassic) between rifting and creation of Coastal Plain
    10. the Coastal Plain passive margin and shaping by erosion of many of current land-forms
    11. Pleistocene glaciation and Holocene post-glacial.
  2. Since it is difficult to imagine how a certain kind of building stone will look in a building until the building is built, the architect suggests you create a walking tour of your town buildings showing people various kinds of building stones. She asks you to create such a tour, with a written report that she can follow. 

    Go to an area of your town with stone buildings. Make a list of buildings and stone materials. Try to find out the history of the buildings and stones, and place the building stones in the context of geological history. 

  3. A local politician with no background in geology suggests that your community depends too much on fossil fuel from abroad, and that in fact all fossil fuel resources should come from the Northeast region. The architect, being an active voice against public misinformation, decides to give you a different job for awhile - to write an article summarizing the presence of fossil fuels in the northeast U.S. and their origin. 

    Write an editorial that explains (1) why fossil fuels are largely restricted to the Inland Basin area of the Northeast, (2) why coal is so abundant in Pennsylvania, but not elsewhere in the Northeast, and (3) why we have reason to believe that there is not substantially more natural gas and oil in the Northeast than we have already discovered.