Penn StateNASA

Goals and Learning Outcomes



On completing this module, students are expected to be able to:

  • Explain how sediments, ice cores, and tree rings record geological time
  • Explain how proxy information on past climates is extracted from geological materials
  • Infer the nature of climate change from proxy records
  • Consider how ancient events can inform us of changes to come in the future

Learning Outcomes

After completing this module, students should be able to answer the following questions (hint: each of these topics is the subject of one quiz question!):

  • In what materials is evidence of ancient geologic environment recorded?
  • What is the "Hockey Stick"?
  • What gases do ice bubbles contain?
  • What is a piston corer?
  • What are the processes that fractionate oxygen and carbon isotopes?
  • What are the other proxies for temperature?
  • How do tree rings record climate?
  • What are foraminifera?
  • What are the characteristics of leaves from tropical environments?
  • What is moraine?
  • What are the changes that occurred during glacial-interglacial cycles?
  • How was the PETM initiated ad what happened during the event?
  • What was the impact of global warming during the PETM on life?