Plate Tectonics and People


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This lesson focuses on Earth's magnetic field. We will go over some background material regarding how the magnetic field is generated and why it is important that this planet has one. We'll discuss how to measure the field and also important implications of the magnetic field that led to other discoveries. Namely, we'll use magnetic anomaly maps to reconstruct plate tectonic motion, and we'll explore the Neat-o Interdisciplinary Idea that animals on Earth actually interact with the magnetic field.

What will we learn in Lesson 3?

By the end of Lesson 3 you should be able to:

  • use magnetic anomaly charts to calculate ridge spreading rates.
  • deduce plate speed using a variety of measurement techniques.
  • discuss the ways in which animals interact with Earth's magnetic field.
  • describe the characteristics of a dipole field.
  • calculate paleomagnetic latitude for a given magnetic inclination.

What is due for Lesson 3?

As you work your way through these online materials for Lesson 3, you will encounter additional reading assignments and hands-on exercises and activities. The chart below provides an overview of the requirements for Lesson 3. For assignment details, refer to subsequent pages in this lesson.

Lesson 3 will take us one week to complete. 21 Sep - 27 Sep 2016

Lesson 3 Assignments
Requirement Submitted for Grading? Due Date
Reading discussion Yes - we will discuss this in a discussion forum in Canvas. This will be part of your course discussion grade. multiple participation spanning 21 - 27 Sep 2016
Paleomag problem set Yes - turn in to Canvas assignment called "L3: Paleomag problem set." This will be part of your course data analysis grade. 27 Sep 2016


If you have any questions, please post them to our Questions? Discussion Forum (not e-mail). I will check that discussion forum daily to respond. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate.