Geology of the National Parks

Welcome to Unit 3


Introducing Mountain Building & Volcanism (Volcanoes!)

They tied pillows on top of their heads as protection against the shower of rock. It was daylight now elsewhere in the world, but there the darkness was darker and thicker than any night…(t)hen came a smell of sulfur, announcing the flames, and the flames themselves…he stood up, and immediately collapsed…his breathing was obstructed by the dust-laden air.
—Account by Pliny the Younger of the death of Pliny the Elder in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy. [Living with a volcano in your backyard: an educator's guide with emphasis on Mount Rainier]
Artists rendering of Atlantis with volcanoe erupting and people runnign away.
Eruption of Vesuvius 1760-1761
Credit: Work found at Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

Supposedly, Atlantis was an island civilization "outside the Pillars of Hercules" and thus located in the Atlantic Ocean, where it was destroyed by an earthquake or tsunami (giant wave) about 11,000 years ago. The source of this information (according to Wikipedia) is an account that Plato wrote in 360 BC of information reportedly given to Solon two hundred years earlier by priests he visited in Egypt. Now, if someone told you that 200 years ago someone else had received information by yet another person regarding something that happened 9000 years earlier, would you immediately believe it? A lot of people apparently do; a search of Google for "Atlantis Plato" finds about 327,000 matches, and not all of them are academic discussions.

A better question might be whether there really are islands that disappear below the sea. The answer is yes; many do. Some slide slowly downhill, at about the same rate as your fingernails grow, and disappear first beneath the waves and finally beneath the continents. Others suddenly explode, scattering themselves across the world.

Before we go any further, take a look at the following short video introduction by Dr. Anandakrishnan...

Master of the Lamp
Link to Transcript

What to do for Unit 3?

You will have one week to complete Unit 3. See the course calendar for specific due dates.

As you work your way through the online materials for Unit 3, you will encounter a video lecture, several vTrips, some animated diagrams (called GeoMations and GeoClips), additional reading assignments, a practice quiz, a "RockOn" quiz, and a "StudentsSpeak" Survey. The chart below provides an overview of the requirements for this unit.

Overview of Unit 3 Requirements

Read /view all of the Instructional Materials

Pages 2 - 7 No, but you will be tested on all this material.
Submit Exercise #1: Scientific Literature Canvas Yes, this is the first of 6 Exercises and is worth 5% of your total grade. 
Begin Exercise #2: Geology is All Around You Canvas Yes, this is the second of 6 Exercises and is worth 5% of your total grade.
Take the Unit 3 "RockOn" quiz Canvas Yes, this is the second of 12 end of unit RockOn quizzes and is worth 4.5% of your total grade.
Complete the "StudentsSpeak #4" survey Canvas Yes, this is the third of 12 weekly surveys and is worth 1% of your total grade. 


If you have any questions, please feel free to email "All Teachers" and "All Teaching Assistants" through Canvas.

Keep Reading!

On the following pages, you will find all of the information you need to successfully complete Unit 3, including the online textbook, a video lecture, several vTrips and animations, and two overview presentations.

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Students who register for this Penn State course gain access to assignment and instructor feedback, and earn academic credit. Information about registering for this course is available from the Office of the University Registrar.