My goal with the papers is to find something that isn’t too hard for the students to understand, though most have only had intro level classes so far. My goal was not to have the students understand everything in the paper, but to start them on the path of learning how to read papers.
For the first week, we read the paper by Amor et al. (2008) paper entitled “A Precambrian proximal ejecta blanket from Scotland.” Why this paper? Meteorite impacts are “sexy” and therefore have a wider appeal to the students in general. Though we haven’t started discussing crystallographic orientations, they are referred to in this paper in a fairly easy to digest manner that hopefully will serve as a “why the heck to we have to learn about Miller indices?” answer. The paper also demonstrates why carefully looking at data and occasionally re-evaluating someone else’s data may be important in determining how the rocks formed.
Questions I asked the students to consider:
- make a list of the characteristics of an impact crater vs. a volcanic unit
- what kinds of data did the authors use to support the impact hypothesis for the Stac Fada Member?
- why is quartz important for this study?
- terms you didn’t understand?
- concepts that were hard to grasp?
I was really impressed with the quality of the answers I got to the questions and the students had intelligent comments and queries during our discussion last Friday. All in all, I think week #1 went well — not that the peanut butter chocolate chip bars didn’t help loosen their tongues 🙂
Amor, K., Hesselbo, S.P., Porcelli, D., Thackrey, S., and Parnell, J., 2008, A Precambrian proximal ejecta blanket from Scotland: Geology, v. 36, p. 303-306.