If you are taking this course, you have already (or are currently taking) G135, Indiana Geology. The materials we present will be a review of your work in that class; you may find it helpful to pull out your notes from that course as you work through this one. If you have not yet taken G135, you may struggle in this class, as it builds on many of the concepts you learned previously.
You have probably used a map to get to a friend’s house, find a restaurant or to plan a vacation. These kinds of maps, often called atlases, show where cities are located, show major roads and show mileage. Other map types, like topographic maps and geologic maps, are important to geologists because they can show the topography (changes in elevation) of an area or the geologic features and geologic age of a landscape.
In this laboratory, you will explore topographic and geologic maps and become familiar with their features. You will continue to use what you learn here in many of the other workbook activities and on your field trips.
In order to best understand maps, we will also need to review the systems of measurements used in geology. We will work with the metric system and practice making unit conversions. Don't be scared! The metric system is VERY easy to use once you understand it, and we will give you the tools you need to become proficient at making and converting measurements.
Page 5 of your lab book: This page will review the structure of labs in this course, and will remind you of the structure of your lab workbook.
BEFORE continuing this overview, please read the following pages in your lab book:
- Page 5: This page will review the structure of labs in this course, and will remind you of the structure of your lab workbook.
- Pages 7-35: Consider reading all the introductory material before each set of questions. This will familiarize you with the content of this lab. You will be reminded to read this information as you work through the exercises, so you may hold off on this, if you'd like. You will be assigned specific questions to answer in the "Content" pages of this module.
This overview will have 3 sections:
- Systems of Measurement
- Topographic Maps
- Geologic Maps
This overview is followed by directions for completing your workbook exercises. Please complete this overview prior to beginning your lab exercise.
Systems of Measurement
In many of our labs, you will be asked to make and record measurements, and convert from one unit to another. Most of us are familiar with the English system of measurement: feet, miles, pounds, etc. But scientists use a different form of measurement: the Metric System. We do this because it is much easier to work with - all units are comparable in multiples of 10's. This lab will ask you to work with metric measurements to familiarize yourself with this system.
Because we are studying features of the Earth's surface, we will most often work with units of length. In the metric system, the base unit of length is the meter. We derive other units from this base unit. For example, a kilometer (kilo = 1000x base unit) is equal to 1000 meters. A centimenter (centi=one-hundredth of the base unit) is 0.01 meters or 1/100th of a meter. You will find other conversions for the metric system on page 9 and page 251 of your text. Refer to these often when making or converting measurements.
Conveniently, many online calculators (Google, for example) now make conversions easy. You simply enter the unit you want to convert to, and the online system does all the work! For this lab, however, I would encourage you to pull out a calculator and work through the conversions yourself - the lab directions will guide you through this. That way, if you have to make a measurement on one of your field trips, and your computer isn't handy, you will be able to make the conversion by yourself!