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GEOL 1311 Earth Science

Lab 4 – Structures and Geologic Maps

Key Questions:
• What shapes do rock bodies take in the Earth?
• How do two-dimensional visualizations of the Earth, such as maps and cross-sections
relate to the three-dimensional Earth?
At the end of this lab you will be able to:
• Describe the main types of geologic structures we see on the Earth.
• Read geologic maps.
• Be able to predict surface geology based on cross-sections of the Earth and vice-versa.

PART I. Working with 3D Geologic Blocks

Credits: These exercises are modified from: The Hidden Earth Project, led by Dr. Steven
Reynolds, Arizona State University (http://reynolds.asu.edu/blocks/103_home.htm)
Background Information:
In this module, you will learn about five major geologic features - layers, folds, faults, intrusions,
and unconformities. These five features intersect surfaces in various ways due to geologic events
that continually occur below the surface. Throughout the module, you will interact with movies
to learn how geologic events such as tilting, deposition, erosion, and faulting change and modify
the appearance of these five features on the surfaces of blocks. After interacting with these
movies, you will be able to identify and recognize the five main features and reconstruct the
geologic history that resulted in the complex pattern of surface features found in these blocks.
Directions:
Open the file for 3D Geologic Blocks in a web browser as directed by your Teaching Assistant.
Follow the directions on the screen and fill out the attached worksheets as appropriate.

Lab 4: Structures and Geologic Maps 1 UTEP GEOL 1311 Earth Science I
Name ________________________________ Geologic Blocks: 103 Worksheet

L-1 Sketch L-2 Sketch L-3 Sketch

F-1 Sketch F-2 Sketch F-3 Sketch


Name ________________________________ Geologic Blocks: 103 Worksheet

Direction of faulting:

Visual clues used:

Ft-1 Describe Ft-2 Sketch I-1 Describe

1.

2.

3.

4.

I-2 List Order of Events (old to young)s (old U-1 Sketch


Blocks Module Student Guide

In this module, you will learn about five major geologic features - layers, folds, faults,
intrusions, and unconformities. These five features intersect surfaces in various ways due to
geologic events that continually occur below the surface. Throughout the module, you will
interact with movies to learn how geologic events such as tilting, deposition, erosion, and
faulting change and modify the appearance of these five features on the surfaces of blocks. After
interacting with these movies, you will be able to identify and recognize the five main features
and reconstruct the geologic history that resulted in the complex pattern of surface features found
in these blocks.

The movies included in this module are QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) movies and
allow you to click-and-drag the mouse to change features in them. Above each movie, arrows
will indicate the direction(s) you can move the mouse and text will indicate what changes will
occur as you click and drag the mouse. Most sections begin with rotating movies so you can
see the four sides and top of a block. These movies can be rotated by clicking and dragging the
mouse from left to right (or right to left). The slower you drag the mouse, the smoother the
changes will be. Other movies allow you to change two features at a time. For example, some
movies let you rotate a block (clicking and dragging side-to-side) as well as making the block
partially transparent so you can see features beneath the surface (by clicking and dragging up-
and-down). For movies with two changes in them, dragging the mouse diagonally will cause
both changes to occur simultaneously. To prevent this, try to drag the mouse horizontally and
then vertically (or vertically and then horizontally). Note: You can also use the arrow keys on
the keyboard to make these changes occur and have more careful control over the changes.

Other movie types in this module allow you to:


cut into a block (from the left, from the right, and from the top) so you can see how a
process such as erosion would change the surface of a block.
offset the fault to observe how layers or folds would appear to change after faulting occurs.
You can also simulate erosion by cutting into the blocks, rotate the blocks, and change
the amount of transparency.
reveal the unconformity to see the boundary between old and young rocks (where there is a
large gap in time in which no distinct events occurred).

While progressing through this module, you will be asked to complete various activities
on worksheets. Questions on the worksheets will ask you to: sketch a missing face of a block;
sketch a block after imagining it has been cut into; sketch a face of a block after it has been
faulted; describe the differences between types of faults, how they change features, and how they
can be recognized in the field; list geologic events in the order they occurred; describe
differences in types of intrusions; and draw unconformities. Make sure you have the worksheet
for each section before you begin.

This module was designed to help you form your own definitions of terms and
procedures. For this reason, answers will not always be provided for confirmation. The same is
true of the application questions at the end of each section. Try to formulate your own answers
on your own or in your group before asking your teacher for help.
Use the Quicktime movie that illustrates strike and dip to help you with the following for
diagrams.
1. Draw three horizontal layers. 2. Draw three vertical layers.

The dip of these layers is_____º The dip of these layers is_____º

The direction of dip is _______ The direction of dip is _____

3. Complete this block. 4. Complete this block.


a b c d
N
N
60º
45º 4
5 6
0

The strike of these layers is______ The strike of these layers is_____

The dip (direction and angle) The dip of these layers is_____
of these layers is______
The oldest layer is________

Lab 4: Structures and Geologic Maps 5 UTEP GEOL 1311 Earth Science I
PART II. Working with a Geologic Map
Background Information:
Geological maps represent 3D geology on a 2D surface – similar to regular maps.
The different colors on a geologic map show different rock formations. Formations are packages
of rocks of the same type and age that are distinct from surrounding rocks.

Elements of a Geological Map:


• Legend
• Scale
• Stratigraphic column
The following symbols are used to denote geologic periods:
Pc – Precambrian (4,500 to 543 mya)
C -- Cambrian (543 to 490 mya)
O – Ordovician (490 to 443 mya)
S – Silurian (443 to 417 mya)
D – Devonian (417 to 354 mya)
M – Mississippian (354 to 323 mya)
P – Pennsylvanian (323 to 290 mya)
P – Permian (290 to 248 mya)
T -- Triassic (248 to 206 mya)
J -- Jurassic (206 to 144 mya)
K – Cretaceous (144 to 65 mya)
T – Tertiary (65 to 1.8 mya)
Q – Quaternary (1.8 mya to today)

• Contacts: Contact lines are heavier, and separate different rock units.
• On a geologic map, faults are shown as solid lines, and the dip is usually given.
• Rock units on a map will have one of the preceding letters as the first part of the symbol
for the rock unit; the second part will be part of the formation name. For example, Kf
means “Cretaceous Finlay (limestone),” while Qal means “Quaternary alluvium.”

Lab 4: Structures and Geologic Maps 6 UTEP GEOL 1311 Earth Science I
Directions: Answer the following questions using the geologic map of Texas.
1. Describe, in words, the color pattern on this map. What do you see?

2. What is the oldest rock unit on the map? Write out its name AND its symbol.

3. What is the youngest rock unit? Write out its name AND its symbol.

4. How are faults shown on this map? Draw some of the symbols.

5. If you follow I-35 from Dallas to San Antonio, you are following the Balcones Escarpment.
What is the Balcones Escarpment? HINT: use the cross section on the back labeled U2-U3.

6. What kind of rocks are the TV formations between El Paso and Alpine?

7. As you drive from Fort Worth to Big Spring, do the rocks get older or younger?

Lab 4: Structures and Geologic Maps 7 UTEP GEOL 1311 Earth Science I
8. As you drive from San Antonio to Corpus Christi do the sediments get older or younger?

9. Look at cross section F-F1. Locate the Live Oak Creek area and look in the pC formation to
locate the vertical fault. Estimate the amount of displacement on the fault in the pC.

10. Look at cross sections E-E1. Locate the (green) Cretaceous rocks and follow them with your
finger from the Fort Worth Basin to the Louisiana border. How many and what type of geologic
structures do you see?

11. Look in the explanations to find the Precambrian rocks; find the pink granites and the brown
metamorphic rocks. How many places in Texas are they exposed at the surface? What kinds of
rock (igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary) are most exposed in Texas?

Preparing for the Lab Quiz

• Practice with 3D blocks at http://reynolds.asu.edu/blocks/103_home.htm.


• Given a diagram of any geologic structure, are you able to identify the structure (e. g.
anticline, syncline, normal fault, reverse fault, strike-slip fault?
• For diagrams of faults, can you identify direction of motion with arrows?

Lab 4: Structures and Geologic Maps 8 UTEP GEOL 1311 Earth Science I