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Students are given the task of predicting where parasequence boundaries would exist within a vertical section of the Blackhawk Formation, Utah. This activity challenges students to apply their knowledge of bedforms in order to interpret the facies they observe. The students work in groups of two as they make their observations. The vertical section consists of four main outcrops to be observed by the students. After making their observations and interpretations of these four outcrops, the students then make predictions of what should be found up section. Students begin down section by observing the lowest section of the four outcrops. The students make observations about lithology, grain size, sedimentary structures and trace fossils. After recording their observations in their field notebook the class gathers for a discussion. Students are called on randomly to discuss what they observed. The class creates a group stratigraphic column on a white board and includes their observations to the right of the drawn profile. They are then asked to interpret what facies these observations represent. The students defend their interpretations and, as a group, agree upon an interpretation. The facies interpretation is then added to the white board and the group moves to the next outcrop up section. After observing, describing and interpreting each of the four outcrops the students are challenged to use all of the information gathered thus far to predict what facies should be observed further up section. This exercise provides an opportunity for the students to make and defend observations and interpretations. They also get a sense for the importance of Walther's Law and how it relates to sequence stratigraphy.
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