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Before completing this computer-based activity, students need to learn basic (Earth Science 101) information about volcanic rocks and hazards, and they also need to learn how to interpret a histogram. Students complete the activity individually outside class time in a computer lab equipped with Arcview3.3 geographic information system (GIS) software. They do not need any prior experience with GIS because the activity text includes step-by-step instructions accompanied by numerous screen shots. Students use the GIS to investigate geochemical data from the global GEOROC database and, for the Mount Hood, Oregon area, the NAVDAT database. Students also use maps and satellite images to learn about volcanic hazards at Mount Hood. Through all of these investigations, they learn about the connections between the silica content of a melt, volcanic hazards, and plate tectonics. Hundreds of students have successfully completed the activity at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN, but the activity is still considered a "beta test copy" and the author welcomes feedback. Funding has been provided by small grants from the NASA Earth Observing System Higher Education Alliance ("GeoBrain"), Tennessee Space Grant, and NSF.
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