JLS (jlsjlsjls) wrote,

"When I was an undergraduate, from 1972 to 1976, geology instruction around the country was just beginning to make the transition from old ideas to plate tectonics."

--"Giants of the Lost World" by Donald R. Prothero

Reading the above pleased me greatly. Because in my small town, back of the beyond high school, I was taught plate tectonics as established fact in tenth grade geography (1976/77). More proof that Mr. B. was obviously keeping up with latest developments, which really shouldn't surprise me at all. As I recall we didn't make much use of the textbook in his class ... instead we saw slides of his own photographs of glaciers, rock formations, and caves that he'd climbed/hiked/explored himself during his vacations (including lugging his own hundreds of flashbulbs into the latter just to be able to take one photo in the pitch darkness, and then lugging 'em all back out again to be disposed of properly) plus the river he had set up at the front of the classroom.** I loved that class!

**The river set-up was très cool and one of the finest teaching tools I've ever seen. A table with a huge plastic tray, about 2 metres long by 1 metre wide and mebbe 15 centimetres deep. Coarse sand with some pebbles scatterd through it piled nearly up to the top at one end and sloping down gradually to create a slope for about 3/4 of the length with the final 1/4 showing the bare base of the tray. Water carefully poured in to create a "lake" at that sandless end. Small quiet water pump on the floor under the table. An outlet in the side of the lake end drains the water out through a tube to be pumped through a second tube up to second opening near the top of the high piled sand end where it then runs gently back down to the lake. Round and round the water goes and over the three-month school term we watch the water go from just flowing over the surface of the sand to cutting a shallow straight channel which eventually deepens, develops bends and curves and undercut banks as it encounters pebbles which alter the currents, deposits the eroded sand at its mouth to create a delta which eventually breaks up the single river into a network of delta channels and so on and so on ... millennia of river formation happening before our eyes in a small scale short time. If he'd kept it running through a second term there would have been oxbow lakes!

This entry was originally posted at http://jlsjlsjls.dreamwidth.org/1338546.html. Please comment here or there (using OpenID), whichever is most convenient for you.

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