VEPP: Is Kilauea in Volcanic Unrest?
This is an exercise that is in development and has not yet been fully tested in the classroom. Please check back regularly for updates and changes.
Brief three-line description of the activity or assignment and its strengths (you will have an opportunity to expand on this description later in the form):Students analyze geological and geophysical data from the Volcano Exploration Project Pu'u Oo website to establish patterns associated with volcanic unrest and recognize and interpret them in new data. Students first work individually to acquire basic skills with data interpretation and then together in a jigsaw activity to unravel the events leading up to and culminating in the July 2007 volcanic episode.
Full length description:
This exercise should be preceded by a discussion/lecture on basic volcano mechanics, monitoring techniques including GPS, tilt, seismic tremor and earthquake locations and an introduction to Kilauea volcano's historic activity. The exercise consists of 3 parts, described in detail below, that are best conducted on different days: 1) introductory worksheets completed individually with questions about volcano monitoring techniques and real data designed to get all students conversant with all monitoring methods and data; 2) a jigsaw activity that requires internet access and first divides the students into groups by discipline/data type and then into interdisciplinary groups focused on interpretation of an episode of volcanic activity; and 3) examination of real-time volcano monitoring data to evaluate the present activity level at Kilauea volcano.
1) Introductory Worksheets (1 class period/lab)
Students are provided with tilt, GPS, seismic and geologic data leading up to and including the June 17, Father's Day volcanic event as well as a hypothesis about the mechanics of this event. They are asked to complete a worksheet using data provided to validate or refute this hypothesis. This exercise is designed to familiarize students with the data types and methods used in volcano monitoring and how these are analyzed to infer the sequence of events occurring during a volcanic episode.
2) Jigsaw Activity Interpreting Data for the July 2007 Volcanic Event (2 class periods/labs)
Part 1: (~60 minutes with internet access). Introduction to the VEPP (Volcano Exploration Project Pu'u Oo) website and the data download interface. Students are then divided into disciplinary expert groups of appro: 1) tilt data, 2) GPS data, 3) seismic data, and 4) geologic data (Webcam and maps) and each group is asked to coordinate the download of relevant data for the July 2007 volcanic episode from the VEPP website for their specialty.
Part: 2 (~60 minutes). Each group will examine the data and time period indicated on their worksheet (i.e., tilt data over the last two weeks, GPS data over the last two months, etc.). The groups will discuss the worksheet questions, using the VEPP Web site as a resource as needed (for example, the Web site provides background on all of the data types that can help the students answer some of the worksheet questions), and each member of each group will record answers to the questions on the worksheet. By the end of the time period, each group should have formulated hypotheses about the current and possible future behavior of Pu'u 'Ō'ō based on their specific data.
tilt data, 2) GPS data, 3) seismic data, and 5) geologic data. Each member of each group will be given a worksheet relevant to their data type (see attached "discipline_worksheets.doc" file). Questions on the worksheets will drive the discussion and exploration in the first part of the exercise. Each group will need access to the Internet, and should utilize the VEPP Web site to examine the data and time period indicated on their worksheet (i.e., tilt data over the last two weeks, GPS data over the last two months, etc.). The groups will discuss the worksheet questions, using the VEPP Web site as a resource as needed (for example, the Web site provides background on all of the data types that can help the students answer some of the worksheet questions), and each member of each group will record answers to the questions on the worksheet. By the end of the time period, each group should have formulated hypotheses about the current and possible future behavior of Pu'u 'Ō'ō based on their specific data.
Phase 3: Interdisciplinary groups (20 minutes). Following the meeting of the disciplinary groups, the instructor will again divide the student population into interdisciplinary groups, with each new group containing at least one member of each previous disciplinary group (in other words, each new interdisciplinary group will have a tilt expert, GPS expert, gravity expert, seismic expert, and Webcam expert). The interdisciplinary group discussion will begin with each discipline "expert" taking ~1 minute to tell the rest of the group what their data are used for, the advantages and disadvantages of that data type, and their interpretation of the data based on the conclusions of the disciplinary group. After all the discipline experts in the interdisciplinary groups have presented to their colleagues, discussion should focus on developing an interpretation of what is happening at Pu'u 'Ō'ō that satisfies all data types. A new worksheet ("interpretation_worksheet.doc") will be given to all students and will drive the discussion. At this stage, each small group is essentially holding a mini-Monday Morning Meeting. Each student must fill out a worksheet.
Phase 4: Report-back (varies depending on class size and report-back format). Each group will present their findings to the rest of the class, and to the Scientist-in-Charge (i.e., the instructor). This could be done in several ways, for example: the first group could present their interpretation, and each subsequent group could build on the hypotheses of the previous (explaining whether or not they agree and why, presenting alternative viewpoints, and pointing out aspects of the data that might not otherwise have been covered); or, each group could interpret a different time period within the dataset.
Phase 5: Wrap-up (15 minutes). The class period ends with an instructor-led discussion of the activity that is occurring at Pu'u 'Ō'ō, the value of multiple independent datasets for geologic investigations (using the advantages and disadvantages that were discussed in the groups as a means of demonstrating that there is no "magic bullet" in geologic investigations), the process of scientific investigation, and the challenges in using and interpreting real-time data. If no written report is required, each student will turn in their two worksheets at the end of the class period. If a report is required, the students will take the worksheets home to aid with the report writing.
Phase 6: Written report (optional, outside of class). Each student will write a report as if they were a volcanologist at the observatory summarizing their interpretations of the activity at Pu'u 'Ō'ō for the Scientist-in-Charge (i.e., the instructor). The text of the report should include a summary and interpretations of each data type, figures supporting those interpretations, an overall hypothesis about volcanic activity at Pu'u 'Ō'ō for the time period explored. A grading rubric ("report_rubric.doc") is provided in the attachments below.
students first analyze geological and geophysical data provided to them from the Volcano Exploration Project Pu'u Oo website for the June 2007 Kilauea activity to establish patterns associated with volcanic unrest. Using the jigsaw format they then acquire data for the July 2007 activity from this website to compare and contrast it with the June 2007 event and interpret the nature of the volcanic event. Finally they are asked to evaluate the present state of Kilauea Volcano by accessing and interpreting real-time website data.
1. Navigate a scientific website.
2. Summarize the physical events that produce volcano monitoring data.
3. Identify patterns in geophysical time-series and distinguish anomalies preceding and synchronous with eruptive events.
4. Compare and contrast geophysical time-series.
5. Integrate diverse data sets to assess the eruptive state of Kilauea volcano.
Briefly describe the content/concepts goalsfor this activity (e.g., those involving pure vs. simple shear, deformation mechanisms, kinematic analysis, accurate description of samples):
Briefly describe the higher order thinking skills goalsfor this activity (e.g., those involving analysis of data, formulation of hypotheses, synthesis of ideas, critical evaluation of competing models, development of computer or analog models):
Briefly describe any other skills goalsfor this activity (e.g., those involving writing, operating analytical equipment, searching the WWW, oral presentation, working in groups):
Context for Use
Intended for undergraduate upper division students
Typical Number of Students: 20-25
Typical Number Classes Where Exercise is Used: one main class but perhaps in can be simplified for another introductory class.
The activity will conducted in lab both several lectures and a couple of week lab exercise
Data accessed both during and outside of class
What is the type of activity (a problem set, classroom activity, lab activity, project, field activity, and/or a writing activity)?
What is the class type (small intro lecture, large intro lecture, or UD/grad course; disasters, hazards, field course, or intro geology; with or without computers; community college)?
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Briefly describe or list the skills and concepts that students must have mastered before beginning the activity:
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Description and Teaching Materials
Teaching Notes and Tips
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References and Resources
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