Tracking Tectonic Plates
All that’s required from this assignment is to simply follow the instructions and answer the questions that need answers by writing no more than three lines per question. After that, You write a summary page about the experience of doing this project.
Please notice that the answers must be written in the file (Every answer under its question.)

Lastly, please take a look at the link below;

http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/intro/activities/28504.html
Notice; the schedule in last couple pages is answered already. I’ll attach the file, so that might help answering some questions.

Thanks, and please let me know if you need more clarifying.

Good Luck
Tracking Tectonic Plates

Project Introduction and Pre-lab Assignment

Introduction to the project
The theory of plate tectonic posits that the earth’s lithospheric plates are moving. How do we know plates are moving, how can we track their positions in the past, and how can we predict their positions in the future? For this lab, you will be assigned a particular plate boundary to investigate and will track it through time using two independent methods.
For Part A of this lab, you will investigate your plate boundary using methods which give long term average rates of plate movement over millions of years.
For Part B, you will be investigate your plate using high-precision GPS measurements taken over the last decade or so.
You will prepare a written report on your plate boundary (guidelines later on in the handout).

Before we start, set up Google Earth
We will be using Google Earth as a geographical platform for this lab. You may use the lab computers, of course, but you will find it convenient to bring and use your own computer for the independent investigation portion of the Lab 4 exercise. To set up your computer:
Download (for free) and install Google Earth from http://earth.google.com/
You will need the following six files loaded onto Google Earth:
plates.kml
class example.kmz
GPS stations
Down load these files from Blackboard or from the K-drive of your lab computer.
Once the files are in Google Earth, move them from “Temporary Places” to “My Places.” They will now be available every time you open Google Earth on this particular computer.
You now have an interactive view of the earth, with plate boundaries noted as well as the locations of over 900 GPS (Global Positioning System) stations.
You might take some time to explore the earth with Google Earth. For instance, try typing your home address into the Search/Fly_to window and click the magnifying glass.

Set up the class example:
As a class example, we will examine 4 stations in southern California: two on the southwest side of the San Andreas fault and thus on the Pacific plate (CDGM and CHIL), and two on the northeast side (CHMS and RSTP) and thus on the N. American plate.
Un-click all of the files except class example.kmz and plates.kml .
Double-click on class example.kmz to automatically “fly” to the area in question.

Use ruler, protractor and calculator as necessary for the following exercises.

1. The azimuth convention of denoting direction For this convention, “due north is designated as 0°, (and) 90° points to the east, 180° points to the south, 270° points to the west, and 360° points, once again, to the north…If you think of your location as lying at the center of a circle, the direction (azimuth) to any feature can simply be described by its angle of arc in degrees…Azimuth can be measured directly off a map using a protractor, or calculated using simple trigonometric relations.
http://www.dpc.ucar.edu/VoyagerJr/ptbkgd.html
1a. Use Google Earth, Google Maps, consult a road map of the area, or examine the map posted on the door of the lab room. If you traveled along Route 1 from the Penns Neck Circle (intersection with Washington Rd) to I-295, along what azimuth would you be heading? _____________

1b. How about on the way back? _____________
2. While warming up for their famous race, the hare started at point A, hopped 50 meters due north, and then 30 meters due west to end up at point B. The tortoise also started at point A but plodded along a straight line to point B. How far did the tortoise travel and what was his azimuth of travel? Show your work clearly.

3. For the actual race, the tortoise and the hare started together and traveled in the same direction. The tortoise plodded along at 2 cm / sec while the hare hopped at 15 cm/sec. How far apart were they after 1 second? After 10 seconds? At what rate was the distance between them increasing?

Tracking Tectonic Plates
lab handout
The theory of plate tectonic posits that the earth’s lithospheric plates are moving. How do we know plates are moving, how can we track their positions in the past, and how can we predict their positions in the future? For this lab, you will be assigned a particular plate boundary to investigate and will track it through time using two independent methods.
For Part A of this lab, you will investigate your plate boundary using methods which give long term average rates of plate movement over millions of years. You will first apply these methods to a class example, and then to your own plate boundary.
For Part B, you will be investigate your plate using high-precision GPS measurements taken over the last decade or so. You will first apply these methods to a class example, and then to your own plate boundary.
You will prepare a written report (guidelines later on in the lab handout) for submission to your la instructor.

Part A. Tracking plates by measuring long-term average motions over millions of years

Reconstructions of the earth’s tectonic plate locations through time are available at, among others:
http://emvc.geol.ucsb.edu/downloads.php
http://www.scotese.com/newpage13.htm
http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/geology/tectonics.html

On what are these reconstructions and animations based?

1. Following your lab instructors instructions, complete and/or review these exercises which demonstrate how plate motions can be traced over many millions of years. The exercises include:
o Investigating rates of sea-floor spreading at spreading ridges
o The Hawaiian- Emperor Volcanic Chain

2. There are many other examples of how geologic data can be used to determine long-term average rates of plate motions.
Using this data, geologists have developed the global models which generally assume that plate interiors are stable and all of the motion occurs along infinitesimally thin plate boundaries. There are a number of “plate Motion Calculators” that give access to a number of these models in order to calculate the relative and absolute plate motion direction and speed at any point on the earth. We will use one developed by K. Tamaki and K. Okino of Tokyo University:
http://ofgs.ori.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~okino/platecalc_new.html

2a. Start working on the class example by going to the attached spreadsheet and listing the latitude and longitude of each station. There are two ways to do this with Google Earth:
o (Recommended) Right click on each station location, then click on “directions from here” or “directions to here.” A box will open with decimal degrees for latitude and longitude.
? Northern latitudes are positive, southern latitudes are negative.
? Eastern latitudes are positive, western latitudes are negative.
o (Another way) As you move the cursor around, Google Earth gives you the latitude and longitude of the location of the cursor. You could take these values, which are given in deg min sec, and then translate them to decimal degrees.

2b. An abundance of geologic and seismic data indicate that the San Andreas fault is a right-lateral strike-slip fault. On each of the two photos attached to this handout, put two small arrows (about 1 cm in length) on either side of the fault in order to indicate this sense of motion.

2c. On the spreadsheet, indicate the plate (P=Pacific, NA=North American) for each station.

2d. Use the Plate Motion Calculator to determine the long term “NUVEL” model long-term motion for each of the 4 stations and enter the values on the spreadsheet. Use the following parameters:
o From the drop-down Model menu, choose HS3-NUVEL-1A (this gives absolute plate motion, relative to the hotspot frame of reference.)
o For Moving Plate, choose the plate that the station is on (either Pacific or North American).
o For Fixed Plate, choose anything; this is not used in the HS3-NUVEL-1A model.
o Input the latitude and longitude from the spreadsheet.
o On the spreadsheet, record the velocity and azimuth (compass direction) for each station.

2e. On Map A: Long-Term Motion, plot a vector (arrow) that shows the magnitude and direction of long-term plate movement for each station. Use a scale of 20mm/yr = 1 cm.

2f. How are the long-term motions of the North American stations similar to the those of the Pacific stations?
2g. How are the long-term motions of the North American stations different from those of the Pacific stations?
2h. Does this analysis confirm or contradict the observation of right-lateral motion along the San Andreas fault? Explain.

Part B. Tracking plates over the short-term using GPS data

3. The plate motion calculator gives long-term plate motions over millions of years. Another way to track plates is by using the Global Positioning System (GPS), yes, the same system used by increasingly affordable hand-held receivers and included in many new cars. The GPS used for this method is much more precise that the one used by your car, but it works basically in the same way. After reviewing the basics of GPS, your lab instructor will give you the time series plot for one of the stations used for the class example. There is a Blackboard link to the site from which you can get plots for all the GPS stations under Labs/Other files for Lab 4, otherwise type it in manually. Bookmark the site for future reference.
http://sideshow.jpl.nasa.gov/mbh/series.html
Parts of the time series:
• The x- axis is time in decimal years.
• The y-axis is the station’s position resolved into three perpendicular components: latitude (north-south component), longitude (east-west component) and elevation (vertical component).
• Each data “point” is actually a vertical line representing the error of that particular measurement.
• Gaps in times-series data are due to things like snow, power-loss, communication failure, and human or animal vandalism.

3a. Station you are assigned _____ Over what time period was data collected? _______________

3b. What does the slope of a line on a distance vs. time graph represent? What does its steepness correspond to?
3c. For your station, add the latitude and longitude velocity component vectors together and determine the magnitude and azimuth of the resultant velocity. Record the values on the spreadsheet.

3d. Copy the data for the other stations and add them to the spreadsheet.

3e. On Map B: Short-Term Motion, plot a vector (arrow) that shows the magnitude and direction of short-term plate movement for each station. Use a scale of 20mm/yr = 1 cm.

4. How are the Map B short-term motions similar to the long –term motions from Map A?
5. How are the Map B short-term motions different from the long –term motions from Map A?
6. Does this analysis further confirm or contradict the existence of right-lateral motion along the San Andreas fault? Explain.

 
Independent Project: Analyzing a Plate Boundary

Circle which of the following projects you have been assigned:
? Northern part of the San Andreas fault (boundary between North American and Pacific plates)
? Boundary between the African and South American plates (across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge)
? Boundary between the Pacific and Nazca plates (across the East Pacific Rise)
? Eurasian-Philippine-Pacific plate boundaries
? Boundary between the Nazca and South American plates

Our model of plate motions proposes that plate interiors do not deform and that all the action happens at plate boundaries. Before you start your analysis, use a few sentences to state a hypothesis about the following:
What do you predict should happen over time to the positions of stations within your plate or across your plate boundary?
You will now investigate the short-term and long-term motions of stations in your area of interest and prepare a written report. Use at least 6 stations, carefully chosen to appropriately characterize your boundary. Guidelines for the report are listed on the following page. You will also need the following:

Blank spreadsheets for collecting your data.
These are available in class for you to enter data by hand, and also as an EXCEL spreadsheet on Blackboard under Labs, if you want to use and print out an electronic version.

Two Google Earth images for plotting your velocity vectors
Use one for plotting long-term motions (from the Plate Motion Calculator) and the other for plotting short-term motions (GPS time series). Clearly label which is which. Black-and-white copies are available in class, and you can also access the color versions posted as jpeg files on Blackboard under labs.
Components of your report:

Descriptive title, your name, date and lab instructor’s name

Introduction/Hypothesis (1 paragraph)
Our model of plate motions proposes that plate interiors do not deform and that all the action happens at plate boundaries. Explain the plate boundary setting of your project and hypothesize about what should happen over time to the positions of stations across your plate boundary.

Methods (about ½ page)
Briefly describe the principles behind the two methods used for this investigation.

Results
Do not present any prose for your Results section. Instead, your results will consist of
? A spreadsheet filled out with data for the stations you investigated.
? Map A showing short term velocity vectors for your stations
? Map B showing long term velocity vectors for your stations

Discussion and Conclusions
Prepare a 1-2 page well-written, well-organized, succinct discussion of your results. Some guidelines and points to consider are listed below – note that this is not a comprehensive list and all points may not be applicable to your particular project.

? Focus on your plate boundary(ies); do not discuss the whole theory of plate tectonics!
? Confer with your classmates and lab instructor as much as you like, but the end result is your own.
? Do not recount all of the data from your Results section – after all, these are all presented in your spreadsheet and maps, so refer to them instead. You might, however, calculate averages of some of your data to discuss in this section.
? Do both methods consistently show station motions in the same directions?
? Compare the magnitudes of the long term and short term rates? Do they agree? If they differ, is the short term rate faster of slower than the long term rate?
? How do your results agree with your hypothesis from the Introduction/hypothesis section?
? Consider the quality of the data from the short-term plots. Does this affect your conclusions?
? How well do your results fit with the plate tectonic assumption of stable plate interiors and active plate boundaries? What could account for discrepancies?
? Are plate velocities constant with time?
? Are your data consistent with the presence or absence of earthquakes in your area of interest?


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