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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 6, 2023
  2. Abstract

    Understanding and communicating uncertainty is a key skill needed in the practice of science. However, there has been little research on the instruction of uncertainty in undergraduate science education. Our team designed a module within an online geoscience field course which focused on explicit instruction around uncertainty and provided students with an uncertainty rating scale to record and communicate their uncertainty with a common language. Students then explored a complex, real-world geological problem about which expert scientists had previously made competing claims through geologic maps. Provided with data, expert uncertainty ratings, and the previous claims, students made new geologic maps of their own and presented arguments about their claims in written form. We analyzed these reports along with assessments of uncertainty. Most students explicitly requested geologists’ uncertainty judgments in a post-course assessment when asked why scientists might differ in their conclusions and/or utilized the rating scale unprompted in their written arguments. Through the examination of both pre- and post-course assessments of uncertainty and students’ course-based assessments, we argue that explicit instruction around uncertainty can be introduced during undergraduate coursework and could facilitate geoscience novices developing into practicing geoscientists.

  3. Craddock, J.P. ; Malone, D.H. ; Foreman, B.Z. ; and Konstantinou, A. (Ed.)
    The Bighorn uplift, Wyoming, developed in the Rocky Mountain foreland during the 75–55 Ma Laramide orogeny. It is one of many crystalline-cored uplifts that resulted from low-amplitude, large-wavelength folding of Phanerozoic strata and the basement nonconformity (Great Unconformity) across Wyoming and eastward into the High Plains region, where arch-like structures exist in the subsurface. Results of broadband and passive-active seismic studies by the Bighorn EarthScope project illuminated the deeper crustal structure. The seismic data show that there is substantial Moho relief beneath the surface exposure of the basement arch, with a greater Moho depth west of the Bighorn uplift and shallower Moho depth east of the uplift. A comparable amount of Moho relief is observed for the Wind River uplift, west of the Bighorn range, from a Consortium for Continental Reflection Profiling (COCORP) profile and teleseismic receiver function analysis of EarthScope Transportable Array seismic data. The amplitude and spacing of crystalline-cored uplifts, together with geological and geophysical data, are here examined within the framework of a lithospheric folding model. Lithospheric folding is the concept of low-amplitude, large-wavelength (150–600 km) folds affecting the entire lithosphere; these folds develop in response to an end load that induces a buckling instability. The bucklingmore »instability focuses initial fold development, with faults developing subsequently as shortening progresses. Scaled physical models and numerical models that undergo layer-parallel shortening induced by end loads determine that the wavelength of major uplifts in the upper crust occurs at approximately one third the wavelength of folds in the upper mantle for strong lithospheres. This distinction arises because surface uplifts occur where there is distinct curvature upon the Moho, and the vergence of surface uplifts can be synthetic or antithetic to the Moho curvature. In the case of the Bighorn uplift, the surface uplift is antithetic to the Moho curvature, which is likely a consequence of structural inheritance and the influence of a preexisting Proterozoic suture upon the surface uplift. The lithospheric folding model accommodates most of the geological observations and geophysical data for the Bighorn uplift. An alternative model, involving a crustal detachment at the orogen scale, is inconsistent with the absence of subhorizontal seismic reflectors that would arise from a throughgoing, low-angle detachment fault and other regional constraints. We conclude that the Bighorn uplift—and possibly other Laramide arch-like structures—is best understood as a product of lithospheric folding associated with a horizontal end load imposed upon the continental margin to the west.« less
  4. Abstract The StraboSpot data system provides field-based geologists the ability to digitally collect, archive, query, and share data. Recent efforts have expanded this data system with the vocabulary, standards, and workflow utilized by the sedimentary geology community. A standardized vocabulary that honors typical workflows for collecting sedimentologic and stratigraphic field and laboratory data was developed through a series of focused workshops and vetted/refined through subsequent workshops and field trips. This new vocabulary was designed to fit within the underlying structure of StraboSpot and resulted in the expansion of the existing data structure. Although the map-based approach of StraboSpot did not fully conform to the workflow for sedimentary geologists, new functions were developed for the sedimentary community to facilitate descriptions, interpretations, and the plotting of measured sections to document stratigraphic position and relationships between data types. Consequently, a new modality was added to StraboSpot—Strat Mode—which now accommodates sedimentary workflows that enable users to document stratigraphic positions and relationships and automates construction of measured stratigraphic sections. Strat Mode facilitates data collection and co-location of multiple data types (e.g., descriptive observations, images, samples, and measurements) in geographic and stratigraphic coordinates across multiple scales, thus preserving spatial and stratigraphic relationships in the data structure.more »Incorporating these digital technologies will lead to better research communication in sedimentology through a common vocabulary, shared standards, and open data archiving and sharing.« less
  5. The Paleoarchean East Pilbara Terrane of Western Australia is a dome-and-keel terrane that is often highlighted as recording a vertically convective tectonic regime in the early Earth. In this model, termed ’partial convective overturn’, granitic domes diapirically rose through a dense, foundering mafic supracrustal sequence. The applicability of partial convective overturn to the East Pilbara Terrane and to other Archean dome-and-keel terranes is widely debated and has significant implications for early Earth geodynamics. A critical data gap in the East Pilbara Terrane is the internal structure of the granitic domes. We present field-based, microstructural, and anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) data collected within the Mt Edgar dome to understand its internal structure and assess its compatibility with existing dome formation models. Field and microstructural observations suggest that most fabric development occurred under submagmatic and high-temperature solid- state conditions. The AMS results reveal a coherent, dome-wide structural pattern: 1) Sub-vertical lineations plunge radially inward towards the center of the dome and foliations across much of the dome consistently strike northwest; 2) Shallowly plunging lineations define an arch that extends from the center of the dome to the southwest margin; and 3) Migmatitic gneisses, which represent the oldest granitic component of themore »dome, are folded and flattened against the margin of the dome in two distinct lobes. The structural relationships between rocks of different ages indicate that units of different crystallization ages deformed synchronously during the last major pulse of granitic magmatism. These data are broadly consistent with a vertical tectonics model, and we synthesize our structural results to propose a three-stage diapiric evolution of the Mt Edgar dome. The critical stage of dome development was between 3.3 and 3.2 Ga, when widespread, melt-assisted flow of the deep crust led to the formation of a steep-walled, composite dome. These data suggest that diapiric processes were important for the formation of dome-and-keel terranes in the Paleoarchean.« less
  6. We present an orientation system for thin sections used for microanalysis, applicable to both billets and cores. The orientation system enables spatially referenced observations and consists of three parts. First, we establish a reference corner that is the uppermost corner of the sample on the thin section, in its original geographic orientation in the field or laboratory setting. This corner is tied to a right-hand coordinate system, in which all reference axes point downward. A geographic direction-based, rather than uppermost corner-based, convention for a reference corner can be substituted for projects that utilize sub-horizontally oriented thin sections. The reference corner - combined with orientation metadata - define a unique position of the thin section in geographic space. Second, we propose a system of small saw cuts (notches) that minimizes the number of notches required on the sample, to distinguish both the reference corner and the orientation of the thin section relative to fabric (e.g., foliation/lineation), if present. The utility of a notching standard is that it provides an inherent doublecheck on thin section orientation and facilitates sharing between users. Third, we develop a grid system in order to locate features of interest on the thin section, relative to the referencemore »corner. Any of these systems – referencing, notching, and gridding – can be used independently. These systems are specifically designed to work with digital data systems, which are currently being developed, allowing researchers to share microstructural data with each other and facilitating new types of big data science in the field of structural geology.« less