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Dinosaur Ridge VFE

Developed tor the GSA Ancient Denvers Fieldtrip at the 2013 Meeting

Don Duggan-Haas

on 27 January 2017

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Transcript of Dinosaur Ridge VFE

Why does Dinosaur Ridge look the way it does?
A Virtual Fieldwork Experience
A product of PRI and its Museum of the Earth ReaL Earth Inquiry Project
Our Team!
This Google Earth and Prezi based VFE explores Colorado's Dinsaur Ridge. Content includes an impressive arrary of fossil evidence over more than a billion years of Earth history as well as aspects of what we can learn about past and present ecosystems. Evidence for past ecosystems is in the fossil record. The VFE is adaptable to many grade levels and can be completed within a class period. The activity is an exploration and does not have an associated written assignment. The Google Earth file includes pictures from more than just Dinosaur Ridge. Most photographs were taken on the Ancient Denvers field trip at the 2013 GSA meeting.

a Web browser (for Prezi), Google Earth
Color coded to ReaL Earth System Science Bigger Ideas.
Earth Science Bigger Ideas
See more here:
Use this if you want to. Or just delete it.
Example VFEs
The Mission Trails VFE uses this template. See it here:
Many more VFEs are in VFE database here:
Icons for Prezi & Google Earth
A growing collection can be found in this Picasa Web Album:
Any on the current page can be copied and used within this or other Prezis.
About this VFE:
The Dinosaur Ridge Virtual Fieldwork Experience is derived from the Ancient Denvers Field Trip at the 2013 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting.
The field trip itself included more than just Dinosaur Ridge. Also included were stops at the Great Uncomformity just above the Red Rocks Amphitheater, and stromatolites in the Lykins Formation. These are older than the rocks found at Dinosaur Ridge and were visited earlier in the field trip.
The Ridge itself included the next several stops and is what is highlighted here. The field trip continued after Dinosaur Ridge, and included working through progressively younger rock.

Photos from the full day field trip, including these earlier and later stops, may be found here:
The VFE Template
Use the VFE Template to make your own VFE! See it here:
That's the page you're on!
Make a copy of the template and insert your own photos, text, and other kinds of files. A piece of the template is excerpted below.
Why does this place look the way it does?
Why does this place look the way it does?
Key for Icons
The icons below are used in Google Earth, Prezis and PowerPoints to indicate an iterm's intended topic focus. Several are from Google Earth's default icon set. They are also posted in a Picasa web album found here: https://picasaweb.google.com/TFG.VFE/IconsForGoogleEarthPlacemarksPrezis
Icons maybe copied within a Prezi or from Prezi to Prezi, if you are viewing in edit mode. To use them for Google Earth placemarks, open the placemark through 'Get Info' (on Macs) or 'Properties' (on PCs) and click on the pushpin icon in the upper right. Then, either select from the available set, or add the icon's URL by copying and pasting from the Picasa Web Album. A red indicates that the connected file or placemark is a teacher's edition. Additional icons will be added as time and need dictate.
Human Impacts
Download the accompanying Google Earth file!
Click the link inside the Google Earth icon!
The file will open in a new window, so you will need to leave full screen viewing to see it.
You will need Google Earth to use the file. Download it at
For all of these questions
How do you know? (What evidence is there?)
What does it tell you about past environments?
What does it imply about the future?
Are there mountains, valleys, or hills?
What are the valley shapes?
What can form valleys?
What can cause mountains or hills to form?
Are the mountains or hills young or old?
What role do tectonics play in shaping the site?
Describe the shape of the land.
What effects has water had on life and the landscape?
What effect has the climate had on the life and landscape?
Describe the ecosystem.
Why does Dinosaur Ridge look the way it does?
What effects has life, including human life, had on the landscape?
Is water depositing material, eroding material, or both?
Is the action of water primarily chemical, primarily physical, or both chemical and physical?
Was the past climate different?
What factors may have been affected or caused by climate?
Why do living things in the envi-ronment look the way they do?
How do living things shape the environment?
See embedded questions.
How have plants shaped the landscape?
How have animals generally, and humans in particular, changed the landscape?
On what scale?
See also ecosystem graphic organizer.
For all of these questions
How do you know? (What evidence is there?)
What does it tell you about past environments?
What does it imply about the future?
Describe how life shapes the land.
What are the pioneer plants?
How do pioneer plants impact soil formation?
How are animals shaping the land?
Are there invasive species? If yes, what are they and how are they changing the ecosystem?
Have disturbances played a role in the introduction of invasives? If yes, describe.
How are new invasives likely to change the ecosystem over then next century?
Describe the role of water in the ecosystem.
In what ways does water serve or disturb habitats?
How does life move, use and store water?
How has climate shaped the ecosystem?
How is the climate reflected by living things at the site?
Describe any microclimates and how they affect life.
Describe how sun and shadow affect life.
What is the role of fire, hurricanes or other climate-related disturbances in shaping this landscape?
Describe the role rocks and soil play in the ecosystem.
See also the geoscience graphic organizer.
Describe the types and arrangements of plants and animals and what they indicate about present and past environments.
How does life change the rocks and soil at the site?
How is life dependent upon the rocks and soil at the site?
Does the rock record include evidence of ancient disturbances? If yes, describe.
Why do living things in the environment look the way they do?
What life forms were the earliest to arrive?
Describe how different life forms are distributed throughout the field site.
What is the impact of invasive species and other disturbances?
See also: Describe how life shapes the land.
How have plants shaped the landscape?
How has the landscape shaped plants?
How do animals contribute to plant distribution?
What invasive species are currently present
How will incoming invasives shape this ecosystem over the next 100 years?
Why does Dinosaur Ridge look the way it does?
What effects have humans had on the ecosystem?
What resources do humans use from here?
How have humans changed the landscape?
On what scale?
Associated Handout - Geoscience
Download the file in Microsoft Word.
Associated Handout - Ecology
Download the file in Microsoft Word.
Do the rocks seem to form a sequence?
Where would you find the oldest rocks? Youngest rocks?
Does the rock record include evidence of ancient disturbances? If yes, describe.
Are there different kinds of rocks at different outcrops?
Sediments & Sedimentary Rocks
Is it clastic or organic/chemical?
If clastic, what is the grain size?
If organic, what minerals is it made out of?
Are there fossils or sedimentary structures?
Is it foliated or non-foliated?
What was the parent rock?
Did the rock form above or below ground?
Is it felsic or mafic?
Note that the footprint overlay is
not of the footprint underneath, though it is a nearby print.
The footprints are periodically darkened with charcoal.
See the Gigapan here: http://gigapan.com/gigapans/145144
This is a screen capture of a Gigapan - a very high resolution image of Dinosaur Ridge. Click the link below the picture to see the full resolution image.
This picture was taken just below Dinosaur Ridge.
This picture was taken just below Dinosaur Ridge.
Ancient Life
Looking down on the city of Denver from Dinosaur Ridge
Click the link at bottom of image to see in very high resolution.
Updated October 2015!
Click the link at bottom of image to see in very high resolution.
This image contains four layers. Zoom in for more detail of the trace fossils.
The car key is included to show scale.
Note that while there is a path through this Prezi, it is there to show a few highlights. You can move through the path by clicking the forward and reverse arrows, or by clicking your mouse.

Many elements are not on the path, and when in the actual field, researchers do not follow one set path. Therefore, you are encouraged to click off the path! Imagine yourself actually in the field. What do you most wish to explore? Go there.

Both this Prezi and the accompanying Google Earth file are intended to provide options in the content of what is explored. In a class activity, different groups might focus on different areas, either from a content perspective, or in terms of actual geographic areas. This VFE may also be visited repeatedly across the year as the content addresses many different units from an Earth, environmental, or life science class.
Note that clicked links within the Prezi open in new tabs or windows in your browser. In order to see them, exit full screen viewing of the Prezi.
Water continues to shape the landscape in the region. The more recent rock in the nearby Green Mountain Conglomerate is indicative of more extreme action by water.
Modern analog (from http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3144/2942297570_d98f74483f.jpg)
Look for higher res sign picture...
A brief video introduction to Virtual Fieldwork Experiences (VFEs)
Lon Abbott, a geologist at University of Colorado at Boulder, helped in the creation of this VFE. Learn more at:
Describe the types and arrangements of rocks and sediment and what they indicate about past environments.
The youtube video below was created from the Google Earth file linked from this presentation.
It's here: http://virtualfieldwork.org/GEfiles/Ancient_Denvers.kmz
Also see:
Full transcript