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Watkins Glen & Seneca Lake VFE

Seneca Lake Academy

Don Duggan-Haas

on 7 March 2016

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Transcript of Watkins Glen & Seneca Lake VFE

Why does Seneca Lake look the way it does?
The story in five bullet points
A Virtual Fieldwork Experience
A product of PRI and its Museum of the Earth ReaL Earth Inquiry Project

Don Duggan-Haas, PhD dad55@cornell.edu
Craig Carlson ccarlson@dundeecs.org

Why does Seneca Lake look the way it does?
The Finger Lakes region of New York State is one of the most geologically spectacular areas of the eastern United States. Few other places east of the Rockies expose so much sedimentary rock in such a visually striking manner. The Finger Lakes region in general contain some of the finest exposures of rocks known anywhere in the world from the interval of time known as the Devonian Period (415 to 360 million years ago). The geology of the Finger Lakes region is controlled not only by its abundant Devonian rocks, but also by its recent glacial history. Together, the Devonian rocks that accumulated in a warm shallow sea more than 360 million years ago, and the action of massive sheets of ice that shaped those ancient rocks over the last two million years have produced this arresting landscape of lakes, hills, gorges and waterfalls.
This VFE uses Prezi and Google Earth to provide a brief overview of the geoscience of Seneca Lake and Watkins Glen.
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
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The VFE Template
Use the VFE Template to make your own VFE! See it here:
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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 files!
Click the links 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.
Note that the NYS map is a large (7.0 MB) file.
You will need Google Earth to use these files. 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?
Describe the ecosystem.
Describe the types and arrangements of rocks and sediment and what they indicate about past environments.
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 this place 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?
Selected images by Rick Almendinger: http://www.geo.cornell.edu/geology/classes/RWA/EAS_210_new/
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Watkins_Glen_13_Cavern_Cascade.jpg
February 16, 2015
Photo credit: Sarah Chicone
What effect has the climate had on the life and landscape?
Laying down of sediment in a warm shallow sea
New York State Geologic Map in Google Earth:
The lithification of those sediments
The uplift and erosion by water and ice
And biological processes throughout the whole process
And the specific story of Seneca Lake
Full transcript