Artifacts of the Classroom: Moving Mountains

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The folded, faulted, and thickened layers at the end of the experiment.
Carrington records the data while Annie measures the thickness of the deformed layers.
Carrington, Jacqueline, and Annie measure the progress of the model continent collision.

Course: GEOS 106 - The Tectonic Earth with Lab

Students used experimental sand boxes as analogue models for the collision of two continents, a process that folds rock layers and generates faults that displace rock layers, thicken the pile of rock layers, and form mountain chains. Physical models give students the chance to investigate, in the classroom and in real time, geologic processes that fill mountain ranges and take millions of years. Besides understanding geologic processes and principles, students get first-hand experience developing hypotheses that explain the process they're studying, and designing experimental tests of those hypotheses. (All students in the images are class of '15.)