Extremities:  Geology and Life in Yellowstone and Implications for Other Worlds


Horton Newsom taught the Impact Cratering classroom activity, which permits the students to model a vigorous natural phenomenon in the classroom, form testable hypotheses, design the tests, and take qualitative and quantitative data in testing their hypotheses. Versions of this activity appear in several places, most accessibly in the "Planetary Geology" and "Exploring the Solar System" curricula. .

Slingshot = More Power

Every scientist must record the results of experiments.
MORE POWER! Impact cratering is a high-energy process, so more energy means a bettter model of nature. Sport slingshots can provide the energy, and Lana fires away! WARNING! Use of slingshots can be dangerous, and must be supervised at all times. Everyone must wear safety glasses, and no one is allowed downrange.
Impact Ejecta
Detail of Impact Ejecta

High-energy slingshot impact spread the flour far, and the patterns of ejected flour are similar to the patterns of ejecta around lunar craters, like Tycho.
A close-up of the ejecta shows that lumps of flour and tempra came down together. The tempra, which was on top in the target, is nearly always farther away in the ejecta. Hypothesize how this might have happened! How could lumps of flour and tempra be ejected together - wouldn't the impact mix them up? How could the tempra always travel farther? Lots of room for extensions, and deeper investigations!

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Updated 11/15/02.
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