The Great Desert


In the classroom, the Impact Cratering exercise teaches about the most important geological process in the solar system! This exercise was developed many years ago, probably at Brown University. The version Hort presented is similar to what we do at LPI -- Hort used flour as the target, and we use playground sand (here, flour grows weevils, seemingly by spontaneous generation). Tempra paint powder is great to mark the surface and subsurface layers in the target material.
We did this exercise at last year's workshop, and many other venues. Another version, using Plaster of Paris, comes from the Exploring Meteorite Mysteries curriculum from Johnson Space Center. Done right, the plaster sets and you have a permanent record of the impact.

Hole in the Ground

Hort having just fired the slingshot at the impact target. YOUR STUDENTS MUST WEAR SAFETY GLASSES. Credit.
The impact crater. Lumpy gray ejecta has been tossed out on top of the blue surface 'soil' of this "Colorado Plateau Plain." Credit.

Measuring crater sizes and how far the ejecta was thrown. This exercise can be used for collection of quantitative data and graphing. Credit.
Enjoying (?) the impact. Credit.

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Copyright Allan Treiman, LPI.
Updated 11/21/03.
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