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This unit examines the geological history and volcano hotspots of Eastern Australia, using RV Investigator voyage IN2018_V08 as a case study in how scientific models and theories are developed, tested and refined over time through the use of a range of modern technologies.

 

Author

Chris Meagher, Mt Gravatt State High School, Queensland

Nature of the inquiry problem

Students will investigate the formation of continental and oceanic hotspot volcanoes and how scientific research voyages are used by scientists to develop and refine new theories.

Students needs to:

  • Understand how hypotheses are tested and can lead to accepted scientific theories. 
  • Understand the continental drift hypothesis and the theory of plate tectonics.
  • Students will need to learn about the technologies used on the RV Investigator to map and dredge material from seamounts. 

Students will:

  • Explain the characteristics of the RV Investigator and the role of the mapping systems.
  • Explain the process from when the rocks are deposited on the deck through to Argon dating. 
Suitable year levels and subject areas

Year 9 Earth and Space Strand: This unit will be studied in Year 9 as part of the Earth Science topic. 

The tasks will involve some numeracy skills (Task 2: Find the Tasmantid Hotspot), as well as explanations of a range of technologies used by the RV Investigator

Curriculum links

Earth and space sciences

Science Understanding

  • The theory of plate tectonics explains global patterns of geological activity and continental movement (ACSSU180).
  • Elaboration: relating the extreme age and stability of a large part of the Australian continent to its plate tectonic history (ELBS1110).

Nature and development of science

Science as a Human Endeavour

  • Scientific understanding, including models and theories, is contestable and is refined over time through a process of review by the scientific community (ACSHE157).
  • Elaboration: investigating how the theory of plate tectonics developed, based on evidence from sea-floor spreading and occurrence of earthquakes and volcanic activity (ELBS1117).
  • Advances in scientific understanding often rely on developments in technology and technological advances are often linked to scientific discoveries (ACSHE158). 
  • Elaboration: investigating technologies involved in the mapping of continental movement (ELBS1122).
Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • examine the 'hotspot' theory and its relationship to plate tectonic theory
  • examine evidence for the existence of mantle plumes and 'hotspots'
  • examine a case study of a 2018 RV Investigator voyage as an example of how modern technologies contribute to advances in scientific understanding. 
Student Learning Outcomes*

Part 1 - Continental Hotspots of Eastern Australia

Students will:

  • Understand the geological timescale.
  • Identify common rocks: Basalt, Granite, Quartzite, Hornfels and Tuff.
  • Explain the processes which have led to the current geology of Eastern Australia and Brisbane including: sedimentation, subduction, metamorphism, weathering and volcanism.
  • Describe parent and daughter metamorphic rocks.
  • Understand the volcanic processes which have led to the continental hot-spot volcanoes. found down the East Coast of Australia (including the Glasshouse Mountains and Mt Warning).

Resources:

  • 1 Brisbane Tectonics and Volcanoes 200-300 MYA.ppt
  • 2 Continental Hotspot Eastern Australia 65 MYA.ppt
  • Task 1a Continental Hotspot Eastern Australia.doc
  • Task 1b Tectonics and Volcanics of Brisbane.doc
 

Part 2 – Oceanic Hotspots and RV Investigator

Students will:

  • Understand the geological timescale.
  • Identify common oceanic rocks: Basalt, Conglomerate and Breccia
  • Compare age progressive hotspot volcano chains (island and submarine)
  • Explain the processes which have led to the formation of the Tasmantid and Lord Howe Seamount Chains.
  • Explain the voyage goals and hypothesis of the 2018 RV Investigator Voyage
  • Explain the characteristics of the RV Investigator and the role of the mapping systems
  • Explain the process from when the rocks are deposited on the deck through to Argon dating.

Resources:

  • 3 Oceanic Hotspot and RV Investigator.ppt
  • Task 2 Find the Tasmantid Seamount Hotspot.doc
  • Task 3 Oceanic Hotspots and RV Investigator.doc
  • Virtual Tour of RV Investigator

Part 3 – Research Investigation – Research Voyage Technology and Hotspot Volcanos

Students will:

  • Examine a case study of a 2018 RV Investigator voyage as an example of how modern technologies contribute to advances in scientific understanding and how new theories are developed and reviewed by the scientific community.
  • Develop a scientific argument to support or refute a claim related to how modern technologies are used to in scientific research voyages to investigate hotspot volcanoes.
  • Analyse and evaluate data (include statistics, graphs, charts etc.)
  • Communicate findings in an appropriate scientific genre.

Resources:

Task 4 Research Voyage Technology and Hotspot Volcanoes.doc

Format

This unit will involve a series of lessons which:

  • Discuss the geological history and hotspot volcanoes of Eastern Australia (continental and oceanic).
  • Examine the 2018 Ballany Mantle Plume Voyage as a case study in how scientific models and theories are developed, tested and refined over time through the use of a range of modern technologies.

Complete a summative research investigation to develop a scientific argument to support or refute a claim. 

Assessment outcomes

Students will:

Complete a summative research investigation to develop a scientific argument to support or refute a claim.

Information and communications technology (ICT)

https://mnf.csiro.au/Investigator/rv_investigator.html?html5=prefer

 Acknowledgment

Volcanoes of Eastern Australia (created by Chris Meagher) (2020) Copyright owned by Department of Education, Queensland. Except as otherwise noted, this work is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Download the lesson

Volcanoes-of-Eastern-Australia PDF (8 MB)

Volcanoes-of-Eastern-Australia TXT (49 KB)

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