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16.3: Assignment- Making North America

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    Module 16 Assignment

    The Making of North America


    For this exercise, be aware that you will need to have viewed the NOVA episode “Making North America: Origins” which is available from PBS online. This video reveals and summarizes the unique and often surprising geologic history of North America, from evidence for vast shallow seas and sand dunes in the West; to the remnants of a rift zone around Lake Superior where the continent tried, without success, to break apart; to evidence left behind in Central Park of the majestic Taconic Mountains that once stood where the bustling metropolis of New York City is now.


    After watching the video, please choose one of the following questions, and write a one to one and a half page response based on what you learned from it (1.5 spacing, 12-point font, no title or headers). You are welcome to expand your knowledge with other sources as long as you include a reference list:

    1. Describe the story of the North American continental craton that was called Laurentia. Include some discussion of the underlying geology of Lake Superior, and what it tells us about the geologic history of Laurentia.
    2. The Manhattan schist is a geological remnant left behind in New York City that gives us clues about Manhattan’s exciting geologic history. What can we learn from it and other pieces of evidence left behind in the city?
    3. Describe the geological evidence for major tectonic collisions across the United States. Include some discussion of the sand dunes in Utah, the jagged and near vertical sandstone slabs in Colorado, fossil evidence in northwestern North America, and the San Andreas fault.

    Grading Rubric

    15 points: Accurately responded to the question of your choice and followed length requirements. Reference list (if needed) was included.

    12 points: Accurately responded to the question of your choice, but response might be a little short or the information contains some inaccuracies. Reference list (if needed) was included.

    8 points: Response was too brief or inaccurate. Reference list (if needed) was omitted.

    5 points: Only very partial information provided.

    0 points: Did not compete the assignment.

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