Resources for Teachers

Grade 9-12: Geology

Caves and Caverns|| Geologic Maps|| Geomagnetism|| Plate Tectonics|| Rocks and Minerals|| 


A Brief Introduction to Geomagnetism - Background Information
The USGS uses ground-based observatories to provide continuous records of the Earth's magnetic field variations. This simplified description uses images and a time-laps animation to explain phenomena created by the magnetic field that can be easily monitored and studied.

Plate Tectonics

This Dynamic Earth: the Story of Plate Tectonics - Background Information
"This Dynamic Earth" is one of the most recommended and referenced primers on plate tectonics. Topics include a history of the theory, scientific developments that spurred its development, the mechanics of plate motions, and the relationship of hotspots to plate tectonic theory. A companion best-selling map, "This Dynamic Planet", is also available online or in print.   

This Dynamic Planet - Map
Plate tectonics are fully illustrated on this best-selling world map (a companion to "This Dynamic Earth: the Story of Plate Tectonics") showing the locations of plate boundaries, volcanoes, earthquakes, and impact craters. Detailed ocean floor bathymetry and discussions of fundamental components are also featured. A paper version is available for purchase or the map can be downloaded free in PDF format.   

Plate Tectonics Tennis Ball Globe - Activity
Create a mini globe that shows the major plate boundaries of the world (scroll to page 15).

Geologic Maps

National Geologic Map Database - Background Information
This exhaustive database provides bibliographic access to many thousands of geologic, geophysical, and other kinds of maps available in USGS publication, Web sites, and in popular science journals, etc.   

Tapestry of Time and Terrain - Map
Shaded relief and geology are combined on this map of the 48 conterminous states. It's a useful resource for discussing physiographic provinces and rocks deposited during different geologic time periods. Download a free PDF or purchase a paper version through the USGS Store. Both versions include an 18-page pamphlet. 

The North America Tapestry of Time and Terrain - Background Information
Reveals the geologic history of North America through the interrelation of rock type, topography, and time. Regional surface processes as well as continent-scale tectonic events are exposed in the three dimensions of space and the fourth dimension, geologic time.

Rocks and Minerals

Metal Recycling- Background Information
How much metal does the U.S. recycle each year? Annual statistics and information about specific metals can be found here.

Mineral Commodity Statistics and Information- Background Information
Statistics and information about the worldwide supply of, demand for, and flow of minerals and materials essential to the U.S. economy, the national security, and protection of the environment.

Famous Building Stones of Our Nation's Capital - Background Information
Descriptions and examples of all the kinds of stone used in the buildings and monuments in the Washington DC area. 

Mineral Commodity Fact Sheets - Background Information
Two-page, easily-understood fact sheets about important mineral commodities. Learn where each mineral comes from, how it's used, and why it's important

Mineral Resource of the Month- Background Information
How is a specific mineral used in the United States? How much of that mineral is produced? These questions are answered in this series of two-page articles written for over sixty different minerals.

Caverns and Caves

USGS Karst Web site- Background Information
Information about USGS research on karst aquifers, which are a vital ground-water resource in the United States.