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Earth in Reverse: Magnetic Wiggles on the Ocean Floor
All web seminar participants use online tools that allow them to mark-up presenter's slides or share desktop applications in addition to engaging in chat with others online and answering poll questions

This Web Seminar, developed in collaboration with the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) took place on Tuesday, January 29, 2008, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. In this program, the presenters discussed the Earth’s magnetic field and its tendency to reverse polarity.

Dr. Chris Massell Symons, Researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Dr. Anthony Koppers, Associate Professor of Marine Geology and Geophysics at Oregon State University shared their expertise and experiences studying the phenomenon of the Earth’s magnetic field and its tendency to reverse its polarity. The evidence of magnetic field reversals are found in rock samples collected from the seafloor, at the spreading, mid-ocean ridge. The signature evidence, found in these specific rock samples, is referred to as magnetic wiggles. These magnetic wiggles reveal that the Earth's magnetic field has reversed several times in the past. Dr. Symons and Dr. Koppers then discussed the implications and applications of the data and research.

Twenty (20) participants were present at the live Web Seminar, in addition to the presenters, the NSDL moderator, and the NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of California, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. Participants received a one-year subscription to one of NSTA’s SciGuides for completing the evaluation form at the end of the program.

Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:

  • “I enjoyed the images and was very interested to learn that the magnetic
    reversals are actually recorded on the ocean floor.”

  • “Evidence for tectonic motion as it relates to earth studies and moving
    continents is part of our middle school curriculum. This seminar not only
    included clear evidence through the geologic "barcode" of magnetic
    striping, but also excellent resources for us to use in our own classrooms”.

  • “Being part of the California Content Standards in Earth Science, our
    curriculum is articulated to this topic specifically as support for seafloor spreading/plate tectonics. This (Web) Seminar was well focused to the
    material that is being continually developed as more research yields
    further refinement to this body of knowledge.”

  • “I really like hearing directly from researchers, having them provide
    graphic images and data, and the interactive aspect of the whiteboard”.

Thanks to the participants and the presenters for the learning opportunity, the interactions and a job well done!


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