Have you seen the press releases for Geologic Map Day? It is fast approaching, and quite frankly this should be your only reaction: http://youtu.be/KlJM4UhbQ7A. So put it on your calendar - October 17th, 2014!
This year's poster, part of the Earth Science Week Kit (available here: http://www.earthsciweek.org/materials) features the geology of the Grand Canyon, and how the geosphere interacts with the biosphere. I sat down with AGI Education and Outreach Staffer, Katelyn Murtha. She is a geoscientist who's specializing in geoscience education, and she graduated with her degree in geology from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
Katelyn arrived at AGI and she knew that one of her big tasks would be creating materials for Geologic Map Day this year. Over the course of three months she, and a team of scientists and educators from AGI, the United States Geological Survey, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Park Sevice (NPS), ESRI, and AGI member organizations, the Association of American State Geologists and the Geological Society of America.
"We picked the Grand Canyon I think it is iconic to America, and to American Geology, because you can clearly see the layers of Earth as you look from any horizon," Katelyn said. "For children to really understand the process of geology, and the time of geology, the Grand Canyon is one of the best examples."
One of the challenges they had was how to keep the poster accessible to everyone, but how to take a geologic wonder as big as the Grand Canyon and how to focus it and relate it to this year's Earth Science Week theme, "Earth's Connected Systems." The goal of this year's theme is to deepen our understanding of the interactions of Earth systems – geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere.
"The focus of this poster is not just the geology, but also the groundwater and the experiences that the visitors may have at the Grand Canyon. Just by looking at it you can see the faults and the strata, so that represents the geosphere in the poster, but there is also an activity on the poster about how humans interact with the groundwater. The visitors represent the biosphere aspect of Earth's Connected Systems." Katelyn explained.
If you don't have access to the kit there are still ways to celebrate Geologic Map Day! People using social media can use the hashtag #MapDay14 to show us how they're celebrating Geologic Map Day. Katelyn further recommended that, "People should be able to contact their state geologists, a local geology club or a university to get access to geologic maps of their area. I encourage you to find a local geologic map for an area that you're familiar with, and with friends, parents and guardians and go out and try to see what you're standing on."