**Teachers - Please feel free to sign up for as many chats in the series as you like!**

A geological field trip at a mountain. The live session will take students on a virtual field trip with me while I hike along the base of an isolated mountain known as a monadnock. As a live session, students will be able to ask questions and answer mine. The Stone Mountain monadnock is the surface exposure of a pluton that extends several miles below. It was created by the tectonic stresses (forces) that produced the Appalachian Mountains. The compression of rock layers produced by the convergence of Africa and North America generated sufficient heat to melt pockets of rock 10 or more miles beneath the earth's surface. These pockets of melted rock were magma chambers of granitic composition. At the base of Stone Mountain is surface evidence that the magma chamber underwent flow and that it incorporated into itself some of the country rock that enclosed it. Dikes and veins of felsic composition cut through the mountain, and a mafic sill rests along the surface at the base. The strike (compass bearing) of several veins and dikes will be measured with a pocket transit on the trip, as will the direction of the flow. Tourmaline pods, xenoliths, and the mineral composition of the granitic rock will be examined and explained. During the trip I will review the geologic history of the formation of the Appalachian Mountains based on the latest research.

Evidences of mechanical and chemical weathering are seen everywhere on the mountain These include exfoliation, jointing, solution pits, surface decomposition, and soil creation.

The trip begins with an introduction to hiking safety and the value of lifelong physical fitness. It ends with an illustration of elementary climbing techniques. Stories along the way reinforce the importance of safety, fitness, and climbing prudence.

Key Questions

What is a pluton? How does compression of a substance, such as a rock, cause its temperature to increase? What caused Stone Mountain to form? How are igneous rocks classified on the basis of silica content? What are igneous structures? What does a dike look like? What types of minerals compose the dikes and veins at Stone Mountain? What is a xenolith? How is igneous flow structure measured? How does chemical weathering produce soil? How does chemical weathering produce solution pits in granitic rock? What types of mechanical weathering are visible on the surface of a granitic mountain? How does knowledge of the geologic environment aid in identification of rocks in the field? Which two minerals are most likely to be found in veins and dikes where granitic rock types are the bedrock? What caused the Appalachian mountains to form?

Expected Outcomes

Define the terms monadnock, pluton, tectonic, stress, compression, convergence, magma, magma chamber, country rock, dike, sill, quartz, silica, granitic, magma chamber, felsic, mafic, strike, tourmaline, xenolith, chemical weathering, mechanical weathering, exfoliation, jointing, solution pit, decomposition, and soil

Locate the Appalachian Mountains on a map

Describe how compressional stress can thermodynamically heat a substance

Describe in an elementary way how the Appalachian Mountains and Stone Mountain formed

Describe the following igneous structures: dike, sill, vein, and stock

Describe how a xenolith may be distinguished from country rock in the field

Describe how to measure the strike of dikes, veins, and flow structure in the field

Explain how chemical weathering produces soil

Explain how chemical weathering produces solution pits in granitic rock outcrops

Explain how knowledge of the geologic environment can aid in identification of rocks in the field

Identify the mineral makeup of an igneous vein in a granitic outcrop in the Atlanta area

Identify the mineral composition of granitic plutonic rocks in the field

Explain the tectonic movements and forces involved in the formation of the Appalachian Mountains


Curriculum Alignment

Completed Date

 05/22/2017 1:05 PM   Eastern Time




Randal Mandock Tucker Outdoor Fitness and Treks






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Grade 6 To 8   Grade 9 To 12  
Career Clusters
Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources  
No. of Students
Not Available  
Virtual Hike Series: Geological Field Trip To Stone Mountain, Georgia (#3 of 4)
Sub Topic
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Not Available  
Geological Mapping   geography   geology   Geophysics   Geoscience   Civil Engineering   physical fitness