Waters & Geologic Provinces
grade levels: 9-12
achievement standards for this lesson
This lesson plan is designed
to inform students about Thermal Waters & Geologic Provinces.
All geothermal waters originate
as meteoric waters at the surface, by percolation of rain and snow meltwater into
shallow aquifers and then into a geothermal aquifer. Geothermal heating is due
to one or a combination of the following three factors:
i) groundwater can be heated during deep circulation through rocks that are hotter
than normal due to the geothermal temperature gradient in the earth's crust. This
temperature gradient normally means that rocks get about 1.5 - 2oC warmer per
kilometer of depth, but can be substantially higher in volcanically and tectonically
ii) groundwater can be heated by exposure to magmatic heat sources in volcanically-active
areas, such as occurs in Yellowstone Park;
iii) rocks rich in uranium, thorium, and/or potassium are heated by the energy
liberated during radioactive decay of these elements, thereby providing a source
of heat to ground water circulating through them.
Take a look at the maps
of geothermal springs and thermal wells in Figure
5. Turn the various layers off or on so as to clearly view the locations
of springs and wells across the state, and their locations relative to Idaho's
geologic provinces. Print the handout below.
These are links to access
the handouts and printable materials.
geol4.pdf | cad
map: figure 5
information on these and preceding maps, answer the following:
of the following rocks tend to have more potassium: sandstone or carbonate?
more uranium and thorium: felsic igneous rocks or mafic igneous rocks?
2. Which geologic province contains most of the thermal springs in Idaho?
Lesson Plan provided by Vita
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met
by completing this activity: