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Meteor Crater Planetary Geology of Arizona Educational Guidebook

Arizona has a long and rich tradition of planetary science, including field investigations of the world's best preserved impact crater (Meteor Crater), the establishment of Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff at the turn of the century for the study of Mars and other planets, establishment of the headquarters for the U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology Team, and field training for the Apollo astronauts for their journey to the Moon. Today, Arizona has the greatest concentration of active planetary scientists in the world. A half dozen observatories have major facilities in the state. Numerous aerospace companies and all three state universities conduct cutting-edge research in planetary science. Arizona is particularly well suited for planetary geology. Craters, volcanoes, and other landforms and geologic processes are all well displayed and readily accessible for study by professionals and students of all ages.

In this manual we have provided a guide to some of the resources available for exploring planetary science in Arizona. The basic activity is a two-day field trip from Phoenix to Flagstaff and vicinity. The focus is on volcanic features, craters, and general geology - all relevant for understanding and interpreting surface features on the Moon, Mars, and other planets. The field trip (termed "The Holey Tour") has been run for the past three decades by Professor Ronald Greeley of Arizona State University as part of an introductory planetary geology courses.

Under the sponsorship of the Planetary Geology and Geophyisics Program, NASA, the Holey Tour field trip was modified for different grade levels as one-day and two-day trips. These field guides were prepared by Arizona science teachers. Their individual field trips are given below, along with ideas on how the trip can be integrated with established curricula, and some suggestions on logistics, involvement of parents, etc. In addition to the original college exercise--The Holey Tour, there is a photographic and mileage log (The Captain's Log), and a short biography on about the developer of each exercise.

We hope that with this manual and the natural outdoor laboratory of the state of Arizona, you and your students can benefit from the field experience.


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