Photo Credit: Frank Kovalchek

Geology

Geology / Glaciation

Kenai from SpaceOf the natural forces of the Kenai, perhaps geology and glaciation have had the greatest impact upon the human history of the region. The Kenai, and much of Southcentral Alaska, is composed of terranes of land assembled to the south then transported here through the process of plate tectonics. Eras of glaciation gouged out wide valleys and exposed gold deposits, both which were exploited by miners traveling into the country to find their fortune.

 

CANYON CREEK / THE FORKS

This is Now and That Was Then:  Episode: 9

Relevance: ***

This episode weaves a story of plate tectonics, gold formation, and glaciation to better understand the geologic significance of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula.

A SILENT LAND SPEAKS

Trails Across Time: Chapter 1 Pg 19    Relevance: ***

Discusses tectonics, glaciation, and gold formation specific to the region.

A Silent, Yet Restless Earth

A SILENT, YET RESTLESS EARTH

Secondary Curriculum: Chapter 1    Relevance: ***

From space, the Kenai Peninsula geography is uniquely convoluted. This lesson uses Google Earth to explore not only this unique geography but also the difficulties in developing transportation routes through the natural corridors. Students may discover that the Kenai Peninsula was smashed together through plate tectonics. 

 

FIELD TRIP NOTES

 Trails Across Time: pgs 18-19    Relevance: ***

Taking a field trip? 10 roadside sites of geologic significance are located and described.

SUMMIT LAKE

Explore the Corridor:  Site 9    Relevance: ***

The bench above the shores of Summit Lake seem to defy explanation…until a unique aspect of glaciation is taken into account.

EXIT GLACIER

Explore the Corridor:  Site 23    Relevance: ***

What better way to study the effects of glaciation than watch it happening? Walk to the toe of the glacier to observe morraine construction, striations on rocks, and revegetation from newly exposed gravel.  Contact Kenai Fjords National Park for a personalized program for your class.

SNOW RIVER

Explore the Corridor: Site 19   Relevance: **

A jokulhlaup is a sudden release of a glacially impounded lake. The results can be impressive and catastrophic. At this site, students can compare a normal stream bed with that of one scoured by a jokulhlaup. 

 GEOGRAPHY OF SOUTHCENTRAL ALASKA By David K. Snyder  Relevance: ***

This is the 'go to' book if you want to teach or know about the geology of the region.   The book delves into the geologic processes, the rocks and minerals, meteorology, and hydrology of Southcentral Alaska.  Snyder takes  complex geologic processes and breaks them into lay-person friendly concepts loaded with effective illustrations and photos. 

USGS: THE GEOLOGY OF PWS AND KENAI PENINSULA    Relevance: ***

This on-line publication provides a detailed map and description of geologic construction and composition of coastal Southcentral Alaska.

ALASKA EARTHQUAKE INFORMATION CENTER

This is the go-to web page for learning about not only the 1964 earthquake, but everything that has anything to do with quakes in Alaska.  Includes tsunami simulations and vintage footage of PWS waves.

NATIONAL TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER IN PALMER

Did you feel an earthquake?  Guess the magnitude and direction and check it out at the Palmer warning center.  Earthquake data shows up within a minute or two after shaking