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Posted: March 8th, 2023

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Unit 7 Assignment: Final Project Research – Topography

All answers should be in BLUE font.


Objective of the assignment: To further understanding of concepts in the topographic maps unit, as well as allow students to begin work on their final project by having them select a topic and begin basic research of their chosen location.


Contribution to the final project : The work conducted in this assignment will be used as part of a larger, comprehensive presentation of the geology of a national park. Specifically, this assignment will have students choose their location and conduct research on the geologic setting of that location through the use of topographic maps.


Background : *You should have completed reviewing all lecture materials before attempting to complete this assignment*


In order to understand and interpret the geology of an area, you must first gain a better understanding of the landscape itself. What does the landscape look like? Is it characterized by one large feature such as a volcano or a canyon? Is it characterized by the presence of sinkholes and caves? By mountains and valleys shaped by stream systems? The character of a location can be described when the topography of that location is described. In order to describe topography, you must know something about reading a topographic map.


As with previous assignments, name your file A7 _Last Name_First Name.

Save this file as either a Word document or PDF. Do NOT turn in a Google Docs, Pages document, .HEIC file, or a .ZIP file. Wrong formats are not accepted and will lose points.

Part 1: Selecting a Location

BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE, YOU MUST POST YOUR CHOSEN LOCATION ON THE DESIGNATED DISCUSSION BOARD. Every student must conduct research on a unique location, meaning that there should not be a repeat of topics for anyone in the class. To make sure everyone has selected a unique location, students must post the location of their choice on the class discussion board. You will choose the national park you would like to do your project on from the list included on the final project instructions. You MUST write the name of your selected park and your last name and initial on the SUBJECT LINE of your post. Make sure to read through the discussion board to see if someone has already chosen the location you have picked. If the location is already chosen, you need to choose another (it is best to have 2 or 3 locations picked out in your mind before going to the discussion board). Location selection is first come, first serve. Posts without the appropriate subject line will not be considered valid claims, rendering the park free to be chosen by someone else.


Once you have selected your location, and “claimed” it by posting on the class discussion board, write in the national park you chose in the space below.

Part 2: Obtaining a Topographic Map

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has a database called topoView that keeps all topographic maps created since the USGS began mapping the nation’s topography in 1879. As the landscape has changed, maps have been updated, and many have been created at different scales to show different features of the landscape for different purposes. The topographic map you will need for your project should be the most recent version of the map in your location and should be at a scale of 1:24000 to show you the features you will need to report on. Follow the instructions to obtain your map for your project (and feel free to repeat this process for acquiring any map you may want in the future!).

· Go to the USGS topoView website by following this link:

· Along the right side of the page there is a red button with mountains and contour lines that says “View and Download maps now”. Click the button. This will take you to a new page with a map of the US on the left and a search box on the right. You may read over the Getting Started instructions if you need them.

· In the search box at the top right of the page, enter the name of your national park. A dropdown box will appear with a location. Click the location. Depending on your park, there may be more than one location listed, as your park may span across several topographic quadrangles. That is ok; you may browse through these selections and pick the area you would like to use. If you only have one location choice, pick that one.

· Once your location has been selected, you will see a number of map choices listed. These are all of the maps, young and old, at different scales, that have been created for your location. Scroll down to the bottom to find the most recent map at a 1:24000 scale. Click that selection.

· Once selected, several buttons will appear: file types, zoom options, an info button, etc. There will be 4 file types offered: JPEG, GeoTiff, KMZ, and a GeoPDF. A JPEG will be a low resolution picture of the map, the GeoTiff file will generally be a storage tool for satellite and aerial imagery data, the KMZ file will open with Google Earth and have map information overlayed onto an interactive Google Earth landscape, and the GeoPDF will be a high resolution image of the map that will allow you to zoom in and see features on the map without you having to print a large quadrangle. For this exercise, you will need to download the JPEG file and the GeoPDF of your location.

Part 3: Making Geologic Observations using your Topographic Map

1. Open your downloaded JPEG image. This is the smallest file type of your topographic map, and should therefore be easy to include in this document and keep this document a reasonable file size. Copy and paste this image into the space below so your instructor can see the map you are working with. Resize it to fit on the page and choose to wrap the text Top and Bottom to prevent any overlap of your image with your text. Use the GeoPDF to answer the remaining questions. Note that you need to include in your assignment the original questions and leave some space blank underneath your answer for feedback comments.

2. What is the name of your chosen quadrangle?


3. What are the latitude coordinates along the northern border of this map?



4. What are the longitude coordinates along the northern border of this map?



5. What is the contour interval of this map? How do you know?




6. List 3 major topographic features you see on your map. For each, describe how you know what the feature is on the map. Remember that a topographic feature can include, but is not limited to, mountains, valleys, depressions, ridges, streams, volcanoes, canyons, lakes, etc.






7. Look carefully over your map and pick out a major stream on the map. Write the stream name, describe its direction of streamflow, and how you know what direction it is flowing.


8. Grid PNG Images Free Download | PnggridLook over your map carefully and find an area where the topography changes. Using a 5-inch-wide sheet of scrap paper, make tick marks along the contour lines and write in the elevations in this area. This will give you the information you need to create a topographic profile. You may need to complete the lab in this unit before you attempt to create a profile here so you can gain a better understanding for drawing a topographic profile. Once you have the information you need, draw a topographic profile of your area on the grid below.




9. Reviewing your answers from questions 6 and 7, and looking at your profile from 8, summarize the topography of your topographic map. To do this, you will need to describe the character of the landscape, as observed by behavior of the contour lines on the map, as well as note how other features may occur on your map.












10. Finally, using what you have learned through this activity, briefly describe the geologic setting this topographic area is in and how that has contributed to the features you observe on the topographic map. To do this, you may want to discuss rock type and/or tectonic setting and how each may contribute to what you are observing. To get to know more about the geologic setting of your area, you may also want to conduct some additional research using your national park’s website, the general national park website, the USGS website, or another credible source of geologic information. Use APA style to cite any additional sources used to help you with your answer. Provide in-text citations and include all the complete reference to the works cited on a list at the end. You will find help with APA citations in the course Resources.



Choose a National Park location Choose a national park location that you are interested in researching for your final project. You may choose any national park location within the United States. Once you have chosen your location, answer the following questions about it:

  1. What is the name of the national park location you have chosen?

Answer: Grand Canyon National Park.

  1. What state is it located in?

Answer: Arizona.

  1. What type of environment is the park located in? (e.g. desert, mountainous, coastal, etc.)

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