Landscape Resources

A Sampling of Suggested Resources for the Integration of Indian Education and Science (pdf) from the Montana Office of Public Instruction. Geologic squeeze boxes can be purchased on line for $25 + shipping from Rodney’s Homepage for Earth Science Teachers: This is a fabulous web site created by Helena High School teacher Rod Benson. […]

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Landscape Glossary

Alluvial Fan Arête Atmosphere Chemical Weathering Cirque Compressional Tectonics Convection Delta Deposition Elevation Erosion Gradient Hydrosphere Landforms Lithosphere Physical Weathering Relief Soil Tectonic Extension Tectonic Forces Topographic Profiles Topography Transcurrent Tectonics Uplift Weathering

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Extension Activities

There are many opportunities to extend and expand the activities listed in this module. Several examples are listed below. Extension 1 United States Geological Survey – Schoolyard Geology Lesson Plans: These are well documented, very accessible, and cover a wide variety of geologic topics. Extension 2 Unit on Erosion: Wind, water and ice erosion lessons […]

Measuring the Landscape

We are going to use Google Earth to look at Montana landscapes from above. Before going further, you may want to review some examples of different landforms (landform examples are available in several different formats – they all include the same examples): Landform Examples Web Format (can also be accessed using the dropdown menu at […]

Time & Landscape

News Flash! When it comes right down to it, landscape development is all about time. While water, ice, wind and plate movements carve out the hills and valleys outside our windows, time is the key factor. How long do you think it took for the U-shaped valley at the beginning of this module to form? […]

Tectonics, Weathering & Erosion

There is a strong correlation between landforms, tectonics (the lithosphere) and climate (the hydrosphere and the atmosphere). This is one of the exciting recent developments in the study of mountain building processes.   The Himalayas Through detailed studies of rain and snowfall patterns from weather stations and satellite records, scientists have created detailed records showing […]


Landforms are also created where eroded materials come to rest, or are deposited through a process called deposition. A classic example of this in Montana is alluvial fans that form where fast-running mountain streams enter valleys and slow down, and the sediments they carry fall out of suspension. Take a look at The Perfect Alluvial Fan […]

Weathering & Erosion

Weathering is the slow, continuous chemical and mechanical breakdown of rocks into fragments and dissolved compounds. Around Butte, Montana, weathering has turned solid granite into the sand and gravel that underlies most of the city. Weathering and erosion are strongly controlled by climate. Water is a major contributor to chemical weathering and mechanical or physical weathering, […]

Compressional Tectonics

The Himalayan Mountains were formed when India crashed into Asia, a process known as compressional tectonics. Take a look at the first section of When Continents Collide from, which includes an animation on continental collisions. In southwest Montana, tectonic compression occurred before most of our current landscape was formed. Remnant compressional structures are found […]

Transcurrent Tectonics

Where tectonic plates slide past each other, in a process called transcurrent tectonics, the landscape is dominated by long linear valleys and ridges. The classic example is the San Andreas Fault; for more on the San Andreas Fault, take a look at this article from on The San Andreas Fault. A Montana example is […]

The MSP project is funded by an ESEA, Title II Part B Mathematics and Science Partnership Grant through the Montana Office of Public Instruction. MSP was developed by the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program and faculty from Montana Tech of The University of Montana and Montana State University, with support from other Montana University System Faculty.