Lesson 1.1: How the Mediterranean Sea Came To Be
1. Student handouts 1.1.1 (Digital Tectonic Activity Map); 1.1.2 (video questions for “The Formation of the Mediterranean Sea”)
2. Video segment “The Formation of the Mediterranean Sea, Chapter One” on the geologic formation of the Mediterranean at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAJp65hxS8M - from Journey to the depths of the Mediterranean Sea Ivan Saliba, Planet Sea Productions, produced by Shaun Arrigo, Planet Sea Productions, 2007.
3. OPTIONAL: see links to features on discoveries about the ancient Black Sea flood, under Lesson Plan Text, #6.
Lesson Plan Text
1. Start by showing (and repeating, if necessary) a 1-minute animated gif of tectonic movement in the past 750 million years, University of California Museum of Paleontology. “Plate Tectonics Animation.” http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/geology/anim1.html. Note the long time periods over which these movements took place (mere centimeters per year!), using the slider to the right of the animated map. Have students focus on the formation of the Mediterranean region.
2. Use Student Handout 1.1.1, the Digital Tectonic Activity Map (DTAM) to introduce or review the concept of plate tectonics, describing the different types of forces that act on the earth’s crust. Have students look over the map and answer the questions. Check student understanding of the map key symbols and the effects of spreading zones, subduction zones, faults and uplift in moving continental plates and altering landforms.
3. Turning to the second page of the handout, students focus on the detail of the Mediterranean portion of the map. Read this caption from the DTAM map: “The Mediterranean Sea is one of the world's most geologically active areas, even though the regional plate motion is relatively slow. (The blue, yellow, and red lines indicate different types of faults. Red dots represent volcanoes active within the past million years.”) You may ask students to compare the Mediterranean with other areas of the map such as the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the Far East. Using the key on the full map, students identify and trace the outlines of tectonic forces that have shaped the Mediterranean during the past 1 million years and correlate them to the topographical maps showing mountains rimming the Mediterranean.
4. Explain that this map only shows the last million years of tectonic activity, while the events that created the Mediterranean Sea extend to many millions of years earlier.
5. Using Student Handout 1.1.2 for comprehension and review, view the 7-minute video “The Formation of the Mediterranean Sea, Chapter One” on the geologic formation of the Mediterreanean at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAJp65hxS8M - from Journey to the depths of the Mediterranean Sea Ivan Saliba 3D, Planet Sea Productions, produced by Shaun Arrigo, Planet Sea Productions, 2007.
6. Another important event related was the formation and evolution of the Black Sea. Recent explorations by undersea archaeologist Robert Ballard has uncovered evidence of human settlements along an ancient shoreline that is now submerged. A cataclysmic flood about 7, 500 years ago. Based on earlier theories and studies in a 1998 book by Ryan and Pittman, the new evidence for a flood of salt water from the Mediterranean into the Black Sea is seen as possibly accounting for biblical stories of Noah’s flood. See articles and a video on these Black Sea discoveries at http://www.pbs.org/saf/1207/features/noah.htm , http://www.nationalgeographic.com/blacksea/ax/frame.html and animation here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIun8FdqCE4&list=PL20AA6E1346A4A618 .
7. Extension Activity: a longer film (44 minutes) from 4D Atlas on the origins of the Mediterranean and its crops, technologies, and cultures can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAjWeDINJ8M&list=PLrV4ChKnXOr2Lj55ZcorXaQZjle9OnAln for students who want to know more outside of class.