Natural Gemstones and Geology Features Discussion

Posted: January 20th, 2023

Research and write an informative discussion/summary (3-5 pages) of one of the following topics. You can include up to three figures (max size ~1/4 page). Max = 20 points.

Gold deposits (different types, descriptions, where they’re found, etc.)
Yellowstone (why is it geologically interesting, what’s it’s history, will it erupt anytime soon?)
Artificial vs. natural gemstones; what’s the difference?
New Jersey’s official state dinosaur: Hadrosaurus foulkii (why is it important to NJ? Tell us everything you can about our state dino!)
Diamonds and kimberlite pipes; understanding their connection. Are all diamond deposits in kimberlite pipes? Are there any kimberlite pipes currently forming? For this topic, you can also delve into how diamonds are useful.
Geology on Mars. How is it different from Earth? Not necessary but you can discuss planetary geology in general as well.
The extinction of North American megafuana (i.e. mammoths, mastodons, giant camels, etc.). What species roamed North America? How did they become extinct? Are there multiple theories on how they became extinct?
The Mineral, VA earthquake. When? Where? What kind of fault caused it? Why did it travel so far? What was the damage? How does this earthquake compare to west coast earthquakes?
What causes color changes in minerals/gems (there are many different factors)? I suggest using quartz as the example mineral.
Mount Everest and the Himalayas. Where is this mountain range? How did it form? Describe the rock types? Why is the tallest mountain on Earth located here?

Rubric for Research Paper

Outstanding – 20pts
Good  – 15pts
Fair – 10pts
Unacceptable – 5pts

Excellent section headings, indicative of a steady “flow” to the overall paper. Topics and subtopics clearly indicated.
Professional looking.
Good section headings, indicative to a steady “flow” to the overall paper. Topics clearly indicated, could use more subtopics.
Fair section headings, indicative that the paper has “flow”. Topics and subtopics not clearly indicated. Unclear organization of thoughts.
Disorganized appearance.
Relevant topics missing or incorrect, paper has no indicative “flow”.
Not professional.


Highly informative, complete and easy to understand. Appropriate vocabulary is used.
Abstract makes you want to read the paper.
Informative, complete and understandable. Appropriate vocabulary is used.
Somewhat informative and understandable.
Not very informative or understandable.

Thesis is clear, easy to find, and appropriate to the assignment.
Thesis is supported by the rest of the paper.
Paper contains a “roadmap” for the reader.
There is a logical “flow” to the topics/arguments. Conclusion follows clearly from the arguments presented.
Thesis is clear and appropriate.   Thesis fairly well supported.
Paper is fairly well organized.
Conclusion follows from the rest of the paper.
Thesis is fairly clear.
Inconsistent support for thesis. Paper weakly organized. Conclusion is acceptable.
Thesis unclear and/or inappropriate.
Thesis not supported.
Paper is not organized. Conclusion doesn’t follow from the rest of the paper.

The evidence comes from a wide variety of valid sources. The bibliography is complete and reflects appropriate sources.
The evidence comes from the minimum valid sources. The bibliography is complete.
Valid sources are inconsistently used.  The bibliography contains minor formatting errors.
Multiple sources cited  incorrectly.
Bibliography missing.

Arguments are pertinent to the topic.
Arguments are logical, supported with evidence. The key arguments have been made – no major points have been left out.
Arguments are
pertinent to the topic.   Arguments are fairly logical and reasonably supported.
Most key arguments have been made.
Arguments are not consistently pertinent, logical, or supported. Few key arguments have been made.
Arguments not pertinent. Arguments rarely, if at
all, logical and supported.
Almost no key arguments have been made.


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