Rocks, Minerals and Soils Introduction


As you toss and turn in your sleeping bag you realize that something is very strange. At first you were too deeply sleeping to figure it out, but when you heard the noise again, you suddenly were wide awake. "What was that?" you ask your grandfather who was also awakened by the strange sound. "I don't know," he said. Even in the dark, you know that he is scared. You can hear it in his voice. Your grandfather is much older and wiser than you. You have always looked to him as the "protector," and now you wonder just how much protection he will provide from whatever is out there. You wonder if your parents hear the noise as well. After all, they are only a few feet away from you in the motorhome. You hear it again. It is definitely closer than before.


Together you and your grandfather decide you better make a run for it soon. You gather up the courage to look out the door of the tent. What you see takes your breath away. There is no motorhome. There is no campground. You are in the middle of a hot, steamy forest. "What is happening? This can't be real." This time when you hear the animal-like screeching, you see movement in the trees nearby. "What could be making that awful sound?" your grandfather whispers. You try to think. It does not sound like anything you have ever heard before. All of the sudden it leaps from the trees. "This can't be happening," you tell yourself again and again. And then you see it. And unfortunately, it sees you. You have seen pictures of these creatures before, but they are not supposed to be here, not now. You swallow hard. The Utah Raptor you see looks hungry. 


Even though you might think your teacher is old enough to have known a dinosaur or two, the above story is, of course, fiction. Utah Raptors, one of the smartest and most vicious creatures of its time, no longer wander the hills and valleys of Utah in search of food. Your scary adventure was only a bad dream. Life in Utah millions of years ago was much different than it is today. The only evidence we have of this great predator is fossils and footprints.

In this unit you will learn more about how scientists discover Utah's very distant past by studying evidence found in the present. You will also learn more about the rocks and minerals that provide us with clues to a world we can only imagine. So get ready to rock. This unit is all about rocks and clues and you.


Mountains of Minerals The Erosion Model
Your Daily Minerals Sizing It Up
Utah Rock Soil Recipe
The Crystal Connection Dirt By Any Other Name Still Smells
Mineral Properties Crumbs & Clods
The Rock Recipe Soil Profiles
The Rock Cycle Introducing Soils
Fire Up the Furnace The Journal
My Sediments Exactly Soil Conservation
Under Pressure Plants Without soil?
What Kind of Rock Am I? Rock Videos and Web Links
Weathering Rock Words
Home Sweet Home  


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Updated August 7, 2001 by: Glen Westbroek

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