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Which Way
Is North?

Welcome to Geologic Explorations: Which Way Is North?

Which Way Is North? is an activity that allows students to develop skills in understanding location by exploring a variety of unique geological formations using Quicktime Virtual Reality (QTVR) panoramas and topographic maps.

A topographic map is a representation of a three-dimensional surface on a flat piece of paper. Contour lines, sometimes called "level lines," join points of equal elevation. The closer together the contour lines appear on a topographic map, the steeper the slope (assuming constant contour intervals).

The topographic maps used in this activity are USGS Map Series Images (Black and White) 7.5 minute quadrangle maps. These maps were created to be used in Arc/Info GIS software. The scale of each quadrangle map was originally 1:24000. These maps have been significantly reduced in sized to accomodate a Web browser's screen. The original maps used for this activity are located online at

You must have a QuickTime 3.0 (or higher) plug-in in your Web browser's Plug-In folder to view the QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) movies on these Web pages. The latest version of QuickTime (plug-in included) can be downloaded at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/. Once the movie appears, you can interactively pan left, right, up, or down simply by clicking and dragging your mouse over the image. To zoom in or out of the image, use the Control and Shift keys on your keyboard.

Twelve different locations are provided for your exploration. Click on a location below to begin your exploration.
As you examine the topographic maps and QuickTime Virtual Reality movies, pay attention to differences in the topography to determine which way is north.

Location 1 Location 2 Location 3 Location 4
Location 5 Location 6 Location 7 Location 8
Location 9 Location 10 Location 11


Credits and Copyright


Pennsylvania Geology | Which Way is North? | Geologic Explorations | Dino Inquiry | Wonderful World of Rocks and Minerals

LEO EnviroSci Inquiry is brought to you by the Lehigh Environmental Initiative at Lehigh University.
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