Geology: Tectonic Fury


Unlock Earth's mysteries by understanding its geologic processes

Connect with scientists from the Smithsonian Institution, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the National Energy Technology Laboratory, and NOAA to:

  • Determine how to locate rare minerals that drive technological innovation
  • Explain how a devastating volcanic eruption can drive the cycle of life
  • Propose a plan to store carbon dioxide deep underground
  • Investigate how gravity can point us to underwater mountains taller than Mt. Everest
  • Learn how maps have aided exploration over the centuries

Mission 1: The Building Blocks – Earth’s Rocks and Minerals

Host Researcher:
Dr. Mike Wise
Smithsonian Institution – National Museum of Natural History

Search for and discover invaluable rocks and prized minerals hidden deep under our feet.


Mission 2: Earth’s Changing Face – Weathering, Erosion, and Soils

Host Researcher:
Dr. Virginia Dale
Mathematical Ecologist
Director, Center for BioEnergy Sustainability
Oak Ridge National Lab

Scour Earth’s surface for evidence of weathering and erosion – processes that sculpt and shape our ever-changing planet.


Mission 3: Analyzing the Evidence – Dating, Fossils, and Geologic Time

Host Researcher:
Dr. George Guthrie
Focus Area Leader, Geosciences
National Energy Technology Laboratory

Unravel the mysteries of Planet Earth using ancient clues and cutting-edge technologies.


Mission 4: Earth on the Move – Plate Tectonics, Earthquakes, and Volcanoes

Host Researcher:
Dr. Walter Smith

Journey through the oceans and Earth’s outer layers to its core to better understand the dynamic nature of our planet.

Student Edition (Print & Digital)

This 136-page, full-color magazine introduces the host researchers and Argonaut teams, and provides the science background knowledge and the tools to help students solve each mission challenge. It also contains a “getting started” tutorial, an introduction to mapping, reference charts, a glossary, and interdisciplinary connections.

Teacher Edition (Print & Digital)

This 160-page, two-color manual includes facsimile Student Edition pages, wrap-around teacher notes, lesson plans, extentions, worksheets, and resources.


60 minutes of videos introduce teachers and students to some of the world’s top explorers and key science concepts. Our video content is seamlessly woven throughout the curriculum, offering a gateway into the exciting world of exploration and adventure.

Digital Labs and Games

Digital Labs allow students to explore the work of Operation: Tectonic Fury through interactive online games such as “Landform Detectives,” which explores the formation and location of Earth’s geologic features.

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