Background: Topographic maps show two-dimensional representations of Earth's surface. With these maps, you can determine the slope of a hill, what direction streams flow, and where mines and other features are located. In this lab, you will use the topographic map on the following page to determine elevation for several routes and to create a profile showing elevation.

Question: How can you use a topographic map to interpret information about an area?

Materials ruler string piece of paper


1. Read and complete the lab safety form.

2. Take a piece of paper and lay it on the map so that it intersects Point A and Point B.

3. On this piece of paper, draw a small line at each place where a contour line intersects the line from Point A to Point B. Also note the elevation at each hash mark and any rivers crossed.

4. Copy the table shown on this page into your science journal.

5. Now take your paper where you marked your lines and place it along the base of the table.

6. Mark a corresponding dot on the table for each elevation.

7. Connect the dots to create a topographic profile.

8. Use the map to answer the following questions. Be sure to check the map's scale.

9. Use the string to measure distances between two points that are not in a straight line. Lay the string along curves, and then measure the distance by laying the string along the ruler. Remember that elevations on United States Geological Survey (USGS) maps are given in feet.

Analyze and Conclude

1. Determine What is the contour interval?

2. Identify what type of map scale the map utilizes.

3. Calculate the stream gradient of Big Wildhorse Creek from the Gravel Pit in Section 21 to where the creek crosses the road in Section 34.

4. Calculate What is the highest elevation of the jeep trail? If you followed the jeep trail from the highest point to where it intersects an unimproved road, what would be your change in elevation?

5. Apply If you started at the bench mark (BM) on the jeep trail and hiked along the trail and the road to the Gravel Pit in section 21, how far would you hike?

6. Analyze What is the straight line distance between the two points in Question 4? What is the change in elevation?

7. Predict Does Big Wildhorse Creek flow throughout the year? Explain your answer.

8. Calculate What is the shortest distance along roads from the Gravel Pit in Section 21 to the secondary highway?

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  • Fredrik
    How do I use geolab map scales?
    9 years ago
  • russom
    Does big wildhorse creek flow throuhout year?
    9 years ago
  • venerando
    How far do you have to hike from the bench mark to the gravel pit?
    9 years ago
  • luigina
    Does the big wildhorse creek flow all year answer?
    9 years ago
  • raymond
    Does big wildhouse creek flow all year round?
    6 years ago
  • liliana esposito
    Does big wildhorse creek flow throughout year topographic maps answers?
    5 years ago
  • AWET
    Does big wildhorse creek flow all year round?
    4 years ago
  • aida
    What is the shortest distance along roads from the gravel pit in?
    6 months ago
  • Frances
    What is the stream gradient of jack creek?
    5 months ago

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