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Professional Development

The Lay of the Land: Effects of Kentucky Geology on Culture

Historical uses of land in Kentucky’s varied regions
Grade Levels:
90 minutes
Taping Rights:
Teaching Materials:
See Below
Program Schedule:
See Below

In this three-part KET professional development series for science teachers, University of Kentucky geology professor Dr. Frank Ettensohn explores how the diverse geology of Kentucky’s many regions influenced each area’s history, geography, and culture—particularly people’s ability or inability to use the land. From the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River beds, the series looks at each region of the state from the perspective of geology. Ettensohn is joined by Terri Koontz, a science teacher at Lexington Traditional Magnet School.

Length: 3 programs; 90 minutes each
Audience: science teachers, all levels


  1. After a visit to a horse farm in the inner Bluegrass, Frank and Terri travel down to the Clays Ferry fault, up into Northern Kentucky, and down the Ohio River to the Falls of the Ohio. During their journey, Frank explains the causes and effects of the variety of geologic ages and formations they encounter.

  2. Frank journeys to the Appalachian or Cumberland Plateau, famous for its mountainous topography and major coal production. He discusses the Cumberland and Pine gaps, two of a small number of geologically related gaps in the mountains of the Cumberland Plateau, and explores how economic dependence on coal and lumber, two resources found in abundance throughout the region, has commonly depleted or destroyed the land and its natural beauty. The final segment of the program concerns the Pottsville Escarpment and the Pine Mountain thrust block.

  3. Explores the varied geology of Western Kentucky: the Pennyroyal Plateau; the Western Kentucky Coalfield; and the Jackson Purchase, the westernmost region of the state and the site of the most violent earthquakes ever recorded in North America.

Teaching Materials

For Program 1; PDF format.
KET Online
For Program 2; PDF format.
KET Online
For Program 3; PDF format.
KET Online
KET Professional Development
(800) 432-0951
600 Cooper Drive
Lexington, KY 40502-2296

Kentucky schools may tape and retain programs according to the rights listed above. For further information, contact the KET Education Division.

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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27-Aug-2013 09:58:44 Eastern Daylight Time