Earth's Hydrologic Cycle

The ocean is the key element in Earth's hydrologic cycle (water cycle). Students will construct a simple model of the hydrologic cycle to help them visualize and understand the movement of liquid water and heat.

Earth: This Is Home

If you have ever used Google Earth, what was the first place you tried to find? For many people the answer is “my home.” Where humans choose to live is one of the fundamental influences on the surface of our planet.

Exploring Color Maps

Blue landmasses? Green clouds? Red ice shelves? Maybe you’ve seen a colorful map and said to yourself, that’s not how it looks in real life!

Exploring Energy with GIS

Geoscientists, energy researchers, and others in numerous careers and disciplines use GIS and its integrative nature to tackle these issues. You can, too.

Exploring Geoheritage From Space

 Great images of geoheritage sites can be found everywhere.  But no one holding a camera on Earth can “back away” far enough to get the extraordinary perspective captured by NASA satellites. In celebration of Earth Science Week 2016, NASA's Earth Observatory has created a special collection of images and articles showcasing geoheritage sites in America’s National Parks.

Exploring Geoheritage Through EarthCaching

An EarthCache is a special site that people can visit to learn about a unique geoscience feature or aspect of our Earth. Visitors to EarthCache sites can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage the resources and how scientists gather evidence to learn about the Earth.

Exploring Porosity

Earth scientists play a vital role in harvesting the energy resources on which we all rely. When preparing to drill for oil, for example, geoscientists must assess many aspects of a rock stratum (layer). For example, they must figure out the volume of the rock’s pores, or empty spaces, as compared with the rock’s total volume. This is called the rock’s porosity. To help you understand porosity, think about different sizes of gravel. Which size gravel will have the greatest porosity? Why? In this activity, you will work in groups to explore the answers to these questions.

Find Your Park

A park can be many different things to many different people. For many people, Canyonlands National Park is a favorite showcase of geology.

In each of the park’s districts, you can see the remarkable effects of millions of years of erosion on a landscape of sedimentary rock. The Green River has carved a channel out of rock layers deposited nearly 300 million years ago creating an open book for earth science enthusiast of all ages.


Learn the dangers of flooding in this activity, where students explore soil porosity and permeability.

Fossil Formation

Have you ever seen a fossil? A fossil is any evidence of past life preserved in sediments or rocks. Do you think you could have dinosaur fossils in your family car’s gas tank? Did you ever hear that oil and natural gas are “fossil fuels”? Do you think oil and natural gas can be made from fossils? How long do you think it takes fossil fuel to form?


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