Over Earth’s 4.5 billion-year history, tectonic upheavals and colliding plates formed mountain ranges and carved out basins. Forces of erosion and weathering have been at work to break down these landforms. Records of these processes are imprinted on the land and define distinctive landscapes around the United States and in its national parks.
People must mine minerals to provide all kinds of materials that we depend on in our lives. The purpose of this activity is to test the conductivity of various minerals with a simple electrical circuit and draw conclusions about which ones would be used in electronics.
This activity will help you to understand some of the factors that petroleum geologists need to consider when deciding where to recommend drilling for oil. Since people use petroleum products for energy and as source materials for petrochemicals, it is important as citizen scientists to understand the science and technology behind the search for oil and natural gas.
The five national marine sanctuaries along the West Coast monitor the health of the rocky intertidal ecosystem. One way of doing this is to collect data on the relative abundance of the organisms living in that ecosystem. Since this is such a big task, the national marine sanctuaries are training students in how to follow standardized protocols to help with the monitoring. The information collected is added to an online database that the sanctuaries use to collect baseline data and track long-term changes in the environment. This activity will allow you to learn the sampling techniques used in the field by these citizen scientists who participate in LiMPETS.
Learn about fossil preservation, paleontology, and stratigraphy in this detailed activity from the USGS.
Pretend to be a biologist as you 'discover' a new mollusc species and work to determine it's characteristics and habitat.
Natural gas, which is mostly methane, is an energy resource used for generating electricity and heating, powering transportation, and manufacturing products. Right now, one-quarter of the world’s energy comes from natural gas. In this investigation, you will make a simple model of how gases can form from decaying material. You will also explore the effects of temperature on gas formation.
Ocean currents — the continuous, directed movement of ocean water — affect regional climates and alter the biological and chemical characteristics of seawater.
Citizen scientists involved in the Geological Society of America's EarthCaching project (http://www.earthcache.org) use GPS technology and latitude and longitude coordinates to find special places on the Earth. This activity will help you learn how to find locations using latitude and longitude.
Ever play with clay? Using a common modeling compound, you can form a “volcano” and examine its topography to predict which way lava will flow down its slopes. You could also investigate mud flows or debris flows.