One of the most frightening and destructive phenomena of nature is a severe earthquake and its terrible aftereffects. An earthquake is a sudden movement of the Earth, caused by the abrupt release of strain that has accumulated over a long time. For hundreds of millions of years, the forces of plate tectonics have shaped the Earth as the huge plates that form the Earth's surface slowly move over, under and past each other. Sometimes the movement is gradual. At other times, the plates are locked together, unable to release the accumulating energy. When the accumulated energy grows strong enough, the plates break free. If the earthquake occurs in a populated area, it may cause many deaths and injuries and extensive property damage.
Caves with the National Natural Landmark (NNL) designation are some of the most fascinating of the thousands of caves around the world, and each one is unique. Caves’ special features are the product of various types of rock, their geologic setting, local climate, and time. This diversity in cave environments provides unique habitats for many different species of plants, animals, and other types of organisms. Each organism has developed specialized adaptations to survive in these cave environments.
Hurricanes are among the most common and most destructive types of natural hazards on Earth. Because they occur across space and time, hurricanes can be better understood using maps, particularly digital maps within a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) environment. GIS allows you to use maps as analytical tools—not maps that someone else has made—but using your own maps to make decisions.
In this activity you will use seeds to model mining valuable materials from rocks.
Atmospheric scientists study weather processes, the global dynamics of climate, solar radiation and its effects, and the role of atmospheric chemistry in ozone depletion, climate change, and pollution. They observe what's going on in our atmosphere today and compare it to records from years past. To monitor the weather, atmospheric scientists use highly specialized instruments that measure rainfall, wind speed and direction, humidity, and atmospheric pressure. You can measure these at your home or school. Begin creating a weather station by building a psychrometer, also called a hygrometer, to measure the relative humidity.
We find carbon everywhere on Earth ─ in trees, rocks, fossil fuels, oceans, and even you! Carbon doesn’t stay in one place, through. Scientists study how carbon moves from one place to another. This is the carbon cycle.
Learn the value and importance of the The Wilderness Act of 1964 with this online activity from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
How are people affecting your local environment? How is our planet changing? Join the “citizen science” movement, and you can help discover the answers.
Citizen science is a form of open collaboration in which members of the public participate in the scientific process to address real-world problems. Volunteers can work with scientists to identify research questions, collect and analyze data, interpret results, make new discoveries, develop technologies and applications, as well as solve complex problems.
The United Nations advocates for 17 Sustainable Development Goals (https://sdgs.un.org/goals), one of which includes taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Climate resilience is the capacity of a community, business, or natural environment to retain essential functions before, during, and after changes to climate occur.
Scientists collect data to understand Earth and how it changes. Quantitative data involves taking measurements, while qualitative data are observations and descriptions of phenomena. When it comes to climate, scientists try to collect as much and as many types of data as possible to be able to analyze how climate is changing and what effects it is having. Because climate affects all areas of the world, collecting this data is a large undertaking. This is where you can help.