Human Impacts

A Bit of Engineering

The JOIDES Resolution is an amazing ship that contains all the equipment necessary to drill into the ocean floor for samples of rock and sediment: a derrick, drill pipe, drilling tools, and drill bits. Once the cylindrical core sample arrives on the rig floor, the drill crew passes the 10 m core to technicians. They, in turn, carry it to the catwalk, where it is cut into 1.5 m sections and labeled. After the core is brought up on deck, the technicians notify the rest of the crew by yelling: "CORE ON DECK!"

A Model of Three Faults

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.

A Paste with a Taste

To allow students to produce a "marketable" product made from minerals that are used by most people every day. Both the abrasive and cleansing compounds found in toothpaste, calcium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate, are minerals.

Aggregates Matter

Crushed stone, sand, and gravel are the three kinds of rock fragments that are called aggregates. Consider: At the current rate of usage, every American will need 1.37 million pounds of aggregates in his or her lifetime. Aggregates are mined in every state in the nation. Aggregates are the most commonly used mined rocks in all countries of the world.

Analyzing Hurricanes Using Web and Desktop GIS

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.

Birdseed Mining

In this activity you will use seeds to model mining valuable materials from rocks.

Burning Issues

Students will become familiar with fire terminology, realize how fire can be used as a management tool, and better understand the factors that need to be considered when planning a prescribed burn.

Carbon Travels

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.

Chemistry of Burning

Why is CO2 increasing in the atmosphere? Who is doing it? Many people think that CO2 is “pollution,” so that clean burning should be a way to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. In this demonstration, we review basic chemistry (see illustration) to realize that producing CO2 is an inevitable product of burning any fossil fuel.

Citizen Science

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.


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