Wetlands are places where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by water or saturated at least some of the time. They include mangroves, marshes, swamps, forested wetlands, and bogs and are important nurseries for young birds, fish, amphibians, and other aquatic plants and animals. In addition to providing habitat for wildlife, wetlands offer storm protection, improve water quality, support aquatic species, and provide recreational opportunities.
Looking at Earth from space is inspiring. All of the colors you see in a satellite image tell you a lot about the world around us. What is on the land around you? Pavement? A grassy lawn? A forest? What covers our land matters because we depend on and pasture to produce food, forests for wood products, plants for clean air, and water to support wildlife.
Minerals are the naturally occurring solid materials that make up rocks and sands and are found in soil. You are probably aware of everyday minerals like halite (sodium chloride — table salt), graphite (“lead” in pencils), quartz (main mineral in beach sand), and others. As of this writing, there are 5,663 known minerals, and new ones are still being discovered. You can learn about minerals online in the Handbook of Mineralogy (https://handbookofmineralogy.org/).
Archaeological remains include artifacts (portable) and features (non-portable) made and used by humans. Archaeologists use these objects to understand how ancient people lived. How well archaeological remains survive depends on the materials they were made of, the ways they were used, the manner in which they were discarded, and the environment in which they were deposited. Organic remains generally decay in a short time unless preserved in special conditions.
Try this activity from the Association of American State Geologists!
Water moves from Earth’s surface to the atmosphere and then returns to the surface. This process is nearly always depicted in water cycle diagrams by arrows drawn in a circular direction.
However, the actual path water may take in its cycle is far more complicated. In this activity, you will discover multiple cycles by acting as water molecules and traveling through parts of the overall water cycle. In the end, your water cycle will look nothing like the conceptual model but will represent a more realistic cycle.