Places on the Planet: Latitude and Longitude

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.

Products Made from Petroleum

Most people associate petroleum with transportation — but we are surrounded by thousands of other everyday products that come from this vital natural resource. A typical 42- gallon barrel of crude oil yields about 20 gallons of gasoline and 4 gallons of jet fuel. What products come from the other 18 gallons?

Rain and Soil

When it rains, much of the water drains directly into the ground. But why?

Sea and Ice Salinity

What is sea ice? It is simply frozen ocean water. Why is sea ice important? While it occurs mainly in polar regions, sea ice influences our global climate. Changing amounts of sea ice can affect ocean circulations, weather patterns, and temperatures around the world. Sea ice insulates the relatively warm ocean water from the cold polar atmosphere, except where cracks in the ice allow for the exchange of heat and moisture. The exchange of salt between sea ice and the ocean alters the density of ocean waters, thus influencing ocean circulation. Many animals, such as polar bears, seals, and walruses, depend on sea ice for their habitat. These species hunt, feed, and breed on the ice. Satellites provide the best way to observe sea ice, the factors that affect sea ice, and the ways sea ice affects global climate. Scheduled to launch in 2010, NASA’s Aquarius mission will measure global sea surface salinity with unprecedented resolution. Even small variations in sea surface salinity — the amount of salt present near the ocean’s surface — can have dramatic effects on sea ice, the water cycle, and ocean circulation.

Sources of Minerals

We are surrounded by objects that we depend upon for our everyday lives. From our clothes to our phones, bikes, cars, showers, plates, chairs, televisions, computers, and nearly everything else, we rely on objects made of a variety of materials. But where do those materials come from in the first place, and what happens when we run out of them?

The EarthTrek Gravestone Project

The Gravestone Project, part of the global citizen science program called EarthTrek (www.goearthtrek.com), is seeking volunteers to visit cemeteries around the world and collect scientific data on how marble gravestones are weathering.

Where Growth Meets Growth

Learn to identify fire risk factors for a property located near a wildland area.


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