Earth Science

A:

An active volcano is one that has had at least one eruption in the past 10,000 years. An active volcano can be dormant or erupting.

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  • Why does a compass always point north?

    Q: Why does a compass always point north?

    A: The earth's magnetic field causes a compass to point north, as compasses are powered by magnets. The magnets inside compasses are drawn to the magnetic North Pole, which is about 1,000 miles south of the actual North Pole. Therefore, even though a compass always points north, it does not always point toward the true north.
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  • What is a person who studies rocks called?

    Q: What is a person who studies rocks called?

    A: A person who studies rocks is called a geologist. Geologists also study how the Earth is made and how the planet changes in time.
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  • How does altitude affect temperature?

    Q: How does altitude affect temperature?

    A: Air temperature decreases as altitude increases. Air is a mixture of gases, and at higher altitudes, air pressure decreases, which cools any gas. Air pressure on Earth is estimated to be about 14.7 pounds per square inch at sea level.
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  • What is a grassland ecosystem?

    Q: What is a grassland ecosystem?

    A: A grassland ecosystem is the collection of plants, animals and micro-organisms that live within an environment where grasses are the primary form of vegetation. Examples of grassland ecosystems include the prairies of western North America, the Pampas of Argentina and the Russian steppes.
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  • What is the Great Blue Hole?

    Q: What is the Great Blue Hole?

    A: The Great Blue Hole is an underwater sinkhole frequented by scuba divers for its numerous species of tropical fish and its clear blue waters. Measuring 984 feet across and 410 feet deep, it is located off the coast of Belize, about 62 miles away from Belize City.
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  • What is an ice cap?

    Q: What is an ice cap?

    A: An ice cap is a glacier that covers less than 19,000 square miles. These miniature ice sheets form in polar and subpolar regions that are high in elevation and possess a relatively flat surface. Glacial ice that covers an area greater than 19,000 miles is known as an ice sheet.
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  • How do glaciers change the landscape?

    Q: How do glaciers change the landscape?

    A: Glaciers alter the landscape through erosion of the soil and rocks over which they pass. This erosion process leaves a vertical-walled valley similar to an amphitheater at the glacier's sources, according to Reference.com. As they travel through V-shaped valleys, glaciers transform the valley into a U-shape, grinding away cliffs and the bases of slopes. If the ocean fills these valleys, they become fjords.
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  • What are some examples of ductile metals?

    Q: What are some examples of ductile metals?

    A: Gold and platinum are the most ductile metals on the periodic table of elements. Metals like copper, iron, nickel, manganese, silver, iridium, osmium, tungsten, tantalum, hafnium, rhenium, tin and zirconium can be drawn into very long wires. An ounce of gold can be drawn into a wire 50 miles long.
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  • What Is a physical feature in geography?

    Q: What Is a physical feature in geography?

    A: Physical features in geography include bodies of water and landforms, for example, oceans, mountains, lakes, rivers, plateaus, plains, streams, hills, bays, gulfs, volcanoes, canyons, valleys and peninsulas are all various physical features. Anything that describes the Earth's topography is a physical feature.
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  • What is the composition of air?

    Q: What is the composition of air?

    A: Air is a gaseous substance that is composed primarily of nitrogen, oxygen and argon. The air in the atmosphere that surrounds the Earth is approximately 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen and 1 percent argon, with the remainder made up of various other gases including neon, helium and hydrogen.
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  • What are the main causes of flooding?

    Q: What are the main causes of flooding?

    A: Heavy, consistent and prolonged rainfall coupled with the overflowing of rivers and other water channels is one of the main causes of flooding. As rainwater reaches and fills the river channels, the water spreads on the floodplain or the land next to the river and causes flooding.
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  • Who discovered the chloroplast?

    Q: Who discovered the chloroplast?

    A: Russian botanist Konstantin Mereschkowsky was the first person to discover the chloroplast. His discovery was the result of his work with lichens. In 1905, he began arguing for the symbiotic origin of the chloroplast and nucleus.
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  • How does distance from the sea affect temperature?

    Q: How does distance from the sea affect temperature?

    A: Large bodies of water take longer to warm or cool than the land does, so coastal regions generally see lower temperatures during the summer and warmer temperatures during the winter than areas that are further inland. When warm air from the inland areas meets the cool sea air, moisture and water droplets form fog, which is far less common further from the sea.
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  • How many minutes of daylight do we gain each day?

    Q: How many minutes of daylight do we gain each day?

    A: In the month of January, between 1.5 to 2 minutes of daylight are gained each day. In February, about 2 1/2 minutes of daylight are gained each day.
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  • What are the abiotic and biotic factors in an ecosystem?

    Q: What are the abiotic and biotic factors in an ecosystem?

    A: Abiotic factors are the nonliving physical and chemical components of an ecosystem, while biotic factors are the living components of an ecosystem. Both types of factors affect reproduction and survival.
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  • How do humans affect the ecosystem?

    Q: How do humans affect the ecosystem?

    A: Human activity affects ecosystems in a wide variety of ways, but it primarily does so through agriculture, habitat destruction, water use and fishing. Whenever humans enter a habitat, they tend to reshape it to fit their own needs, destroying the resources that other animals use, which drives them out. The overuse of water drains natural aquifers and alters the local water table, and pollution can negatively affect wildlife populations.
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  • Where is the windiest place in the world?

    Q: Where is the windiest place in the world?

    A: According to the American Museum of Natural History, Antarctica is the windiest place on earth with winds that are regularly exceed 100 miles per hour. Commonwealth Bay in Antarctica regularly experiences winds in excess of 150 miles per hour.
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  • What are man-made resources?

    Q: What are man-made resources?

    A: Man-made resources are items or substances that have value to human lives that do not occur in the natural world. Examples of man-made resources include plastic, paper, soda, sheet metal, rubber and brass. These contrast with natural resources, such as water, crops, sunlight, crude oil, wood and gold.
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  • What are the four biogeochemical cycles?

    Q: What are the four biogeochemical cycles?

    A: The four biogeochemical cycles include the water cycle, the carbon cycle, the phosphorous cycle and the nitrogen cycle. These four cycles involve biology, chemistry and geology and describe the flow of nutrients and waste products on Earth.
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  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of fires?

    Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of fires?

    A: Fires can cause damage to property and homes, but they are also a crucial instrument that has helped man forge tools and keep predators at bay. Even though burns can cause severe injuries to the skin, fire has also helped man cook food.
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  • What does the term "environmental factors" mean?

    Q: What does the term "environmental factors" mean?

    A: Environmental factors refer to any element that might bring change to an existing environment. This include human factors such as litter that does not biodegrade, as well as such natural forces as the weather. One thing that is always true about the environment is that it is always in the state of change. Some of these shifts are easy to see, like an avalanche that happens on the side of a mountain as the result of traffic construction activity, while others are less obvious, such as sand finally becoming sandstone.
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