Earth Science

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What happens when a big earthquake - or "The Big One" - hits Los Angeles depends on where the earthquake hits and how strong it is. Still, scientists have developed models and speculated on what could happen in a worst-case scenario - and it's not very pretty.

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  • What is collection in the water cycle?

    Q: What is collection in the water cycle?

    A: Collection refers to the process by which water gathers back into bodies of water such as rivers, lakes and oceans. This begins with precipitation, when water falls from the clouds in the form of rain, snow, sleet or hail. A lot of the time, precipitation falls directly into a body of water, but at other times, it soaks into the ground, where plants, people and animals end up drinking it as ground water. Most of the water will end up leaching back into bodies of water through the soil.
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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 parts of a wave?

    Q: What are the parts of a wave?

    A: Transverse waves have two parts: a crest, which is the highest point of the wave, and the trough, which is the lowest part of the wave. Longitudinal waves also have two parts: compression, which are areas of high molecular density, and rarefactions, which are areas of low molecular density.
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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 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 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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  • Why do natural disasters happen?

    Q: Why do natural disasters happen?

    A: There are many different causes for natural disasters; seismic activity, air pressure, ocean currents and soil erosion are the main causes. A natural disaster can cause damage to property, loss of life and effect the economy of the local area.
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  • How are quartz crystals grown?

    Q: How are quartz crystals grown?

    A: Quartz crystals are grown and manufactured using an autoclave. The process creates hydrothermal quartz, which are also known as cultured or synthetic quartz.
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  • What is the Earth's revolution?

    Q: What is the Earth's revolution?

    A: The Earth's revolution occurs in two different ways. The Earth revolves around the sun, and it also revolves, or rotates, on its own axis.
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  • What is ecological balance?

    Q: What is ecological balance?

    A: Ecological balance is a theory stipulating that natural conditions, including numbers of various animal and plant species, remain stable on their own through variations over time. The theory, also known as balance of nature, also holds that natural equilibrium can be changed significantly by new species entering an ecosystem, the disappearance of some species, man-made changes to the environment or natural disasters.
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  • What are types of natural calamities?

    Q: What are types of natural calamities?

    A: Types of natural calamities include hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis. Often, these calamities are connected such that one sets off another, as with earthquakes and tsunamis. Natural calamities are differentiated from human-made calamities, such as industrial accidents.
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  • What is the difference between local winds and global winds?

    Q: What is the difference between local winds and global winds?

    A: The term global winds refers to the six major wind belts that encircle the globe. Local winds, however, are the winds, or breezes, that are stirred up by the temperatures and topographical features of a small region or area. This is especially true of coastal areas.
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  • How does weathering change the Earth's surface?

    Q: How does weathering change the Earth's surface?

    A: Weathering constantly changes the earth's surface by wearing away exposed surfaces, smoothing rough areas of rocks and causing rock materials to break down in time. Weathering creates soil and happens due to ice, wind, water, salt, acids and changes in temperature.
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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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  • 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 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 are the characteristics of metamorphic rocks?

    Q: What are the characteristics of metamorphic rocks?

    A: The characteristics of metamorphic rock are that some contain layers and streaks of different colors and textures caused by different minerals. Other metamorphic rocks are more uniform in color and texture and have minerals arranged in parallel layers.
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  • What is the smallest volcano in the world?

    Q: What is the smallest volcano in the world?

    A: Cuexcomate is considered the world's smallest volcano, with a diameter of 75 feet. Cuexcomate is located in a suburb of the city of Puebla, N.M. It is considered an inactive volcano.
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  • Why is rain important?

    Q: Why is rain important?

    A: Many forms of land-based life depend on fresh water, which comes from rain. Humans depend on rain to fill aquifers. Rain also plays a role in shaping the landscape and bringing nutrients to the ocean.
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  • How are rift valleys formed?

    Q: How are rift valleys formed?

    A: Rift valleys form when tectonic forces deep underground exert a pulling force on the terrain. In areas where this occurs, the land splits into a steep-walled valley with a flat floor. Rift valleys can be very narrow, especially early in their formation.
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  • What are some interesting facts about the Hubbard Glacier?

    Q: What are some interesting facts about the Hubbard Glacier?

    A: The Hubbard Glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in North America. A tidewater glacier is one that flows into the ocean. The glacier is approximately 7 miles wide at its foot and 76 miles long. These measurements are constantly changing as the Hubbard Glacier continues to grow and move forward.
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