Earth Science

A:

Most earthquakes occur along the boundaries between the Earth's tectonic plates. The crust of the Earth is divided into plates. When a plate collides with or slides past another plate, this causes earthquakes. For example, as the Pacific plate moves past the North American plate, many earthquakes occur along the coast of California.

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  • What is the difference between high and low tides?

    Q: What is the difference between high and low tides?

    A: A high or low tide occurs based on where the highest or lowest part of the wave hits the shore. A high tide reaches further up on the shore than a low tide. Most coastal regions experience two high tides and two low tides every 24 hours and 50 minutes.
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  • What are different types of tornadoes?

    Q: What are different types of tornadoes?

    A: There are six different types of tornadoes. The most commonly recognized type is the supercell tornado, the type that causes massive destruction. A gustnado is the opposite; it is very weak. It causes leaves and other debris to swirl around on the ground during a storm.
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  • What is the frost line depth in New York City?

    Q: What is the frost line depth in New York City?

    A: The average frost line depth in New York City is 36 inches. The frost line is the average depth in which the ground water in soil usually freezes. This is also referred to as "frost depth" or "freezing depth."
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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 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 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 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 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 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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  • 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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  • What is deforestation?

    Q: What is deforestation?

    A: Deforestation is clearing away woodlands to use the cleared land for other uses. Deforestation happens to all types of woodland, including jungle and rain forest. The land is often used for farming or urban development.
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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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  • What are the water cycle steps, in order?

    Q: What are the water cycle steps, in order?

    A: In order, the steps of the water cycle are evaporation, condensation, sublimation, precipitation, transpiration, runoff and infiltration. Together, all of the steps help regulate the Earth’s water supply and climate.
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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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  • 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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  • Why is the Mississippi River important?

    Q: Why is the Mississippi River important?

    A: The Mississippi River is important due to its necessity in American commerce. Cities such as New Orleans, St. Louis and Minneapolis all get water from the river.
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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 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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  • How do glaciers cause erosion?

    Q: How do glaciers cause erosion?

    A: Glaciers erode the land in three primary ways: plucking, abrasion and freeze-thaw. All three manners of erosion combine to make glaciers one of the world’s most powerful agents of erosion.
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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 causes a monsoon?

    Q: What causes a monsoon?

    A: A monsoon is caused when a low-pressure area built up over a hot landmass reacts with a high-pressure zone over a cool ocean, sending moisture-laden wind toward the low-pressure zone. Once over the landmass, the ocean air rises and forms rain clouds. Dense cloud formation and heavy rains are especially likely to occur if there are higher elevations like with inland mountains.
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