Label: Earth Science Books

April 1, 2010

March 18, 2010

I’ve always liked the "Katie Talks About…." blog. She looks at the world with wit, irony,  and an authentic Mom’s point of view. Today, Katie is writing about Seymour’s Global Warming book. Click the link to read her review!

 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

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March 18, 2010


Who doesn’t love trees? A walk in the woods, the sounds hushed as your footsteps are alternately muffled by the carpet of old fallen leaves underfoot or crackling through the recently-fallen dry leaves of autumn,  slants of sun filtering through the branches high overhead, is one of my favorite activities not only in the fall, but at any time of year.

Trees are uniquely designed organisms with multiple survival mechanisms that allow them to live far longer than most other living things. You only see the top half a tree in the forest. The other half is the root system and it lies hidden underground. There are two main types of trees:  deciduous and conifers. Oaks and maples and many other broadleaf trees are called deciduous trees. They usually drop their leaves in the autumn. Pines, spruce,fir and others grow cones and are called conifers.  They keep their leaves and shed only a few of the oldest all year long.

There’s an excellent online story today at Wired.com called The Oldest Trees on the Planet, which includes a slideshow of 12 trees that are each thousands of years old. This photo essay is full of the kind of WOW! moments that I love to share with kids…..for example,  there is a photo of a tree that, at 6,615 tons, is the heaviest living organism on earth. Another one was just a sapling approximately 3,500 years ago, during the Bronze Age! Kids will be fascinated by the photographs of these trees and their stories.

Coincidentally,  last night we were looking at an incredible book called The Life and Love of Trees. Photographer Lewis Blackwell (who is also the head of creative development at Getty Images) worked with a group of internationally known photographers to document trees in all their majesty and glory. The result is an absolutely stunning book that is very moving, as well. I have taken many, many photographs of trees, but these are particularly artistic and capture the majesty of these forest giants as successfully as any collection that I’ve ever seen. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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March 2, 2010

Many kids (adults, too) are asking what is happening inside the earth,  with January’s devastating earthquake in Haiti followed so quickly by a near record-breaking quake in Chile over the weekend.

In fact, the two earthquakes happening within a few weeks of each other are a coincidence. Each quake was independent and happened along different fault lines and for a different reason. There should be no particular reason for another earthquake to happen now along a different fault line. That’s not to say that there won’t be many aftershocks along the same fault lines that the Haiti and Chile earthquake happened. There will be many of those. But there is no particular "earthquake time"  happening now. Every moment of the year, someplace on Earth the ground is shaking and we call that an earthquake.

My family sometimes jokes with me that whenever anything happens, I pipe up and say "I’ve written a book about that." At this point in my writing career, it’s nearly true!

 

Here are some relevant words and definitions from my EARTHQUAKES book.

FAULT:  A crack or break in the earth’s crust. A fault is caused by movement of the rock formations that make up the crust. The San Andreas fault in California stretches for one thousand miles from Mendocino to the Gulf of California. Earthquakes often occur along faults.  [Fault comes from a Latin word meaning "to fail."]

FOCUS: The origin of earthquake waves, or the location inside the earth where rocks shifted during an earthquake. From this point the energy of an earthquake speeds outward through the surrounding rocks in all directions.  [Focus is the Latin word for "hearth", the center of the ancient Roman household.]

STRESS:  The application of forces, such as tension, that tend to cause an object to change its shape or size. Stress is expressed in force per unit of area, such as pounds per square inch or grams per square centimeter.

SEISMIC: Having to do with earthquakes or other movements of the earth’s crust. Seismic waves are waves of motion in the ground produced by earthquakes.  [Seismic comes from a Greek word meaning "to shake."]

SEISMOLOGY: The scientific study of earthquakes and other movements of the earth’s crust.

With the earthquakes in Haiti and in Chile in recent weeks, some people are wondering if something special is going on inside our planet Earth. Is there a reason for all the earthquakes in the news at the same time?  Probably not. The earthquakes in Haiti and Chile are on different faults and of different kinds. Both are huge quakes and the results have been terrible. But each happened independently and they are related to each other only in the sense that they both demonstrate the enormous forces within our planet.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Earthquakes, Earth Science Books   •  Permalink (link to this article)

November 18, 2009



Scientists are not all agreed about how quickly our planet Earth is warming up.  But scientists agree that Earth IS warming up and that it’s happening more quickly than in any other recorded time that we know of. Scientists think that much of the warming is caused by the "greenhouse effect."  That’s when Earth’s atmosphere acts like a huge greenhouse, letting in rays from the sun but trapping heat from escaping into space. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, are given off by burning fossil fuels like oil and coal. The more we use fossil fuels, the more greenhouse gases are going into Earth’s atmosphere.The more we conserve and burn less fuel, the less the amount of greenhouse gases. Another cause of warming is deforestation, cutting down and burning huge numbers of trees. Trees take in carbon dioxide from the air and that alone lessens the greenhouse effect.

You may hear the term "Climate Change" sometimes being used instead of "Global Warming." Climate change is a more general term and refers to long-term shifts in the weather and climate and includes precipitation, such as rain and snow, as well as temperature.

What will happen if Global Warming continues? We’ll talk about that next time. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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March 9, 2009


 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: planets, Earth Science Books, Earth   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 13, 2009

 

 Terrible wildfires have swept across Victoria, Australia. There are ongoing efforts to save Koalas and other wildlife. Perhaps your class might think of a community project to earn some money to help to save Australian wildlife. There are links on this video that will tell you where to write for further information.

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Video, Earth Science Books, Wildfires   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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