Our Kids Science Newsletter is published each month during the school year. This Kids Science Newsletter includes a question of the month, current science events, science trivia and a simple science activity that is fun for everyone.
Question of the Month
Why is seawater salty?
(answer follows the simple science experiment)
Science Current Events
- Nevada's Petroglyphs
- Petroglyphs are rock etchings. Recently researchers have found ancient rock etching along a dried-up lake bed in Nevada. It is believed these are the oldest etchings that have been found in the United States. The petroglyphs were found on limestone bounders near Pyramid Lake in northern Nevada. The etchings are found on the Paiute Tribe's reservation land. The etchings have relatively deep, carved lines. The lines create curved and circular geometric designs.
- Marine Life Moving Toward the Poles
- A three year study of marine life find them moving away from the tropics at an average of 45 miles per decade because of the warming oceans. Ocean life including both plants and animals are moving toward the poles at this rate in search of cooler water. The world's oceans have absorbed about 80% of the increased heat on our planet. Phytoplankton (microscopic plant-like organisms) are blooming six days earlier in the season. These animals are the base of the food chain in the oceans. Baby fish are hatching an average of 11 days earlier.
- Yosemite's Rim Fire
- The Rim Fire started on August 17 in the Stanislaus National Forest and is one of the biggest in California history. To date it has burned more than 370 square miles. About 1/4 of the fire was inside Yosemite National Park threatening the giant sequoias in the park. The trees are a favorite tourist attraction and are among the oldest living organisms on Earth. An illegal fire near Jawbone Ridge that got out of control is believed to be the source of the fire at this time. Western states are finding the cost of fighting wildfires to be skyrocketing as their sizes increase and the number of firefighters needed increases.
- Norwegian Seasick Crabs
- A Norwegian fisherman known locally as the "Crab King" holds up live snow crabs for tourists to see. The Norwegian government has banned the practice saying the crabs get "seasick." The strong light, heat and noise is not natural for the crabs outside of the water. The country's food standards agency declared, "Crabs have feelings too." The fisherman and his friends are fighting the ban and want proof of the crabs getting "seasick."
- Lightning can fuse or melt metal together. On August 10, 1975,an umpire referring a cricket game in England was struck by lightning. He was not hurt but the knee joint in his false metal leg was welded solidly together.
- At the end of the Beatles' song A Day in the Life, an ultrasonic whistle, only audible to dogs, was recorded by John Lennon to annoy the music listener's dog.
- When the sun is setting the light that reaches you has had to go through much more atmosphere than when the sun is overhead. The only light rays that are not scattered by the atmosphere at this angle are red because they are the longest light rays.
- The world's longest mountain range is under the sea. The mountain range is called the mid-ocean ridge and runs through all the oceans on Earth like seams on a baseball. The total ridge system is 49,700 miles long.
Simple Science Activity
The last issue of the newsletter you looked at rhyolite magma that erupts to form pumice and obsidian. This issue's activity looks at the amount of molten rock beneath a volcano that remains inside a volcano after an eruption. You will be measuring the amount of magma left in the magma chamber after the eruptions.
- Plastic water or pop bottle
- Fresh baking soda
- Liquid detergent
- Red food coloring
Science behind the experiment
- Pour 2 cups of water into a pop bottle.
- Add 1 tbsp. of baking soda to the water.
- Shake the bottle until the baking soda is dissolved.
- Add a few drops of liquid detergent and red food coloring to the mixture.
- Stir the contents gently.
- Measure the height of the liquid in the plastic bottle with your ruler and record the information on a piece of paper.
- Predict what you think will happen when you add vinegar to the solution.
- Place the bottle on a plate and then add a few spoonfuls of vinegar to the solution.
- After the eruption measure the height of the liquid left in the bottle to determine how much liquid is left.
- Repeat these steps for each eruption until there is not enough baking soda left in the liquid to create an eruption when you add vinegar to the bottle.
Molten rock collects in magma chambers beneath a volcano prior to an eruption. During an eruption some of the magma erupts onto the Earth's surface as dissolved gas bubbles expand forcing the molten rock out of the vent of the volcano. The remaining magma remains underground when the gases are depleted until enough new gas-filled magma moves into the magma chamber powering a new eruption.
Answer to the question of the month
Why is seawater salty?
The salt in the oceans comes from rocks weathering. The minerals that make up rocks often contain salts that are carried into rivers when the rocks erode. These salts concentrate in the oceans as water evaporates from the surface of the ocean and more water containing salt flows into the ocean. Companies that mine salt from the ocean by evaporating ocean water get 2.2 pounds of salt for each cubic foot of ocean water that evaporates.
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