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Ring of Fire Kids Science Newsletter #45
October 22, 2014

Tropical Fish Moving Northward


This Kids Science Newsletter includes news about Super Typhoon Vongfong, Mars close encounter with a comet and a fun volcano science activity. There is also a question of the month and fun facts about science.

Question of the Month
Why can you see your breath when it's really cold?
(answer follows the simple science experiment)

Science Current Events

Tropical fish moving northward
Tropical fish that need cooler waters are moving toward the north and south poles as the waters in the ocean increase in temperature due to climate change. The tropical fish populations are moving about 9 miles northward (and southward) each decade. The waters near the pole are cooler and are better oxygenated. This movement northward by fish will open up new opportunities for fishing fleets in the arctic areas.
Super Typhoon Vongfong
The most powerful typhoon this year reached 155 mph (250 km/h) on October 7th. Wind gusts reached 190 mph (306 km/h) in the Western Pacific. The typhoon was the second one to strike Japan within a week. The super typhoon was equal to a category 5 hurricane in the Pacific Ocean. Typhoons are the term used for powerful storms that form in the western Pacific Ocean and southeastern Indian Ocean.
Comet Siding Spring close encounter with Mars
Comet Siding Spring had a close encounter with Mars on October 19th. The comet that flew by the red planet came from the far reaches of space as it orbits the Sun. The comet flew within 87,000 miles (139,500 kilometers) of Mars on October 19th. NASA took steps to protect satellites that are orbiting Mars as they took pictures of the comet. The close encounter is expected to give scientists new information on the formation of our Solar System.
Origin of the Man in the Moon
New studies of the surface of the Moon suggest that the giant basin on the near side of the moon might have formed when ancient magma flows brought molten magma to the Moon's surface. Prior to this discovery scientists have thought the feature was caused by a large asteroid as it struck the Moon's surface. Instead images by NASA's Grail mission probes reveal a rectangular structure underground instead of a circular feature. This suggests a rift valley similar to ones found on Earth. Because the lava made this area so much hotter than the mostly cooled rock around the surface cracked and shrank away from the cool surrounding crust.

Science Trivia

  • Before Sir Isaac Newton, no one knew why things fall to the ground or why planets go around the Sun. Newton said that the answer came to him while sitting in an orchard. As an apple fell nearby, he wondered if the apple was not simply falling but was being pulled down by an invisible force. From this simple idea, Newton developed his theory of gravity. It is the universal force that tries to pull all matter together.
  • Hummingbirds are the smallest birds. They are so tiny that praying mantis, which are insects, are one of their enemies.
  • If all the water in the air fell at the same time, it would cover the whole Earth with 1 inch ((25mm) of rain. This amount of rain would fill enough buckets to reach from the Earth to the Sun 57 million times.
  • It's possible for a shark to detect a fish's heartbeat before it attacks.

Simple Science Activity
Cotton Ball Eruptions


Scientists use past eruptions to predict what will happen during future eruptions on a particular volcano. For example, geologists studying the 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens were able to evacuate people living around Mount Pinatubo prior to its eruption in 1991 thus saving thousands of lives. The eruption was the 2nd largest of the 20th Century.


  • Light blue poster board
  • Cotton balls
  • Brown construction paper
  • White glue
  • Black felt pen
  • Scissors


  1. Cut five miniature volcanoes out of brown construction paper.
  2. Glue the five miniature volcanoes on the blue paper so you can write below each volcano and there will enough room to glue cotton balls above the volcanoes. (use the picture as a guide)
  3. Print with a black felt pen Mt. Mazama below the first volcano and the date of this eruption, which was 4,600 BC.
  4. Glue 42 cotton balls above the volcano.
  5. The second volcano is Vesuvius. Eruption was 79 AD. Glue 3 cotton balls above Vesuvius.
  6. The third volcano is Krakatau. Eruption was 1883. Glue 18 cotton balls above Krakatau.
  7. The fourth volcano is Novarupta in Alaska. Eruption was 1912. Glue 12 cotton balls above Novarupta.
  8. The fifth volcano is Mount Saint Helens that erupted on May 18, 1980. Glue 1 cotton ball above the volcano.

Science behind the activity
The cotton balls that were glued above each volcano in this activity represent all the airborne ash and pumice erupted during the eruption.

Scientists study past eruptions to help them understand the size and type of possible eruptions that may occur in the future on dangerous volcanoes. They study the amount of airborne ash, pumice and other volcanic material produced during the eruption to determine its size even though the eruptions occurred in the distant past.

Answer to the question of the month
Why can you see your breath when it's really cold?

When you exhale in cold weather, the water vapor in your warm breath hits the cold air and condenses into tiny water droplets which makes a mini-cloud.

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Sincerely yours,
Myrna Martin

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