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Sciencelog: Earthquakes

With the powerful earthquake that recently struck Alaska on January 24, 2016, I though it would be helpful to gather some of my earthquake related resources onto a single page. The quake registered 7.1 on the Richter Scale, making it one of the most powerful quakes to hit Alaska in recent decades.

Hopefully this information will make it easier to understand some of the news coverage, as well as helping you spot some of the common misconceptions, and answer some of the questions you may have.

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Sorting Sediments


One of the main things that we use for identifying clastic sedimentary rocks is grain size, the size of the pieces. Rocks that have been deposited by water or wind tend to be very well sorted, with all of the pieces being pretty much the same size. How does that happen?

Feeling Sound Waves

This experiment is one that I have noticed while doing my electricity shows. I use a balloon in the show to demonstrate positive and negative static charges. While holding this balloon, I noticed that I could feel a variety of sounds, especially when I was using a microphone and loud speaker.

Drawing Life Sized Dinosaurs

I have loved dinosaurs since I was 4 years old. They lead me to my interest in science, caused me to study geology in college, and lead me to my first job as a geology instructor at the Memphis Pink Palace Museum. They were incredible creatures, ranging in size from tiny to huge. How big were dinosaurs? Here is a way that you can find out.

Creeping Carpets

This experiment is one that has been "cooking" in my mind for a while now. Today I had carpets on my mind, since I was cleaning them with our new carpet cleaner. We live at the beach, and our carpets tend to get dirty and sandy, so we place small rugs along the pathway that gets the most use. One problem is that the rugs don't stay there. They slowly migrate across the room. How can this happen? Is the cat doing it to drive us crazy? (She would if she thought it would work!) No, the cat is not involved. The movement is due to the interaction between the carpet and the rugs.

Cat Wiggles

If you have ever watched a cat preparing to pounce on its favorite toy, you may have seen it wiggle its back legs from side to side just before it leaps. Why do they do that? It would seem that the movement would alert their prey, so there has to be a good reason for the behavior. To understand that, we need to learn a bit about muscles and tendons.

Cat Lapping

This experiment comes from a recent event in the science news. Researches have discovered that cats drink in a very different way from dogs and other mammals. Now you might think that things like this had been completely explored decades or even centuries ago, but high speed photography has shown us things that we did not suspect before.

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