Hydrothermal Quartz

Hydrothermal veins are a combination of the two ways that crystals form. Magma contains water as well as molten rock. Because it is underground, and under tremendous pressure, the water stays a liquid. At very high temperatures and pressure, that water can dissolve quite a few minerals. As the magma cools, the last part that is still a liquid is the quartz and the high temperature/high pressure water. They flow into cracks in the surrounding rocks, where they cool. The quartz starts to solidify quickly, but the hot water keeps some of it dissolved.

Sail Fans

I got the idea for this experiment while driving around town. We were driving across the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine, and I pointed out a sailboat that had a large fan-like propeller sticking up behind the sail. The propeller is attached to a generator, using the wind to recharge the batteries. We joked about it being a fan to provide wind if the breeze died down, which lead to a discussion about what would happen if you tried that. That lead to this experiment.

To find out what would happen if you did mount a big fan to blow on the sails, you will need:

Melting Icebergs

This week's experiment comes from a report I recently heard on National Public Radio. Unfortunately, I was driving and could not write down the fellow's name, so I could give him proper credit. He was talking about the facts and fictions of global warming. One point that he mentioned was one that I had heard many times and had never thought all the way through. What would happen if the global temperature rose enough for the polar ice caps to melt? All of that extra water would cause worldwide flooding, right? Lets investigate. You will need:

Food Web Tag

Grasshopper on flower

Food Web Tag is a classic game that helps people understand how food webs work, letting them see how changing one thing can cause changes across the food web. You can play with as few as 5or 6 people, but it is much better if you have at least 15. To try this, you will need:

How Does a Butterfly Fly?

swallowtail butterfly

In a recent video, we dissected a roast chicken, seeing how the muscles connected to bones to power its wings. This time, we are going to explore a very different arrangement for flight by examining the flight of insects. Since insects have their skeletons on the outside of their bodies, the way their muscles move their bodies is very different from the muscle arrangement for those of us who have out bones on the inside.

To try this, you will need: