Thursday, March 13, 2008

Interesting facts - atmosphere

Gravity holds the atmosphere close to the Earth like a blanket in our body. About 99% of the atmosphere is made up of oxygen and nitrogen. The remainder is made up of argon, carbon dioxide and very small amounts of hydrogen, ozone, methane, carbon monoxide, helium, neon, krypton and xenon. The mixture of gases in the atmosphere has taken over 4.5 billion years to evolve. The thin blanket of atmosphere that surrounds the Earth contains all of the essential ingredients needed to sustain life on our planet—air, water, nutrients, and heat.

Visualized phenomenon that happen in atmosphere

Auroras.

The dancing fluorescent ribbons that light up the night sky

Aurora Borealis(in north) /Aurora Australis(in south), a luminous atmospheric phenomenon that generally appear as bright colorful bands of light commonly referred to as the southern and northern lights, occur in the ionosphere. Auroras are often visible in the night sky in both the northern and southern regions of the Earth. The aurora was named after the Roman goddess of dawn, and was long thought to be produced by sunlight reflected from polar snow and ice, or refracted light much like rainbows. Auroras are caused by high energy particles from the solar wind that is trapped in the Earth's magnetic field . As these particles spiral back and forth along the magnetic field lines, they come down into the atmosphere near the north and south magnetic poles where the magnetic field lines disappear into the body of the Earth. The delicate colors are caused by energetic electrons colliding with oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere. This excites the molecules, and when they decay from the excited states they emit the light that we see in the aurora.

Alaska is by far the best place in the USA to see northern lights that too in the months of September and March, as the Earth is in the zone of maximum solar activity during that period. The aurora is most active late at night or early in the morning, when the sky is clear and the air chilly.

A meteor shower

One wonder in the clear night sky about the sudden flashing of light on the move in the horizon. It is a celestial event where a large number of meteors are seen within a very short period of time.

The upper air burst into life!
And a hundred fire-flags sheen,
To and fro they were hurried about!
And to and fro, and in and out,
The wan stars danced between

These meteors are small fragments of cosmic debris entering Earth's atmosphere at extremely high speed, leaving a streak of light. Most of the small fragments of cosmic debris are smaller than a grain of sand, so almost all fragments are burnt up and never hit the earth's surface. The intense heat vaporizes most meteors while entering atmosphere, the visibility of such event occurred at around 60 miles up is called “shooting stars”. Some large meteors splatter, causing a brighter flash like a fireball with an explosion, which can often be heard up to 30 miles, with the falling of debris is called “meteor storm”. Fragments from these explosions which do contact earth's surface are called meteorites.

Rainbow

When sun shines at behind and rain falling in front, here one find the rainbow.

“Play with Rainbow, wear the Rainbow
Ride the Rainbow high and low
Spread the color of Rainbow wherever you go”

The spectacular color show of curved white light spectrum that forms when light is reflected and refracted by the rain drops in the sky. Here the rain drops act as a tiny prism splits the light into separate colors of spectrum.

These kinds of drama in the atmosphere as a stage show which lit up even soar spirits, is certainly a gift of nature.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

RUPTURED EARTH

Earth is ruptured when pieces of earth’s crust called tectonic plates hit each other. One of the plates goes under the other. This is where the earth heats and melts the rock into magma and gases. Volcanoes can also be formed when the plates go away from each other. The magma pushes up and lava forms. These types of volcanoes are found on the ocean floor.

An explosion shook a volcano in western Mexico on 30th may 2005

Fantastic things related to Volcano activity.

Geyser

A geyser is a type of hot spring that erupts periodically, ejecting a column of hot water and steam through small vents into the air.


“Geyser” in the Haukadalur valley, Iceland, is the oldest known natural geyser in the world.

Cone

A cone shaped mountain is built up by lava which is poured out from the vent and then covered by ash.

Volcanic Cone, Monument Valley, Utah

Calderas

Saucer shaped craters at the tops of volcanic cones, created by the collapse of the cone during huge explosion.

Aniakchak Caldera formed during an enormous explosive eruption that expelled more than 50 km3 of magma about 3,450 years ago.

Giant’s Causeway

Hexagonal basaltic columns that are formed of cooled lava from ancient volcanic activity.

The Giant's Causeway on the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland.

Like wounds in human body, the aftereffects of the volcano activity on the earth surface stands testimony to the ruptures that nature causes to the earth.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

CRYING EARTH

Have you got a bi-cycle. Use it more frequently or use public transport than take the car out. It is not an crazy idea. Observe the pictures while read through my subject.





Have you seen the factories in your locality doing unethical practice of releasing factory exhausts or untreated sewers. Do organize a forum to fight against such activities. Boycott the products that are produced without adhering to environment safety norms.



Switch off the fan, light, Air conditioner, room heaters and other electrical appliances, if such are running unnecessarily. It is also not a crazy idea considering the fact that to produce the quantum of such wasted electricity so much coal is being burned.




Gases naturally present in the atmosphere, particularly Carbon-di-oxide (CO2) help to keep earth warm by trapping heat from the sun, that would otherwise radiate or get reflected back out into space. This is called GREEN HOUSE EFFECT.

The burning of fuel such as oil in motor vehicles, coal and wood in factories and homes produce excessive amount of carbon-di-oxide thereby retaining excess heat. The atmospheric Concentration of CO2 is leads to warming up the world. Rising levels of these green house gases (carbon-di-oxide and others) leads to Global Warming. If the rate of this is going on it is predicted that Earth would warm up by 4 degree celcius over the next 50 years.




This will results in the melting of glacier, increasing sea level thereby shrinking the human habitats.


See the shrinking caps in Antarctica

Mind it. No other planet in the universe is still found that suits the conditions similar to our mother earth, except the running of the rumor mills. Hence, let us do a bit on our part to save the environment.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Burning Earth

Wildfire, natures fury or man made?




illustration of a forest fire

Wildfires are a growing natural hazard in most regions of the world, posing a threat to life and property, particularly where native ecosystems meet developed areas. In addition, the secondary effects of wildfires, including erosion, landslides, introduction of invasive species, and changes in water quality, are often more disastrous than the fire itself.
It is researched and found that the most cause of forest fire are mainly due to the deliberate human action. The after effects of wild fire can be classified as adverse and beneficial

The adverse effects are
  1. The immediate impact of forest fires can be devastating to human communities and forest ecosystems such as the loss and degradation of forested land,

  2. opening up areas to invasion by fast-colonizing alien species and threaten biological diversity.

  3. Consequences on biodiversity, health as life-threatening levels of pollutants. and the economy, among others.
On the positive side,

  1. Fire is sometimes essential for forest regeneration,
  2. The leftover fertile the soil and thereby provides tangible benefits for local communities.

As the ill effects of wildfires are on the higher side than the benefits and escalated wildfires are dreadful to imagine.




The preventive actions

  • Prevent the firing of dry grasses, bush, slash and other debris nearby the forest area
  • Avoiding the carelessly lit campfire, cooking fire or bonfire in the forest area
  • Do away the habit of smoking while moving from one place to another in forest area.
  • On using power saws, keep muffler and fire extinguishers in handy
  • To see that cars and other vehicles that operated in the forest are having a proper exhaust system.
On the effects of GLOBAL WARMING,

Wildfire
s add an estimated 3.5 × 1015 g to atmospheric carbon emissions each year, or roughly 40% of fossil fuel carbon emissions. And these suggest that the new sources of carbon emissions will accelerate the buildup of greenhouse gases and could provide a feed-forward acceleration of global warming.

See a sample of the monster's face here

video

This happened in the mountain region of central Idaho. On August 13th, 2007, the Cascade Complex wildfires - overran a fire camp where several hundred firefighters and support personnel were camped. The fire that threatened the camp had been burning with similar intensity in the woods for over 2 weeks before it touched the camp.

Guys, are you hearing ?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Guess the GLOBE's age


Have you ever felt yourself as larger than life figure at any moment? If yes, just a second….

Of the earth’s 4600 million years life history, human part of living period is just less than a million. See the fact in the following interesting way. The eras are split into periods which are shown below.


EARTH’S PERIODIC TABLE

Million Years Age

QUATERNARY

First Modern Humans







1.8

TERTIARY

Dinosaurs Extinct First Flowering Plants







65

CRETACEOUS







144

JURASSIC

First Birds







208

TRIASSIC

First Mammals
First Dinosaurs







250

PERMIAN

First Archosaurs







286

CARBONIFEROUS

First Mammal Like Repitles
First Reptiles







360

DEVONIAN

First Amphibians
First Lobefin Fish
First Insects







408

SILURIAN

First Fishes With Jaws







438

ORDOVICIAN

First Land Plants
First Jawless Fishes







505

CAMBRIAN

First Shellfish







530

PRE CAMBRIAN







3500

Oldest Fossil Formation Of Earth







4600


























Take earth life as 12 hour period in which, the part of human life span makes up the very last second. Hope the pie chart will certainly depicts the modern human’s miniscule life span, here termed as quaternary.


Actually, the fossilized layers on earth reveals the above various geological period.

“Our life span as a dot within a dot of a big blotting sheet, that very thought will make everybody humble, isn’t.”

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Fossils

The traces and remains of ancient lifeforms are called fossils. The study of fossils is called palaeontology. Studying of fossils helps us to understand the evolution of environment and natural communities. Fossils are preserved in different ways. They are fossilized through amber, ammonites, volcanic ash, petrification etc. Corals are the most popular fossils. They have hard skeleton. Soft-bodied animals such as jelly-fish and sea anemone would have lived in the same community. Fossils range from microscopic animals and plants to huge bones of dinosaurs.

Amber
: The fossilized resin of gymnosperms called amber often contains bodies of insects and other small animals and plants.
The above image is a 15-20 years old stingless old bee preserved in amber. The stuff on its back are pollinia and represent the only known piece of fossilized orchid ever discovered.

Ammonites
: They are mollusics which were in the seas of Mesozoic era. Their shells were made from the mineral aragonite

Volcanic ash: It is very rare type of fossilization. When the volcanoes spreads, the ash turns the body of the animal or plant into a rock quickly. Buried animals or plants may rot away to leave a hollow.


Petrification
: It is also a rare type fossilization. This happens when silica-rich water crystallizes within the cell of the cones.

Fossil Dating: Some fossils such as graptolites and conodonts evolved and become extinct over a short period of time. This makes them useful for dating the rock in which they are formed.

Fossils