Monthly Archives: September 2015

Nucleosynthesis: the births of the elements


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How were the elements made? What explains the relative abundance of each element in our solar system? Below you will find a very simplified overview of nucleosynthesis, the process by which elements are formed in the burning hearts of stars. For additional information, start here. Read more

Chemistry lesson: calcium carbonate solubility


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The big equations:
CaCO3 ⇌ Ca2+ + CO32-
CaCO3 (s) + H2CO3 (aq) ⇌ Ca2+ (aq) + 2HCO3- (aq) Read more

Easy Science: How sinkholes form


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Sinkholes can form anywhere that the bedrock dissolves away beneath the soil, but classic sinkholes tend to form in limestone, a carbonate rock composed primarily of the minerals calcite (CaCO3), aragonite (CaCO3), and dolomite (CaMg[CO3]2). Worldwide, limestones cover about 15% of land surface. Twenty percent of the US is susceptible to sinkholes. Read more

Volcanic lightning turns ash into glass


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Within the ash plumes of explosive volcanic eruptions, collisions among countless pyroclastic particles sometimes lead to the buildup of static charges that discharge dramatically as volcanic lightning. In a new study, researchers have found that this lightning can, in turn, melt and fuse ash particles into distinctive glassy grains called spherules. Identifying and studying these spherules could help scientists better understand past and future eruptions, the study’s authors suggest. Read more