Why does clay become hard and waterproof when it’s heated? Why does temperature affect different clays in different ways?

Question asked by Volunteers at the Idaho Art Lab | Answered by Dr. Paul Link, ISU Department of Geosciences The purest clay is made of the mineral kaolinite, KAlSi3O8. Ceramic clays also contain quartz and feldspar minerals. During the heating (firing) process to about 1400 degrees F, the feldspars melt, along with some of the…

We’re studying about the Hagerman horse fossil, which is Idaho’s state fossil. What other animals lived at the time Hagerman horses were alive?

Question Answered by Dr. Kari Prassack, Lead Paleontologist at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument The Hagerman Fossil Beds are part of the Pliocene Epoch (5.3-2.6 million years ago) and date from about 4 million to 3 million years ago. This is the time just before the ice ages of the Pleistocene Epoch, and Idaho was…

How do apples turn from green to red?

Question Answered by Alana Jensen, Environmental Educator, INL ESER Program Apples on the tree all start out green. The green color of apples is due to a pigment called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is also present in leaves and helps the plant convert sunlight into energy so it can grow. At the height of photosynthesis, during the…

Do bears have whiskers?

Answered by Gregg Losinski, Conservation Educator At first glance, this would appear to be a simple yes or no question, but like many things with bears, the answer is more complex. The simple answer is that most mammals have things that look like whiskers, bears included. The hairs that we would call whiskers are more…

What are your favorite experiments?

Answered by Alana Jensen, Environmental Educator, INL ESER Program I have so many favorite experiments, but here are a couple of fun ones to do in the summertime. Blow Bubbles!You will need: Dishwashing soap, glycerin, water, large jar, liquid measuring cup, pipe cleaners, pliers Measure the volume of your jar by filling the jar with…