Is coal a sedimentary rock?

Answered by Kurt Edwards, Geologist and GIS Analyst, INL ESER Program he short answer is yes, coal is a sedimentary rock. Coal is formed mainly from plant material that accumulates in a swampy environment. These plants that become coal, lived before and during the time of the dinosaurs. When the plants died they would sink…

I read an OpEd from a rancher in Wyoming lamenting the decline of mule deer populations of his lifetime. Are there similar decreases in mule deer populations in Idaho

Question Answered by Gregg Losinski, Environmental Science Educator Mule deer are an icon of the West.  Unlike other members of the deer family such as elk and moose, mule deer distribution was always limited to the wide open spaces of the Intermountain West.  Over the past decades, a succession of adverse factors has resulted in…

If cold symptoms are the body’s immune response to fight a cold virus, do cold remedies that reduce symptoms hinder the body’s ability to fight off the virus and actually increase the cold’s duration?

Answered by Alan Jensen, Registered Pharmacist Many medications can be used to treat the symptoms of a cold or flu. I am going to restrict my comments to the five categories of medications found in most over the counter cold and flu remedies. They are pain and fever reducers, nasal decongestants, antihistamines, cough suppressants and…

How do things like butter and chocolate melt?

Question answered by Catherine Riddle, PhD, Radiochemist, Idaho National Laboratory Both chocolate and butter contain fat (triglycerides) which is why they melt differently than ice.  Most chocolates (especially milk-chocolate) tend to melt into this sticky (albeit delicious) mess at slightly above room temperature as does butter.  So why does this happen?  Since chocolate and butter…

Since deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter and their ability to perform photosynthesis, do they have to store food to stay alive?

Question answered by Kristin Kaser, Plant Ecologist, INL ESER Program Yes, deciduous trees must store food to stay alive in the winter. During the spring, deciduous trees begin creating food through photosynthesis; they are simultaneously preparing for their dormant period where they store extra nutrients as starches in underground structures like roots. As the growing…

Do badgers hibernate in the winter?

Question answered by Bryan Bybee, Biologist, INL ESER Program The simple answer is that badgers do not hibernate. Hibernation is a seasonal behavior pattern characterized by long periods of reduced body temperature, inactivity, lowered heart and breathing rates, and suppressed metabolism. Body temperatures may be reduced to nearly that of the surroundings. By this definition,…