How do boats float?

Answered by Randy Haws, Environmental Scientist, Pro2Serve Whether an object floats or not depends on several things. Solid objects, like wood or apples, float because they have lots of air in them and are lighter than the water around them. Objects like pennies or paper clips sink because the atoms in them are close together…

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…

What makes a bike balance?

Question Answered by Alana Jensen, Environmental Educator, INL ESER Program You may think that it’s the human riding the bike that keeps the bike balanced, but that’s not entirely true. If launched properly, a bike with no rider balances itself just fine and continues on its path as if a rider were guiding it. You…

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…

What makes a monsoon?

Question Answered by Kurt Buffalo, Meteorologist, National Weather Service-Pocatello We often hear about monsoon moisture or monsoon storms during the summer months. So what exactly is the monsoon, and what causes it? The term “monsoon” refers to a seasonal wind shift, which brings a change in moisture and precipitation patterns. There are several different monsoon…

What makes a heat wave?

Question Answered by Nicole Desmet, Meteorologist, National Weather Service-Pocatello, Idaho A heat wave is simply a period of prolonged period of very hot, uncomfortable temperatures. Typically a heat wave lasts two or more days. Several factors can influence how hot temperatures can get, where temperatures will be warmest and how long it will be that…