Archives for category: Science

Earthquakes

Earthquakes are when the ground shakes and are caused by the sudden release of accumulated strain by an abrupt shift of rock along a fracture in the earth or by volcanic or magmatic activity, or the sudden stress changes in the earth.

What to Do in an Earthquake: 

If you are indoors, drop to the ground, and take cover by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture.  If there is not furniture nearby, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.  Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall.  Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake happens.  Cover your head with a pillow. If something nearby could fall, move to the nearest safe place.  Do not use a doorway.  Do not exit the building until the shaking stops.  

If you are outdoors, stay there.  Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.  Stay in the open until the shaking stops.

If in a moving vehicle, stop as quickly as safely possible and stay in the vehicle.  Do not stop near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.  When shaking stops, proceed carefully, avoiding roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.

If trapped by debris, do not light a match.  Do not move or kick up dust.  Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.  Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you.  Use a whistle if you have one.  Shout only as a last resort, as shouting could cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

Tsunamis

Tsunamis are sea waves generated by submarine earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or landslides, which are generally imperceptible in deep water but may be very destructive when striking the shoreline.

What to Do in a Tsunami:

Follow the evacuation order issued by authorities and evacuate immediately.  Take your animals with you.  Move inland to higher ground immediately.  Pick areas 100 feet (30 meters) above sea level or go as far as 2 miles (3 kilometers) inland, away from the coastline.  If you cannot get this high or far, go as high or far as you can.  Every foot inland or upward may make a difference.  Stay away from the beach.  If you can see the wave, you are too close to escape it.  NOTE: If there is a noticeable recession in water away from the shoreline, move away immediately.  This is a natural warning that a tsunami is approaching.  Save yourself, not your possessions.  Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance – infants, elderly people, and individuals with access or functional needs.

Volcanoes

Volcanic activity is defined as episodes during which gases, ash, and lava (molten rock) escape from vents in the earth’s crust, accompanied by minor tremors.

What to Do in a Volcano:

Follow the evacuation order issued by authorities and evacuate immediately from the volcano area to avoid flying debris, hot gases, lateral blast, and lava flow.  Be aware of mudflows. The danger from a mudflow increases near stream channels and with prolonged heavy rains. Mudflows can move faster than you can walk or run. Look upstream before crossing a bridge and do not cross the bridge if a mudflow is approaching.  Avoid river valleys and low-lying areas.  Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance – infants, elderly people, and individuals with access or functional needs.

Extreme Heat

A heat wave is an extended period of extreme heat, and is often accompanied by high humidity.

What to Do in Extreme Heat:

Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.  Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.  Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine.  Postpone outdoor games and activities.  Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals.  Avoid using excess salt.  Drink water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.  Avoid caffeine.  Limit alcohol consumption.  Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.  Avoid dark colors.  Wear a hat to protect your face and head.  Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day.  Use a buddy system (work with a partner and look out for each other) when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.  Check on friends, family, and neighbors regularly.  Avoid extreme temperature changes.  Check on your animals frequently.

Floods

What to Do in a Flood:

Be aware that flash flooding can occur.  If there is any possibility, move to higher ground immediately.  Be aware of stream, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly.  If you are preparing to evacuate, secure your home, and disconnect electrical appliances.  Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. Do not walk through moving water.  Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.  Do not drive into flooded areas.  If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.  Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams, rivers, or creeks.

Hurricanes

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm that forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

What to Do in a Hurricane:

Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.  Turn off utilities if instructed to do so.  Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep the doors closed.  Turn off propane tanks.  Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.  Moor your boat if time permits.  Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purpose.  Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.  Evacuate if directed to do so by local authorities.  Evacuate if you live in a mobile home or temporary structure, if you live in a high-rise building, or if you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.  Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.  Close all interior doors.  Secure and brace external doors. Keep curtains and blinds closed.  Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm, and winds will pick up again.  Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.  Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.  

Landslides

In a landslide, masses of rock, earth or debris move down a slope.

What to Do in a Landslide:

Stay awake and alert during a severe storm.  Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together.  Move away from the path of a landslide or debris flow as quickly as possible.  The danger from a mudflow increases near stream channels and with prolonged heavy rains.  Mudflows can move faster than you can run.  Look upstream before crossing a bridge and do not cross the bridge if a mudflow is approaching.  Avoid river valleys and low-lying areas.  If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and notice whether the water changes from clear to muddy.  Be prepared to move quickly.  If escape is not possible, curl into a tight ball and protect your head.

Tornadoes

A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour.

What to Do in a Tornado:

If you are in a building, go to a pre-designated shelter area, such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level.  If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls.  Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.  Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.  Put on sturdy shoes.  Do not open windows.

If you are in a trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or storm shelter.

If you are outside with no shelter, immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seatbelt, and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.  If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.  Stay in the car with your seatbelt on.  Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or other cushion if possible.  If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.  Do not get under an overpass or bridge.  You are safer in a low, flat location.  Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck.  Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.  Watch out for flying debris.

Wildfires

Wildfires usually begin from lightning or accidents.  They spread quickly, igniting brush, trees, and homes.  

What to Do in a Wildfire:

If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.  Lock your home and choose a route away from the fire hazard. Watch for changes in the speed and direction of the fire and smoke. Tell someone when you left and where you are going.

Sources: www.usgs.gov and www.ready.gov [Please note: This website contains graphics, audio, and video. Do not open if you have limited data access.]

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Our solar system is made up of a star – the Sun, 8 planets, 146 moons, and many comets, asteroids and space rocks, ice, and several dwarf planets, such as Pluto.

The eight planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. Neptune is the farthest.

Planets, asteroids, and comets orbit our Sun. They travel around our Sun in a flattened circle called an ellipse. It takes the Earth 1 year to go around the Sun. Mercury goes around the Sun in only 88 days. It takes Pluto, the most famous dwarf planet, 248 years to make 1 trip around the Sun.

Moons orbit planets. Right now, Jupiter has the most named moons – 50. Mercury and Venus don’t have any moons. Earth has one. It is the brightest object in our night sky. The Sun is the brightest object in our daytime sky. It lights up the moon, planets, comets and asteroids, too.

Source: www.nasa.gov [Please note: This website contains graphics, audio, and video. Do not open if you have limited data access.]