Five Google Earth Exercises
Textbook: Environmental Science: A Global Concern, Chapters 13, 14, and 15
Part I, Chapter 13
As Chapter 13 indicates, sometimes it is possible to let nature take charge and heal on its own some environmental damage that has been done. But when a native species has been lost, it is also sometimes necessary to intervene to reestablish the species. Most restoration projects have similar components: removing physical stressors in the environment, controlling invasive species, replanting native plants to restore the ecosystem, reestablishing animal species, and then close monitoring of the results. Bermuda is a heavily populated and a popular tourist location in the mid-Atlantic. Section 1 of Chapter 13 (labeled 13.1 in the textbook) details the reestablishment of the Bermuda cahow, a ground-nesting seabird that had thrived on Bermuda in the past but was thought to be extinct for hundreds of years.
Review the Case Study at the beginning of the chapter, entitled “Restoration of the Elwha River and Its Salmon,” and Section 13.1, entitled “Helping Nature Heal.” Open Google Earth, and in the search box enter Nonsuch Island, St. George’s, Bermuda. Click Search. View the neighboring islands and zoom in to see how much building/development there is, and compare this with the Nonsuch Island sanctuary.
Questions to Complete:
1. What steps were taken, according to the textbook, to restore Nonsuch Island to its native conditions? (3 points)
2. Zoom out to view the location of the island in the Atlantic. Why is this location of importance to migrating sea birds? (3 points)
3. How close is Nonsuch Island to St. George’s Island (in miles), and how does this closeness make maintaining the nature sanctuary more difficult? (3 points)
(Measure the distance from St. George’s Island to Nonsuch Island in miles using Google Earth. Look for more information on this in Section 1 of Chapter 13)
Part II, Chapter 14
Many natural occurrences can shape the environment, in addition to the actions of humans. These include volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, floods, and storms. All of these are discussed in Chapter 14, Section 4 (labeled 14.4 in the textbook). When Mt. St. Helens, in Washington State, erupted in 1980, it was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the recorded history of the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed, and 250 homes, 46 bridges, 25 km of railroad track, and about 300 km of highway were destroyed. The eruption caused a massive debris avalanche that rolled down the mountain’s slopes. Before the eruption, the mountain was a smoothly symmetrical peak rising to more than 2,950 m (about 9,677 ft) above sea level. Spirit Lake at the foot of the mountain’s west side was a much beloved vacation and fishing spot. The eruption blew out the west side of the mountain, lowering the summit by about 400 m and depositing nearly 1 km3 of dust, ash, and volcanic rock on the surrounding land. You can see the horseshoe-shaped crater and a new central cone forming as lava and ash continue to emerge from the volcano. The catastrophic blast that ruptured the wall of the mountain created hurricane-force winds that flattened thousands of hectares of forest. Ash spread over millions of hectares of seven western states. Fortunately, the eruption was preceded by numerous earthquakes and a measurable bulge that developed on the mountain’s flank. This gave most local residents ample warning to evacuate the area.
Review the Case Study at the beginning of the chapter, entitled “Moving Mountains for Coal,” and Section 14.4, entitled “Geological Hazards.” Open Google Earth, and in the search box enter Mount St. Helens. Click Search. Then zoom in and look for white material.
Questions to Complete:
1. Observe the mountain and the area around it. What is the white material inside the volcano’s crater, and what is the evidence to support your answer? (3 points)
2. According to the textbook, what are some of the environmental problems caused by a volcano? (3 points)
3. What evidence can you see of damage from the eruption? (3 points)
Part III, Chapter 15
Chapter 15 discusses in detail the causes and effects of global warming. Section 5 (labeled 15.5 in the textbook) discusses the average temperature increase of 0.6 degrees C and how this directly impacts alpine glaciers in many areas of the world, agricultural regions, sea levels, breeding seasons of birds and animals, coral reefs, ocean pH, and storm intensities. Mt. Kilimanjaro is one of the few tropical mountains in the world to have glaciers on its summit. The view of this snow-capped mountain from the warm, arid plains of central Africa is a world-renowned sight. Unfortunately, Mt. Kilimanjaro, like alpine regions nearly everywhere in the world, is losing its famous snows. Since 1915, the mountain has lost 85 percent of its ice cap. If global warming continues, all the ice and permanent snows on the mountain will be gone by 2020.
Review the Case Study at the beginning of the chapter, entitled “When Wedges Do More Than Silver Bullets,” and Section 15.5, entitled “What Effects Are We Seeing?” Open Google Earth, and in the search box enter Mt. Kilimanjaro, Rombo. Click Search. Then zoom in to see the area closely. The elevation is shown near the bottom of the screen as you move your mouse over the mountain top.
Questions to Complete:
1. What is the elevation near the top of the mountain, and why is this significant? (3 points)
2. If you scan down the mountain sides, you will see river channels running down toward the plains below. What might be the effect on surrounding farmlands when the snows of Kilimanjaro are permanently gone? (3 points)
3. Chapter 15, Section 5, discusses some responses climate experts make to claims against climate warming often heard in the media. Pick any one of those claims, and summarize what the textbook indicates the climate expert’s response is to the claim. (3 points)
4. Approximately how extensive is the snow in the area? What about glaciers? (3 points)
Comments from Support Team: Discipline: Environmental issues