EDUCATION: The Silicon Planet

Science  14 Oct 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5746, pp. 207b
DOI: 10.1126/science.310.5746.207b

Students have the whole world in their hands—or at least in their computers—at the tutorial Discover Our Earth at the San Diego Supercomputer Center. Mapping exercises for high school and lower-division college classes explore plate tectonics, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and other geoscience fundamentals. One chart, for instance, shows that many of the large quakes in the 1980s shook the youngest parts of the sea floor, the dynamic areas where new crust is extruding. Visitors can zip over volcanoes in Hawaii and the Cascade Range of the western United States and fire up interactive simulations. One covers the buoyancy of Earth's crust floating on the underlying mantle, which helps determine elevation.

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