Does Earth science matter?  The power outage experienced by residents in New York City on 10/30/2012 due to Hurricane Sandy demonstrates the interconnectedness of our society, and the power of the Earth system.  Every person should have an understanding of how the Earth system works so they can live better lives, protect those they love, and make wise choices.  Earth science education is critical!<p><small><em>Image courtesy of Hybirdd, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.</em></small></p>There are over 900 <a href="/the_universe/uts/megalith.html&edu=high&dev=">rings of stone</a> located in the British Isles. The most famous of these stone rings is of course, <a href="/the_universe/uts/stonehenge.html&edu=high&dev=">Stonehenge</a>.    The stones of Stonehenge were put in place between 3,000 B.C and 2,000 B.C. by neolithic people.Some speculate that the site was built as a temple of worship of the ancient Earth deities. Some say it was used as an <a href="/the_universe/uts/stonehenge_astro.html&edu=high&dev=">astronomical observatory</a> of sorts. Still others say it was a burial ground.<p><small><em>  Image courtesy of Corel Photography.</em></small></p>Stars don't last forever. Occasionally, a star bigger than our Sun will end its life in a huge explosion, called a <a href="/the_universe/supernova.html&edu=high&dev=">supernova</a>. The center of the star collapses in less than a second, blowing away the outer layers of the star.  There are many beautiful images of supernova remnants, the expanding shell of gas made up of the outer layers of the original star. This image is the Vela Supernova Remnant.<p><small><em>Image courtesy of the Anglo-Australian Observatory/Royal Observatory Edinburgh</em></small></p>Scientists at the University of Michigan have found that <a href="/earth/polar/cryosphere_permafrost1.html&edu=high&dev=">permafrost</a> in the <a href="/earth/polar/polar_north.html&edu=high&dev=">Arctic</a> is extremely sensitive to sunlight.  Exposure to sunlight releases carbon gases trapped in the permafrost, including <a href="/earth/climate/earth_greenhouse.html&edu=high&dev=">climate-warming</a> <a href="/physical_science/chemistry/carbon_dioxide.html&edu=high&dev=">carbon dioxide</a>, to the <a href="/earth/Atmosphere/overview.html&edu=high&dev=">atmosphere</a> much faster than previously thought.<p><small><em>George Kling, The University of Michigan</em></small></p>A new study has found that <a href="/earth/Atmosphere/airpollution_intro.html&edu=high&dev=">pollution</a> from <a href="/earth/Atmosphere/particulates.html&edu=high&dev=">fine particles</a> in the air - mainly the result of burning coal or <a href="/earth/interior/eruptions.html&edu=high&dev=">volcanic eruptions</a> - can shade <a href="/earth/Life/cnidarian.html&edu=high&dev=">corals</a> from sunlight and cool the surrounding water resulting in reduced growth rates.  Coral growth rates in the Caribbean were affected by volcanic aerosol emissions in the early 20th century and by aerosol emissions caused by humans in the later 20th century.  For more information, see the <a href="http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_278202_en.html">press release</a>.<p><small><em>Image courtesy of Toby Hudson (Wikimedia Commons)</em></small></p>A <a href="http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024035/article">study</a> of over 40,000 written entries in Irish Annals and ice core measurements shows a strong correlation between <a href="http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/interior/eruptions.html">volcanic eruptions</a> and extreme cold weather in Ireland over a 1200 year period, from 431 to 1649.  During this time up to 48 volcanic eruptions were identified in Greenland ice core records through deposition of volcanic sulfate in annual layers of ice. Find out more about <a href="http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/climate/geosphere_volcanoes_influence_on_climate.html">volcanoes and climate</a>.<p><small><em>Image Courtesy of Marco Fulle</em></small></p>

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