The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 2, Number 10

May 16, 2003

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison

In This Issue:




Topic In Depth


Oilfield Glossary
The Schlumberger Oilfield Glossary provides definitions and illustrations of oilfield terminology. The definitions are described as being for the technical generalist and expert alike -- more detailed than a dictionary, but more concise than an encyclopedia. Users simply enter a word, and choose a particular discipline such as drilling, geology, well testing, or search in all areas. Other limitations include searching a part of a word, a whole word, within a definition, or those that include illustrations. Results contain a brief informative definition that includes related words and links to other keywords within the definition itself. Those interested in similar topics should find the site easy to use, informative, and helpful. [JAB]
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Guide to Mostly On-Line and Mostly Free US Geospatial and Attribute Data
The University of Arkansas Library offers the Guide to Mostly On-Line and Mostly Free US Geospatial and Attribute Data Web site. The main page contains a list of every state and related links to available geospatial and attribute data. For example, Wisconsin contains over twenty sites from a variety of sources such as the US Geological Survey and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Besides the state-specific sites, additional national aggregations of data are provided near the end of the page. Although a brief description of each data set may be helpful, the site does a good job of providing a single location for locating information that can still be somewhat difficult to find. [JAB]
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USGS Geographic Data Download
The US Geological Survey Geographic (USGS) Data Download Web site contains a large selection of downloadable digital elevation models (DEM) in various formats. Visitors will find links to 1:250,000 Scale Digital Elevation Models, 1:24,000 Scale Digital Elevation Models, 30 Meter Resolution National Elevation Dataset, 1:2,000,000 Digital Line Graphs, 1:100,000 Scale Digital Line Graphs, 1:24,000 Scale Digital Line Graphs, 1:250,000 and 1:100,000 Scale Land Use Land Cover, National Land Cover Data, and National Hydrography Dataset. The site provides examples, status maps, user guides, and other information about each data set, making it a great overall resource for these helpful topographic models. [JAB]
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Earth Impact Database
The Earth Impact Database is provided by researchers at the Geological Survey of Canada. The Web site offers a crater inventory that contains the craters name, location, latitude and longitude, diameter, age, and whether it is buried or drilled. The table can be sorted by crater name, diameter, or location, and can even be viewed in a printer friendly format. Another feature of the site is the crater image archive, which contains similar information but includes a link to various aerial graphics of the craters such as Landsat images. Many other informative links are provided culminating in a very interesting and informative Web site. [JAB]
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NIST Data Gateway
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) maintains the new NIST Data Gateway Web site. The Gateway provides easy access to NIST scientific and technical data that cover a broad range of substances and properties from many different scientific disciplines. Users can choose to search by keyword, property, or substance name and is completed within the dozens of NIST databases with titles such as Atomic Weights and Isotopic Compositions and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Structure Index. Results provide a link to the database or databases that contain the item searched. This unique data retrieval system does a good job of allowing easy access to the vast amount of information that the agency has available. [JAB]
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National Strong-Motion Program Data Sets
The US Geological Survey National Strong-Motion Program (NSMP) Data Sets Web site contains three informative and helpful digital data compilations. These include the Digitized Strong-Motion Accelerograms of North and Central American Earthquakes 1933-1986, which is a collection of 1,477 three-component station recordings from nearly 500 earthquakes. The second is the National Strong-Motion Network (NSMN) Accelerograms data set that has time series data recorded by NSMN stations for selected earthquakes since 1989. Lastly, there is the General Earthquake Observation System (GEOS) Accelerograms, which has recordings collected by the NSMP GEOS project for aftershock studies, long-term deployments, and short-term experiments. Each can easily be accessed via the main site and contain updated information from as recently as an April 22, 2003 California event. [JAB]
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Assessing Ground-Water Vulnerability to Contamination: Providing Scientifically Defensible Information for Decision Makers [pdf]
A new report from the US Geological Survey has been made available entitled Assessing Ground-Water Vulnerability to Contamination: Providing Scientifically Defensible Information for Decision Makers. The report provides a look at the common approaches used to scientifically determine the factors controlling the vulnerability of groundwater resources to contamination. The introduction states that it also discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the various approaches as sources of scientifically defensible information for the water-resource management decision-making process. Viewed online or downloadable, the freely accessed publication covers everything from methods and examples to conclusions and references. [JAB]
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The Community of Science Funding Opportunities
The Community of Science (COS) Funding Opportunities Web site describes itself as the most comprehensive source of funding information available on the Web, with more than 23,000 records that represent over 400,000 funding opportunities, worth over $33 billion. Users can search the database, which is updated daily, by simple keywords, sponsors, locations, requirements, citizenship, funding type, and much more. Other helpful features include being able to save and track searches and the ability to submit a funding opportunity of your own. The easy-to-use search features and time saving potential of the site make it a must visit for any researcher or other seeking critical funding sources. [JAB]
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FirstGov for Kids: Science and Math
FirstGov for Kids is the online portal to dozens of governmental and other quality Web sites geared especially for kids. The Science and Math page contains a list of all sites related to these subjects, with titles that include Earthquakes for Kids, Energy Quest, Jefferson Labs Kids Corner, Make a Lightbulb, The Space Place, Visible Earth, Weather Eye, and more. The listings are organized into Government Sites, Organization Sites, Education Sites, and Commercial Sites, each of which include a helpful description and a direct link. Kids and teachers alike will appreciate the handy compilation of quality educational sites. [JAB]
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Big Dig Archeology [QuickTime]
From the Boston Museum of Science comes the Big Dig Archeology educational Web site. Visitors get a chance to explore Spectacle Island, an archaeological site just offshore from the City of Boston. They begin by learning about the site itself, what it looked like, what tools the Native Americans used, what food they ate, and other physical and natural histories of the island. A wide range of descriptions and photographs are available, as well as several interesting QuickTime movies of the island's early history, its recent history, and a description of the excavation from an actual archaeologist. The well-designed site does a good job of providing non-technical descriptions and enough multimedia content to make it enjoyable for kids of all ages. [JAB]
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ISS EarthKAM for Students
ISS EarthKAM is described as a NASA-sponsored program that provides stunning, high quality photographs of our planet taken from the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. The Students page contains a Resources link that allows kids to learn about the International Space Station, Orbital Mechanics, Maps, the Space Shuttle, and Weather, and the Challengers link provides an opportunity to test the knowledge learned. Other links on the page include activities such as games and quizzes, as well as all information needed to get your own school involved in the mission. Even though this one page is fun to explore on its own, the rest of the site provides even more opportunities for those interested to learn even more. [JAB]
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Environmental Atlas
The Environmental Protection Agencies Environmental Atlas Web site offers an online environmental map collection and information to help kids understand environmental maps, mapping, and environmental information. The USA Maps link contains links to maps of air quality; landscape and landuse features; and of watershed, groundwater, drinking water, and water quality. State and Regional Maps has links to pages of geographic and environmental maps and information organized by US state and EPA region. The Learn About Maps and Data page describes how to understand maps and geographic data, how maps are made, interactive mapping, and much more. The site does a good job of explaining and providing an interesting way for students to learn about maps and their uses. [JAB]
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Fun Brain is provided by the Family Education Network, which is described as the Web's leading source of educational content; resources; and shopping for parents, teachers, and kids. Offering separate areas for kids, teachers, and parents, the Web site provides educational games, quizzes, homework help, and more. Science subjects covered include elements, colors of light, astronomy, chemistry, physics, geology, and more. One example is a game that allows kids to learn about famous and infamous scientists throughout the ages called "Who is That?" The site contains a lot of interesting and fun educational material and online resources, making it well worth visiting. [JAB]
[Back to Contents] is provided by A to Z Teacher Stuff, whose primary goal is to enhance the learning of students everywhere through helping teachers find the resources they need. Educators can search or browse the science category, which contains hundreds of lesson plans organized by grade level from grade school through twelfth grade. Each listing contains the title, age recommendation, a rating based on user feedback, and the direct link to the lesson plan. Although advertisements abound, the offerings and the very helpful rating system make the site a must visit for educators seeking new material. [JAB]
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Web Weather for Kids
Web Weather for Kids is made possible by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), Friends of UCAR, the Boulder Valley School District, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Kids can learn about Thunderstorms and Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Blizzards and Winter Weather, Clouds, Weather Safety, and much more. One of the highlights of the site is the interactive Weather Ingredients activity that lets kids explore all of the major weather components. This includes an interactive activity that allows kids to see how molecules change their speed based on temperature. This fun and educational site does a good job of presenting these potentially confusing subjects in an easy-to-understand format that's well suited for kids. [JAB]
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KidSpace: Math and Science
The Internet Public Library (IPL) is a public service organization provided by the University of Michigan School of Information. Goals of the IPL include: finding, evaluating, selecting, organizing, describing, and creating information resources; and direct assistance to individuals. The KidSpace: Math and Science page contains a large collection of outside sites reviewed by IPL with categories that include Projects and Puzzles, Air and Space, Earth Science, Experiments and Science Fair Projects, Physics and Chemistry, History and People, and many more. Each category contains further subcategories, making it easy to find specifically what you're looking for. Overall, it's an excellent resource for anyone seeking a wide range of educational Web sites. [JAB]
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Iraq Country Analysis Brief
"Iraq holds more than 112 billion barrels of oil -- the world's second largest proven reserves. Iraq also contains 110 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and is a focal point for regional and international security issues." Provided by the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy, the Iraq Country Analysis Brief Web site provides a thorough description of the mineral resources available in the country as of February 2003. Visitors can read a general background of Iraq's history; its production and consumption of oil, natural gas, and electricity; and a country and economic overview. Maps and graphs help illustrate the location and availability of the resources and the overviews and links provide additional well organized information that's quite interesting to read. [JAB]
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How Far is It? describes itself as the leading Internet travel and technology company based in Indonesia. The Web site includes a handy and interesting tool called How Far is It? The service uses data from the US Census to find the latitude and longitude of two places and the distance between them. Simply type in a "from" city and a "to" city, and click the Look it Up button to retrieve the distance (as the crow flies), the cities latitude and longitude, links to maps, and any other available information available. Although it's difficult to ignore the requests for booking a flight to Indonesia while browsing the site, the handy and simple tool for finding distances should be found helpful for a variety of uses. [JAB]
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Historical Maps
The James Ford Bell Library at the University of Minnesota provides the Historical Maps page as part of their main Web site. Users can view more than fifty maps online, each of which contain a short description of what the map is depicting. One example is a navigational map of Africa and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans that was designed to illustrate the first Dutch expedition to Java undertaken by Cornelis de Houtman in 1597. The maps can be viewed in fine detail and are quite fascinating to view and learn about. Anyone interested in history, cartography, or other similar subjects should enjoy exploring the collection. [JAB]
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Hubble Site: Index to Animations [QuickTime]
NASA's Hubble Site offers many great resources related to the telescope including the Index to Animations page. Visitors have access to over twenty large file movies and animations that depict such phenomena as a star birth in the Trifid nebula, the rotation of Uranus, a Neptune weather animation, a gamma ray burst, and an animated star chart showing the path of comet Hyakutake, among others. The fascinating visualizations are also linked to informational pages that further explain what is being seen. Although some of the files are quite large, even those with slower modems will find the time waiting well worth it. [JAB]
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Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country
Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country is an informational Web site provided by the Southern California Earthquake Center. Citizens can learn about the San Andreas fault, other California faults, how to build and maintain an earthquake safe house, how to survive an earthquake, how they are measured and what the magnitude means, common earthquake myths, and much more. As a safety and an educational site, this unique resource does a good job of presenting a lot of information, illustrations, and graphics in an easy-to-follow format that helps explain this powerful and potentially deadly natural occurrence. [JAB]
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Images of Historical Earthquakes
The National Information Service for Earthquake Engineering of the University of California, Berkeley maintains the Images of Historical Earthquakes Web site. The hundreds of illustrations are accessible by an alphabetical table of countries or regions, or by a chronological list beginning in 464 BC and ending in 1932. Each image contains a brief description, a link for more information, and a link to the image itself. The fascinating photographs and other graphics, along with the historical content, make the site a wonderful online resource for anyone interested in history, earthquakes, photography, or related topics. [JAB]
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ReliefWeb Map Centre
As a project of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ReliefWeb has a mandate to strengthen the response capacity of the humanitarian relief community through the timely dissemination of reliable information on response, preparedness, and disaster prevention. The Map Centre page of the Web site contains links to a wealth of informative maps that carry on the organizations mandate by providing humanitarian content in cartographic form. Some of the maps available include Iraq food storage sites, Argentina flood location map, an overview of Liberian conflict, landslides in Papua New Guinea, and many more. The maps can be browsed by geographic location and subject, or searched by various parameters, making it an easy-to-use and helpful resource for anyone seeking informative maps that can be freely downloaded. [JAB]
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Geomorphology from Space: A Global Overview of Regional Landforms
Geomorphology from Space: A Global Overview of Regional Landforms contains a gallery of 237 space images of different landforms. Categories include tectonic, volcanic, fluvial, deltaic, coastal, karst/ lakes, eolian, glacial, planetary, mapping, and future outlook. The fascinating pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them and contain commentary, locator maps, and even geologic maps when available. Although a search feature would be helpful, anyone interested in landforms, photography, or just science in general will appreciate the well designed site. [JAB]
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Topic In Depth

1. Karst [ppt]
2. Karst Topography Teacher's Guide and Paper Model
3. Top Ten List of Endangered Karst Ecosystems
4. Glossary of Karst Related Terms
5. The Karst Pages
6. More Than Skin Deep
7. Karst is an Unusual Landscape With Special Groundwater Quality Issues
8. Indiana Geology Visual Dictionary [Macromedia Flash Player]
Karst is defined as a terrain with distinctive landforms and drainage arising from greater rock solubility in natural water that is found elsewhere. This definition is part of the first site regarding this topic entitled Karst (1), which is provided by Purdue University instructor Robert Hall. The PowerPoint presentation provides a general introduction to the subject, tells how karst landforms develop, how climate affects them, and describes the different types of caves that can occur. The second site, Karst Topography Teacher's Guide and Paper Model (2), is maintained by the US Geological Survey. Visitors will find a thorough description of what karst landforms are, names and locations of underground karst features, a glossary of karst terminology, and a link to a karst system paper model that students can print and construct on their own. The third page related to karst, which is part of the larger Karst Waters Institute Web site, is called the Top Ten List of Endangered Karst Ecosystems (3). The page includes a world map that shows the locations of these ecosystems and contains descriptions of each including why they're endangered and what should be done to protect them. Next, from the Canadian Cave and Karst Info Sever, comes the Glossary of Karst Related Terms (4) Web site. This comprehensive glossary contains dozens of terms that includes everything from anastomosis to zonation in a well-designed and easy-to-read format. The Karst Pages Web site (5) is maintained by This informative page contains links to eight topics that include an introduction to karst, theories of cavern development, hydrology of aquifers, karst environmental problems, and more. Each contains simple descriptions and several graphics, making it an easy and interesting read. The sixth site provided by the National Park Service is a teachers guide called More Than Skin Deep (6). The activities provided have names that include making your own cave, seepy sandwich (groundwater), clay cave (cave formation), making your own stalactite, and other quality activities and information pages. Winona State University maintains the next site called Karst is an Unusual Landscape With Special Groundwater Quality Issues (7). This well done site contains six topics that include Karst Landscapes of Illinois, Texas Caves and Karst, Description of Missouri Karst, a Simple Animation Showing Formation of a Karst Landscape, Description of Karst in Ohio, and a Description of Karst in Kentucky. Each does a good job of explaining the topic and providing interesting photographs and other graphics that help clarify the subjects. The last site entitled Indiana Geology Visual Dictionary (8) is provided by the Indiana Geological Survey. Visitors will find a Karst Features and Stages of Development Flash file, as well as a whole host of other related terms. [JAB]
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