The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 2, Number 13

June 27, 2003

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

In This Issue:




Topic In Depth


Petroleum Systems Data Room
The Petroleum Systems Data Room Web site is provided by Oil Tracers L.L.C. Visitors have access to several databases including the Oil Library, which is a searchable database of information on more than 30,000 oil samples owned by various analytical laboratories around the world. The other main product of the site is a database that "contains over 10,000 petroleum geochemistry-related citations and is a searchable reference list for over 300,000 pages of petroleum geochemistry literature drawn from hundreds of sources" called OilRef. The other free reference (after registering) is a petroleum dictionary and encyclopedia, rounding out this easy-to-use and very helpful set of recourses. [JAB]
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Copper Data Center Database
The Copper Data Center Database is provided free of charge by the Copper Development Association "to increase knowledge and awareness of copper, related technologies, and the role of copper in the environment." The database is an online bibliographic search engine of literature on copper, copper alloys and copper technology dating back to 1965 and is described as covering copper technology from smelting and hydrometallurgy through the performance of copper and copper alloys in their end-use applications and service environments. Users can search by standard methods including using keywords and titles or an impressive advanced search feature is also available. Although full text listings are not available, anyone interested in related subjects will appreciate this well designed and unique tool. [JAB]
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Lake Tahoe Data Clearinghouse
The Lake Tahoe Data Clearinghouse Web site is part of the US Geological Survey's Lake Tahoe Initiative. The agency's goal for the site is to facilitate the coordination of research, monitoring, and environmental-management activities in the Lake Tahoe Basin and to ensure the widest possible access to data and information resulting from such activities. Products available include Digital Elevation Models, Digital Orthophoto Quadrangles, Digital Line Graphs, Digital Raster Graphics, maps and soil information of the area, and much more. The downloads include clear descriptions and examples for those unsure of the particular data types, making their use a snap for researchers, professionals, or anyone interested in the Lake Tahoe region. [JAB]
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Wyoming Natural Resources Data Clearinghouse
The Wyoming Natural Resources Data Clearinghouse Web site, which "has the largest clearinghouse of digital geospatial data for Wyoming" is part of the Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center. Users can search the spatial data using keywords, browse using a clickable atlas of the state, or browse the individual categories including climate, land management, land / environmental, mineral, water, and more. Each of the listings describes the type of data, its scale and source, and even includes a picture of what it looks like on screen. Easy to use and navigate, the site does a good job of making the free Wyoming specific data accessible to anyone. [JAB]
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Soil Data [pdf]
The International Soil Reference and Information Centre (ISRIC) is described as a foundation for documentation, training and research on soils of the world, and serves the whole scientific community by assembling, scrutinizing, organizing and disseminating data and information. The ISRIC Web site contains some helpful online resources on the Soil Data page. These include international soil profile data, soil and terrain attribute data, soil degradation assessments, soil conservation approaches, and much more. Other portions of the site include publications, soil news, bibliographies, as well as links to other related Web sites. [JAB]
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Handbook of Chemistry and Physics [pdf]
CHEMnetBASE is an informational Web site provided by the chemical reference publisher Chapman & Hall / CRC. Although some resources on the site are for subscribers only, the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics is available to anyone. The Handbook contains a wealth of helpful information for researchers ranging from Constants and Units to Thermochemistry and Kinetics. These and many more subjects can be browsed using the table of constants (opening the links in a new window helps avoid the small frame size) or can be searched by substance and property or by general text. [JAB]
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Table of Nuclides
The Table of Nuclides Web site is maintained by the Nuclear Data Evaluation Lab and the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute. This simple but helpful resource allows users to get information on 114 elements and their isotopes including their atomic mass, excess mass, binding energy, half life, mode of decay, and more. To access the table visitors should click on the Nuclide Table link at the top of the page or enter an elements symbol on the upper left, then choose from the provided list. Other sections of the site include a Table of Gamma Rays, Electron and Photon Attenuation information, and more. [JAB]
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Wind Energy Resource Atlas of the United States
The Renewable Resource Data Center is supported by the National Center for Photovoltaics and managed by the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. An online product of the Data Center is the Wind Energy Resource Atlas of the United States, which estimates wind energy resource for the US and its territories and indicates general areas where a high wind resource may exist. The Atlas includes topics such as an Annual Average Wind Resource, Seasonal Variations of the Wind Resource, Certainty of the Resource Estimates, Areal Distribution of the Wind Resources, Regional Summaries, references, appendices, maps, and tables. Any researcher who uses or is interested in wind information should definitely explore the site's offerings. [JAB]
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Biophysics Textbook Online [pdf]
The Biophysics Textbook Online is a complete free online textbook sponsored by the Biophysical Society. Topics covered include: Bioenergetics, electrophysiology, intermolecular forces, nucleic acids, supramolecular assemblies, spectroscopy, thermodynamics, and even a section on becoming a biophysicist and teaching biophysics. Each subject contains individual chapters, chapter outlines, and the links to open the Adobe Acrobat files, which contain the actual text, illustrations, equations, and homework problems. Although, the subjects covered are more geared for advanced students, educators tackling this or similar topics should surely consider utilizing this site's educational potential. [JAB]
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Atlas of Canada: Learning Resources
From Natural Resource Canada comes another good resource, the Atlas of Canada Learning Resources Web site. Visitors will find a list of curriculum activities that are related to, and in some cases utilize, the interactive Atlas. The modules include, a Curriculum Guide detailing how to link the Atlas with other resources, a geography glossary, a wide array of additional links, and more. The highlight of the site is the Carto Corner activity, which provides students and teachers with interactive information on various aspects of cartography including map projections, map content and design, and other relevant topics presented in a non-technical and graphically-pleasing manner. [JAB]
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Just for Kids: Soil Biological Communities
The US Bureau of Land Management as part of the National Science and Technology Center, offers the Just for Kids: Soil Biological Communities Web site. This wonderful interactive activity does a good job of presenting the material to young kids in a fun and colorful way. Wilbur the soil wizard guides students through the topics including what soil is, why it's important, animals found in it, what fungi and bacteria do to it, amazing facts, and much more. Several classroom activities are also provided as well as quizzes and links, culminating in a surprisingly detailed site that even preschoolers could enjoy. [JAB]
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Geo-Images Project
The Geo-Images Project Web site was developed by G. Donald Bain, Director of the Geography Computing Facility at the University of California at Berkeley to "make images that are useful in teaching geography more widely available using computers and the internet". This unique site is simply a collection of photographs and other images in categories such as the California environment, daily life in Morocco, virtual reality panoramas of western North America, aerial geography of western North America, images illustrating principles of geomorphology, and more. The spectacular photos may, of course, only be used if the purpose is both educational and not for profit. [JAB]
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What's the Matter?
The Hands-On Technology Program Web site is a collaborative effort between AT&T and the New Jersey public school system, which offers several quality educational resources free of charge. The "What's the Matter?" page focuses on elementary chemistry and includes over fifteen experiments with titles such as Creating Atoms, Atomic Weight, Surface Tension, Deducing Density, Chain Reactions, and The Three Phases of Matter. Each describes what is needed to complete the experiment (all easily obtainable items), its procedure, questions, and more. Other quality material can be found within the Hands-On Technology Program Web site on several other science subjects. [JAB]
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A Glossary of Frequently Misused or Misunderstood Physics Terms and Concepts
The Glossary of Frequently Misused or Misunderstood Physics Terms and Concepts is provided by Donald E. Simanek of Lock Haven University. The glossary is said to focus on those terms which give students particular difficulties in physics such as Avogadro's constant, centrifugal force, closed system, electricity, experimental error, kinetic energy, and many more. This simple site contains no graphics, but does do a good job of explaining these sometimes confusing terms with easily understandable text. Links to other terms are provided throughout as well as helpful "misuse alerts" that detail common student comprehension mistakes. [JAB]
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Electricity and Magnetism: Animations, Simulations, and Applications [Flash]
This Web site is part of an online physics course from Michigan Technological University. Visitors will find a host of original and outside links categorized by topic including electric charge and electric fields, capacitance, current and resistance, magnetic forces, reflection and refraction, and more. The prism animation for example, allows students to adjust the angle and position of a light source to see how the prism affects it, and briefly explains the science behind the experiment. Although a few of the links need to be updated, overall the site does a good job of providing science students with fun ways to learn about and explore physics. [JAB]
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An Educational Tour of Nuclear Data
This Web site, provided by the T-2 Nuclear Information Service, is part of the Theoretical Division of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The site allows students to explore the structure of atomic nuclei, the analysis of interactions between nuclear radiation and matter, how data is used to study nuclear science, and who does this type of work. The tour's language is non-technical and includes helpful graphics, and other learning tools. Three tutorials are also provided on the topics of superheavy nuclei, nuclear models for radiotherapy applications, and helium burning in stars, which are more suited for advanced students. [JAB]
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The Columbia Gazetteer of North America
Provided by, the Columbia Gazetteer of North America is a collection of over 50,000 entries of places and features and is described as "far and away the most comprehensive encyclopedia of the geographical places and features of the region." Users can search the database by keyword and by region or browse the entire collection alphabetically. The entries contain brief descriptions, which may include latitude and longitude, population, interesting facts, or other information --depending on what is being described. The District of Columbia entry, for example, consists of a full page of location, history, and other facts relevant to the location. Anyone interested in geography, landforms, or trivia will surely enjoy exploring this appealing site. [JAB]
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Astronomy Links
The mission of the Astronomy Links Web site is to provide an index of the
best astronomy and space related Web sites found around the world on the
Internet. As a service of the and run by Roger Herzler, the page gives those interested a wealth of resources related to astronomy including a site search engine as well as organized and
informative browsing features. The main page contains over twenty categories
including astrophysics, observatories, satellites, the solar system, telescopes,
and history. Each of these contain subcategories and individual links
that contain a description, the date it was added, the number of times the
site has been clicked, and even a rating. Other features of the well
designed site include astronomy news, popular and new site categories, and
much more. [JAB]
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GIS Dictionary
The on-line GIS Dictionary Web site is maintained by the Association for Geographic Information and the University Of Edinburgh Department of Geography. The database contains definitions for nearly one thousand terms related to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This relatively new method of mapping is becoming more popular and more commonly used by laypersons who still may need assistance when learning or using a GIS. This dictionary does a good job of providing a simple way to search or browse terms and acronyms related to the subject. Results contain brief descriptions and references as well as a related terms link for additional information. [JAB]

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National Park Service: Digital Image Archives
The National Park Service maintains many informational Web sites including the Digital Image Archives database. Here, visitors have access to public domain images of the national parks, monuments, and historic places including Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon. After choosing a park, users are able to click on individual pictures, scroll through the individual collection, and yes, download them free of charge. Although no descriptions are provided, the beautiful and interesting pictures are more than enough to make this site a worthwhile stop for anyone. [JAB]
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Tides Online
Tides Online is a continually updated database of tidal information maintained by NOAA's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services. The site contains data from stations from every coastal state in the US including the Great Lakes. The main page shows which stations are currently under a "storm surge" and contains the links to the individual station data -- of which the easiest to use is the State Maps page. Here users can choose a state and then the station in which they are interested. The data itself contains the time and date and the observed height in graph form. Those interested in further information can click on the Data Listing link to view the complete records. Even though the site is not as user friendly as it could be, anyone interested in tidal information will appreciate this helpful resource. [JAB]
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The Island Directory
The Island Directory Web site, maintained by the United Nations System-wide Earthwatch Coordination, provides "an annotated list of nearly 2,000 of the significant islands of the world." The list includes oceanic islands of all sizes and contains information such as its name, coordinates, size, area, elevation, island type, population (if any), features of special interest, endemic species, and much more. Users can browse the information by country, alphabetically, or view comparative tables categorized by geographic characteristics, geological type, ecology and conservation, and more. Although location maps would be a helpful addition to the site, it still does a good job of providing a wealth of very unique and interesting facts.
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Marine Geology: Research Beneath the Sea Web site
Another informative offering from the US Geological Survey is the Marine Geology: Research Beneath the Sea Web site. Visitors can read about the agency's Marine Geology program which "strives to increase our understanding of the geology of the lands covered by water." Topics include methods and equipment used for the research, plate tectonics, resources in the marine realm, predicting effects of marine processes, new frontiers, and even images of marine geology. This interesting and unique site does a good job of explaining and educating the public on this important segment of the agency's research. [JAB]
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Radon in Earth, Air, and Water
Radon in Earth, Air, and Water is an informative and interesting Web site offered by the US Geological Survey. The host of products on the site include a well-designed online publication, the Geology of Radon, which allows users to page through the chapters with titles such as What is Radon?, the Geology of Radon, Radon Potential (in homes for example), and more. The non-technical text and attractive graphics make this document educational and easy to follow. Other publications offered include Radon in Fault and Shear Zones, Eastern United States, Radon in Glacial Deposits of the Upper Midwest, Terrestrial Gamma Radioactivity of the Conterminous United States, and much more. [JAB]
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Topic In Depth

1 "Education: Quarrying Process and Quarry Products"
2 " Hardrock Mining Overview"
3 "Quarryology 101"
4 " Quarry Tour"
5 " Quarry Products Association"
6 " List of Mines, Mills, and Quarries"
7 " Products and Services"
8 " International Comparison of Quarrying Methods",4046,81969,00.html
This Topic in Depth explorers the Web's offering on quarries. The first site is maintained by entitled Education: Quarrying Process and Quarry Products (1). Through descriptions, photographs, and interesting animations, the site does a good job of explaining how quarries are operated and what types of stone commonly come out of them. The second site, Hardrock Mining Overview (2), is from the Environmental Protection Agency. Visitors can read about the industry of hardrock mining, its economic value, types of mining activities, and more, on this one-page site. Next, from Pit and Quarry, comes the Quarryology 101 (3 ) educational Web site. The site takes users through twenty lessons on everything from site selection and preparation to drilling and blasting. Each interesting lesson contains two parts as well as an online quiz. The fourth site on quarries is provided by the online magazine Rock Products. The Quarry Tour (4 ) page contains descriptions on the various steps in quarrying including loadout, drilling/blasting, sand, crushing, hauling, and conveying. The United Kingdom's Quarry Products Association (5) maintains the next Web site of the same name. Visitors of the site can read a profile of the industry, news, how quarries affect the environment, learn about quarry products, view a quarrying map of the United Kingdom, and much more. Those interested in quarries of the United States will appreciate the next site by the US Geological Survey called, List of Mines, Mills, and Quarries (6). The site is actually a collection of photographs from dozens of sites from around the country along with brief location descriptions. The seventh site is maintained by the D'Amico Quarry Company called Products and Services (7). As the title suggests, visitors will find a list of available building, patio, and landscaping products that are produced from the quarry. Clicking on the individual product name brings up several pictures giving visitors a "concrete" idea of how extensively these products are used. The last site is an International Comparison of Quarrying Methods (8) provided by This interesting site is described as a review of quarry sites around the world that offer a broad cross section of the techniques and equipment used for extracting a variety of materials. Although it doesn't go into great detail, the site does provide some interesting facts and descriptions worth exploring. [JAB]
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