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Tutor profile: Rachael M.

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Rachael M.
Geoscientist
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Questions

Subject: Geology

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Question:

How are elements and minerals related to rocks?

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Rachael M.
Answer:

To explain the relationships between elements, minerals, and rocks, I like to use a metaphor. Think of a simple sentence. "Geology is a super cool science". This sentence is made up of individual words (super, science), and those words are made up of individual letters (s, c, i, e, n, c, e). Now imagine that a rock is the same as the sentence, minerals are the individual words, and elements are individual letters. Elements are the building blocks of minerals, and minerals are the building blocks of rocks!

Subject: Environmental Science

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Question:

What is a positive climate feedback? Give an example.

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Rachael M.
Answer:

A positive climate feedback is a process which propagates climate warming. By influencing one factor of a feedback loop, other factors are influenced and so on. For example, albedo is a term that is used to describe the ability of the Earth's surface to reflect sunlight. Light colors reflect more sunlight while darker colors absorb sunlight, like a hot blacktop or asphalt parking lot on a hot summer day. Ice caps and glaciers, like those found at the North and South Poles, have a high albedo, and therefore reflect incoming sunlight. However, increasing global temperatures are causing these ice reservoirs to melt, revealing darker land and ocean surfaces. This lowers the albedo and allows even more sunlight to be absorbed at the Earth's surface, which then in turn continues to melt the ice. The overall effect is a warmer climate.

Subject: Earth Science

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Question:

How does the hydrologic cycle connect the land, ocean, and atmosphere?

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Rachael M.
Answer:

The hydrologic cycle explains how water moves between different reservoirs. Water vapor in the atmosphere can condense to form a rain droplet, which can then be delivered to the Earth's surface through precipitation. This drop of water can then run across the land and into a surface stream or lake, soak into the ground and join an aquifer, or be frozen in place. Eventually, this drop of water will make its way to the ocean or be evaporated back into the atmosphere. This complex system operates on various time scales, from just a few minutes to many thousands of years.

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