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Earthquake Epicenter, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Earthquake Epicenter


In this week’s activity, we are going to try to locate the epicenter of an earthquake using readings from three different seismograph stations. This will be done by measuring the difference in time between the arrival of the P and S-waves. The difference it time of their arrivals is due to the difference in speeds for both waves. In particular, the difference in time is given by (distance to epicenter)/(Vp – Vs). Thus, we can find out how far away a particular seismograph is from an earthquake by solving this equation for distance. Since there are three stations, we ...

Climate Change, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Climate Change


Global warming is a huge issue, not just because of the potential impact of the warming on the earth’s ecosystems, but also because the principal activity responsible for the bulk of emissions, fossil fuel combustion, literally fuels the engines of industrialized, urbanized societies. The stakes are huge -- international, political, financial, and environmental. In this exercise, you’ll learn about how to assess information sources, a critical skill in forming your own opinions and actions.

Ozone Depletion, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Ozone Depletion


While we often talk about the “Ozone Hole” over the Antarctic, we rarely talk about what ozone levels are like above our own heads. While the thinning of the ozone layer over the South Pole points to potential problems that we might experience here one day, it would be nice to know what our current situation is. In this week’s activity, we will do just this with the aid of data from 4 different satellites that have been monitoring ozone levels around the world for the last several decades. The Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) Program was started in ...

Acid Rain, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Acid Rain


Acidity is measured on the pH scale ranges from 0 to 14 with 0 being acid, 7 as neutral, and 14 as alkaline. The pH scale measures the concentration of hydrogen ions in solution, which indicates acidity. The pH scale is also logarithmic, so that a change in one unit represents a tenfold change in acidity, thus a solution of pH 4 is 10 times as acidic as one with pH 5 and 100 times as acidic as pH 6. "Natural" or unpolluted rainfall is slightly acidic and has a pH of between 5.6 and 5.8. When fossil ...

Air Pollution, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Air Pollution


The following exercise is designed to acquaint you with point sources of pollution in your neighborhood. The exercise utilizes the EPA’s Envirofacts website. Envirofacts allows users to search and find out information about pollution sources anywhere in the United States. You can also identify point sources of pollution in your neighborhood, learn about specific facilities, and create maps. To begin with, go to and enter your zip code. What will be displayed is a list of facilities in your zip code that have been issued an environmental permit. Scroll over to the ...

Atmosphere, 2017 Kennesaw State University



The objective of this exercise is to have you observe atmospheric conditions as well as develop your understanding of major atmospheric concepts. For this exercise, you are asked to observe and record weather conditions for four days. In addition, you are asked to answer questions about your observations, as well as respond to a series of questions on general atmospheric characteristics. In the second part of the exercise, you are asked to perform a number of calculations relating to atmospheric conditions and characteristics.

Water Capstone, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Water Capstone


This activity is still under development. Please check back later for an update or e-mail John Pratte at for more information.

Wastewater Treatment, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Wastewater Treatment


When you think about the variety of materials that enter the wastewater system from a typical home, the list is diverse and extensive: wastes from toilets; soap, detergents, and cleaning products from drains and washing machines; food items from garbage disposals - all along with large quantities of water. How is this material removed so that the water may be safely returned to the environment and, possibly, utilized again by other people downstream? The answer depends on where you live. If your home is not serviced by a public sewer system, your wastes are undoubtedly treated with a septic system. In ...

Drinking Water Treatment, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Drinking Water Treatment


In this activity we’ll be treating "contaminated" water to observe firsthand the steps involved in purifying water for human consumption. The activity will use everyday items to carry out the steps in drinking water treatment and you will record changes in the water’s properties as the process progresses. The basic version of this exercise has you record the appearance and odor of untreated water as it moves through the various steps. In some situations, depending on available equipment and personnel, you may also be able to measure turbidity. Turbidity describes the clarity or “muddiness” of a water sample ...

Water Use, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Water Use


If you’re like most people in the developed world, you don’t think much about water. Clean, drinkable water is delivered into your residence almost invisibly, and it’s always there when you turn on a faucet. As such, most North Americans don’t see the need for water conservation, particularly those who live in areas where freshwater supplies are abundant. But as populations grow and water supplies stay roughly constant, more and more pressure is being brought to bear on rivers, reservoirs, and groundwater aquifers and the need for conservation has become almost universal. These efforts are particularly ...

Renewable Capstone, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Renewable Capstone


In this capstone activity, we are going to look at the availability and economics of solar and wind power where you live. To do this, we are going to need maps of available sunshine provided by the U.S. government. We are also going to need to know the price of solar panels and wind turbines that are commercially available. Foremost, though, we are going to need to know how much electrical energy you use before we proceed to estimate the cost of using renewable energy. Finding out how much electrical energy we use is actually quite easy. All that ...

Wind Energy, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Wind Energy


This week, we are going to study the relationship between barometric pressure and wind speed and direction. If you watch the weather forecast during the news, you will usually hear the meteorologist (or weather reporter, as the case may be) state what the air pressure is for the day and in what direction it is changing. As we have seen above, differences in air pressure are what causes air to move from one place to another. If the local air pressure is decreasing, then this means that the area is becoming a lowpressure area, and that wind will start blowing ...

Solar Energy, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Solar Energy


This week’s activity is going to investigate the effects of color and collection area on the amount of solar energy absorbed by a system. While this sounds like a very simple task, it is complicated by several factors that can seriously impact results. The biggest of these factors is that a solar collector will begin to lose energy via heat transfer as soon as its temperature increases above its surroundings. Any system that we place in sunlight will begin to conduct heat through its support, convect warm air from its surface, and re-radiate energy in the infrared to its ...

Hydroelectric Energy, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Hydroelectric Energy


Water has always been one of mankind’s most vital resources. While the human body can go weeks without food, it can only survive for a couple of days without water consumption. Crops in the field will shrivel and die without a readily available supply. We use it for cleaning; we use it for cooking. And since almost the start of recorded history, we have used it as an energy source. Some of the first recorded mentions of hydropower go back over 2,000 years ago to ancient Greece and Egypt, where water wheels were connected to grindstones to turn ...

Ozone Capstone, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Ozone Capstone


You have already analyzed your emissions of smog-forming compounds from your vehicle, but it's important to realize that this is not your only contribution of these pollutants. Nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons are also released by coal-fired power plants, natural gas combustion, gas-powered lawnmowers, and other sources. In the Capstone Activity for this module, you will be analyzing your nitrogen oxide emissions from these sources, combining them with your vehicle's emissions, and estimating your total emissions of smog-forming NOx.

Personal Ozone Impacts, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Personal Ozone Impacts


In this exercise you will be examining your individual emissions of ozone-forming compounds from driving. To do this, we will use the "Gas Mileage Impact Calculator" from the This calculator provides you with an estimate of your outputs of smog-forming nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons (VOC's) for your vehicle and driving habits. As you learned in the Transportation Air Quality brochure, a number of factors influence NOx and VOC emissions from vehicles. While this calculator does not take all of these factors into account, it does provide a good estimation of your emissions.

Stratospheric Ozone, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Stratospheric Ozone


Last week, we studied ground-level ozone. We discovered that our modern way-of-life produces ozone in great quantities, which can be extremely harmful to the environment since it is a chemical poison to many life forms, including humans. This week, we are going to investigate stratospheric ozone. As we read last week, this ozone is responsible for filtering out ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and reducing levels of it found at the Earth's surface. This action is extremely important to life forms found in our ecosystems, since this highenergy form of ionizing radiation can have damaging effects. While our eyes allow ...

Ground-Level Ozone, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Ground-Level Ozone


In this exercise we will be examining ground-level ozone, commonly referred to as "smog" ("smoke" + "fog" = "smog"). Smog is formed by the combination of air pollutants and sunlight, and can have adverse effects on humans and other organisms. You have likely heard of ozone in a different capacity. Ozone also occurs high above the earth's surface in the stratosphere, where it serves a protective function by blocking harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. The ozone in each case is the same molecule (three bound oxygen atoms), but in one location (high in the atmosphere) it is beneficial to living ...

Calories And Land, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Calories And Land


In this exercise, you will investigate how your own diet affects the agricultural demands of a country. You will do this by monitoring your food and drink intake for 3 days, and recording it on the attached activity sheet. At the end of this time, you will add up the number of calories consumed and find the average amount for each day. Most of your packaged food should come with some type of caloric guidelines. If it does not, a fairly complete listing of the calories of various foodstuffs can be found here. As best you can, you need to ...

Soil Composition, 2017 Kennesaw State University

Soil Composition


Soil, dirt, sediment, what’s the difference? Depending upon whom you ask, you might get a radically different answer. Some sources state that the only difference between them has to do with their location: soil is the unconsolidated material on the ground, dirt is that same matter on your hands or clothes, and sediment is the same material on the bottom of a river or lake. Others define the differences based upon the size and shape of the material grains. For the purposes of this activity, we are going to define things the following ways. Soil is a complex, unconsolidated ...

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