Environmental Science - 06

8:00 - Opening

  • Questions, comments, concerns?

  • FIELD TRIP FORMS!!! I gotta have them!
  • Let's take a few moments to talk about this week's field trips
    • Working with the *wonderful* folks at Harbor Wild Watch on Friday
    • Heading up to Mt St Helens and doing the Hummocks Trail with the fine folk of the Mt St Helens Institute
    • ACK! Here's another permission form I forgot to have your folks at home sign. Please send this FORM to them and have them sign it and get it back in the next day or two!
8:05 - 8:15 Daily observations #1 GO HERE for Data Entry


Please! Please! Please! make sure your folks at home know the schedule for tomorrow and that you WILL NOT be taking a bus home!

8:00 - Depart for the Hummocks Trail

10:30 - 11:00 Arrive Hummocks Trail

11:00 - 12:30 Hike the Hummocks Trails

12:30 Depart Hummocks trail for Johnston Ridge/Lunch on the Bus

1:00 - Arrive Johnston Ridge

2:00 - Depart Johnston Ridge

4:30 - 5:00: Arrive GHHS (traffic depending!)

What to bring:

  • Hat/Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Closed-toe shoes (no flip flops or sandels or you may be asked to stay on the bus)
  • Jeans/T shirt
  • Sweater/Sweatshirt (just in case)
  • Water
  • Camera (the views are AMAZING)
  • Something to write with and something to write on (Notebook!)
First Test Returns -- 8:15 - 8:30: You did VERY WELL!!!
Session #1: The Weather 8:30 - 9:30


Name three different factors that influence the weather in and around Gig Harbor.

Now suggest the absolutely number 1 MOST important factor on the weather (Hint: That factor is the same everywhere on planet Earth!)


I will be able to explain how uneven heating of the Earth's surface effects weather during today's class.


  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Air Pressure


Take a look at this graphic:

Did you notice the UNITS present in this image?

Do those sound familiar??? (They SHOULD!)

Before we start on our analysis, please have a conversation with your group to address this really important question:

The Earth receives a tremendous amount of energy from the sun. Which of the following situations most usually describes what happens to that energy:

A. The Earth gives back more energy to space than it receives from the sun.

B. The Earth absorbs (holds on to) more energy from the sun than it gives back to space.

C. The energy the Earth receives from the sun equals the energy the Earth gives back to space.

D. The energy that the Earth gives back to space changes wildly from day to day and season to season so there is no real way to calculate 'average' values.

Now please work with your group to do a NET ANALYSIS (what is THAT?) of the energy coming into the Earth and the Energy given off by the Earth back into space.

There *seems* to be an awful lot going on in that diagram, but work with your crew to see if you can analyze the goings on there.


Now let's talk about how that influences our weather.

How about this?

SESSION #2: Mt St Helens (9:30 - 11:45)

OPENING QUESTION: Please sketch the CSZ (do you remember what that is?) and show how it is responsible for creating Mt St Helens and other Cascade Range Volcanoes.

BONUS! Some of the carbon dioxide that gets released during a volcanic eruption comes from a very unusual source. Do you remember that? Include that in your sketches if you can.


Let's review THIS:


How many Cascade Volcanoes can you name?

What states have Cascade Range Volcanoes?

Please have a conversation with your group:

COMPARE (how they are similar) lahars with pyroclastic flows.

Now please CONTRAST (how they are different) lahars with pyroclastic flows.


  • Glacier
  • Puget Sound Basin
  • Fault
  • Cascadia Subduction Zone
  • Subduction Earthquake
  • Lahar
  • Pyroclastic Zone
  • Tephra (Ash)
  • Blast Zone


Mrs Smith was kind enough to share THIS with us today (courtesy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency!).

Althoug we are at no real danger from a volcanic eruption here in Gig Harbor, those guidelines apply to any number of natural disasters....let's take a look!


Last Friday I briefly discussed the Eruption of the Nevada Del Ruiz volcano in Columbia in South America:


Let's take a look at THIS reading from Scientific American

Here is a geological hazard map showing how the Lahars flowed down existing river beds:

Lahar is an Indonesian Word for "mud flow". Not just any old mud flow but a mud flow that happens when snow and ice on a volcano *suddenly* melt during an eruption

Please take a look at THIS

Now let's review this animation (take from still pictures) of the May 18th, 1980 Mt St Helens Eruption

And this presentation too!


LUNCH 11:45 - 12:15

The United States Geological Survey is tasked with providing state and local governments with information on volcanic eruptions.

Let's Review Volcano Eruption TERMS (this is the same image as on my poster by the door)

Now let's take a look at several "Volcanic Hazard Maps" produced by the USGS. Notice I have color-coded each map to match your color designations in your group.

Your task is to imagine you are a volcano expert who is briefing community leaders from cities in towns on your map.

Needless to say most of the people are NOT volcano experts and may not be very informed of the dangers presented to their community by the volcano on your map.

It is your job to brief those community leaders and help them to understand POSSIBLE dangers to their communities.







MR W Story Time (11:45 - 12:15)

MR W STORYTIME - My hike *into* Mt St Helens Crater Last Summer

The Mt St Helens Institute organized a fundraising hike into Mt St Helens (it was kinda spendy) and I was *thrilled* to attend.

By the by, they are the same folks who will be escorting us on the Hummocks Trail hike tomorrow.