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Friday, September 28, 2012

Collins Elementary, Salem -- September 28

42° 30' 52" N
70° 54' 22" W

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EarthView is pleased to be returning to Collins Elementary in Salem, which hosted us nearly a year ago, and which was covered by the Salem News.

EarthView deflates slightly as students enter at Collins Elementary
on September 28, 2012.

The blog post for that visit discusses several aspects of Salem's history and its long-standing importance in maritime trade. It also mentions the Peabody-Essex Museum, a local treasure of global importance. Several new exhibitions each year combine with nearly 2 million objects in the permanent collection to make PEM an ideal place to learn about history, science, art, architecture, and geography.
A painting of a whale boat from the Maritime Art Department at PEM.
EarthView coordinator Dr. Hayes-Bohanan has recently joined a
 rowing club in New Bedford where members
still use this kind of boat (but without hunting).
We encourage Collins students to take advantage of PEM and the many other opportunities to learn about geography -- of the region, the country, and the world -- from the point of view of their home town.

We also want to point out a couple of interesting physical geography stories that were in the news this week from the opposite side of the earth -- fairly close to Salem's antipode. Both stories were mentioned on  BBC radio this Thursday.

The first story is about an earthquake that took place in the Indian Ocean in April, and which scientists have been studying carefully. The BBC summarizes three articles related to this 8.7-magnitude quake from the journal Nature. This event was near a tectonic plate boundary, but it was the largest quake ever recorded that was not directly on a boundary, but rather on a transform fault within a plate. It did not generate a tsunami because movement along transform faults is horizontal, and does not displace significant amounts of water. What is most interesting about this and other recent deep-sea quakes is that it might indicate the eventual breakup of the Indo-Australian plate, which currently carries both the Indian and Australian landmasses.

The BBC also reported on a story related to biogeography. The entire works of Charles Darwin's lesser-known colleague Alfred Russell Wallace have recently been put online. He is credited with reaching the same conclusions as Darwin, based on his experience in Indonesia. In reporting on the story, the BBC mention the related discovery known as the Wallace Line. As described by geographer Dr. Susan Woodward, It is the only place on earth where the dramatically different animal communities are divided by a line that does not correspond to a major topographic barrier, such as a mountain range or ocean.

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