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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Barnstable Intermediate -- May 9

42°06' 24" N
71°09' 58" W
Learn more about Lat/Long (including how to look them up by address)
Also, compare today's coordinates to those of other recent EarthView outings, near and far!

Barnstable Intermediate is in the village of Hyannis, which is part of Barnstable 

Hyannis is known as the location for ferries connecting Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard to the mainland. It is even better known as the home of the Kennedy family. A museum dedicated to President Kennedy and the entire family is located just down Main Street from the Intermediate School.

Barnstable Quick Facts
Population:                                                45,193 
Land area in square miles:                     59.81
Persons per square mile:                        775.7
Established 1639
Barnstable became a city in the year  1989.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment 

as of October 15, 2008

 Democratic 8,242 -- 25% 
Republican 5,836-- 18% 
Unaffiliated 18,073-- 56% 
Minor Parties 235 -- 1%
Total   32,386

Because students at Barnstable Intermediate had been studying the Amazon basin and rain forest earlier in the year -- and since our visit is taking place on Dr. Hayes-Boh's wedding anniversary, we pointed out the location in the center of the basin where the Amazon River officially begins: the confluence of the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimões at Manaus, which is known as the Wedding of the Waters. Dr. Hayes-Boh saw the "wedding" on his way to Rondonia during his first trip to Brazil.
The Ring of Fire is a popular theme to explore in EarthView because it is a great way to see the active areas around the Pacific Ocean all at once. At the time of our visit, the latest major activity on the Ring of Fire was a 6.4-magnitude earthquake in Mexico.

Image: USGS Earthquake Center
Notice that the lat/long are in decimal degrees, as are many online maps
A good classroom exercise is to convert to degree-minute-second
The 6.4 magnitude earth quake happened on May 8th around 10:20 in Guerrero, Mexico. The news agencies in Mexico reported that there where no major injuries or damage.  Mexico City is vulnerable to distant earthquakes because much of it sits on top of the muddy sediments of old drained lake beds. The last major earth quake that hit was in 1985, it was a magnitude 8.1. That particular quake killed over 6,000 people and destroyed many buildings in mexico City. Yesterday's earthquake caused a brief period of evacuation from tall buildings, but turned out not to be significant.

Located at the top of 3 of the large tectonic plates, Mexico is also one of the world's biggest areas with active volcanoes. The motion of these crustal plates cause frequent earthquakes and occasional volcanic eruptions.  Mexico is being carried northeastward by the Cocos plate which lies under the Pacific Ocean. Because oceanic crust is dense, when the Pacific Ocean floor encounters the lighter continental crust of the Mexican landmass, the ocean floor moves beneath the North American plate creating the deep Middle American trench along Mexico's southern coast. Also, as a result of this, the westward moving Mexico landmass slows and crumples which creates the mountain ranges and earthquakes near the southern coast. 

Read more about subduction zone on our 2011 Japan earthquake post.
The last group of the day was a seventh-grade class studying ancient civilizations. Even though the curriculum for this subject is focused on the ancient civilizations around the Mediterranean Sea, students were aware of the ancient civilizations of the "New" World in the Americas, including the Incas, the Maya (who discovered chocolate), and the Aztecs. We discussed Dr. Hayes-Boh's upcoming trip to Machu Picchu later this month -- it is a significant Inca site that was not known to the Spanish until several centuries after they colonized Peru.

It is difficult to imagine that such a remarkable feature was not known beyond its immediate neighborhood until the late 1800s.

Image: Destination Machu Picchu

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