Hot answers tagged

21 votes

Do volcanos really create fertile soil?

As always: It Depends. Assuming enough water and sunshine, crop growth rate boils down to the concept of limiting nutrients. These may be: nitrogen (via ammonia or nitrates), phosphorous (via ...
user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Should a primary consumer always be a herbivore?

Not always. One good example is the food web around a hydrothermal vent. In the vent system, bacteria use chemical energy from hydrogen sulfide to produce sugars without any sunlight (no ...
user avatar
  • 14.7k
7 votes

How can half a degree of average temperature result in such devastating impact on coral reefs?

Coral die because of coral bleaching, a process in which the symbiotic algae living in the coral (which give the coral its colour), leave the coral host. Bleaching can occur for a variety of reasons, ...
user avatar
  • 22.2k
7 votes

Can garbage be sent into the (near-)center of the world?

No. In fact, I don't know why David Hammen didn't say that instead of commenting. The deepest hole that mankind ever dug was barely a scratch on the Earth's surface when you look at its size. They ...
user avatar
  • 179
6 votes

Is the impact of carbon emision dependent on the location on the earth?

The climate impacts of CO2 are not constrained to the location they are emitted, but rather the whole globe will feel the effects. CO2 is a long-lived molecule that takes 100+ years to convert or ...
user avatar
  • 12.7k
6 votes
Accepted

What would happen if the same soil received waste water contaminants for a long time?

Like many things in Earth Science, the answer is, "It depends." In this case it depends on the composition of the soil and the contaminant you are talking about. Climate, particularly the amount of ...
user avatar
  • 4,319
5 votes
Accepted

How does the Coriolis effect affect rivers and estuaries

The effects of Coriolis in rivers and estuaries are more subtle than in the open ocean. Coriolis tends to be a second or third order process in fast-moving and relatively small systems like rivers. ...
user avatar
  • 14.7k
4 votes
Accepted

Do icebergs have any impact on ecology?

Yes, they have many impacts: They provide a substrate for algae to grow and they can have whole ecosystems under them. You might think that such substrate is transient because it is melting, but ...
user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

How significant is organic cotton agriculture to the USA's total global ecological footprint?

The ecological footprint is the impact of a person or community on the environment, expressed as the amount of land required to sustain their use of natural resources. A global hectare (gha) from ...
user avatar
  • 12.7k
3 votes

Does anyone know a book/article/research that talks about forest fire prevention?

This book is based on Australian experience, some of it may be relevant of North American wildfires. I read it ten years ago. Paul Collins, Burn - The Epic Story of Bushfire in Australia, Allen & ...
user avatar
  • 20.7k
3 votes
Accepted

Why haven't weeds overtaken the entire planet?

A weed is just a plant where you do not want it. Totally a matter of context. Tumbleweeds are non-native, introduced centuries ago. I assume you mean the invasive species of plants that have been ...
user avatar
  • 1,177
3 votes

Is the impact of carbon emision dependent on the location on the earth?

As a rule no, while sulfur and nitrogen compounds from industrial and vehicle exhaust have an immediate impact and a relatively fast deposition cycle and thus are extremely location sensitive carbon ...
user avatar
  • 4,227
3 votes

Do volcanos really create fertile soil?

I disagree with the statement that flood-plain basalts don't make fertile soils. The most fertile soils in southeast Australia are on the Victorian volcanic plains. The soils of the Deccan Plateau of ...
user avatar
  • 4,319
3 votes

Do volcanos really create fertile soil?

Plants follow the law of the minimum. There's a ratio at which nutrients occur in plant matter. If it can't get those amounts, it will be limited by the one nutrient that falls below the ratio. Let's ...
user avatar
  • 133
3 votes

How do I estimate the mass of a deciduous tree's leaves?

David LeBauer is correct in saying that there are 'allometric equations' to estimate the leaf biomass, but they only refer to small experimental plots in such places as Hawaii, Japan, Singapore and ...
user avatar
2 votes

Lack of annual slash-and-burn in North America?

Slash and burn has been used in North America and still is at times. I see regular field burning near me where fields are particularly rocky and tilling if impractical for the crops grown. It also ...
user avatar
  • 626
2 votes

Timeline of Himalayas/Tibetan plateau formation

Drying out of North Africa is likely the result of something far more local. I've never heard of the either the Tibetan Plateau or the growing Himalaya as causing changes to Africa's monsoons and ...
user avatar
2 votes

Aren't fresh water deposits renewed by the water cycle?

Where am I wrong in my assumption about natural water distillation (i.e. is rain water not as clean as it should be in theory)? Generally, rain water is pretty clean. That is not an issue. Plus, we ...
user avatar
  • 179
2 votes

Why is carbon dioxide a more important greenhouse gas than nitrous oxide?

Specifically regarding the table in your question, the last column compares the emissions not by mass but by CO2-Eqivalent mass. That means that the number already takes into account that the global ...
user avatar
2 votes

Why is carbon dioxide a more important greenhouse gas than nitrous oxide?

Two things to think about: Nitrous oxide is extremely scarce in the atmosphere, less than 1 ppm. Compare with carbon dioxide that (unfortunately) is now greater than 400 ppm. Also consider the ...
user avatar
  • 22.2k
2 votes

Why is carbon dioxide a more important greenhouse gas than nitrous oxide?

There isn't enough nitrous oxide in the atmosphere to make a major contribution to global warming, which in some ways is a pity, because we'd all bee in a much jollier mood if there was (N2O is ...
user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

If matter is constantly being cycled through an ecosystem, does that mean a given ecosystem has a fixed mass?

You can always weigh the biomass of the (global) ecosystem in metric tons, or any other unit, even when this mass would not be constant. I don't see a reason why the total biospheric mass should be ...
user avatar
2 votes

Aren't fresh water deposits renewed by the water cycle?

Rain water is still one of the most cleanest water sources available. There may be some ancient underground aquifers that have clean uncontaminated water. One issue with rain water is that ...
user avatar
  • 20.7k
2 votes

Can garbage be sent into the (near-)center of the world?

One of the flaws with using subduction zones as dumps for toxic chemicals so they can be broken down by heat and pressure at depth is the rate of sinking of the subducting plate. Subduction is a very ...
user avatar
  • 20.7k
2 votes
Accepted

Are humans a plague?

In some (Or most ways) Yes. Pollution, Poaching, littering and etc Has hurt Biodiversity, lots of Animals who went extinct because of Humans wouldnt be familiar to an Average person, this link ...
user avatar
  • 328
1 vote

What exactly are singular biomes as units?

I guess it depends on which biome classification you use (there are several), but yes, usually tropical forests of Amazonia, Africa & Asia are classified within the same biome. For instance if you ...
user avatar
1 vote

Is the ocean a carbon sink when considering only the biospheric component?

Yes, the marine biosphere is a carbon sink, and a very important one. It is known that the oceans produce more oxygen and biologically consume more carbon dioxide than all the tropical rainforests. ...
user avatar
1 vote

Quickly breeding oysters to combat oceanic pollution?

According to @AllInOne from the comments: This is currently what a project in New York City is trying to do. Their listed goal on wikipedia is to get one billion live oysters in New York Harbor by ...
user avatar
  • 141
1 vote

Aren't fresh water deposits renewed by the water cycle?

Agricultural water is largely Fossil Water, which took tens of thousands of years to accumulate and industrial activities have used it in a century. Saudi Arabia is abandoning programs to grow wheat ...
user avatar
1 vote

Aren't fresh water deposits renewed by the water cycle?

The problem about rain water catchment is, that it prevents ground water from being formed, thus depleting these ressources and making them unavailable during droughts. Plus, ground water tends to be ...
user avatar
  • 776

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible