17 November, 1997

Hi Everyone,

Here I am outside on a sunny day in Antarctica.    We are surveying again
with just a mild wind blowing.   It is really neat to see the snow grains
(firn) crawl across the ice beneath me.    The grains of ice look like
diamonds as they sparkle in the sun. The whole surface is covered in little
snow grains that are not flakes any more.   When they lose their shape they
are called firn.   When the wind blows the snow moves and makes really neat
sparkly  shapes.    As I watch the wind blow across the ice, I can imagine
how snow dunes are made by watching the glittery shiny snow.     The shapes
remind be of ripples in the lake bottom.   When the wind starts to really
blow the shape looks just like a sand dune as the snow begins to pile
upward on a smooth slope and then drop suddenly.   The little crystals seem
to fill in all openings that they can find.  Really neat and fun to watch.
I like to try to imagine shapes in the blowing snow sculptures other than
regular dunes.

I'll bet you can make some of the same shapes that I see.    Take some
sugar or salt and  place it on a piece of paper.   Ask first to use the
sugar or salt so that your parents wonít get mad.   Now blow gently on the
sugar.   Did it make a neat shape on your paper?   You can try it again
using the same sugar and blow a little harder.   Did you get the same
shape?    I wonder why?    If you use both sugar and salt and blow on them,
what happens?   Can you figure out which is sugar and which is salt, this
way?   When you blow on glass,  does it move?    Why?

I have a good friend that needs some help.  Could you maybe help?     Aaron
wants to know if we can collect and figure out how much air pollution will
fall from the sky in your town.   He has made up a way that you can help
him, if you will?    He says take a coffee filter and weigh it on a
kitchen scale or a scale at school and write down how much it weighs.   Get
a small plastic sandwich bag and weigh it too.   Place the filter in a
clean can with out a lid on it and leave it outside in the open for  a week
if you can.    It will work best if the filter does not have anything  over
it.  After the week, look at your coffee filter,  I'll bet that it will
have "stuff" on it.   Place the coffee filter with its stuff carefully in
the plastic bag that you weighed.   Weigh it again to find how much stuff
has fallen from the sky.     Don't forget to write down how much it
weighed.  Add the weight of the plastic bag to the weight of the clean
coffee filter.    Next, subtract the weight of the clean filter and the bag
from the reading that you just got from the scale on the used  filter in
the bag.    The difference is the amount of pollution that has fallen out
of your sky during that week. This s how some environmental engineers
collect air pollution only  with more accuracy than we do.  I would really
like for you to send me your results.    You can send them to me through my
email on this page or you can send them to me at Butte High School, Butte,
Montana  59701 through regular mail.

Aaron and I would really like that and it would help Aaron a lot.

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