The 2013 eruption of the Mount Etna in Italy sent materials skyward. Photo by gnuckx, public domain.
The 2013 eruption of the Mount Etna in Italy sent materials skyward. Photo by gnuckx, public domain.
Tags: volcano

Lava is the most famous hazard of volcanoes. It is featured in movies, and used to describe lamps, chocolate cakes, and mobile phone cases. But lava is only part of the volcano story. Lava is what we call magma when it flows out of a volcano, and magma is molten – or melted – rock. While you...

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Back to the Past, Looking for Sea Urchins and Other Deep Sea Life

While this animal looks like a pincushion, you would not find it in a sewing kit. This venomous sea urchin, A. belli, lives on the ocean bottom as deep as several thousand meters. Scientists study it, and other deep ocean dwellers, from submersibles or remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) that explore the ocean depths equipped with cameras and collecting gear. ...Read more
Sea urchin (Araeosoma belli) with poison sacs on the end of its spines. Photo by Dave Pawson, Smithsonian.

¿Porque la mariposa Morfo Azul es azul? Averígualo en los “Viernes de SEM” en nuestras demostraciones de microscopios electrónicos

¿Porque la mariposa Morfo Azul es azul? Ven a ver por ti mismo en “Viernes de SEM”, una demostración semanal de nuestro microscopio electrónico de barrido (SEM), en Q?rius, El Centro de Educación en Ciencia Coralyn W. Whitney. Mira como se ve una mariposa magnificada hasta 15.000 veces, y descubre los secretos del color de la mariposa y mucho más....Read more
Tags: butterflies
The blue morpho butterfly (Morpho peleides) can be found in tropical areas from Mexico to South America. Smithsonian photo.

Why Are Blue Morpho Butterflies Blue? Find Out on ‘SEM Fridays’ at Our Electron Microscope Demo

Why are blue morpho butterflies blue? Come see for yourself at a weekly demonstration of a scanning electron microscope (or SEM) on “SEM Fridays” in Q?rius, The Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center. Watch me zoom in on a blue morpho sample at 15,000 times magnification, revealing clues to the butterfly’s color and more....Read more
Tags: butterflies
The blue morpho butterfly (Morpho peleides) can be found in tropical areas from Mexico to South America. Smithsonian photo.

Going Deep for Octopods

Most familiar “octopods” (general term for octopuses and their close relatives) live in relatively shallow parts of the ocean. They are predators, who can benefit from the abundant food, such as fishes, crabs, and shrimps, in habitats such as shallow coral reefs....Read more
Ghost-like octopod of an unknown species discovered on the seafloor of the Pacific Ocean more than 4,000 meters down during a research cruise. Photo from NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Hohonu Moana 2016.

Our Language, Ourselves

Every sentence we speak reveals something about who we are as humans. Even people speaking the same language have distinct dialects that are rooted in their history and culture. Whether you say “soda” or “pop” may reveal what country and what region you are from....Read more
Alberto Javier Reyes García, biologist at the National Herbarium in Mexico (MEXU), collecting plants in the Zapotec community of La Ventosa, Oaxaca, Mexico as part of Smithsonian-led research. Photo by Gibrán Morales Carranza.

What Do Kayakers and River Snails have in Common?

Both kayakers and river snails are animals who rely on freshwater. While for a kayaker, it’s for recreation, for a snail it’s about livelihood. Freshwater snails live underwater and feed on algae and other bits of aquatic food. Like kayakers, they depend on certain conditions of temperature, water flow, and water quality for their activities....Read more
Tags: snail
Keeled Ramshorn snail (Planorbis carinatus) that lives in rivers and lakes in Europe. Photo by Gerhard Falkner.

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