Salar de Uyuni

Salt, salt and more salt at Salar de Uyuni.

  • Salar de Uyuni is also known as Salar de Tunupa which can be translated from Spanish as ‘salt flat enclosure’.
  • Salar de Uyuni is the world’s biggest salt flat with a measurement of 10,582 km squared (4,086 miles squared), which can be found in Bolivia, South America.
  • Salar de Uyuni has a salt crust that ranges between a few centimetres up to 10 metres (32 feet) thick, that covers the area of a salt water lake that ranges from 2 to 20 meters (7-66 feet) in depth.
  • Salar de Uyuni contains a large amount of chemical metals including sodium, magnesium, potassium, and 50 to 70% of the world’s lithium resource that is extracted to make batteries.
  • Salar de Uyuni has little wildlife, but has 80 species of visiting and migrating birds, including three species of flamingos, as well as a few islands, where the main foliage is cacti, as well as hot springs and geysers.

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Salar de Uyuni
Image courtesy of Ronan Crowley/Flickr
  • Whilst some salt is extracted from Salar de Uyuni, it is estimated that the flat contains 10 billion tonnes (11 billion tons) of salt.
  • Salar de Uyuni has a train cemetery, where trains were used in mining industries until 1940, and this has become one of the most popular attractions on the salt flat.
  • Salar de Uyuni was originally believed to be completely flat, and can make photographs look distorted, but GPSs have shown it has some tiny undulations in the surface.
  • Salar de Uyuni is sometimes covered in clear water, making the salt flat also the largest natural mirror.
  • NASA uses Salar de Uyuni, since it is unmoving and easily spottable, to figure the positioning of NASA’s satellite.
Bibliography:
Salar de Uyuni, 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salar_de_Uyuni>
Salar de Uyuni Facts, 2011, Travel Unearthed, <http://www.travelunearthed.com/salar-de-uyuni-facts>

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Cardboard Box

The amazing invention, the cardboard box.

  • Cardboard boxes are boxes made up of thick, heavy, sturdy paper known as cardboard, and types include cereal boxes, storage boxes, packaging boxes and food boxes.
  • In 1817 in England, Sir Malcolm Thornhil produced the first commercially made cardboard box although they required significant labour to produce.
  • Scotsman Robert Gair invented much more economical precut and creased cardboard boxes in Brooklyn in the United States in the late 1870s, after he saw an opportunity when someone mistakenly chopped through thousands of his paper bags, instead of creasing them in his factory.
  • Nabisco ordered cardboard boxes in 1896 for their biscuits, and Kellogs for their cereal in the early 1900s, both of which significantly impacted the future of food packaging in boxes.
  • Cardboard boxes are used by children as toys, dress ups and other imaginary items.

 Cardboard Box, Brown< white, Open, Closed, Stack, Small, Medium, Large, Ten Random Facts

  • Cardboard boxes have become a symbol of homelessness, because some homeless people have used them as shelter.
  • Numerous cardboard boxes are thrown out everyday, but most types are recyclable, although those with special coatings can make this more difficult.
  • Early in the 20th century, cardboard boxes replaced wooden crates and boxes, being lighter and more practical.
  • In 2004, the architect Peter Ryan, from Melbourne, designed and built a livable house made from cardboard boxes.
  • In France there is a museum of cardboard and printing called Musée du Cartonnage et de l’Imprimerie, which features early cardboard boxes that were made to transport silkworm moths and eggs.
Bibliography:
The History of Cardboard Boxes, 2011, Hire-a-box, < http://www.hireabox.com.au/cardboard-boxes-history/>
Knapp T, The History of Cardboard Boxes, 2007, EzineArticles, < http://ezinearticles.com/?The-History-Of-Cardboard-Boxes&id=709353>

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Silver

Silver is pretty, white and shiny.

  • Silver is harder than gold but softer than copper, and is approximately 2.5 on the hardness Mohs Scale.
  • Silver conducts electricity and heat better than any other metal.
  • Silver is one of the only materials that absorbs oxygen, which enables it to rid substances of germs and bacteria.
  • Silver can be beaten into sheets, drawn into threads and modelled.
  • The alloy, mixture of chemical elements, of silver is called electrum.

Silver necklace, Blue Flowers, Ten Random Facts

  • The main producers of silver are currently Peru, Bolivia and Mexico.
  • Silver in its natural state can be found mixed with gold or other ores like copper, zinc or lead, and is rarely found without contaminants.
  • Sterling silver is the mix of 7.5% copper with silver.
  • Silver was popularly used in many ancient coins, and is now used in medical equipment, some medicines, jewellery, silverware, medals and in the photography industry.
  • Silver is currently worth $32.13 Australian dollars per ounce.
Bibliography:
Blackwood, A 1979, Gold and Silver, Wayland Publishers Limited, England
Silver 20 November 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver>

Earplugs

Earplugs are used for many things but don’t block those facts!

  • Earplugs help protect from loud noises, hearing loss, tinnitus, water coming into the ears, dust or wind.
  • Wearing earplugs while diving is bad since the water and air will pressure your ears.
  • Earplugs can be made out of wax, silicone and memory foam.
  •  To insert foam earplugs into your ears you have to roll the earplug into a thin rod and pull back on your ear. Then gently push the plug deep into the ear canal and wait 20 seconds.
  • The first recorded use of earplugs was in Ancient Greece when Odysseus’ crewused the plugs to block out the sound of the Siren’s songs.

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  • Ross Gardner discovered modern earplug material, a type of foam, in 1967.
  • Musicians wear flanged earplugs in their ears during their loud performances.
  • Earplugs that are designed to prevent snoring may have parts of the plug that reduces the volume of the snoring so you cans still hear louder sounds.
  • Earplugs must be used carefully otherwise they could do serious damage. This damage can be the result of pressure of the air or water pushing on your ear or earwax and other grit in your ear that is pushing on your eardrum.
  • Special earplugs for flying are available.  They help to reduce pain associated with flying by equalising air pressure in the ear.
Bibliography:
Earplug 17 October 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earplug>

Diamond

Ooooooooh – pretty! Well, pretty if polished and cut. Polished and cut facts coming right up!

  • Diamond is one of the rarest and prettiest stones in the world.
  • Diamonds are made from carbon.
  • Diamond is the hardest natural material ever discovered.  The hardness results from the strong carbon atom arrangement.
  • Originally, the main diamond producers were India, Africa and Brazil but currently, Australia and Russia have the greatest supplies and mine more diamonds than any other country in the world.
  • Diamond is normally found in rivers or in a type of rock called kimberlite.Blue cut polished diamond, Ten Random Facts, Free Digital Photos
Polished, Cut Diamond
Image courtesy of Anusorn P Nachol/ Free Digital Photos
  • Diamonds are bought and sold using a measurement called carats, which is equal to 0.2 grams.
  • Before kimberlite was discovered, diamond was often dug out from the sand.
  • Now people use x-rays to separate diamond from kimberlite rock.
  • 75%-80% of people’s engagement rings contain a diamond.
  • Nearly 80% of the diamonds that are mined are used for tools or other equipment since they are not suitable to be used as gemstones.
Bibliography:
Diamond 12 October 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond>
Herbert, S 1980, Diamonds, Wayland Publishers Limited, England

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Igneous Rock

There are many types of rocks and many groups. Igneous rocks are up!

  • Igneous rocks are formed in molten magma.
  • There are two types of igneous rock. One type of igneous rock is formed in the surface of the earth while the other type of rock forms on the crust, because of the cool air.
  • Igneous rock is also formed when magma cools and crystallises into a rock formation.
  • Most of the earth’s crust is made out of igneous rock.
  • Many mountains are made out of igneous rocks. Also, many mountains with lots of surrounding igneous rock suggests that the mountain could be a volcano.

 Igneous Rock, Granite, Free Digital Photos, Free Digital Photos

Igneous Rock
Image courtesy of Antpkr/ Free Digital Photos
  • ‘Igneous’ comes from the latin phrase ‘made from fire’.
  • Earth’s moon is made out of igneous rocks.
  • Many roads are made from crushed igneous rock .
  • The igneous rock called pumice is the lightest rock on earth.
  • Igneous rocks contain many minerals that help plants grow.
Bibliography:
Rocks & Minerals 2004, Dorling Kindersley, United States
Stewart, M 2002, Igneous Rocks, Heinemann Library, Great Britian

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