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World of earth science by K Lee Lerner; Brenda Wilmoth Lerner

By K Lee Lerner; Brenda Wilmoth Lerner

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Madagascar’s unique plant and animal species testify to the island’s long separation from the mainland. Marine fossils, notably tribolites dating from the Cambrian Period (505–570 million years ago; the first period of the Paleozoic Era) have been found in southern Morocco and Mauritania. Rocks from the succeeding period, the Ordovician (500–425 million years ago) consist of sandstones with a vari­ ety of fossilized marine organisms; these rocks occur through­ out northern and western Africa, including the Sahara.

See entry, “Quartz,” page 470. S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). WORLD OF EARTH SCIENCES A double rainbow over the desert. See entry, “Rainbow,” page 480. FMA. Reproduced by permission. WORLD OF EARTH SCIENCES Wildfires in Indonesia caused smog thick enough that these girls need to wear masks on their way to school. See entry, “Smog,” page 53. © Michael S. Yamashita/Corbis. Reproduced by permission. WORLD OF EARTH SCIENCES TOP: Map of Mars made by NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft.

The famil­ iar “sonic boom” is heard when the shock wave touches the surface of the earth. Temperature effects also become important at transonic speeds. At hypersonic speeds above a Mach number of five, the heat causes nitrogen and oxygen molecules in the air to break up into atoms and form new compounds by chemical reactions. This changes the behavior of the air and the simple • At speeds greater than 220 mph (354 kph), the com­ pressibility of air cannot be ignored. At these speeds, two dif­ ferent flows may not be equivalent even if they have the same Reynolds number.

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