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ARTICLE

The phosphorus cycle

Phosphorus is a chemical element found on Earth in numerous compound forms, such as the phosphate ion (PO43-), located in water, soil and sediments. The quantities of phosphorus in soil are ...

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ARTICLE

Human impacts on marine environments

Throughout human existence we have relied on the oceans – for food, as a waste dump, for recreation, for economic opportunities and so on. However, it’s not only our activities in the marine ...

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ARTICLE

Measuring biodegradability

In nature, different materials biodegrade at different rates. If you throw your apple core into the bushes along with a steel toy car, your apple core will have disappeared in a few months and ...

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ARTICLE

Human impact on rivers

Human beings have an impact on river ecosystems. The relationship living organisms have with each other and with their environment is extremely complex. Impacts on a species or a non-living ...

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ARTICLE

Fire behaviour

Fires behave differently. Some burn slowly and evenly; others are extremely hot, burning fiercely and quickly. Different fires have different coloured flames. Some fires start easily; others ...

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ARTICLE

Behaviour of waves

All waves behave in certain characteristic ways. They can undergo refraction, reflection, interference and diffraction. These basic properties define the behaviour of a wave – anything that ...

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ARTICLE

Non-renewable energy sources

Energy comes from many sources, and to describe these sources we use two terms: renewable and non-renewable. Non-renewable energy resources cannot be replaced – once they are used up, they will ...

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ARTICLE

Limestone uses

The calcium carbonate content of limestone rocks has been used from the earliest civilisations, dating back to 14,000 BCE, to its extensive use in modern times. It is a valuable resource that ...

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ARTICLE

Fundamentals of waves

Seeing, hearing, feeling warmth, surfing, tuning the radio, using a cellphone – these and many more activities involve waves. But what is a wave? In this article, we get to grips with the ...

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ARTICLE

Types of volcanoes

Everyone knows what a volcano looks like – isn’t it a steep-sided cone with wisps of ash coming from the top, just like Rangitoto, White Island, Mt Ngāuruhoe or Mt Ruapehu? But what about small ...

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ARTICLE

Soil formation

New Zealand has a wide variety of landscapes. A day’s sightseeing journey might include volcanic plateaus, rolling hills, river basins and coastal lands. It is easy to notice how the scenery ...

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Auckland’s volcanoes

The city of Auckland is built on a volcanic field. There are 50 volcanoes within an area of 1,000 square kilometres, forming the hills, lakes and basins of the city. Rangitoto Island was formed ...

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ACTIVITY

Build a marine food web

In this activity, students build their own food web using images of organisms from the marine ecosystem. This activity can be done indoors on paper or outdoors on a tarmac surface using chalk. By ...

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ARTICLE

Limestone landscapes

Limestone is one of the most common sedimentary rocks found in New Zealand. Eye-catching features such as caves, sinkholes and spectacular skyline landscapes are often associated with limestone ...

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ARTICLE

The ocean and Earth’s systems and cycles

The ocean plays an important part in several Earth systems and cycles. This is hardly surprising, as it covers two-thirds of the planet’s surface. It is difficult to study any of these systems ...

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ARTICLE

What is in soil?

What’s in soil? When you pick up a handful of soil, what do you see? All soil is made up of inorganic mineral particles, organic matter (including living things), air and water. Inorganic mineral ...

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Antarctic marine ecosystem

The Antarctic ecosystem is unique in that the food chains are very short and often based on the availability of krill, which is vital for all animal life forms living in Antarctica. The waters ...

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