As we may already know, the carbon atom is very essential to life on Earth.
We use carbon to fuel our economy and we also eat the carbon we get in form of
sugar from plants. The reservoirs of carbon are where the carbon is stored. Being the fourth most abundant element in universe, carbon is mostly stored in rocks. It can also be found in fossil fuels, ocean, soil, atmosphere and plants.
The carbon cycle is when carbon flows from one reservoir to another in an exchange. In this blog, I will describe the slow carbon cycle, which is the exchange of carbon between the atmosphere, land and ocean.
The slow carbon cycle initiates when atmospheric carbon combines with water to form carbonic acid (H2CO3). This acid falls on rocks and it dissolves them. When the rocks dissolve they form ions such as calcium and these ions flow into the rivers, which leads to the ocean. In the ocean, the calcium ions react with carbonate and produce calcium carbonate, which makes the shells of different organisms. When these organisms die, they sink to the bottom of the ocean where layers of sediment are buried and carbon is stored in limestone.
These are four marine organisms living in the ocean. The micro organisms in c and d have shells that are made of calcium carbonate. When these organisms die, these shells sink to the ground to form limestone. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Then how is the carbon transported from the bottom of the ocean back into the atmosphere? This is done though volcanoes. Volcanoes make the rocks at the bottom of the ocean melt under extreme pressure and heat. When the rocks are heated they combine with silicate minerals and from this process carbon dioxide is formed and released back into the atmosphere.
This is a volcano in the ocean which effectively melts calcium carbonate in the bottom of the ocean and through reactions produces and releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. Source: Wikimedia Commons
I find this process to be very unique. Through the slow carbon cycle, carbon flows through different reservoirs and meets the biological needs of the living organisms in that reservoir. When the organism no longer needs the carbon, the carbon then flows out of the system and into another system where it is more useful.
Naqsh Fatima Bhangu
Posted in Biological Sciences, Issues in Science, Science in the News
Tagged calcium, calcium carbonate, carbon, climate change, fossil fuels, micro organisms, reservoir, shells, slow carbon cycle, volcanoes
Often when students are busy with school and work, they forget to live healthy. With less time to cook and exercise, students often resort to unhealthy foods and a sedentary lifestyle. This can lead to depression or poor performance in school. It is important to adapt to a healthy lifestyle in order to improve and enhance our ability to do well in school.
Healthy activities such basketball burn fat and increase the rate of metabolism. Source: Wikimedia Commons
In order to have good health, it is vital to engage in physical activity in our everyday life. Canada’s Food Guide recommends that adults engage in at least 2.5 hours of exercise per week. The performed exercise should be of moderate or rigorous level. Youth and children should exercise for 60 minutes per day. Staying healthy means less time in front of the TV and computer and more time doing healthy activities such as walking or going to the recreational center to play sports such as basketball and hockey. In the summer, one can spend more time gardening, doing yard work, going for a walk or hike. One can attach a pedometer to him or her self and track the number of steps walked each day and try to increase the number of steps taken each day. Healthy activity reduces the chances of getting diseases and gives one a healthy body weight.
It is essential to eat the right amounts and types of food each day. For adults between 19 to 50 years of age, Health Canada roughly recommends eight servings of vegetables and fruits, seven servings of grains, two servings of milk and alternatives and two to three servings of protein per day. Most of our calories should come from fruits and vegetables as well as carbohydrates.
Green tea is beneficial as it improves fat burning and improves physical performance. Source: Wikimedia Commons
We should limit foods and beverages high in calories, fat, sugar and salts. Cakes, pastries, soft drinks, alcohol and ice cream should be avoided. It is recommended to replace cakes and pastries with yogurt or baked apple with cinnamon. It is suggested to drink herbal tea instead of Indian Chai and regular coffee because herbal tea is low in calories and it cleans the arteries. One should replace unhealthy drinks such as soda with water and a wedge of lemon.
It is suggested to drink three liters (12 cups) of water for men 19 years and over each day and 2.2 liters (9 cups) of water for women over the age of 19 each day. Fluids help with digestion and carrying nutrients around the body. Moreover, fluids cushion joints and organs and get rid of wastes and toxins in the body. If we adapt our lifestyles and make healthier choices, we will increase our life span and have better mood and more energy.
Naqsh Fatima Bhangu
As we all know, the universe started from a Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago. The Big Bang theory states that the universe started from a “singularity”, a point where space and time came into existence. This point of origin was hot and dense. Theoretically time came into existence at 5.39 * 10^-44 seconds, which is known as the Planck’s Time: the smallest unit at which time can exist. At the Planck’s time all four fundamental forces (gravity, strong force, weak force and electromagnetic force) were combined into one unified force.
Between 10^–43 seconds to 10^–36 seconds gravity separated from the unified force and this released energy. Furthermore, the strong nuclear force separated from the unified force between 10^–36 seconds to 10^–32 seconds and this triggered for the universe to go under an exponential expansion known as cosmic inflation. The following image illustrates the expansion of the
This image illustrates the expansion of the universe from a singularity. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Moreover, the electromagnetic and weak forces are separated at 10^-12 seconds. The separation of the four fundamental forces released a lot of energy. The following image illustrates the separation of the four forces.
One strong unified force is separated into four fundamental forces at the given times and temperatures. Source: Wikimedia Commons
The energy released form the four forces was converted to matter (Energy=mc^2 where m is mass and c is speed of light) and antimatter. Matter and antimatter was continuously created and through collisions being destroyed. At the end there was a small excess of matter over antimatter.
Then the temperatures were cooled and matter stopped being produced. The universe became a thick dense fog consisting of mostly hydrogen and some helium and lithium.
The universe is expanding even today. The most important proof for the expansion of the universe is that distant galaxies are moving away for us. The only thing expanding is space itself, the space between us and other galaxies is increasing.
The following video complements what I have stated.
Naqsh Fatima Bhangu