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Rocks, weather discussed at Goodwin program

By ELIZABETH MACAULEY

Chronicle Staff Writer

HAMPTON — The environment is full of countless rock types and unexpected weather patterns that many consider to be just acts of nature.

Recently, the Goodwin Conservation Education Center worked to debunk this idea with its “Rock and Mineral Basics and Weather Basics” program earlier this month.

Troy Schinkel, an earth and environmental science educator at Central Connecticut State University and a current member of Goodwin’s Master Naturalist Program, hosted the program and explained how rocks found throughout our environment were formed and why the weather reacts the way it does.

Schinkel has been a part of the master naturalist program since the spring and was looking to get more involved with outdoor learning.

“It is necessary to get outside,” said Schinkel. “Inside a classroom, you don’t see nature.”

“It’s important to experience the trips and falls of identifying rocks outdoors,” he added, “and to be able to actually recognize the rocks outside.”

Schinkel explained there are three types of rocks. Igneous rocks form from cooling magma or lava, sedimentary rocks form from compaction with some sort of agent acting as a “cement” and metamorphic rocks form after being put under heat and/or pressure, Schinkel said.

For 9-year-old Anaiah Eden Peña, a resident of Mansfield, the most interesting part of the program was learning that one rock can become another rock when put under heat and/or pressure.

Schinkel explained this idea with the example of limestone becoming marble.

It has the same chemical composition as before, but the minerals realign and re-crystalize, Schinkel said.

Schinkel also said rocks that have course grains are formed from magma and rocks that are fine grained or glassy-looking are formed from lava.

“Magma is inside the earth and lava is outside the earth,” Schinkel said.

The talk then switched to earth’s weather.

Schinkel detailed different aspects of weather, including wind and cloud formations.

According to Schinkel, pressure in regards to the weather refers to the air above us that is pushing down on us.

The heating of the air from the sun causes a change in pressure and wind is created from a change of high to low pressure.

High pressure days are usually sunny with clear skies and low pressure days usually have condensation, clouds and precipitation, Schinkel said.

Schinkel also discussed clouds and how they are classified by shape and altitude.

“Meterologists often combine terms when describing clouds,” said Schinkel. “There are hundreds of combinations.”

Schinkel took Goodwin visitors outside to see, first-hand, both cloud formations and rock types around the premises.

“There is so much I didn’t know,” said Barbara Vizoyan, who has been a member of the Goodwin Conservation Center for years and is a resident of Manchester. “I was amazed at how he integrated the whole concept of weather and how one element effects the other.”

“It’s was all very interesting,” said Deena Steinberg from Manchester. “I really enjoyed it.”

For more information on the Goodwin Conservation Center, call 860-455-9534.

 

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